Note to readers: This blog posting contains words that may be offensive to some people living with MS.
Note to my editor: They’re sure to read it now…
I have noticed in a few comments scattered here and there a distaste for certain “language” in the MS community - a hesitation, if you will, to accept the common vernacular for the causes and effects of this thing we live with. I’m writing today not to apologize for the use of these words, but rather to explore why it may be that we are sensitive to them or sensitized by them.
I can understand why words like cripple or crippled would cut to the core of someone living with MS. I also see, however, that some of us refer to those “mountain climbing” with MS as the “Super Crips.” I’ll admit I laughed kind of hard at that comment when it came through.
Some have even balked at living with the moniker, “disabled.” Not sure if that is a defense technique that people employ or just taking political correctness to the far edge. My editor even mentioned to me that some of you don’t particularly like your MS deemed a “disease” but rather call it a “condition.”
I’m sorry if it ruffles a few feathers, but I could really give a damn about that part of the conversation. On most days I’m a pragmatist, and I guess I don’t have time to think about it too much.
Now I know what you’re thinking…I’m the one who laid down the rule about being respectful. I would not use the most offensive of the debilitated lexicon, but I’m not going to tiptoe around on eggshells to make sure we offend no one, either. I live with MS too!
Someone even approached me over the weekend and said that she didn’t like the term, “live with MS.” It made her, “Feel like that’s all I do, live with this thing.” I assuredly never meant that phrase to mean anything but “getting on with a life with MS in it.”
Goes to show that no matter what your intention, someone is going to have another use for the semantics to make them feel better. I’m okay with that. Just don’t expect it from me.
How do you feel about the language of multiple sclerosis? What about the language around MS? I remember a comment where someone told of their MS and got the reaction, “Oh, how terrible!” Or the girl told by her mother that she was just being, “lazy.” Let’s head into the weekend with a thought or two from you about MS verbiage.
Wishing you and your family the best of health.