I can’t sleep again. It was sabotage. I broke a rule, and am coping with the consequences. I checked my phone while in bed. People with sleep issues probably just rolled their eyes at me, because they know my phone shouldn’t have been in my bedroom to tempt me. I lay down much earlier than usual because I was nodding off. I skipped my rituals thinking I was sleepy enough without them. I did fall asleep quickly, but it only lasted two hours. Then I remembered I forgot to charge my phone. All rational thought crawled under the bed.
I ended up getting schooled on Twitter. It was incredible. I’ve stated before I don’t get embarrassed very often because I rarely know which circumstances warrant it. I put my foot in my mouth on a near daily basis. It’s not intentional. I don’t think I know how to be insincere. It’s too close to sarcasm. Every time I forget I shouldn’t mess with sarcasm, I get reminded. Eventually, I’ll get a handle on it. These are things I consider sophisticated.
Tonight, I came across a thread that seemed to me to be criticizing Meryl Streep for her speech at the Golden Globes. I had seen several tweets that were probably written by paid trolls, or Drumpf supporters criticizing her for acknowledging he’s a piece of shit and denying Drumpf ever mocked Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Serge Kovaleski. These turned into threads of people posting the video footage that proved he did just that. Then I saw another tweet discussing ableism.
I read through the thread and formed a conclusion that turned out to be wrong. I typed my reason for disagreeing, and a few others mentioned they didn’t agree with my conclusion. I had to pause because my view stood alone. So I read again. Sometimes I misunderstand what people mean. In this case, they were clear and consistent, so I had to set my stance down and look more closely at theirs.
Another person joined the conversation by this point, and they read my position. (Points.) Then they showed me where I was getting it wrong with different words. (All the points.) Suddenly I was like, “Oooooh!!!” My mom used to call them my Eureka Moments and could always tell when I had one. I get excited when something I didn’t understand becomes apparent. It makes me want to hug everyone who helped me get there.
Sometimes, by the time it clicks for me, the person teaching is exasperated and wants nothing more to do with me. This time, it resulted in a new friend. I know it’s premature to give that title, but I’m confident it’s wise. When my first encounter with a new person is primarily them educating me on their own time, for free, merely because I’m ignorant about something they’re not, it’s not a frivolous assumption.
Meryl Streep’s heart was in the right place, as usual. She’s brilliant, and I think she’s the best actor I’ve ever watched. In the future, I hope she remembers to also identify a disabled person by their name and credentials if applicable. It seemed at first to be a noble gesture. I’ve since learned the decision to speak for others comes with responsibilities that if neglected can ruin good intentions. It’s all about wording. Words are powerful and can be weaponized. I love words but am still learning how to use them responsibly.
It was an excellent day for information. One of my friends corrected me when I used a word improperly. Then they gave me a link to a blog with a great article on ableism and lists of words to abandon. It also has lists of words to use instead! Here’s the link. It’s a guide to being respectful of others by choosing words that aren’t loaded with pain. I’m tired, but I’m happy, less ignorant, and grateful. That seems fair. I’m off to read.