There have been a few times when I have been accused of willful ignorance or refusing to accept what someone deems as true. It’s pretty much inevitable, I suppose, given what I do on a regular basis, starting discussions online about this or that major issue. But at some point it comes up that I’ve missed something, or that I’m just not “getting it.” Frustration inevitably ensues, and I’ve had more than one person remove me from their friends list as a result.
It would be simple to put these encounters down as being argumentative, of a childish tantrum when someone doesn’t get their way. Certainly, it would make things easier on my part. But regardless of what the other perspective is, it still does not absolve me of responsibility – I do have a bias, as do we all, and it’s up to me to educate myself and be open to learning. But even so, that still doesn’t mean that I’m going to grasp a concept right away – and if I can’t grasp it, I have a hard time following it, simply because I’m not a blind follower.
So I’m not trying to be ignorant – but sometimes it may take be a bit. I’m not always the brightest bulb in the box. Contrary to what some may think, I’m not always all that smart. Sure, I can recite history and I know random trivia, but that’s not the same thing, is it? There are different kinds of smarts, and while I may be intelligent, it still stands that some concepts are going to be difficult to grasp. It’s going to take a bit, it’s going to take some repetition and rewording and trying to different ways to get the point across.
But that’s not really a bad thing, and it’s something I’m okay with. And please, don’t try to reassure me or tell me that I’m smarter than I think I am. I’m very familiar with my own mind and the way it works, and honestly, saying that doesn’t help – not just for me, but in general. Is it so bad to be less skilled? We don’t fault people for not having artistic talents or being able to hit a home run. It’s okay to be a little slow sometimes, to have difficulty in understanding concepts.
We live in a world where to be mentally disabled, or even just a bit slow, is an insult. The word “retard” means simply slow or delayed, and in fact doesn’t even apply specifically to mental development. Yet our society’s perception of the mentally handicapped is so warped that the word itself has become synonymous with an insult, to the point that you can’t even use it in its proper context anymore.
I don’t like the idea of someone being insulted or lesser than anyone else just because they aren’t as quick or capable. You can only work with what you got, and some people have to work harder at certain things than others. At the same time, some of the more difficult things in life – grace, love, forgiveness – seem to come far more naturally to those disadvantaged by their abilities. I know some of these people who are so-called “slow” and in my eyes they are the most beautiful people on the planet. I try not to be rude and stare, of course, but when I’m out and about and I see someone who is “different” I want to watch, just because I’m a people watcher, and those with these kinds of struggles fascinate me the most of all. And many times, they give me a smile and they don’t even know it.
So yes, I’m sometimes slow, I don’t always understand. I don’t disagree that you’re probably laying it out in plain speech and simple words, but that doesn’t guarantee that I’m going to understand on the first round or even the second or third. But I refuse to let it be an insult any longer.
So that’s it: I’m sometimes slow, but I can still be smart, and I’m still pretty awesome for it. And so are you.