Should I Be Mad?

This story may take turns, chances are – like most of my posts – they have improper grammar due to the fact that I’m really bad at editing myself. I’m writing this without any preparation – yet again like the mass majority of my posts. If I’m talking about one thing but then the drunken train conductor derails the train into another topic, don’t be surprised.

As you might know I was born with a physical disability that is rare and hereditary in nature. My disability is known as, or called, Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia or otherwise referred to as HSP.

My mom gave the disability to me, her mom gave it to her, I gave it to my son. My uncle, her brother, also had it. I don’t know much about how my uncle was effected, but what little I did see him he was better than I was but worse of then my mom; he was able to walk like I could when I was around the age of 23, couldn’t walk without support but seemed to have the energy to do so. My mom used to play basketball in high school, she did not show any signs of our disability until she was 18 years old.

Me on the other hand showed it as soon as I started walking, maybe even before then. I took my first step at the age of 11 months, but I fell down right away and gave up. It was kind of like I said, “Fuck that shit, I’m not doing that again.” But I did, I started walking on a regular basis sometime around the age of 3.

My disability has the nature of getting worse over time, that being said I used to be able to walk and now I can’t walk without assistance. Those of us born with the disability are theorized to plateau at some unknown point in life. I can still drive a car with the use of my feet. Even when I could walk you could look at me and say, “That kid walks funny.” It was not easy to hide the fact that I was physically disabled, in fact it was almost impossible unless I sat in a chair my entire life.

If you did not catch on by now, everyone who has my disability is effected differently, while the University of Michigan is doing studies and found the particular gene in the DNA strain; everyone is effected differently and it is almost impossible to distinguish how person A is effected differently than person B without physically having communication with said people.

My son is currently 13 years old, his mom broke up with me when he was around the age of 3. After breaking up with me she got married to someone in the military and from that my son spent the last 9 years moving from Washington State, up to Alaska, down to Texas, over to Florida, and when he was 12 they moved back to Washington State due to his step-father getting a job offer in Seattle.

Last time I saw my kid was July of 2016 when my aunt took me with her to Washington State as a way of her visiting her sister; my mom. Both of her sisters do not have our disability.

From what I can tell, my son, who has my disability according to the University of Michigan, does not show signs of our disability. He does, but you would not know it at first glance. You’d have to wait until he was tired of walking, or just tired in general. I remember being at Mt. Rainier watching my kid walk towards the bathroom, I was not really able to see anything other than a very minor angular change of his foot when he steps forward with said leg.

So this is where the story breaks off into another direction.

A few weeks ago I was on Facebook and saw one my sisters posts, in said post she used the word retarded as a way of explaining her and her friend hanging out and being stupid. From there came comments that were trying to correct her on using such word in said fashion. I go onto leave a comment that said something along the lines of, I can’t find the post anymore…she deleted it. I said something to the effect of…

I think of it as someone calling me a cripple.

Over the years I’ve learned how to poke fun at myself.

Unless it’s me using the word against myself, or a close friend using the word towards me in a humorous fashion; it’s offensive. I would not call you a cripple due to the fact that you might be offended by that, and even then…that is not the correct way to describe an individual with a physical disability.

Later that night I was in the kitchen heating a pizza in the oven when my sister called and said, “Can you please delete that last comment that you made.” With a slightly confused look on my face that quickly turned into anger  I asked, “Why?”

“Because I don’t want anyone to know that I’m disabled.”

We got into a short fight afterwards and shorty after she said, “It’s not you decision to…” I hung up on her. Shortly after that I sent her a text message that said, “Don’t be afraid or who you are.” Which went straight into her asking, “Why did you hang up on me?” To which I said, “Because I was offended…”

My sister…we didn’t know that she had HSP until a blood test to try to find a cure was conducted, which is where the University of Michigan comes into play. My sister grew up showing no signs of said disability. She ran track, she was on the diving team, she did gymnastics in high school; she was a very active person. No one knew that she had it until we got word from the University of Michigan that told us otherwise. She didn’t show signs until she was….29, 30, 31; I don’t know.

It has been said that those who “develop” a disability much later in life have a much harder time coping with their new found lack of movement.

“I was offended…you’re more or less telling me in a round about way that you are ashamed that you are like your brother and that you just want to act like the whole thing does not exist.”

“No, it’s not like that at all; you just don’t have the right to tell my friends things about me that they don’t know.”

While I can agree with that, that does not mean that I was not offended. After thinking about it for the past few days I came to the conclusion that I’m jealous oh her.

Unlike her I was never able to hide the fact that I had a physical disability. I had a…difficult time as a kid. Other kids don’t fucking know, and they use your misfortune as a way to gain popularity among other kids who think the same thing. It took me a long time to figure out who I was, it took me a move to another state to understand that kids just make fun of you based on what they don’t know.

It took me awhile to understand that if you don’t give them the reaction that they are looking for (which is their fucked up way of gaining popularity) and you address, and explain, the elephant in the room people tend to be more inviting.

It took me a long time to understand this, and I’m currently in the state of mind where: Well fuck it, I am who I am; if you don’t like it, I’m not going to try to be someone I’m not.

Part of  me being targeted by bullies in school was because I gave them the reaction that they were looking for. I wanted to be popular, but at that time in my life I kept trying to be someone that I was not just because I thought people might like me if I was different. That has also taught me something about girls!

If you’re a dork and you like the color pink, or whatever it is; own that shit, be proud of it. Girls love confidence, if you like to  eat eggs with ketchup, fucking own that shit; don’t try to turn into someone you think she wants you to be, fucking be yourself and be proud of it! Don’t be an asshole, every relationship has it’s struggles which require compromise.

I’m just saying…if you like rap music, expand your musical tastes because she is a fan of heavy metal, don’t stop liking it because she doesn’t like it. However if she, I don’t know…stops having sex with you because you like rap; you might want to reevaluate the person that she is.

I have to understand that my sister is on a different life path, her perspective is not the same as mine. She grew up with me, in the same house, going to the same school; she saw what I went though. Or did she? She saw it, but I don’t think she fully understood it.

From my perspective hearing her tell me that was the same as, “I saw what you went though as a kid, and I don’t want that to happen to me, so I just going to Donald Trump this bitch and act like it doesn’t exist.”

Which makes me wonder, “If we were not related would she have been one of those who made fun of me in school?”

So, I understand that her perspective is different than mine, but I’m jealous that she got to do something that I was never able to do.

There are a lot of people that can do things that I can’t, I’m not jealous of them; they did not grow up with me, they do not have the same disability that I do, and they were not able to hide that disability for about a third of their life.

She has a hard time coming, and the longer she is afraid to tell people that she is disabled the harder it is going to be on her.

I understand not letting people know that you are disabled. There have been people I talked to online who have no idea that I’m disabled, I understand not letting people know. But the moment where you’re afraid to let yourself know is where my anger comes from.

Am I right for being mad at my sister for this particular issue?

How do I address it if she wants my advice? We are clearly looking at the same picture through two different pieces of glass. I can’t just look at her and say, “Shit happens, get used to it,” she wont see that the same way I do.

That’s like a mime trying to show you how to be a public speaker with the same audience.

A Bully with a Rock

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I’ve been thinking for a while now. Every now and then I get an idea of what to write about. But to be honest, I don’t, why? Because when I’m not working or doing small choirs around the house I like to play Grand Theft Auto Online with my friend back in Washington State.

One thought keeps knocking on the door in my brain like a Mormon who won’t leave you alone even after you said, “No, I don’t want a fucking Bible and I don’t want to talk about God either.” I’m not trying to go off on a “religion is bad” tangent.

Anyhow this thought keeps coming up like a cockroach in my house that I can’t get rid of. So I’m going to take this time to tell you about an event that happened over twenty years ago.

I was a kid, I was the disabled kid in an elementary school full of kids who might have been disabled in some shape or form, but unlike mine it was not physical, and that made me stick out like an white dude wearing tight jeans, a flannel button-up, a cowboy hat, with some cowboy boots hanging out at a bar in the middle of a black neighborhood in South Central Los Angles.

I got picked on all the time, but in all reality it only got worse when I graduated to middle school and the population of that school increased by five fold. Middle school or Jr. high is the time when kids look for popularity, and some of the ways they try to find it might use you as a pawn in a game of chess that you didn’t ask to play.

But I did not know this until I packed up and re-rooted my life to Washington State. Which was a good thing, my life completely changed for the better.

Back somewhere around the year of 1991, maybe 1992, I was in fifth grade and kids were slightly older than they were the year prior and some kids, a lot of them actually, started to develop the idea that, “if this guy thinks me making fun of this kid is funny then we can be friends.”

Thus starts a entire chain reaction, with me in the middle; at the time of this story this has been going on for a few years now. As sucky as this was I never had the thought to commit suicide. I mean I thought about it just as if you think about the possible outcome of an everyday event.

I was never going to do that, my home life was…good. My parents loved me and my sister, she is two years younger than me. She used to be my best friend too. My mom didn’t show any signs of our disability until she was 18 and she started using a rolling walker at the age of 50ish.

They say those who develop a condition later in life have a harder time coping with it compared to those who get thrown into the disability at birth. As much as my mom tried to protect me from life because she thought anything I did outside of the house was going to kill me. She did love me.

She might have not even thought that extreme, but to be totally honest she did seem like she took some loony pills. Over all the years of her yelling at me and trying to get me to not live life because of some extremely rare circumstance that will never happen, I came to resent my mom.

And you know what man? She did love me…she was just trying too hard. There is such a thing as caring too much. And this applies for anyone, disabled or not.

If your mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, stepparent try to stop you from making the same mistakes they did, or maybe they didn’t. Either way if you can’t live life, you grow to resent them. Yes, you don’t want your kid to go to jail but you need to let them fail. That’s how we learn, even if we’re 19 years old, we’re still doing that thing of cause and effect. You can tell us all day what the effect might be, and we might even listen to you, but we won’t really know until we test it.

Anyways…

I was in fifth grade and getting made fun of was an everyday occurrence, and as used to it as I was didn’t it was not a shity experience.

(If it seems like my story took a sharp turn it’s because it did, I have been away from this post for two or three days now)

I never ever thought someone would be physically violent towards me, and other than a one off experience in fifth grade no one was.

There was this guy, this kids name was Brandon…and I guess the fact that I remember his name means that the experience has been lodged in the back of my head for the past 20 years or so. I do not remember much about this kid other than he was one of those who made fun of me close to every day.

No particular moment other than this comes to mind. And as much as he is an asshole for doing it, I do remember asking him to do it.

It was a typical day if I remember correctly, I don’t remember any snow and lots of sun. School got out at whatever time it got out and I was planning on walking home. At that age walking was something I could actually do! You always were able to clearly see that I was physically disabled, but I was actually able to walk, for a good distance too.

At the age when I walked my knees didn’t come up as much as a “typical” persons might. That being said my feet dragged behind me in the process of taking another step forward, my right foot being one to turn inward and drag behind me more so than my left foot. While all this was going the movement of my body would cause my head to bounce up and down while swinging to the left and to the right.

Much later in life spasticity was introduced, not that is was introduced, it just became more prominent. One of the main reasons why I feel as if I can’t walk like I used to is due to the fact that I always walked off of momentum and I still want to, but my legs won’t and can’t keep up with how fast my torso would like to travel. Walking slower just causes my to lose my balance anyways.

My house was less than a block away from school, a good walking distance, maybe a 5 to 10 minute walk depending how fast you were.

School gets out, and just like most elementary schools in America there was a playground complete with monkey bars, basketball courts, a slide type thing, a pyramid of large truck tires, monkey bars, and a few other things here and there.

My best friend at the time lived across the street from me, but I was older than him so he didn’t go to the same school at the same time, if he did we were a good three grades apart. I would have walked home with him if it was a possibility.

Like most young kids I spend time after school playing around and attempting to make friends who were just making fun of me the whole time.

The monkey bars, sorry if that is not the PC name or whatever, were five feet above the ground and ran on for about fifteen feet. When you’re only three feet tall everything seems huge, that being said five feet seemed like ten feet.

Speaking of height and age, when I was 10 years old and had a teacher who was 30 years old they seemed so tall and so old. Now that I’m 31 and meet a 30 year old teacher part of me feels like being a teacher at the age of 30 is an impossibility because they are not that tall and not that old.

These monkey bars were sitting upon a bunch of gravel.

There Brandon came. I can’t remember how the conversation happened but I do know that I was disabled and was therefore treated as if I was the kid no one would touch. I can’t sit here and say that I didn’t talk shit to entice him because I might have, but I don’t think I did.

In some shape or form he told me that he was going to kick rocks in my face.

I didn’t expect him to actually do it. At that point violent activity upon me borders on the line of discrimination, it does not go quite that far. But beating up an handicapped boy, that is defenseless, is something that, something that I don’t think I need to tell you is wrong.

I dared him to do it, and he did, I remember the feeling of not even being able to fathom the event that was now taking place. I do not remember talking shit to him, if I was I could kind of understand it, but based on who I am today I really do not think I did.

I was already on the ground for some reason. As soon as he started kicking rocks at me my first idea was to bury my head in my lap allowing myself to protect my face. What feels like 10 minutes, but must have only been one, went by and I flared my arms open, still on my knees, I kept reaching one hand forward trying to grab him.

I was beyond angry and if I was physically able to I would have ran up to him just to grab him by his hair and walked over to the basketball court slamming his face into the concrete until his forehead started to bleed.

I know…that’s bad and extremely violent; but that is how mad I was at the time.

I looked like a zombie on cocaine that didn’t have any legs who was reaching for food that kept running around in circles.

When I realized that this was pointless and I was not going to catch him I went back into a turtle and just stayed there until he ran off.

I think he got in trouble and was suspended for awhile, and the whole time this was going down two of his friends were standing there laughing the whole time.

I’m glad I was not able to physically beat this kid up, I was so mad that I could of very well turned him into a vegetable. I’m glad I didn’t; I’m not even a violent person, but part of me is scared of what life would be like if I could be.

I just don’t get it.

That has been in my head for a few weeks now, and now it’s out. There are very few people I told that story to. My fiance didn’t even know that story until she asked, “What are you writing about.”

A Night With A Dead Man

9069020I don’t know man, when you think of a stoner you stereotypical think of food and TV, which in several cases can be right, it can also be very wrong. It all depends on the person who is smoking pot and what they like to do either on or off of the influence of marijuana.

I don’t know about you, but coming from Washington State, I knew some pretty responsible stoners. Some of whom even enjoyed cleaning their house while they were baked.

This is my story, a tiny little section of it, the night I was watching TV in another land before I realized I wasn’t even watching TV.

As a kid growing up in Nebraska during the 80’s and 90’s. Anti-drug commercials were shoved down my thought worse than a dictator in a foreign country telling you what you can or can not do.

Which, years later… is a bad idea, how are kids going to be able to believe that meth is bad when they smoke and figure out that marijuana is not as bad as you made it seem all these years?

I remember this cartoon with Bugs Bunny in it. And some black smokey looking figure dude, who must have been the villain. I watched this cartoon religiously as a kid, a small kid, must have been around the ages of five to eight, or somewhere in there.

This cartoon from what I remember was focused on a teenager, who must have been in high school, he was being forced by his friends to smoke pot. Being the late 80’s, the idea of forcing someone to take drugs was taken to the extreme. Because we all know, that’s what friends are for, to force us to do shit we don’t want to.

Hell that is why we have friends anyways, so we could be unhappy while being told what to do and when do to it.

Anyways, so I watched that cartoon and saw enough, “this is your brain on drugs,” to grow up thinking smoking pot was the worst thing anyone could do, worse than killing a child.

On aside, scrambled eggs are good dawg.

Years later I moved to Washington State, and as a sophomore in high school I witnessed my friend eating a laced cookie. A cookie that was cooked with marijuana for those of you that can not figure it out. As far as I know this was his first time with an eatable, or THC in general, which I didn’t know until he called me a week after.

From what I understand he didn’t believe his friends when they told him, “Hey man, only eat half of that and wait 30 minutes to figure out if you want the other half, that shit is laced man, I made it last night.” Him being a dumbass ate the whole thing.

Not knowing what it was supposed to feel like, or even his own tolerance, he had a massive case of green sickness. After he threw up in the middle of math class, he was picked up by an ambulance.

If you don’t know anything about pot, no he didn’t die, he didn’t overdose, he can’t even overdose if he wanted to, he just had too much of what his body wasn’t aware of.

This is where my story begins, because until this point in time I was not aware of how popular marijuana was among kids in high school. I didn’t start smoking until I graduated high school.

Two years after high school graduation, I had the opportunity to go 50 miles north of my town to a popular event, the most popular event of its kind in the whole country, Seattle Hempfest 2004. I did not really care, or see the need to go to Hempfest before this date in time. The only reason I went was because my favorite band, the Kottonmouth Kings, were taking the main stage that Sunday at 4:20.

Then, I not only learned a lot of information about the plant, but I came to see how popular it was among the adult audience as well. I was shocked to see not only the stereotypical high school stoners, but also the old geeky kids that grew up to make a lot of money, lawyers, retired police officers, and just about any other different type of stereotype in between.

From that point on I fell in love with the event and tried to go every year after that, but only made it to 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010. I heard a speaker on stage say something that stuck with me, “I bought two grams a mouth ago, and I still have half of it left; just because you have it does not mean you need to smoke it, and many of you that believe that are giving stoners a bad name, and that my friends is why the media assumes we’re lazy people that watch TV all day.” After a short pause to gauge everyone’s reaction he continued with, “and believe me man, I love me some TV, but until we prove to them different, that is all they are going to think.”

The concert was before I knew where my happy medium was. I had many episodes of green sickness trying to find it. I assumed I was like everyone else, I figured my tolerance could not be any different than theirs. I was wrong, and it took me awhile to figure that out. I spent one day coming back home from the local college down the street, just to lay down on the floor in the fetal position, assuming that if I was on the floor and the TV was off that a cop would not come knocking on my door.

When I started smoking pot, in 2003, it was because of my own free will, my own doing. Sure, you can say a friend was involved, but it was my own doing of going up to one of my many friends saying, “Hey, man I’m bored as fuck, let’s go smoke some pot.” He was already a stoner, so it’s not like I was trying to force him to do it either.

Shorty after I stated smoking pot, my best friend, who lived on the other side of the block from me, had a friend, a friend who I ironically knew from high school, but someone I never talked to before. He was even friends with my other friends sister. My other friend never smoked pot, and now that he is married to a goody two-shoes, I don’t think he ever will, and I don’t really care if he does anyways. My point being, if Jason knew why his sister was hanging out with Joe he might know more about his sister.

Maybe he does now, especially sense he still lives in Washington State. But Jason has very little do to with this story, although his sister Danielle was fucking hot.

I found out why Joe was so popular, he was the kid that had weed. Hell my sister used to hang out there back in the day too. It was weird to me to meet someone I never talked to though someone else that I talked to almost every day.

Eric looked at me one day and said, “Hey man, I know this spot, it’s totally chill.” I looked at him while sitting in the drivers seat of my black 1992 Acura Integra, “You sure we cool to go?”

“Yea man, your with me and shit, he’ll be cool with it.”

Here we go, a twenty and a nineteen year old in a black car driving to a unknown location-unknown to me at least. I’m driving by my old high school on a dark Friday night as he says, “yea man, it that neighborhood at the end of this street.”

I knew what he was talking about, I drove by it everyday on the way home. And I knew Puyallup like the back of my hand, my dad took me on some pointless and repetitious drives when I was learning how to drive.

We pull up to this house and at that time in my life I could walk with the help of a friend shoulder. I still needed help, but not as much as I do eleven years later. We get downstairs and I looked into Joe’s eyes with a shocked look as Eric is saying, “Hey Joe, this is Daniel,” all Joe did was look up at me and say “Yep,” as he was loading another bong hit. After looking at him for awhile I was like, “Hey man, I know you, kind of,” the only thing Joe did was look at me with a lighter in one hand and a bong in the other, “Yep.”

I think Joe was kinda taken back that I was at his house, he might have been thinking to himself, “Oh, shit, look at that man, it’s the handicapped dude, in my house, what the fuck.” But after talking to Eric in a low volume, I can only assume what was being said, he opened up to me. Joe actually turned out to be one hell of a smart dude.

We sit down his his room, Eric and Joe being on the other side of the room as we pass the bong back and forth. Joe could tell that this was my first time smoking out of a bong when I attempted to smoke a bong as if I was trying to give some dude a blowjob.

After getting stoned and sitting there for what seemed to be a good thirty minutes I started zoning out by listening to Joe and Eric talk about whatever they were talking about. Eric was playing a unplugged bass guitar as Joe was playing a unplugged six string guitar.

I sat there watching this like I was a kid glued into a cartoon. I was so interested in this conversation, that I could not hear, it was like I was making some sort of a profound scientific discovery. I could not hear what they were saying because there was music playing in the background, quiet enough to hear one another from across the room if we were talking to one another, but loud enough that I was unable to distinguish what was being said by two people that were two feet away from one another.

I never heard this type of music before, but I should have taking into account of where I was geographically located on the planet Earth. For some reason I assumed this music came from India. In my state of mind that I was in it made sense to me, and the more you think about something the more it becomes true, even if what you’re thinking about is false.

I was so intent in their conversation that the music that was being played just seemed like the background music that was playing just because the two of them were talking. I don’t know what it is about me getting stoned, I’m better at it now because my body knows what it is looking for. Although I have not smoked pot in two years. I got to the point where I get so paranoid about someone I know telling my employer that I just don’t have fun anymore. I think about a random UA more that I enjoy my current surroundings. I know I could most likely get away with it, even if I tell myself beforehand, “Daniel, you’re fine, they are not going to give you a drug test just because you visited Washington State”.

Back in the day when I just got into smoking pot, if I was focused too intently on something, I went into this thing where I thought I was watching a TV show.

“What the weather in India going to be like tomorrow?”

They both look at me as if something unbelievable happened, they even looked at one another and had a short laugh before they addressed me.

Eric looked at me and said, “Fuck man, I don’t know.”

“Well isn’t that your job.”

“What?”

“Your job man.”

“What job?”

I stopped and realized I was talking to a TV, or at least what I thought was a TV, and this TV was talking back to me. I thought to myself, “What the fuck,” before I said what I said next.

“Dude, you guys are like two fucking news reporters from India and shit, but you’re fucking white.”

Eric looked at Joe, Joe had a flabergasted look on his face while Eric said, “Its cool man, he does this shit.”

Eric knew what I was thinking, kind of, and goes onto ask me questions because he was curious of how I got to this train of thought I was on.

I remember saying, “Man, I was expecting a weather forecast.”

“Why India though?”

“The music man”

“What about it”

“It sound all Indian type and shit”

Joe and Eric looked at one another, Eric was laughing as Joe had a look on his face like he could not believe I was this stupid.

Joe looked at me and said, “Do you know who Jimi Hendrix is?”

“Yeah, but I never heard this song”

Eric looked back at Joe and said, “Don’t worry about it man, I’ll introduce him to Jimi man.”

After paying attention, this music didn’t even remotely sound like it would stereotypically come from India. Why I thought it did was beyond me.

The last thing Eric said to me before I dropped him off at home that night was, “Jimi Hendrix is buried in Renton man.” Being in Washington State, and being a minimal fan of Classic Rock, I can’t believe I didn’t know that.

The Change

turmLate that night I was laying in my bed staring at the glow from my TV, those old TV’s that were just as big in-depth as they were in size, before the term high definition was even a word that was associated with televisions. The year was 1998, it was around twelve o’clock at night, nothing was going on in my bedroom, all the lights were turned off and I lay there on my top bunk immensely switching though channels desperately trying to find something of interest to watch.

Nothing was on TV other than infomercials and talk shows, this was back when MTV actually played music videos, I didn’t even find that interesting. The glow that was filling my room was turning black every two seconds because of how often I was flipping to the next pointless program, I might have been thought the channel line up about three or four times by now.

I finally decided to stop on a talk show that I skipped three times prior. It was Jenny Jones and I figured it was better than anything else that was on. I didn’t want to go to bed yet, but I should have; but my life changed for the positive because I didn’t.

That next morning we had to wake up early because the movers were coming over to help us pack up the rest of the house so we could move everything we owned to Washington State.

Earlier that day I was over at one of my friend’s house with the three or four other friends I was lucky enough to have. We were having a small get together at my friends because that was going to be my last day in the state of Nebraska.

A few hours later my mom, dad, and sister show up in my mom light blue 1994 Dodge Caravan. At this point in time my dad had lived in Washington State for the past six mouths.

On a side note, the apartment complex that my dad moved into while the rest of us were in Nebraska was the same apartment complex I lived in eight years in the future.

My dad just took a flight back to Omaha a few day prior to help us pack up the house and drive up into the part of the country best known to others as the Pacific Northwest. When the van rolled up into my friends driveway I remember saying bye to everyone but it was not that memorable. When I slide open the van door I can see that my mom is in the passenger seat and my sister in the front row of the bench seats in the back of the van. They were both crying because we were about to uproot our lives into a different part of the country.

I was not crying however. Ever since my dad told me that we were moving all I could do was to think about middle school.

I never had a good time in school, when I entered sixth grade in 1995 I had a bunch of other kids from other elementary schools plus the kids that were already there jam-packed into a school. And like everyone else that age you didn’t know where you belonged, the whole time I was in school I tried too hard to fit in, that never worked out for me; all it did was backfire and give them another reason to make fun of me, which I did not understand until later that night.

At one point I had 30 bullies, that was a lot, too much to be honest. But with all that pain I never had any thoughts of suicide. I can go further into being made fun of, but it’s not that interesting and might make me sad to relive that specific memory.

I got into the van, I was not crying; I was happy to move, I got to start all over, with entirely new people, none of which knew me. And it wasn’t like I was leaving friends behind; I was, but what I foresaw was a more vibrant picture that what was already painted.

The show I was watching that night was a geek to cheek episode where they took all these famous people and show us what they used to look like. That was when I find out that hot ass chick on that show was not so cute when she was a kid, but that is beside the point.

“The only people tease you is because you give them the reaction they are looking for,” a guy in the audience stood up and said this. It got me to thinking, everything made sense to me. It was like the universe opened up…and then I remembered, no one in Washington knew who I was.

The basics of my thinking has all do to with kids not knowing how to find friends. Let’s us the name Andrew, Sam, Drew, and Ryan in this example (all kids who made fun of me by the way). Let’s assume that these four kids do not know one another, but they are young and none of them know how to make friends. Lets say that Sam is a witness to Andrew making fun of me, Sam and Andrew are now friends that found something in common based off of my reaction that both of them found funny.

At that age I did not understand this, and I kept making it worse on myself by giving them the reaction they wanted. This created a chain reaction until one turned into thirty.

So, I was happy I was moving. I could completely change my life, and that was my intent. I just didn’t know how good it would have worked.

The first day or junior high in Washington State was weird, it was different. Washington’s population was a lot bigger than that of Nebraska, even though my middle school in Nebraska had two floors it was not like my new school.

I had to walk though the commons to start my trip up the stairs so I could go to my first period class. There was this kid next to me, doing the same thing as me; going up the stairs. He looked at me and said, “hey man, you want to race up the stairs?” I continued to look forward, I was doing what I was supposed to do, I stare forward and quietly said, “no.”

“Come on man, you can do it; race me up these stairs.” I could tell this was not going to end anytime soon. I repeated myself, “no.” I continue to walk up these stairs, but he just won’t shut up, “come on man, I can tell you’re pretty fast,” I continue to walk up the stairs and without saying a word he continues by saying, “come on bro, I know you can beat me.”

I know from past experiences that if someone is not only trying to act like my friend but is asking me to do something that, in their eyes, is funny; their whole goal is to make me look like an idiot, which will be humorous to him and his friends. Causing a chain reaction that I didn’t want to fall into now that I knew what I was looking for.

“No I can’t,” I said in a quiet voice while thinking that this whole episode was bothering me. As much as I wanted to say something like, “fuck you,” I knew it was not going to end the way I wanted it to.

“Yea you can dude, come on man, you got this,” this dude just would not shut up after I told him many time I was slow and I was not going to even try because I was not going to win. This kid was looking for a reason to make fun of me, if he could his friend would also find it funny, and thus starts a chain of popularity using the new kid that just happens to be different.

The whole time this was going on I was thinking to myself, “I’m going to have to try to race this asshole up the stairs. He won’t shut up if I don’t.” But I also had the other half of me saying, “don’t do it Dan, that’s just what he wants.”

I look down and I start trying to race him up these stairs, in my mind I was going fast. After all I was going faster than normal, but I knew damn well that it wasn’t doing anything other than making me look stupid in his eyes.

The fourth step I got to I slowed back down and looked up while continuing to walk up these stairs. I was going my normal pace again while I was watching this kid race up the last two stairs just to turn around and laugh at me.

However he wasn’t able to, I didn’t give him the reaction that he was looking for. Instead I kept a straight face while we stared at one another for a few brief seconds. Giving him a “fuck you” expression while silently laughing inside.

Something happened that I never saw before. I don’t know if some kid was trying to stick up for me from behind or if the actions that both of us made caused him to look like an idiot to everyone that was watching. He looked behind me and the smile that I expected to see turned into a quick frown as he turned away and continued to walk towards class.

I did it, I fucking did it! I’m sure you can sit here and say, “yea well, kids get older and the mature.” Yes, maybe. But I do know one thing, and regardless of why or how it happened I was ecstatic that it did.

I coasted thought the rest of my ninth grade year with almost no teasing. Kids tried to make fun of me, but I never gave them the reaction they were looking for, and some point in almost came to a halt because in their eyes it was pointless. They had to go another way of trying to find popularity.

I was just worried about high school. Once again there were going to be more kids, new kids, kids that didn’t know me from the year before, how was that going to work out?

(10 minutes after posting) Yes, I know…there are grammatical errors, sue me. I might fix them in the future, but for now I think you can figure out what I’m trying to say.

Kids are Mean

sadTo continue with my story, while not trying to bore you, I was three years old and figured out how to catch myself every time I took a step forward. At that age my legs were not that spastic at random times. From what I understand, my disability was more noticeable in my left foot and over time it transferred to my right foot.

Fast forward to present time. I can not walk like I used to be able to. I used to be able to run, jump, and skip; now I can barely walk. It was always very noticeable that I had a disability and walked different than all the other kids, but I was still very active; and now that I look back on that time in my life I’m happy that I was able to do all that stuff that other kids were doing, I just stuck out like a nude woman walking though the airport.

In my late teens I was involved in a car accident that was not my fault, but regardless of that fact it resulted in weekly visits at the chiropractor’s office. During one of my visits an x-ray of my hip was taken. The left side of my hip bone, the right side of my body, was so much of a brighter white than the other side of my body. That must have meant that over the last 14 years of walking my hip bone had been rotated.

That night when I got home I was curious so I stood up like I always did and pulled up my pants. My left foot was pointed forward and my left knee was facing the same general direction, my right foot was cocked about 30 degrees outward but my right knee was also pointed in the same direction as my left knee.

At that point I rotated my right foot to face forward just like that of my left foot, I knew what was going to happen; but I was still curious. My right knee was cocked 30 degrees inward while my left knee remained straight.

Around the age of five I started school, it didn’t take long for the other kids to see that I was different. I did not have a fun time in school, kids, mainly other boys, were making fun of me on a daily basis. I understand why it was going on now that I’m older, but that doesn’t mean it hurt any less.

As a kid, and still to this day, I didn’t see myself walk. And I was looking for any way possible to stop the harassment that I was receiving on a daily basis. From that I got it in my mind that if I was walking I was less noticeable than if I were in my wheelchair. I was wrong and I didn’t understand that until I experienced the difference in my high school years. But fuck man, I’m glad I did all that shit as a kid, because I can’t now.

Bullies man, bullies are a hot topic now a days. And I’m one of the few that have the experience of dealing with them as a person with a disability. Bullies are very common however…girls, boys, we all have them at some point in our life.

Man, where was this anti-bullying movement when I was a kid? The funny thing is when I told teaches they didn’t do shit, they tried to resolve the issue; but all they did was put a band-aid on a gunshot wound. It often backfired on me too, telling on kids just seemed to fuel the fire. I couldn’t rely on anyone to stop this pain, I just had to bare it.

I was lucky to have a few friends, but the friends I had I was able to count on one hand, I might even of had two fingers down by the time I was done counting. But those few friend that I had really helped me out, I don’t know if they realize it or not, but they were the 100 dollar bill in a dirty toilet.

Other than school my home life was pretty damn decent my mom and dad loved the hell out of my sister and I, and they tried their hardest to provide us with everything we needed and even the stupid shit that we wanted. My sister and I were even best friends, and that age I think I liked her more than anyone at school.

Then middle school happened and all the several elementary schools were packed together in a smaller population on middle schools. That means new kids, more kids, more shit to deal with, more pain, but also more happiness.

I hope I don’t make this sound like I had the worst life ever, because I didn’t. In the grand scheme of things I had a pretty damn good childhood; but trapped inside my little bubble of childhood, I didn’t know any different.

Until next time: same blond hair, same (something clever.)

I Agree With Her.

omaha zoo

 

Many of you are not aware of what I wrote about at the end of 2013, so I’m going to bring it up again.

On a side note, I do not really like that picture of me, but felt like it was fitting to this particular “article”.

Many of you do not like to click on links… but I’m going to provide them anyways. For you who do not link to click on links I’ll summarize my own post and add my view point to the other post, based on my past experience of said situation, which will go to show why I agree with her.

I wrote a post back on December 20th, 2013 called My Experience with Bullies.

To give you a short view of the above link to my own post, it is as it sounds.

I was born in Nebraska and until I moved to Washing State I was constantly bullied/made fun of on a daily basis. Everyone tends to have a bad time in middle school/Jr. high. However the criticism that I received was focused upon my physical disability.

I have even been called a retard on several occasions.

The Jenny Jones Talk Show – that was on in the 90’s – changed my life. It wasn’t just the show, moving to a new state gave me a whole new start on life and how others looked at me.

Unlike my mom and sister who were crying about the idea of moving to Washington State, I was happy because I knew from day one that no one there knew me.

The talk show just gave me the knowledge how to do so. Let’s not forgot the population of Washington State is six times a large as Nebraska

Sure, you can say Lincoln, Nebraska is a fairly large town/city, but once you leave Lincoln you have a lot of nothing.  Then you got Puyallup in the state of Washington that is surrounded by many other towns that are than connected to many others. You can drive five towns over and never feel like you left town in the first place.

My point being that Washington is better at the whole disabled people thing, and in Nebraska I was the first and only physically disabled kid in my school.

This morning while I was laying in bed with my girlfriend sleeping right to me, I was searching other blogs and ran across this article/post called Dumbass Award of the Day Goes to…

I read it, I got to say I agree with her, and this is why….

(At this point I have been away from the computer for about two hours, my girlfriend had the day off of work so we went to get do stuff… now I’m back)

So I got back and Googled ‘Zeman Elementary School’ and got this story. That pretty much says that the origins of the pamphlet are unknown. Whether the principle is trying to cover her own ass or not, the pamphlet came from an unknown source.

Regardless of that, I still agree with it.

Based on that news spot, I think Lincoln Public Schools might be doing a bad job when it come to the whole anti-bulling thing.

Remember, I was made fun of by 30 kids per day – for 3 years – and a few less everyday for the 5 years previous to that in elementary school.

That’s 8 years people, I’ve been though some shit!

If you disagree with the following, just keep in mind I’m talking from personal experience.

Because of the turn-around I had between eighth and ninth grade, I have an insight that many others might not even see.

But keep in mind I’m also coming from a perspective of having a physical disability. Other kids don’t have a physical disability, because of that….I hope what I say has some kind of impact on people 

Rule #1 on the pamphlet says:

Refuse to get mad. Anger is a feeling we have toward our enemies, not our buddies. If a bully finds out he/she can get you angry, you become their puppet…

If you get mad, which they want you to do. You just end up giving them the reaction they are looking for.

As much as it hurts to not get mad and to walk away… you need to.

They might, and often do, think that you getting mad is funny to them. That being said kids looking for popularity might use you as a bonding moment.

If Joe thinks it’s funny, but Sam was the one that was making fun of you – Joe will then become friends with Sam. Now you got Joe and Sam making fun of you when Ryan, Steve, and David think it’s funny.

Now Sam, Joe, Ryan, Steve, and David are making fun of you and some more people think it’s funny, then more, then more.

So on and so forth. You just created a chain reaction until it gets too big to ever get away from until… you know… you watch the Jenny Jones talk show and move to another state.

These kids, being the age they are know that picking on you is not right, but all they see is the way to gain popularity… if you take that away from them, they wont be a bully to you – unless they are an asshole.

Don’t take that as me telling you not to get mad, but if you do it might not work out the way you want it to.

Tell a person of authority if someone is bothering you so much that it is unbearable. Ironically that has never done much for me, but then again a lot has changed since the 90’s.

As much as it sucks to ignore… you got to.

Rule #2 on the pamphlet says:

Treat the person who is being mean as if they are trying to help you. No matter how insulting or mean they may sound, be grateful and think they really care about you.

In a way… yes, however being grateful might end up giving them another reaction that they are looking for which can therefore be used against you.

If you are nice to someone who is being mean to you, it mainly does one important thing, it tells the bully, “I’m not giving you the reaction you’re looking for.”

On the same token, do not be too nice. This shows him that what he does has an impact on your emotions. It might backfire on you.

What you need to do is act like you don’t give a shit what they do or don’t do, you need to make it known that you do not care.

Rule #3 on the pamphlet says:

Do not be afraid. If you are afraid…you automatically lose.

This is very simple… if you are afraid of them you are then telling them, “you have control over my emotions.”

Rule #4 on the pamphlet says:

Do not verbally defend yourself…the defender is automatically the loser. If we defend, we lose.

This goes a lot into #2. When you’re mad, you often defend yourself – or give the body language of doing the same thing.

That being said, If you defend yourself, which they want you to do. You just end up giving them the reaction they are looking for.

Rule #5 on the pamphlet says:

Do not attack. It takes two people to fight, so it’s the person who retaliated or responds who actually starts the fight.

They want you to start the fight… don’t. Once again this just gives them the reaction they are looking for.

I can’t lie to you, if I was physically able to fight and win the fights I would have been suspended from school so many times.

On the same token, if you get into a fight and then win the said fight, you might change the playing field.

That being said, if you must do something violent, get into a fight. Never take a weapon to school, that is just a really bad thing to do, and does not make you a good person no matter what.

Overall it’s just a bad idea to get into a fight, if they want to fight you, they are pretty sure that you can not win, and therefore make them look cool and you look like more of a dork then they already think you already are.

Rule #6 on the pamphlet says:

If someone physically hurts you, just show that you are hurt; do not get angry. Did all the kids in town get exposed to gamma rays and there’s a bunch of little Hulks running around? If you get angry, they won’t feel sorry.

They won’t feel sorry, that’s why they hurt you. If anyone felt sorry for hurting you they would not do it.

Showing them that you are hurt however will let them know that they can get a reaction off of you… that they can thrive off.

I don’t really agree with this, however I do agree that the one that hurts you will not feel sorry about it.

If it bothers you, tell a person of authority, do not take it into your own hands.

And do not get angry, that’s just another reaction they are looking for.

I keep saying the reaction they are looking for… it kinda sounds like I’m being very confusing. It all depends on the person and how they are being raised. 

In my case the reaction they were looking for was anything that can be seen as funny to others, which therefore caused a gain in their popularity.

Rule #7 on the pamphlet says:

Do not tell on bullies. The number one reason bullies hate their victims is because their victims tell on them. Telling makes the bully want to retaliate.

True, telling on them will often come with a negative outcome.

However if you are truly hurt – emotionally or physically – you need to tell someone, whether they get the other party in-trouble or not, it’s good to have a counselor to talk to.

But on the other hand you need to find a counselor that actually cares about you and your emotions. In my experiences, the counselor’s where very quick to get you in and out, because all they cared about was their paycheck.

Rule #8 on the pamphlet says:

Don’t be a sore loser. Lose gracefully and be a good sport; kids will like you better.

I don’t really know what to say to this. I guess it speaks for itself.

People will often like you better if you accept who you are instead of trying to be someone you’re not.

That being said, if you lose, you might be angry that you lost or didn’t succeed, but be glad you tried and own it, don’t let it own you.

 And rule #9 on the pamphlet says:

Learn to laugh at yourself and not get “hooked” by put-downs. Make a joke out of it or agree with the put-down. For example: “If you think I’m ugly, you should see my sister!”

I might not say that line, it might not work out best for you… however I might say, “yes, I’m so ugly that you should not even be talking to me.” – Even though that is not really making fun of yourself.

I think this is the most important one – of all.

Do you know how much my life has changed when I not only learned how to keep from giving them the reaction that they were looking for, but also learned how to make fun of myself in a humorous manner?

People who are not even your bullies may end up becoming your friend because of the fact that you can not only handle such a situation, but you are funny on top of it.

Learning how to make fun of yourself was my most powerful defense, it more or less showed them, “if he says that about himself, I don’t really got much else to say.”

“If he is saying that about himself, he obviously does not care what I say and I wont get the reaction I’m looking for.”

Not only that, but you kinda turn the tables on them by making them look stupid, as if they did something trying to get people to laugh at you, but they laughed at them instead.

However you need to understand humor. if what you say is not funny to anyone besides you it will only backfire on you.

Wooden Toothpick

plug

Before I even start this story, do not, I repeat do not do that. That is a really dumb thing to do. I don’t care how gullible you are, do not do that.

I ran across this photo on Facebook and it made me think of this kid I knew in ninth grade. He thought he was so smart, and I showed him….it was funny, at least it was for me.

I was in ninth grade, as I already mentioned. We were working in the lab this day. It was late 1998 or early 1999 in Puyallup, Washington.

The science lab was state of the art, for that time. I went to a good school, better than I think I would have had if I stayed in the state of Nebraska.

Every table had a box of electrical sockets, and marble counter tops. Kind of like an inspection table at a machine shop that has a flatness tolerance of plus or minus 0.002 (inches). There were 4 to 5 chairs around each table.

There were about 10 of these tables on one side of the room that was on the same side as the hallway. On the other side of the room were long and cheaper tables with a small projector in front of it. You could also turn around and see outside from that side of the room.

We could see outside from anywhere in the room, but that side was closer to the fire escape door and all the other windows that took up most of the same wall. It was where the teacher would give lectures before we split up into groups.

I think we were dissecting frogs that day. Which is what it is. We had all the tools needed at said tables.

After the lecture and taking count of who was there and who wasn’t we split up into small groups of three to four people.

I was new to the state of Washington and only lived there for about half of a year at this point, so I really didn’t know anyone yet.

Coming from another school in another state, one in which I got picked on, on a daily basis; I wasn’t much of a social person.

I can’t remember anyone in my group other then this blond hair kid that looked like Anton Tobias in the movie Idle Hands.

He had blond hair that was parted down the middle and dangled down to his ears on each side. You could stereotype this kid as a stoner. He seemed to be trapped in 1993 and still dressed like Kurt Cobain, which being the time in the greater Seattle was not too uncommon.

We were sitting there at the table while the teacher was on the other end of the room helping another student, we didn’t even start yet. No one else did either, we were all waiting for the teachers instructions.

We were sitting there as this kid we will call Nirvana is looking at the table and says, “dude, I dare you to stick that in the outlet.”

I just stare at the table and say, “okay.”

As I’m sliding my hand across the marble table top and reaching for the wooden toothpick he says, “no man, don’t do that, you’ll die or some shit.”

I grabbed the toothpick and smiled as I said, “no I wont, I’m invincible.”

I’m now holding the toothpick a few inches away form the outlet and he is freaking out saying, “no man, don’t do that, really, don’t do it.”

I’m still holding the toothpick a few inches away from the outlet as I look up at him and say, “watch this shit man, I’m about to blow your mind.”

The toothpick is now fully inserted into the electrical outlet and I look up at him to see him as he is questioning the meaning of life.

Then he tries to tell me it must of been because I was only doing it with one toothpick. Apparently I had to have two of them if I wanted to be electrocuted.

I’m smiling at him as I say, “I’ll do it with two toothpicks man, nothing is going to happen.”

I finally can’t do this anymore so I say “dude, we’re in science class.”

He responds by saying “so.”

I continue by saying, “wood is not a conductor of electricity.”

He is trying to defend himself by saying, “but wood can catch on fire.”

I kinda laugh as I say, “yes, yes it can.”

After pausing for a second while looking at the priceless look on his face I continue by saying, “fire is not electricity”

He is now looking down as to say, “man, I tried to make fun of this dude in a wheelchair, but he just made me look stupid.”

It just felt good.

From ninth grade on I knew why people were making fun of me and that turned me into a fairly popular kid from that point on, my popularity peaked in my senior year of high school, but that is totally a different story that you can find in the ‘Imaginary Filing Cabinet’, look in December of 2013 if you care to look for it.

This was just a story about the kid and the wooden toothpick.