Today is Good Friday… so why don’t I feel “good?” Yes, I’m having a far better day than Jesus did, but… that isn’t exactly comforting – especially since I get the “you can’t be sad, there are millions of people who would KILL to have your so-called ‘problems’” (I know, I wrote a post addressing that topic about 3-4 years ago).
What set me off today was a relatively innocuous post on “The Joy of Autism.”
“Ignoring or pretending someone isn’t there is a form of BULLYING. ~ Joy of Autism”
I actually hadn’t thought of it like that – for me, it was often a relief FROM bullying. However, it made me realize that I’ve experienced nearly every kind of bullying – and several forms of discrimination – over my life. Honestly, the only ones I don’t have are physical and sexu…aw, damnit.
Actually, two separate incidents come to mind – one when I was 12 and the other 15-16 – one likely more serious than the other (though neither actually amounted to much in the long run and both parties have likely long forgotten all about their respective incidents – just as I thought I had).
I don’t know how to describe the first incident. I was away from home for the first time at what my parents called a “summer camp for kids with ADHD” (more like a 6 week “my first program” with sneering counselors, therapy games and roommates who clearly resented sharing space with a “retard”). As I said, I was 12, and they had these things called “showers” (a concept I was wholly unfamiliar with at the time as I only knew baths) …so some adjustment was needed. Anyway, I was trying to clean the foreskin (it was a reddish grey color, which I assumed was just dirt) when suddenly my penis started pulsing wildly and exploded all over the shower wall and pretty much shocking the Hell out of me, not to mention nearly making me slip and hurt myself. I refused to even think about touching it again for the rest of the summer (I was there for both 3 week sessions).
I came out and the counselor wasn’t happy with me. Saying I had no reason to “take some damned long” in there and obviously had no idea “how to take a shower” (he was technically right on that front, so I couldn’t call it an “insult”). You can see where this is going, right?
Yep, the next morning, when it was time to think about showering, he rather irritably followed me into the shower room as I was getting undressed and when I got into the shower he barked: “Don’t close that curtain. You obviously have no fucking clue how to take a shower so I’ll have to ‘guide’ you through the fucking process. I like this as much as you do, so shut up, you’re wasting water!” It was extremely uncomfortable for me with him watching me from 5-feet away (he wasn’t in there WITH me, it just felt like it) and he was acting like HE was the one being punished for “having” to do it. Fortunately, I never “forced” him to do it again, but it made our interactions awkward and may even be the reason I avoid showers unless absolutely necessary.
The second one was arguably more serious. I was 15-16 and visiting my cousin Andrew’s beach house in NJ for the summer. His mom was driving and we were play wrestling in the back of her van (the seats were folded down). You can see where this is going too, right? No, we didn’t have sex, but his mom acted like I just raped her 10-year-old son in front of her. She was FURIOUS, and, while I can appreciate her diligence, I literally had no idea WHY she was screaming profanities at me for demonstrating a move I saw on TV (and just like TV – no contact was actually made, but she didn’t believe me nor give me a chance to talk. I was “fucking evil” and had “no business touching, let alone being near children ever again” and to this day, any time a child touches me I hear Cousin Twinks screaming at me. I couldn’t even talk to either of them at my aunt’s 10th wedding anniversary last year (I know they were both there, as they were seated at the table directly across from mine).
I consider these both acts of bullying. They consider their behavior justified – just like a story I was going to tell from Benchmark about psychical abuse\bullying (which still makes me paranoid at night), but I don’t have either the room or the mental stamina to continue with that train of thought in this post. Maybe some better Friday…
Update: In the meantime, I have examples of other more direct forms of bullying on this blog (all of them, conveniently enough, also entirely my own fault making the other party completely blameless for their behaviors regardless of how rude, mean, spiteful or otherwise hurtful they were): “Food Court Follies,” “A Family Frustration,” “Running Out of Ikeas” and to a vaguer extent “National Disappointment Day.”