The colours and images are gone!

(or why my site looks different)

Firstly, yes, I’m still alive! Yay me. I haven’t had anything to say that would be relevant to this site, but I thought that the change in the look of my site probably deserves an explanation.

Before I get into that, I need to start with an explanation for why I keep this site active when I don’t write anymore.

Last year and this year were pretty bad years for me. Last year, I lost my home and it took a while to get over that. To be honest, I’m still not fully over it, but I’m in a much better headspace than I was last year. This year, I took on too much and managed to achieve very little because I was overwhelmed. Because of that, blogging took a backseat, but I had good intentions to return when everything settled down.

Then, about halfway through this year, I realised that I didn’t really have anything else to say regarding being autistic. I’ve said everything I wanted to say about that. I also don’t have anything else that I want to write about parenting an autistic child. I’ve shared everything that I plan to share about my son with strangers. If I were to continue sharing things about him, I would be crossing the line with regards to respecting his privacy, and since anyone who has read my posts will know that that’s important to me, it’s not something I’m prepared to do. I also don’t have anything left to write about neurodiversity. Those principles are still important to me, but I’ve written everything that I need to write about it, and there are far better writers out there who can contribute a lot more to the neurodiversity movement than I ever will. If you haven’t already heard about Radical Neurodivergence Speaking or Full Metal Heart, please visit their sites. Lastly, I can’t really write anything else about human rights. It’s exhausting writing about the mistreatment and abuse of autistic people. It happens continuously. What I have written about with regards to the human rights of autistic people remains relevant and sadly not much has changed.

So, after that process, I realised that I had in effect given up blogging. When I realised that, I made the decision to keep this site active for as long as possible. It costs some money in the form of annual domain registration fees and web hosting costs, but I felt that as long as I can afford it, I’ll keep this site active. I still believe in the main things I wrote and other people guest wrote posts, so I would hate for their writing to disappear. Of course, if things change and I can no longer afford to keep this site active, I’ll do my best to contact the people who wrote guest posts first before their work disappears forever.

So, with all of that said and done, why does my site look so different? Well, that is entirely due to a mistake I made.

Before I continue, I should warn you that the full explanation will probably only be of interest to people who are into the slightly more technical aspects of wordpress-based websites. The TL/DR version is: I did a big whoops, deleted all my uploads, but managed to salvage my site and decided to simplify everything.

The longer, let-me-infodump-all-the-details on you version is:

I changed hosting providers because another project I’m working on needed a little more speed than my old hosting provider offered. That whole process went so beautifully smoothly, and I don’t regret that decision at all.

But then I was doing something in the backend of another site, and for some reason, I went into the wrong set of files and deleted all of them. As I watched them disappear off the screen, I realised with a certain amount of horror that I had just deleted all the wordpress files for this site. Fortunately, I still had the database, so I was able to do a fresh wordpress install and link it to the old database. Unfortunately, that meant that all the images were lost.

Since all the images had been lost, and really, they weren’t adding much value to the site other than increasing load time, I decided to see my monumental mistake as an opportunity to simplify my site. My previous theme was pretty cool, but with every update came more bloat. The page builder included in the theme used extensive shortcodes which meant I was fairly locked into the theme unless I went and edited almost every page and post on this site.

That’s what I ended up doing. I changed to a free very light-weight theme, and edited every single post and page so that there were no shortcodes left behind. At the same time, I checked everything for broken links and either fixed or removed those. Once that was all done, I exported that data, and then reset my database because my old theme left behind oodles of stuff in my options table which was still causing lag on my site. Then, I imported the posts and pages and this is the result: a clean, fast loading site which, while it has no bells and whistles, is easier to maintain given it’s not an active site anymore and it hopefully provides readers with a better experience.

To those bloggers out there still doing their thing, keep going. One thing I learned while going through this process is that there are a huge amount of autistic bloggers that have stopped blogging and sadly their sites no longer exist. That observation made me all the more certain that it was important to keep this site active even if I no longer write.

So, that’s the full explanation. I’ll leave the comments section on this post open for a while, so that if anyone wants to say hi, they can, and you can always contact me via the form on my contact page linked in the menu.