I was reading back through some of my old posts the other day, chuckling at the antics of my children and imagining them in therapy griping about how their mother posted ALL of their humiliating moments on TEH INTERNETS, when I was startled to find that in not one, but two posts I had used the word retarded.
Some people would say that that is not a big deal. Some people would say that is just a word.
I have been, at various points in my life and by various people that I love and that I thought loved me, been called all of the following: Stupid, worthless, a slut, a bitch, a whore, a fucking bitch (distinct from just a bitch, mind you), cold hearted, evil, soulless, selfish, lazy, unmotivated, white trash, fat, and dumb. And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Harmful words, sometimes spoken with the intent to hurt; sometimes just carelessly tossed around.
Words hurt. I should know.
That is why I am ashamed that I used that word, to imply something that is less than. Something stupid, not worth my time, not normal. I should know better.
I want really badly to go back and erase the evidence that I did that. I have chosen, however, to leave it as is. To remind myself of my growth as a human being; to show myself that yes, I have made progress. I can always be more compassionate. My awareness can always go up.
I like to call myself a feminist. Feminist issues ARE everyone's issues. The mistreatment of a person with limited capabilities is no less discriminatory than the mistreatment of a woman. Words hurt and matter just as much in either situation. It is not being hysterical or overly sensitive or not being able to take a joke. It is being aware that we are not isolated islands. As hokey as it sounds, we are all interconnected.
Everyone has the right to dignity and equality. Words do matter, and I need to start being more careful with mine.