The lecture I got made these points:
1) I needed to use person first language when referring to myself.
2) I needed to stop 'being down on myself.'
3) I needed to have a more positive view of myself.
4) How do I expect other people to treat me with respect when I don't respect myself.
Comically, I think it's funny to be lectured on how to be disabled and how to speak about myself as a disabled person by someone who does not have a disability.
Not funny was the implications of what she was saying.
In essence she was saying that what I am is automatically bad and has to be framed in a particular way and couched in particular obscuring language. It's like I'm supposed to assume that shame is attached to words because others have made that assumption.
I am fat.
I am disabled.
I am those things, I have experiences as a result of those things. I want to bring those experiences to the table.
I begin to wonder if there is a need to silence the voices of those whose very acceptance of who they are threaten whole systems that are built up, not to eradicate shame but to embed it into how we understand and how we relate to disability and difference. To control how others speak of themselves is, kinda, the ultimate form of control.
At one point I was told that I was 'putting myself down' by using these words.
This tells me more about the woman I was speaking to than it does about me or my representation of myself.
She thinks that disability is a bad thing and to openly identify as a disabled person is to a 'put down' ... fat ... yep, a 'put down.'
Well, we've been 'kept down' but our being isn't the reason why.
I continue to be who I am, openly, and I continue to speak of and write of myself in whatever manner I chose.