aphrodite: (Default)
2009-11-18 09:55 pm

A Little Bit Shitty

Know what I don't like? Stumbling over crap in my psyche that I had forgotten about or thought I was completely over.
Tonight's super-special issue is the one where adults refer to anyone under the age of 18 as "a little shit". Children and adolescents are not excreta. They are not crotch-droppings or any of the other delightful epithets the virulently misanthropic regularly employ in their description of large swathes of the human race, and a stage that we must all pass through.
I'll concede you spawn (I quite enjoy referring to the Tiny Tyrant as "my spawn"). I'll even allow you that sometimes children and teens behave mighty shittily, pressing all your buttons for no very good reason, or even no reason at all. But that behaviour is not the only thing that defines that person. They are not, in and of themselves, shit.

My stepfather referred to me as "a little shit" and "a (little) bitch" in conversations with other adults. Not all the time, and not knowingly whilst in the same room. But enough. Enough times and places, and in a loud, entitled enough voice, that at ten and twelve and thirteen I got to hear these words applied to me by someone who I lived with, who was meant to be one of the adults looking out for me, that I was supposed to look up to. He told other adults around us that this is what he thought of me.


So before you go applying that phrase to that child, I want to ask you: How much like a piece of human waste do you think they really are? And aren't you glad nobody ever flushed you down the toilet, and you never got to hear the suggestion that your entire being was worthless and useless and associated with all things filthy, disgusting and wrong? I know I could've done without it.
aphrodite: (Default)
2009-10-13 10:19 pm

Dusty

I'm home again, from far north Queensland, where all the roads seemed to be dusty highways and everyone seemed to smoke like chimneys (which is to say: permanently).
It is such a blessed relief to sit down to a meal without the stench of old ashtrays wafting from my dining companions, to not be concerned about what my son is imbibing with that dropped food item from the floor under the patio table. I fight myself constantly, to strike the balance between helicopter and involved parenting, but never more so than when family is around. I think, as a parent, I have far less influence and input into my son's development than I would like. Everything else around us conspires to fight me, to make him unthinking, gender-role normative, unseeing of his privilege, and I can feel so terribly overwhelmed, so lacking in ability and energy and the emotional buffer-space I need to be able to push back (I'm still fighting myself on using spoon theory to refer to my mental/emotional state w/r/t the effects of my depression and anxiety. Food for thought in the comments linked, though).

My father bought my son a 'Lock up Your Daughters" t-shirt, as a belated birthday present. I am so, so terrible at hiding strong feelings, and I think my eyes glazed a little as I put it on the pile of clothes and thanked him. I wonder how many more such things the Tiny Tyrant will acquire in the next few years? And what's the best way to address this sort of crap with him, when I feel too defeated and repeatedly rebuffed to go at it with the family member in question, once again?
aphrodite: (Default)
2009-09-22 01:28 pm

Out of the Closet

So a few years ago I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety.
A little part of me got up and danced, singing "Hallelujah!", another part exclaimed "Well, DUH!" and I had this weird mixture of relief, gratefulness and exultation at having finally been taken seriously by a medical professional, and a sense of shame and disappointment that there really was/is something 'wrong' with me.
I know now that it's not normal for most people to throw up because they're worried literally sick about something they said or did offending or upsetting people. Most adults don't cry themselves to sleep for the same except in rare circumstances. They don't find themselves crying for no reason at all, at various points through the day, or suddenly have difficulty breathing because their chest feels two sizes too small for their lungs.

I realise now that I was very lucky. The first course of SSRIs my doctor suggested to me worked really well; minimal side effects, that passed quickly, and although everything didn't get "All Better" it got so much easier. I could make it through my day without obsessive worrying about others' opinions of me or reactions to tiny things. I could sleep at night. the random crying jags stopped. I could explain how I felt to others, again. It was wonderful.

I told my mother, a few months after I'd begun taking antidepressants.
But when I was growing up, my father's family... they used to sit around the dinner table talking about people they'd gone to school with, children of acquaintances, who'd killed themselves, or tried. Girls who'd had anorexia, men who were now schizophrenic. They used the word stupid a lot. They were scathing. They had no sympathy at all, for any of these people. None.
I was shocked, before my diagnosis. I didn't understand how they could have so little empathy for anyone in trouble, in pain. After my diagnosis, I was afraid.

And last night, two years after I stopped taking the antidepressants, I finally told my father about it, during a phone conversation. And I told him why I'd never said anything before. Still waiting for the fall-out from this one.