I’m pretty sure you’ve heard or seen the following phrase many times in your life:
I love how we are supportive of each other. He always allows me to do what I want and what I need to accomplish my dreams. He is supportive. I’ve never wanted to be anything but supportive of him. The amazing thing is just how easy it is.
He’s the one who comes up with the ideas. He bounces them off me to get my feedback. I help him work out tough problems, but I don’t solve them for him. He solves them. I didn’t make the man, as much as he thinks I did. I just gave him the support he needed to soar like an eagle.
When everything started with OpenDyslexic, we were in a tough place. We didn’t know how we were paying for gas for the week so he could get to work. We didn’t know if we would have money for food by the end of the week. Because of our own financial problems, we couldn’t afford to pay hundreds of dollars for a dyslexic font that had regulations on how we could use it. My husband decided that he’d add to his work-load and make one. He wanted to put it out there for free. He wanted others to be able to use it where ever they wanted to and however they wanted to. He wanted anyone who needed the help of such a font to have it in their grasp.
I supported him.
I convinced him to spend some of our tax return money on a machine that would allow him to more easily do his work. He felt guilty getting the machine he NEEDED because money was so tight, and settled on something that would work just well enough. He started working on OpenDyslexic using programs that were only demos, hoping that they’d work long enough to accomplish his work. He would come home every day after working his temp job to get his face buried in his computer working on the letters and making adjustments. He was driven to complete this project.
And I supported him.
We had some legal issues because some guy thought my husband’s hard work was just his font… copied and changed. The threats freaked us out. We didn’t have the money to fight it; but we weren’t going to give in easily, though. My husband knew what he was doing was for the better. He made it for me, and he kept working for the others who could use OpenDyslexic. While we were not going to get pushed over, we were genuinely concerned about the legal threats and contacted some friends of ours in the legal profession who did some research and told us not to worry about it. My husband continued his work.
And I supported him. I cried silently in fear. I was scared, but I knew what he was doing was amazing and I would have supported him to the ends of the earth.
A couple side projects later, he asked to be paid in the form of a MacBook Pro because it was needed as much for that project as it was for OpenDyslexic. He continued his work, more easily now, but still needed a program that would allow him to handle the finer points of making the font. Donations were taken up and put towards GlyphsApp. He worked.
And I supported him.
Thankfully, when notice was taken of OpenDyslexic, notice was also taken of him. As much as we both love OpenDyslexic, a free font does not pay the bills. His labor of love allowed him to progress in his other work as well. Soon he was going for job interviews and got a job at Blue Cross Blue Sheild in MA working in the IT department.
We moved to Massachusetts. We lived with my parents for a while because we were saving up money for our own place.
During that time, my husband went to a TEDxGateway talk in Mumbi, India. He did and he didn’t want to go. It was outside of his comfort zone. He would be in India, we would need to spend $3,000 of our own money to get him over there because something fell through on tickets for him, and it looked nearly impossible to get the passport on time.
I supported him. I told him he could do it if he wanted. I would not hold him back. He would always have the story of the trip. Always have the memory of doing something out of the norm. He could promote OpenDyslexic. He could help others.
He did. He went to India and spoke about OpenDyslexic and why he created it. He met many really awesome people with other great ideas.
He also came home to more legal issues.
Products and apps that were using OpenDyslexic were starting to drop its usage. Most of the companies and small businesses that were being threatened with legal action by “he who shall not be named” did not have the money to pay the exorbitant fees to use the “other” font in their products. And they did not use it. Products were decreasing in their accessibility options because of the threats, and that’s when we decided we could not just ride this out anymore. “He who shall not be named” could not come after OpenDyslexic, but no one else knew that.
Some of those who were threatened contacted us, emailing the received threats to us. They have no idea how thankful we are for that, because it allowed us to fight a battle of protection on their behalf and for those who were using their products.
Through all of this, I supported him.
While he was working full time and trying to create version 2 of OpenDyslexic, I was calling and emailing lawyers’ offices. I was having panic attacks over it. I knew that “He who shall not be named” had gotten those using OpenDyslexic, and the creator at a bad time. Anyone who wants to be a jerk should go after people around the winter holidays. We couldn’t do much but write emails and try to get the information out.
It was after the new year, when a great intellectual property lawyer from one of the best firms in the country took on our case pro bono. Don Steinberg of Wilmer Hale worked very hard and very carefully, wording a document to “He who shall not be named” and sent it off in the mail and Via email.
Last we heard, “He who shall not be named” has stopped his bullying, but you know how it is; The damage is already done.
We still can’t get a hold of my husband’s TEDxGateway talk, because they were threatened. Instapaper’s creator stopped using OpenDyslexic and told others to never add a font like this, no matter how much it could help people, after he was forced to pay for and use the other font because of legal threats.
Through all of this, I supported my husband.
When I married my husband I promised for better or worse. We’ve seen both. Sickness and health? We’ve seen both. For richer or poorer? We’ve seen both.
While I can’t take credit for just how amazing Abelardo is, he consistently gives me credit for helping him be the man he is. When I say he does this publicly, I mean publicly.
Here’s a snippet from the Nashua Telegraph:
Gonzalez’ wife, Megan helped spur him on.
“She was like, ‘This is a great idea, you should continue it,’” he said.
And the Toronto Standard:
It was Gonzalez’s wife who provided the steadfast encouragement he needed to go on. “If I was doing it alone I think it would be incredibly challenging. There were times where I’ve been discouraged and she’s always been there for me. She’s been the encouragement I needed to continue working on it. She’s been the pat on my back when I needed it.”
Or from the most recent, NBCLatino:
IF YOU COULDN’T DO WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? I think a couple of years ago I was in that situation, and I found a way to do it. If I was prevented from doing it, I’d still find a way to do it. My wife is very supportive — I think that plays a big part. For a while, we didn’t have money, and we didn’t have a computer. My wife raised money for it, and she said, “I don’t care what you do with it. I just want to see you do something awesome with it.” I was working at Home Depot at the time.
May I tell you that it hasn’t been easy being the wife of such a driven man? May I also tell you that it’s rewarding for me to see him, finally, realizing what I knew all along? He has something so amazing to offer the world and all he has to do is be himself and do what he does.
Through every struggle and every trial I loved him. When he was down about something, I lifted his chin. I’ve been his “pat on the back”. I reminded him about how amazing he is. I only told him the truth. I never sugar coated anything. I was straight with him. I was strong for him.
I’m not saying we’ve arrived or that I’m amazing. Anyone who knows me, knows what I mean by sharing this. I wasn’t behind my man. I was beside him through all of it.
What could our men do and be if we gave them just a little bit of support? And men, what if you gave your other half a little bit of support? What would she be able to do knowing that you believe she can?
Megan A.K.A “Wife”