Absence

It wouldn’t be the first time that I have stopped someone in mid-sentence.  It wouldn’t be the first time that I have corrected an individual’s word usage.   I am not doing this as a grammar guru – that would be rude, I keep that shit in my head – but rather a human with a deep aversion to the “R” word.

I keep hoping that I don’t have to continue writing about how offensive I find that word.   When I am having a discussion with an intelligent, successful human being and that word creeps out, it feels like a slap in my face.  Truly, there are jolts in my body and I have to regroup in an effort to educate not emasculate.    It happened yesterday.    I know there wasn’t malice attached.  I know there was no thought when the word came pouring out of this person’s mouth.  But, it doesn’t really matter to me anymore.  You see, we should think about the words we use.  Even if this person didn’t know that I am deeply loved by an individual with Down syndrome, the word should not be spoken.

When Bailey was first born, I was very timid when I heard the word used.  I don’t like confrontation.   But, Bailey’s presence in my life truly changed my view of the world.  I started to use my words to express how disheartened I am when I am exposed to it.  The sound of the word even sounds angry and full of hate.     Now, I don’t hesitate in speaking my mind in a constructive way.

My standard disclaimer is…..”Please don’t say that word.  There are so many other words to use that would help complete your thought.”    Of course, they apologize.  They are remorseful, but do they really hear me?   Do they still use the word or is my voice in their head?   I particularly enjoy when people don’t apologize, but say, “I wasn’t talking about Bailey,”.   When you use that word, you aren’t just talking about Bailey, but everyone on the planet like him.

One of the bravest things one can do is to speak up.   When you are confronted by any word that is peppered with an offensive nature, share your thoughts, educate those around you, because someday, I would love nothing better than to never have to write about this topic again.

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