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.”
Today is National Siblings Day in the US. Yah.
I have two brothers, we aren’t as close (or anywhere near as supportive) as some siblings I’ve seen around the FB community, but we aren’t openly feuding to my knowledge. I’m a huge “disappointment” to them (yes, that’s an actual quote not an emphasis), but they (usually) aren’t mad about it, bro…
The lack of hostility doesn’t necessarily translate to acceptance or support, but if something goes wrong, they are more than happy to blame me for it. Don’t worry, even if it is demonstrably PROVEN beyond even the tiniest shadow of a doubt that it wasn’t my fault, it’s still my fault because… um, it just is.
I get invited to their major parties and what not, but it feels more like what they are expected to do than a sincere request. Maybe it’s just my “overactive imagination,” but as welcome as they say I am, it doesn’t feel like I actually belong there. It’s subtle, but unshakable.
Kind of like the difference between icy “awareness” and the warm embrace of “acceptance” (which I don’t think they’ve gotten to yet). If I had to put it into words, it would probably be like lukewarm resentment with a mildly friendly veneer over it.
Actually, I think my middle brother put it best: “You know, Sibling Day isn’t a real holiday.”
How disappointing – especially since I was looking forward to using that cute “I love my brother” graphic I swiped off FB at the top of this post. Maybe next year…
I don’t generally make “resolutions” because I hate disappointing myself with promises I have no intention of keeping. However, I have decided to make a change to this blog starting today that will probably kill what’s left of my page views: No Disney, Universal or SeaWorld through at least the end of August if not later. This will force me to find NEW places to see and explore like Winter Park, Lake Mary, Downtown, Kissimmee. I might even spend an afternoon at Fun Spot or Magical Midway.
I have other plans that are still in the planning stages and I’m hesitant to reveal them now as I had to cancel LAST summer’s plans (a 3-week summer job and a 5-day volunteer job) due to a still unexplained stomach ailment that wreaked havoc on my body for 6 full months – and I didn’t even lose a single pound! That last part really frosts me as I was really looking forward to fitting into my old jeans again.
I am also looking into more volunteer and summer jobs – the former are for the immediate Orlando area which is difficult for since most of the opportunities are downtown – and I’m in Williamsburg\LBV area. As much as I’d love to spend six months helping the OSC (though working two or three 1-day events over same period would look better on my resume), I have no car, no friends with cars and I have found local cabbies to be unreliable at best. The latter is anywhere BUT Florida, however, I have extremely poor luck in this over the past few years, but I have hope that this year will be different.
Yes, THIS year will be different – and that regardless of what happens, is a resolution I plan to keep.
* HAPPY NEW YEAR *
Woke up, checked out of Saratoga Springs, and my mom drive me to Costco on Waterbridge Boulevard…just to find out that it’s a “Business Costco” now and doesn’t carry food (“except,” as their greeter pointed out, “for restaurant, food truck or vending machine routes” – none of which do ME any good).
I told her that we should’ve gone back to the condo and dropped off my luggage first so we had space to put stuff in, but nooo “oh, what are you talking about?” (waving towards the full trunk with both of our luggage in it).
“I’m talking about the fact that there is no more room back there for groceries and whatever else you end up getting.”
“There is PLENTY of room for stuff in this car. Now just get in the car, we still have to check out and find this Costco.”
Apparently, a 2015 Honda Civic and a 2009 Chrysler Town & Country have the exact same storage capacity. How did I not know that?
Come out of the store nearly an hour later and – surprise – there’s no room in the trunk so we have to cram everything into the back seat so it doesn’t fall over or roll under the front seat. Once again, it’s my turn to “navigate.”
Get back to the apartment, unload the car, mom opens my freezer and declares: “Oh my God, it’s EMPTY. Get in the car, I am taking you to a ‘real’ Costco, and we’re not coming back until you fill this fridge up…”
I get in her rental car, buckle my seat belt (safety first) and as soon as she gets in the car she asks:
“I’m starving. Where’s a restaurant we can eat at?”
“You mean like the immediate area, on I-Drive or near the mall?”
“The mall – and it has to be something GOOD. I don’t care where we go, but no fast food or food courts – I want a REAL meal.”
I’ve been to the Mall at Millennia exactly three times so I’m obviously an expert on this. Did I mention, it’s 2:38 in the afternoon?
“Let’s see there’s a Cheesesteak Factory inside the mall.”
“There’s also a Johnny Rockets.”
“I said ‘no fast food.’ Maybe, I’ll just get meatballs at Ikea…”
Ikea? I thought this was a FOOD run.
“Oh, yeah,” she continued. “That means you have 8 minutes to figure out which furniture you want.”
I don’t recall even asking for furniture. Oh right, SHE said I “need” a “pull out sofa” for my “guest room.” I lived in Baltimore for SIX YEARS without one, and not one of my zero “guests” complained about it.
So we go up the stairs to the café, and walk around the side to the entrance just to find out that side is “closed” and we pretty have to go all the back around. I look at the menu hanging behind them, I want the Swedish meatballs, but not the mashed potatoes as a side (so I never liked mashed potatoes, sue me). I ask the young woman behind the counter if the sides are “set” and before I can ask the second part of the question she answers “yes.”
Not happy with her answer but faced with no other choice, I order a bland chicken tender meal (which is apparently part of their “Kid’s menu,” but that doesn’t make me feel better about it). I had to wait for a new batch so at least it was hot, and as I picked up my tray, I saw a sign advertising different sides for your meal.
After finishing our meal and bussing our own table (not sure why that surprised me), mom circles around the cashier lines and heads towards the exit to the showroom. She walks ten feet into said showroom, looks around bewilderedly saying:
“What the…? Why are we in the Children’s section? Why is this arrow pointing away from the furniture?”
“Because this is the ‘exit,’ the ‘entrance’ is back that way.”
“No, it’s not. That’s the way we came in.”
“Fine, you lead,” she said shoving the cart towards me exasperatedly.
Somehow, I suspect that was goal from the onset.
Anyway, Ikea sofas come in three styles: Ugly, uncomfortable or both. Oh, and you can choose any of a half dozen garish slip covers to make it look like a Swedish hipster threw up all over your living room.
I wasn’t sure if I should tell this part or not. I’m not even sure HOW to tell this part…but I’ll start by saying that Ikea is a big store with rows and rows of every unpronounceable furniture and textiles running along both sides of their bright white corridors.
As much as I tried to focus on JUST sofas or just TV stands, it was just too much of too much. Hundreds of sofa, loveseats, futons, and chaises sometimes rows of them hanging on the wall. Suddenly my mom appeared directly behind me and asked me if I decided on a new sofa yet.
“What do mean ‘no?’ You’ve been farting around in here for the past twenty minutes.”
“I mean ‘no,’” I said. My voice broke. It’s a reaction to stress, and I do anything to avoid that happening in public so of course my mom alleviates it the only way she knows how:
“What the hell is WRONG with you? Why the fuck are you talking like that? God, do you know how embarrassing that is?”
No, why don’t you draw attention to it so all the other shoppers can stare at me too. Not like that would make the situation harder – especially since she refuses to take a squeaky “I don’t know” as a serious answer.
“You CHOSE to talk like…um, whatever the hell THAT is, for a REASON. That means you can chose to STOP doing it.”
Um, no. The only way to “stop” talking like that is to keep talking until my body or brain or whatever is in charge of that sort of thing decides to sort it out. Yelling at me in public over it does not move it along any faster.
Finally, she throws her hands up in the air and storms off exasperatedly. After a minute or two of chattering to myself my voice returned to “normal” (which I’m told is like that of a GIRL 25 years my junior).
It was already after 4pm when we left Ikea. Fortunately, the next stop was only a five-minute drive away. Even better – it was a “real” Costco. Aside from a medical-office sized cup of some bland so- I mean “Sparkling Water” and a cracker with salmon dip – there was nothing remarkable about the experience.
We leave the second Costco, and it’s pitch black and raining. Just as well, I wasn’t planning on going to the parks tonight anyway…