Yesterday I posted something I thought very funny on Facebook. I had been rolling around in the pharmacy department of the grocery store where we were shopping and I noticed, for no reason at all, that they had a huge selection of men's incontinence wear. I really surprised that, at my size, they had some that would fit me. Hell, I have to go to to big and tall store to buy clothes and here were incontinence briefs in my size. I joked with Joe that now I could relax and grow old. We both laughed. I that I was going to put this on my Facebook page.
And I did.
Oh happy day!
I was rolling around a pharmacy and discovered that they have men's incontinence products in my size. I can relax and grow old.
Immediately people began responding, I was gathering a lot of 'likes' and a lot of smiley faces. I was glad because I thought it funny too. The someone responded saying that they were surprised at my post and asked if I was making fun of people like her son who, because of his disability is incontinent and doesn't find it funny.
My first response was a little bit of annoyance, let's be honest here, because, to me, obviously I was making fun of me, my size and my age. It was just a joke. A few seconds later, I can't think while annoyed, I clearly saw her point. I didn't have time to do anything other than delete the post. It wasn't a hard decision for me. I hadn't thought through what I'd written and what it could mean to others. My bad.
Then I received several messages saying I shouldn't have taken it down, that it was funny, that in this case it was obvious what I was joking about, that people are too sensitive, that I shouldn't censor myself because of the sensitivities of others.
It was the last one that got me, I shouldn't censor myself because of the sensitivities of others. That's the one that made me glad I had done what I had done. Because of course I should. I don't want my writing or my speaking to cause unnecessary pain or distress to people. I want to challenge people, that's my job, but when a joke, which has no meaning other than to be a joke, is one that could easily be interpreted as making fun of others, in this case, others who wear incontinence products, I am compelled to delete it. Of course I am. Moreover, I'm glad she came on and had the courage to challenge me.
Dialogue isn't to convince others you are right.
Dialogue exists so that both parties learn, both parties grow, both parties end up examining their points of view.
I hope people continue to take me on and say, 'hey, do you hear what you are saying' ... I am old enough now not to be threatened by the idea that I'm not always right. That I get things wrong. That I don't always think things through.
It doesn't matter that I wasn't meaning to cause hurt or offense, what matters is that I did.
So, it's a simple solution.
Take it down.
It's important to say that I've had people rant at me (and no ranting happened in this situation) about taking down posts wherein I speak of people with disabilities having voice and choice and adult goals and dreams. I examine the posts and if I still believe that what I said is accurate and important, I don't make the change.
This wasn't that.
And because this wasn't that, I took the post down.
Because that's the right thing to do.