May 16, 2023·edited May 16, 2023Liked by Sara Petersen

It's been interesting to see how many of us felt compelled to write about Heather's legacy in the last week (including me https://wendyrobinson.substack.com/p/its-time-to-speak-ill-of-the-dead) but have to say that I've really been struggling with reading all these tributes to Heather (especially Rebecca Woolf's) because they are are really, really glossing over the full truth of Heather's life. So many of us were drawn to her for being messy and raw and (seemingly) authentic but the tributes miss how problematic she could be too, so I do appreciate that you include some of that in your piece.

I think it's important to call out that while she blazed a trail for a lot of women, she also burned people down along the way. She claimed (in writing!) credit for Jenny Lawson's book deals and that Jenny only got famous because she and Heather got into a public fight. She didn't just urge resistance to ADHD medication - she called ADHD a "bullshit diagnosis" and a condition that didn't exist. I appreciate that you mentioned her really awful anti-trans stance, which too many other writers have have closed over, but it's also worth noting that she wasn't just encouraging other mothers to be anti-trans, she was talking about her own experiences with her own nonbinary child, which was really, really gross.

I think we also need to grapple more with her legacy when it comes to children. So many of us loved her writing (me too!) about motherhood but she was also someone who shared a lot of intimate details about her kids before they could meaningfully consent to those details being shared. I think her work, whether she intended it to or not, also helped both individuals and corporations come to see that children could be content. I don't think we fully know yet what kind of impact that will have on kids who grew up online in their mother's blogs and now Instagram feeds.

I think her death is tragic. I think her life was tragic for a long time too and I suspect this week is really difficult for the people who loved her and really complicated for the people she harmed too.

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Thank you for this perspective Wendy - you make so many good points. I remember one of my therapists talking about "complicated grief" and this very much seems like that.

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Totally agree.

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