As I have studied and reflected on building my business, I haven’t talked or revealed who I am.  Between the closets and the pressure to produce content, I missed the point of why I started TAP.  That is to be me, so other parents, caregivers, or anyone with a child they love dearly but aren’t sure how to care for can see they aren’t alone.

The last 4, holy crap, almost five years, were ones of chaos and times I am sure my friends thought I was going to have a mental breakdown.  Between May – Oct of 2019, I got my first suicide protocol call from the school, bought a house, lost my job, got into a legal battle for my step-kids, and discovered I now had children with several physical and mental disabilities in my care, several of my kids coming out, countless other suicide calls from the schools, nights spent at Comcare, and got my chronic illness diagnosis. That is on top of my ADHD, C-PTSD, depression, anxiety, and emotional dysregulation I already had.

Suddenly, I was having to fight with schools for 504s and IEPs, trying to find OTs, therapists, psychologists, PCPc, and so many other health care professionals. Which ones took Medicaid and finding which ones do what and which ones don’t do what I need. Finding out some aren’t LGBTQIA+ friendly causes more damage to my already fragile children. Calling facility after facility, trying to find help and support that my family desperately needed, all while feeling like I was getting the run around while trying to machete through red tape.

That doesn’t even cover the chaos of what was now my home life. Learning about every single mental illness and neurodivergent diagnosis, while not even knowing that was a wordI lost count of the times I sat in therapists offices, crying that I didn’t know what to do or how to help this or that child, that I felt I was making things worse for them. The calls from the schools for behavior, academics, or, again, more suicide protocols. Seeing my once clean and organized house fall into complete disarray, with doom piles galore. Afraid to leave certain children unattended because of the (unintentional) damage they would cause to the house or people.

Everything I knew about parenting didn’t work anymore. I also learned that a lot of how I was parenting was causing the trauma and having to live with that guilt when I look back at what I thought was the right thing at the time. The tears I have cried over five years could fill an ocean. All of them cried while feeling helpless, alone, guilt-ridden, and like I was constantly failing.

So, I decided I wouldn’t let that happen to another parent, not if I could help. From those tears, I decided to start The Alphabet Project. The scars I gained while fighting the system would become the symbols for other parentsYes, this sucks, yes, this is hard, but yes, we will make it. And I will ensure you don’t have to do it alone like I did.

So that’s itThat’s me and why I am doing this. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Also, yes, that is me walking my bearded dragon.

-Shepard (he/they)

I won’t let fear compromise who I am- Commander Shepard.

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