Tuesday, 22 October 2013

31 for 21 - Day 22

Parent advocate.

What does this mean?
Advocate. From dictionary.com
1.to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly: He advocated higher salaries for teachers.
2.a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc. (usually followed by of): an advocate of peace.
3.a person who pleads for or in behalf of another; intercessor.
4.a person who pleads the cause of another in a court of law.
So basically, an advocate is someone who speaks out about something that is important to them. In this case, because Everleigh has a disability, I am a parent advocate for Down syndrome. 
One of the things I post about, or speak about, is the use of the r-word (retard/ed). I have no problem speaking out about this in print, and I have spoken out loud about it on a few occasions. But does it make me a bad advocate/parent when I don't speak out every time I hear the word?
Sometimes I just get tired of repeating myself. People get tired of hearing me "police their speech". I have spoken to my family about it. None of them would ever use the word in regards to Everleigh. However, they do still use it sometimes as a replacement for stupid/silly/etc. I get it. It's a part of speech. And one that we didn't think about before Everleigh came along and brought disability into our lives.
I struggle with finding my voice in a group/public setting. When the word is dropped, I most often stare at my feet. Does speaking out easily come with time and practice? The anxiety and social anxiety that I suffer from makes me extremely uneasy when it comes to placing myself in someone's direct line of fire. Especially when the topic is not even on disability or Everleigh or anything related. Mind you, if anyone uses the word in reference to something related, I am on the hunt, with education and nasty words. 
It happened again last night at work. My aunt said it in reference to something being stupid. I stared at my feet and then felt like a horrible mom for not standing up to her. She probably didn't even know she did it.
This is a struggle I fight daily. Any suggestions?  

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