I am writing this blog, right now, because I'm taking a break from doing something that's frustrating, infuriating and fun. I'm learning a lot, I'm figuring out how things work and slowly, I'm getting through the work. But ... sometimes I need to let my mind rest and take a break. So, I thought I'd talk to you all.
Only moments ago I had a Facebook experience that I want to chat about. I'd seen a comment on a friends page that was 'odd' so I commented saying, essentially, WHAT? Then I was told that this was part of a Breast Cancer Awareness Game. With that came instructions for how to participate. I liked the idea, awareness is good right, so I participated by putting up one of the statements I had to choose from. The idea was that anyone who responded would get a message from me about the game and the meaning behind it. I chose 'I used my boobs to get me out of a parking ticket.'
Then when responses came in, I thought I'd add to the message by putting something in about the game and awareness and found articles which spoke quite derisively about the game. I immediately had a 'rethink' and then took down my post and posted, instead, an explanation and an apology.
I decided to write about this here because I had a moment's insight about the need for me to check my initial responses to issues that do not or have not directly affected me, with those who have been directly affected. What might seem to me to be a good idea, might seem to others to be offensive, perhaps even deeply so. I know this, and I shouldn't have made this mistake. I know that I wish some people would allow people with disabilities the honour of having expertise in our own lives, having voices which need to have prominence in some areas and having vital information to add to any discussion about disability. Too often I see disability discussed as either a professional or parental concern. While those viewpoints are valuable, I don't disagree there, but they have to be tempered by and sometimes seen as secondary, and sometimes negated by the voices that speak from lived experience.
It was so easy for me to think 'wow, this is fun' without thinking, I wonder how this 'game' is seen by people who have experienced breast cancer. It was easy for me to think that my opinion was informed without thinking about 'informed how?'
Voices. Therein lies lived knowledge.
I pledge to try and remember constantly.