I Can’t Believe I Said It!

I said it. I can’t believe I said it! The mother of all no-no’s and I used THAT word! I didn’t just use it in a more innocent way when it is directed at an object or situation, but to actually describe another individual. The word hadn’t even completely escaped my mouth when I realized what I was saying and I was reduced to tears.

The word I used? It was the dreaded “R” word. Over the past few years there have been post after post on how this word hurts. There have been unpleasant debates regarding First Amendment rights and political correctness overkill. I’ve read all of these well written posts and cried at the inconsiderate comments by so many anonymous individuals who hid behind the keys of their computer to lash out at our community.

And yet, in an instant, I threw a blow against our fight. I gave fuel to the fire of those opposed to our quest. Although it was an accident, a slip of the tongue, I was horrified that I said it and I’m ashamed to admit it. Even as I write this, I fear there will be those who “disown” me and find it an unforgivable mistake.

After that day, however, I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching. I’ve had to consider just what my position is on this word, and I’ve come to a few realizations. You see, before my Peanut was born, I probably would have been on that political correctness side of the argument. I truly believe that society has gone overboard on this issue. Sometimes I’m afraid to open my mouth for fear of offending someone.

That’s just the point, though. We all have our causes we feel strongly about. Sometimes we come to them willingly, and sometimes we are thrown into them unexpectedly. I was not really an advocate for special needs before Peanut was born. Sure I respected the community and regardless of my feelings about society being “too P.C” I would not have said that word if someone asked me not to. However, when we get immersed in a world where everyone is fighting for a cause, we sometimes lose the ability to be understanding and even forgiving of others when they break one of our cardinal rules. To expect everyone else to automatically support your cause is both naive and unreasonable.

When Jennifer Aniston used the word on Regis and Kelly, our community took to the blogs. How dare she! She should know better! But really, should she? When our community was up in arms about the Rahm Emanuel/Sarah Palin/Rush Limbaugh fiasco, I was surprised to learn that my family wasn’t even aware this was going on. Not everyone is going to share our passion for this fight.

Before you think that I am in support of using the word, let me make it clear: I hate that word! It makes me cringe when I hear someone use it and sometimes even cry. I will not stop in my part of our fight to get the word out of the English language. Regardless of how reasonable any argument against our fight is, I can never look into my daughter’s eyes and think, “Yeah, it’s ok to say it when you put it that way.” It’s not. Ever. Not even by someone who has a relative who is intellectually disabled.

To use the word should not be unforgivable, though. It should be viewed as an opportunity to educate. Sometimes we’ll get through to them and sometimes we won’t. Those who don’t respect our position, once we’ve explained how it hurts, probably weren’t really our friends to begin with. The important thing to remember is we are all human. We all make mistakes. And we can all learn from those mistakes.

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