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Tag Archives: friends

“Is this the hill you want to die on?”

9 Aug

Earlier in this year, I got into an argument with a friend of a friend on Facebook. As you do.

Mind you, I try not to do such things. I’ve even gone as far as to take the subject at hand, and post about it on my own page so not to start a fight on a friend’s page.

But this day, I didn’t.

Why?

The friend of my friend started making up a new “tard” word. As in “this person’s so retarded that we have to come up with a new “tard” word to show just how stupid they are.” (please note – all conversation is paraphrased from memory)

I was all “Yeah, “tard” words aren’t cool, stop it.”

Friend of friend. “I can say anything I want.”

Me – “Well, as someone who has a daughter who is, to use the more outdated medical terminology, mentally retarded, I am telling you that “tard” words aren’t cool.”

Friend of friend – “OMG, I can’t believe you used the phrase “mentally retarded”, I am a teacher and we don’t use such language. I have never used the phrase “mentally retarded” in all my years of teaching!”

Me – “Da fuq?”

Yes, dudebro called me out for using “mentally retarded” after defending his use of his made up “tard” word, trying to paint me as the insensitive one. So I said something snippy and brilliant and kinda mean that I don’t recall because it’s been months. But I’ll own that I was being snippy and rude at that point.

Our friend steps in…my friend who has proclaimed their love of my daughter, who has always been super supportive, who has always shared what I written…and my friend told us to cut it out, and me basically to shut up.

My friend told me to shut up.

I may have seen a wall of white hot fire. I don’t take well to being told to shut up like that.

I was all “You have got to be kidding me.”

My friend was all “It’s my wall, people can say what they want, I won’t censor them.”

I was all “Seriously, are you kidding me?”

My friend said “Is this the hill you want our friendship to die on?”

Hmmm…let’s contemplate that hill. That hill that’s built on a slur for people with my daughter’s disability? The slur that I have been vocal about not using? That’s sort of been my platform? That I’ve written blog posts about and you have shared? Is this the hill I want to die on? Want to sacrifice our friendship on?

My first thought was “Do you not know me?”

My second thought was “No. Honestly, I will not unfriend you over this. You are my friend.” And I said this.

One or both of us may be having a bad day. I was definitely now viewing the post through a red haze of anger. The friend of a friend was at that point, offering to not use “tard” words on our friend’s page.

But as it turns out, the damage was done.

I steered clear of commenting on my friend’s social media, partially because I was angry and obviously posting in anger wasn’t working out. Then it looked like my friend took a break from social media. Summer came along and I got busy with things.

But last week, my friend posted something on Instagram. And I commented with a long-standing running joke between us.

Today, I realized that my friend has blocked me on Instagram. We are also no longer friends on Facebook.

So here I am, alone on this hill that one of us was apparently willing to let our friendship die on. I stood my ground. They walked away.

If I could go back to that day with that post, would I choose to stay silent?

No.

Who would I be, as a mother, to allow people to use slurs based on my daughter’s disability? How is using a disability slur any different than using a racial slur or slurs against LGBTQ+? In my world there is no difference.

So yes, I guess in the long run, it’s a hill I’d die on.

 

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Photo – me with my kids. on a hill. in Ireland. 2011

 

 

 

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The one where no one gets my name right…

22 Jun

Okay, with a name like Phoebe, I’m used to getting my name misheard, misread, and mispronounced. Saying my name over the phone is the worst – “Bebe? Stevie?”. If my name is spelled right on the Starbuck’s cup, there’s a one in ten chance that the barista will yell out “I have a tall latte for Fobe.”

Yeah.

I expect it. I brace for it. I sigh every time I have to give my name over the phone. “No, Phoebe, you know, like on “Friends”?”

“OH! PHOEBE! Do you sing Smelly Cat?”

“That’s not the point of the phone ca- actually, I could.”

One time, a guy called looking for “Foe-bee”. I said my name was pronounced Fee-bee – and he said “Oh! They have your name spelled wrong here.”

“Oh really? How is it spelled?”

“P-H-O-E-B-E.”

*sigh* “No. That’s the correct spelling. You’re just mispronouncing it.”

But there was one time in my life where the mispronunciation of my name crossed over to the absurd.

Imagine it, Sicily, 1918 – wait, wrong sitcom reference…

So when one of my kids was on a local soccer team, I was meeting other moms. Kim, Michelle, Jennifer – you know, other moms with regular names. Then there was one, who must have been very proud of usually being the one with the “different” name. Whose name had two legit pronunciations.

We’ll call her Anna.

I was introduced to Anna, and called her Anna, only to be corrected for using the A-like-ant sound.

“It’s AH-nnah, like Anna in “Frozen”. AH-nnah. Not Ann-a. AH-nnah.”

This wouldn’t have been bad, except the entire time she corrected me, she kept calling me “Foe-bee”.

As in…

“Now Foe-bee, people are always saying my name wrong. It’s AH-nnah Foe-bee, not Ann-a. Do you understand Foe-bee? AH-nnah.”

At one point, one of the moms I knew tried to correct AH-nnah. “Yeah FEE-BEE, It’s AH-nnah, not Annn-a.”

AH-nnah didn’t get it.

AH-nnah continued to call me Foe-bee for two more years. Always correcting me if I slipped and called her Ann-a. While sighing a little, as if it was such a burden to have to constantly correct people on her name’s pronunciation.

I won’t lie – it got a bit awkward. People tried correcting her but she’d always revert back to Foe-bee. We all sort of gave up trying to get her to say my name correctly. She was working too hard to make sure her own name was pronounced correctly to switch gears I guess. Who knows? But it only stopped when I moved.

I wonder if her job now is to teach Starbuck’s baristas how to write names on cups. Because it would all make sense.

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It’s both wrong AND right!

 

 

 

 

 

And in other news…

6 Nov

Let’s sum up the week so far…

Starbucks can’t spell my name, I have awesome friends, I may forgive Sephora now that they’ve pulled that lipstick off the shelves, I’m still waiting for the generic celebrity mea culpa from Kat Von D, and once again, my friends have proven themselves awesome by overloading my system with compliments about how one voice can make a difference…

I’m not designed to take compliments well, as much as they warm my heart.  But I am sending a huge THANK YOU to all my friends, because not only have they always been this group of awesome people – every single one of them have totally loved and accepted Maura for who she is.

My friends are proof that there is hope for the human race.  Sure, they potty-mouthed, wine drinking, sarcastic proof, but also, big hearted, accepting, and supportive proof.  And I love them all!

 

Also, they’re luring their friends into the “Tell Starbucks your name is Phoebe and post a pic of what happens” fun.  I’m collecting cup pictures as I speak.  (You too can join in the fun, just email me the pic or post it on my FB page!)

Well, my one sweet friend C. went to Starbucks all set to do that…only they weren’t busy, so didn’t ask her name.

So she found a marker and wrote my name on it anyway.

Who’s got the best friends?

-> this girl <-

connie

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