I haven’t written in about a week, I’ve been a little typewriter shy. I posted a blog on RacerXVT http://www.racerxvt.com/article/shannons-world—raw last week and got slightly shredded by some kid for writing on a training website about texting and driving. It was something that I felt compassionate about and wrote about, but this guy was obviously offended and just didn’t seem to understand how this can affect us all. Instead he decided to tell the audience how inappropriate my post was and that it was some kind of public service announcement that didn’t belong on the site.
At first I was mortified. How dare he…. Seriously? How could someone be so ignorant to the fact that this is a national crisis and he turned it into a slight temper tantrum on a message board? The upside was that a few people came to my defense and said that it didn’t matter what the forum was for this type of column—it needed to be said.
As a newbie in the field of writing I was slightly defeated by his words at first, then uplifted by the people who had my back and felt just as strongly as I do. I actually wrote my editor for the site and offered that maybe I should change what I write to tailor toward training, considering I do have a background in personal training. He politely disagreed and said absolutely no way should I change my voice, ever, for some critic that was making no sense whatsoever and that he had invited me to speak about things besides training and racing. Rather, he wants me to speak my mind, regardless of its direct correlation to motocross. I thought about his advice and realized he was absolutely right. So I stand by what I wrote and feel even more compelled to take action as a citizen of this country and its roads to do more about it.
My goal as a writer is to get people to stop and think and to sometimes wake them up (in this case both). I really wanted to get through to my readers and to get them to make a change with their lifestyle habits, and to hopefully save a life—maybe even their own. I knew once I posted it I would have to hold myself accountable to never text, email, Facebook, etc., while driving, and it was honestly an easy habit to now follow. It’s been very liberating not being a slave to my phone and to technology. When I think about all the mindless, nonsensical texts that I have sent and that others are sending every single second of the day it makes me nervous. It’s not just teenagers; it’s adults, and parents, and grandparents…. I am seriously paranoid about being in my car because I know I may be one text away from getting hit by someone that just doesn’t give a shit and I carry with me two very precious gems most of the time.
My husband had a few people tell him at the race this past weekend that they had read my post and now think about it every time they go to text while driving…. Yes! I did get through to some people so my words were read and heeded, yet I feel my campaign has only just begun.
In closing, I found out later that the person tearing me up on the message board was only sixteen, which made me feel a little better. And after it was all said and done, he basically admitted he was just trying to get some attention by stirring the pot. I don’t even know how to respond to that except to remind him of this: Please don’t text how much you hate this latest post while you’re driving your parents’ car, or anyone else’s car. Wait until you get home to the family computer, pull up a chair, and then let me have it. It’s worth it to me, because that means you really understand the importance of what I had said in the first place. TTYL!