Before I continue, I think it's very important that readers understand that I am, in no way, a controversial person. I believe in the age-old adage "live and let live", and always do my best to respect others' lifestyle choices and belief systems, and this has always been my goal as I share my thoughts and feelings, opinion, and advice on the loving adult nursing relationship. Although I am certainly not a serious journalist, nor will I ever be the Great American Novelist, I do take my writing very seriously--as seriously as I take my own ANR, and as seriously as I take the feelings and privacy of others regarding their ANRs.
So, with all of this being said, I'll confess that my concern pertains to the media; and, specifically, how the media handles the topic of ANR.
I was actually able to briefly discuss this concern with another couple two nights ago, and I feel that we share the same views on this issue--the media seems to feel that this lifestyle is a farce, some bizarre and unexplainable oddity, something that will intrigue and amuse their readers, as these "journalists" twist the truth into sensationalized fodder, and make a mockery out of the nursing relationship, and the couples who practice it. As the other husband and wife said, the problem with some journalists is that they only care about how many hits they receive on a particular story. I agree with that. Often, presenting the fact-based reality of a seemingly fascinating subject is far less interesting than transforming it into a tabloid story to catch readers' attention. I doubt many people would be fascinated by my life outside of the bedroom where I nurse my husband. It isn't very exciting to learn that I enjoy raising roses or growing vegetables or knitting doll clothes for my little lady's menagerie of blinky-eyed babies. There is not much mystique to explore, I'm afraid. I'm just an average woman with average struggles--and I just happen to nurse my husband.
Because of this, I do offer glimpses into the mundane part of my everyday life, as a way to keep this very real, as a way to normalize what could easily become sensationalized. I have taken part in two interviews at this point, with the potential for two more on the horizon, but I have turned down three offers to discuss my lifestyle choice because I questioned the motive behind the reporters' interest. I love to laugh, but I do not love being laughed at. There is humor in every aspect of life, including nursing, but I just don't see anything funny about the practice itself. It is so easy to handle any issues that arise within your lifestyle choice, as long as you hold onto the control you have over it. You can ignore rude and disrespectful questions, refusing to take the offered bait and feed the flames of ill-meaning fascination, and utilize social media's "unlike", "unfriend", and "unfollow" buttons, or block someone's e-mail from passing through your inbox, but once you hand your story over to the media, even with the best intentions behind it, your journey immediately becomes their story, to do with as they see fitting. I especially dislike the manner in which some journalists utilize quotation marks--they are an easy way to establish sarcasm and a can you believe this? camaraderie with their readers --within the written word. For example, when discussing ANR, some journalists will print: This woman "feeds" her husband. Those innocent quotation marks are offensive to me. And I worry a lot that I will make a terrible judgment call and share my story with the wrong reporter. Sometimes, it feels as if I am taking one step forward to spread the word that ANR can be a completely healthy and absolutely normal part of a couple's everyday life, and then some "journalist" (see what I just did there with the quotation marks? ;)) comes along and pushes me two steps back.
It's really no wonder there's so little trust within the nursing community. Everyone has feelings. No one wants to be the butt of a horrible joke.
I decided to conduct my own interviews for very specific reasons. When I ask to speak to a couple about their own journey, it is always done with the greatest of intentions, as a way to share fresh perspectives on the lifestyle, as a way to build understanding and something of a kinship. I also use these interviews as an outlet for people who would love to be able to share the beauty of their personal ANRs in a safe, secure, and discreet way without the fear of embarrassment, criticism, amusement, or shame. And when these wonderful people agree to speak with me, I am fully aware of the truth: they don't know me. Their willingness to discuss this with me is based solely on trust. They are entrusting me with an extremely tender part of their personal lives, and this is quite meaningful to me.
As a matter of fact, one of the most touching messages I have ever received came from a woman who agreed to a Bountiful Fruits interview, and she contacted me after her story was posted on my website.
"You truly just touched my heart with your article/story. You wrote it so respectfully and just so beautiful. Thank you!"
I don't think I could ever explain what her words meant to me.
Although this post isn't the type that I would normally publish, I'm glad that I decided to share my thoughts--and hope that you are, too. I'll return soon with new articles, which I'm very excited about, and, don't forget that ANR Chat Episode #3 is set to air in five days! Actually, it may become ANR Chat Episode #3, Part I and II, because I've received so many fantastic questions! Thank you, all!
Enjoy your Friday. Enjoy your weekend. Enjoy your partner, and the beautiful lifestyle you share!