When I Was Your Age

My work day was absolutely chaotic, but during difficult times in my personal life, absolute chaos at work is what I prefer. I wasn’t allowed any time at all to give my daughter’s situation harder thought. However, I did have a five minute window to speak to someone whose son goes to my daughter’s school, and unfortunately, her son is being harassed as well. The difference is- he is being harassed by the school officers. And so, while the situation sucks for her- and us- it could be much worse.

Without going into too many details, I will describe the basic scenario. Student isn’t doing well in school. Having difficulties both at school and at home. It isn’t necessarily all of his fault- he has legitimate reasons for being behind and appearing to be somewhat troubled. But the GROWN ADULTS seem to be making his situation much worse. His friend has been experiencing an even more disparaging situation. An officer wrongly accused him of doing an activity (vaping in the bathroom), which led to a body search, which produced no evidence- and while it should have ended there, the GROWN MAN then searched the MINOR CHILD’S vehicle. The GROWN MAN discovered some hiking boots and a pocket knife INSIDE THE VEHICLE and the MINOR CHILD received out of school suspension for TWENTY ONE DAYS. The parents, naturally, were infuriated. He began having more issues (duh), and so, was pulled out of his high school, away from the peers he had grown up with, to be homeschooled.

On the flip side of being hyperactive and goofy as a minor child, I could be quite verbally and physically aggressive. I kicked a girl in the leg (elementary school), punched a girl (middle school), slashed a girl’s tires and got into a car chase which resulted in threatening physical violence (high school), and other terrible rage filled activities, because I honest to God felt as though I had no other choice. I legitimately felt as though my life, when threatened in any way, depended on it.

I am small. I was always the runt of my class. My bark was bigger than anyone’s because it had to be. As I grew older, I realized that my bark would some day get me killed. It took a four year physically and emotionally violent marriage to put me in full check. It was that terrible relationship- which almost literally killed me- that saved me in the long run. I turned myself around. I can still have a temper in certain situations, but I am much more cautious and use much wiser judgment before acting on impulse. Working in mental healthcare, reading self help books the better majority of my life, and just learning from mistakes in general have also aided in calming my shit down.

When I hear stories that indicate history is repeating its stupid self again- in any capacity- it usually makes me feel negative emotions and I at least provide the world with my locally famous eye roll. But when I hear stories as mentioned above, I feel absolute rage. I physically tremble. Sometimes I go numb. And, on nights like tonight, I curl up in the bathtub and sob like a baby.

Oh how I miss the days of softball and volleyball and war ball. Swinging a bat, hitting a ball, running hard as hell, getting people out. I love being physical and aggressive. I love getting that out of me. If only I could challenge these assholes to a game. I’d sift through the cliques and push back the squares.

Wisdom

Today started out with my very first therapy session. It was a basic get to know you in a nutshell hour which I fully expected and was somewhat prepared for. It all went well and I enjoyed meeting my new therapist and she was, of course, very gracious and kind- and already giving me words I feel I had been missing internally.

My mind is a strange place. When you have lived thirty years in one small place, a place where everybody knows your name (and full background), it can be incredibly challenging to get through and around major life events- especially events that didn’t just impact you directly, but also, an entire school or church (not random examples).

Tonight, I learned that my daughter is being bullied at school. Now a Junior, this is the first time either of us is hearing about this type of behavior from her peers. She is autistic, and social situations can be harder to navigate. She enjoys school because of the wealth of information she is taking in, not because of the cliques- which, by the way, are generations old.

I explained to her that other people’s opinions of what she may or may not do or who she is or isn’t may confuse her or hurt her feelings (she is the sweetest person I have ever met in my entire life), but she should always reassure herself of the truth. Lashing out, getting revenge, or any other negative reactions would probably result in negative consequences- thereby worsening the situation. I encouraged her to continue being her true self, and any time a situation arises, to seek assistance from a trusted adult and always come to me for any reason. We hugged, we cried, we smiled, we laughed, we moved forward. That is what peacemakers do.

After completing my bedtime wind down process, I decided to do that thing I do every so often. I randomly flipped open my Bible, and my eyes read James chapter 3, verses 13 through 18. And so, I cried and smiled some more.

Sweet dreams, Peacemakers