Saturday, March 19, 2011

Anti Bullying Stuff

Most of you likely aren't going to like this. In the words of swim coaches everywhere, "Suck it up, Buttercup." It's true.

A lot of people my age and a little older are leading the anti bullying charge. A lot of parents, mostly, and adults who were bullied as kids, and parents of kids who were bullied.

Welcome to the fucking 80s & 90s, kids. Bullying was a problem when I was a kid. Bullying was a BIG problem when I was a kid.

By "big problem", I mean:
-I got thrown down the concrete stairs at my school.
-I got stuff thrown at me.
People put stuff in my hair & smeared it on my uniform skirt.
-I spent 2 years avoiding art class because of the rampant hooliganism (and I have not picked up a single paintbrush without throwing up since 5th grade).
-I got locked in a locker.
-I got suspended for getting myself OUT of said locker.
-Pinching, pulling, shoving, mocking, alternating excluding & including to have an object of mockery, and more.
-There was such a culture of asshattery, physical & emotional torment, and general being shitty excuses for human beings that the last time I went into that school building, I-again-couldn't stop throwing up.
-The administration aided & abetted by ignoring & telling me it was my fault for, I guess, being there.

This was at the 'smart' school, full of 'good kids'. I have clinical PTSD from my 'smart' school full of 'good kids'.

Now those same 'good kids' are involved in leading the charge against bullies. Do they not know what they are? They are bullies. They are repugnant. They are hypocrites.

That's right, hypocrites. If you behaved like my classmates did, and are now against it-without ever acknowledging that you were the biggest turd in the toilet bowl-you are a hypocrite.

You don't want your kids to go through what you put me, yes me, or others like me, through. Yet you won't admit "I am a shithead. Who I was as a middle schooler is exactly what I am fighting against, because I was a shithead."

Oh no.

We can't have that. All the children of my generation suffered overly inflated self esteem and became bullies, were coddled for being bullies.

Do they remember what little assholes they were? How could they not? Do they really think they were so fucking awesome that they're exceptions to the "don't be a jerk" rule? But the children their kids are interacting with aren't?


Maybe they DO remember what fucksticks they were & don't want to admit it. Then they'd be -oh noes- wrong about something. Ever.

We can't have that.

If you want to fight bullying, start by admitting you SUCKED. Admit it loud & often. Don't make excuses. Just do it. "I sucked and I am sorry. Here are the ways I sucked. If you, progeny mine, ever pull the kind of shit I pulled, I swear to $DIETY I will hand you over to your victims to be a pinata, as my parents should have done with me, because I deserved it & you would deserve it too."

That's the first step to joining in-admit YOU sucked. If your kid is being bullied, tell them YOU sucked, just like the kids they are dealing with. You don't get the martyr point of view if you were one of the asshats like the ones I went to school with-fight for your kid, but don't dare act like you are the one being hurt by bullying or that bullying is new.

The kids being bullied are the ones suffering. The kids who you bullied, who have PTSD from your behavior, we suffer. Don't fucking DARE say it has always been your cause if it hasn't. Stand with us instead of shouting us down for a change.

And no, I don't forgive you. And I never will.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thoughts for Budding Advocates

I've been around advocacy for a while-long enough that I'm baffled that people don't know what neurodiversity is & can't believe that people don't know why r*tarded is offensive, but not so long that I really expect to be 'known'. I've been called a firecracker, a force of nature, & the irresistible force meeting an immovable object-those are my qualifications to write on the matter.

This is directed at those of you who are just finding a passion & something worth speaking out about.

Know that it isn't always easy. Know that it gets harder before it gets easier, & that's not necessarily change, but you getting used to the work.

Know that people tend to hold to their prejudices. They may not take kindly to their behavior being called out. It's up to you whether or not that's a part of the battle you wish to take on-I do, but I'm not going to think less of you if it's not something you're taking on at this time. Do what you can do, y'know?

Know that as you get involved in causes-particularly social justice sorts of causes-you'll pick up on more things as unjust. You can try to save the world, but you'll burn out. We all do what we can, right?

Don't be afraid to get angry. Effective activism and polite activism are mutually exclusive. Harness your anger for what you are trying to accomplish. It's ok to offend people sometimes--they can't be offended if they aren't listening.

If you need to take a break, do it. This isn't always an easy thing, activism. That's why it's best to do what you really mean, what you really believe in.

Other people are fighting your fight too. They're your allies. They may not be your friends, but they are on your side.

Good luck changing the world, even a little.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What epilepsy is.

Epilepsy isn't just seizures.

Epilepsy is always having to be vigilant.
Epilepsy is knowing every escape route in case of a seizure.
Epilepsy is having to carry a first aid card, an ICE sheet, and wear a medicalert.
Epilepsy is doing all that, knowing all too well that no one actually looks.
Epilepsy is hoping people don't run away the first time you have a seizure.
Epilepsy is always being told that 'there are meds for that'.
Epilepsy is always having to be aware of potential flashing lights.
Epilepsy is having to choose between leaving a place & risking the lights.
Epilepsy is teaching other people how to turn off their red eye reduction flashes.
Epilepsy is having to explain why that matters.
Epilepsy is people telling you that your safety is less important than their picture.
Epilepsy is being yelled at for advocating for yourself.
Epilepsy is being yelled at for not advocating firmly enough.
Epilepsy is being yelled at for not being able to be diplomatic about how someone is hurting you NOW.
Epilepsy is being told you don't have a real disability.
Epilepsy is often being disabled by the very people who tell you that.
Epilepsy is spending days making arrangements so an event is accessable.
Epilepsy is having those agreements be broken, ruining your weekend.
Epilepsy is being expected to thank people for almost making an agreement.
Epilepsy is being yelled at for saying “you could have done better”.
Epilepsy is being expected to be nice about them trying, even if you just had a seizure that they caused.
Epilepsy is people telling you to stay in your house if others cause dangers.
Epilepsy is people thinking you are being too cautious by avoiding people known to be ableist.
Epilepsy is not knowing how many flashes will be a problem, but that whether 2 or 20, it's coming.
Epilepsy is having to educate people unwilling to learn, and doing so while you are at your worst.
Epilepsy is not being believed about your needs until you are in a drastic situation no one was willing to be ready for.
Epilepsy is being expected to be grateful when people almost treat you as a real person.
Epilepsy is knowing they don't think you are a real person.
Epilepsy is always hearing “you are an extreme minority so you don't matter”.
Epilepsy is hearing that from another minority who should get it.
Epilepsy is being unable to win, ever, because the rules keep changing, and giving up is losing too.