Dismissing The Hate
A friend mentioned reading a negative comment on one of our Instagram posts, but I hadn’t seen it until just a few days ago. Take a look for yourself if you’d like:
With opening up a window into our lives we get the occasional ‘Stink Bug comment’ that finds it’s way onto our wall. This example is a not the first, not the last, kind of scenario.
Do we wince and crumble with comments such as these? Honestly, no. Lightheartedly, I dismiss these dead words, for I grant them no merit. The bug belongs outside, and we need not hold onto it any longer than to scoop it up, and toss it out the door. Once the hate is dismissed, what we are left with, is a person.
When ignorances surface, they prove evident the need to continue sharing our story and joy-filled reality. There are darkened hearts out there, lacking the very love my daughters radiate. I believe wisdom would say, this person does not need scorned or refuted, they need to stay connected. Our transparency will coincidently be the greatest reflection of our strength, and eventually, what changes false stigmas.
Commenter, I will not revoke any of my invitations to witness the magic of diversity and inclusion. I am not left wounded, but affirmed and encouraged by your presence. We have found a place to openly compare perspectives, and I have enough tact for the both of us, so stick around.
Parents, DO NOT FEAR negative comments or opinions from others concerning your child or Down syndrome. These words are dust. Stink bugs may crawl up, stench included, but they are merely proof that there still exist people who need to know the truth about what joy, love, and beauty, are truly about.
As advocates, we decide if and when to address ignorances, however we must master the ability to sweep aside the negativity attached without entangling ourselves in emotions of defensiveness. When my children encounter hatred and injustice, my husband and I must know how to avoid our own potential pit of bitterness. Our voice as advocates must be distinctly different from those of mockers or oppressors, which is difficult if we find ourselves lashing out, or cowering, through interactions.
Grace in exchange for the hurtful words of social media trolls? It seems a tall order, I know, but they are God’s children too, and if loving them was easy we wouldn’t need Jesus. If we don’t practice and illustrate how to love someone throwing stink bugs at us, we leave our children without that example, and therefore vulnerable to the very snare from which this form of brokenness springs.
Also, please end reading this assured that kindness is the majority. Comments on this picture alone number over 300, and aside from this one person, all are positive. Lovely people are out there, thankful for a splash of cuteness in their day, so please don’t shy away from sharing your babies. The world needs to see Down syndrome, or else it may think it can happily settle for only the typical. Now that possibility, that breaks my heart.
Dismiss any hatred or negativity you come up against. Allow it to flee from your zone of importance, because we know it to be hollow and false. Look past the cutting words and see a person, not an enemy. Show your children how to serve grace, and spot traps of contention. By spreading damaging words, one only discredits themselves as wise, and that goes for the writer of this comment, and myself, based on how I choose to respond. Here is the response I chose, read it and know, in that last sentence, I am referring to both what is in my daughters and her: