Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sticks or stones?

The old saying, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me" was obviously thought up by an asshat parent trying to comfort their child.

Sticks and stones, while they leave there visible marks, have a way of traumatizing yet making someone angry in the NT and Autie world. But those marks fade, they always do, even if scarring occurs. I'm not saying that assault in any form is acceptable, but let's face it- most of us would probably rather take a literal slap than a verbal one. I would.

Morgan seemed "fuzzy" this afternoon. He was hyper- for him. He couldn't focus at all and was over emotional, even by autistic standards.

I had to run over to a neighbor's apartment to print something off for his homework and her son came running in to inform me that Morgan was crying, a LOT, because the kids wouldn't play a game of tag. The neighbor and I, being adults, just said, "play the dang game and be a big kid- set the good example!"

When I came out to the stairwell, the kids were all in a huddle around Morgan, chattering like magpies. I knew that would set him to crying. Well, he already was- a LOT. My "mommydar" went off. I knew something wasn't right.

B, a girl that has become Morgan's bestie lately, piped up that Morgan had been bullied by two boys at school today. God, I felt my heart just... squeeze. With all of the kids around us, I coaxed out what had been bugging him (three cheers for him even telling, I think he felt encouraged due to the other kids being there). Apparently, some little jerks named Z and let's call him B told Morgan that he's fat. "Lard ass" is the word Morgan later used. That is NOT a term I allow in my house. Derogatory terms referring to weight rank right  up their with gay slurs and racist terms.

After Morgan confided in the crowd, I pointed out that those morons aren't his friends and that he needs to stay away from them. Also, that everyone standing there IS his friend. The kids were very quick to chime in (they're super sweet, honest to goodness great kids!). Then, J, the comic in the group, raised his shirt, grabbed his tummy and shook it yelling "Morgan, THIS is fat!!" J does have a bit of chub. Funnily enough, he's the exact same size as Morgan, but six years older!

I think this has been going on for a while. Morgan has been making comments since last month about being fat. The child stands 5'1 and weighs 110lbs. He's a big kid! Overweight some, yes. But geez. HE TURNED DOWN CANDY TONIGHT, PEOPLE!

My point in all of this is this: I've been on a tirade lately against the word "retard." Begging, ordering, asking, etc., people on Facebook, Twitter, in my everyday life to just eliminate it for fear that (a) it'll reach Morgan's ears, (b) they need to get a flippin' thesaurus and another word, anyway and (c) why use it?

Don't people understand that words hurt? I know that I still sting every time I think of my former stepfather telling my mom that I was "fat as mud," "could be pretty if I laid off the food," and a zillion other things. I know that my sister still hurts from the godawful crap I said to her about her speech and gums (Sorry, Riah- I really do love you and you are a beautiful person... hate that I gave you that phobia about closed hands and spiders).

I lay awake some nights, like most parents and mentally replay my day. More than 80% of the time I can come up with something that I've said that will likely scar one of my kids. I'm ashamed as hell and yet, it's probably small beans compared to what other parents do to there kids. This is in no way excusing my own behavior. I've gone on tirades that would make Marilyn Manson blush.

I just want my 10 readers to ask themselves... would you prefer your child to be bullied for something they cannot help (like autism), be made fun of for their weight, or be physically hurt? Of those things, which do you think would hurt worse? If it has happened to you, what are your thoughts? 


  1. Hey Girl. Love to Morgan and I am happy to hear the kids are aligning themselves with him. As for your question, let me first set aside a mother's instinct to tear into the monster who tries any of that on MY child. I will speak for myself and let him decide his own answer in his own time.

    Cruelty is regardless of its form. I internalized every message I received about physical appearance and every dismissal for being the odd one in my family who preferred a book to a ball and dared contemplate perspectives beyond our own. I cannot however recall the individual bruises I have taken along the way and am voting for physically hurt. You feel justified when a hurt is visible and elicits sympathy and you can feel empowered to respond. If someone smacks me then I have no doubt of their intent and need not restrain myself. I will hit back and with more force.

    The most damaging things to my fragile adolescent psyche were words which were phrased as constructive criticism, endearments, or jokes. They left me stunted and stunned, unable to respond to a threat I couldn't quantify. You should never feel that you do not belong inside your own self or that the mirror is anything more significant than a physical reflection. Words can give power to manipulate and erode the self. They scare me.


  2. "Words can give power to manipulate and erode the self. They scare me." Exactly. They scare the hell out of me and to be honest with you and anyone else reading this, they to an extreme, have made me a shell of a person at times. it is something that both of us have discussed through the years. I've often wished that someone would hit me during an argument rather than slander me with untrue or partially true statements. What's even worse is when someone takes a nugget of truth, however small, and hits you in the jugular with it. What I hate for Morgan is that he's already sensitive about his size and has been for a while. When he broke down crying over being called that very thing that I'd been called several times in my own history, I just felt... powerless. This wasn't something that I'd expected to deal with as the mother of a boy, as dumb as that might sound. What I am wondering is how is this going to play out with his autism? Morgan is like a tape recorder! It is literally easier to beat him up and expect him to forgive/forget than to say harsh things and expect him to do the aforementioned things. I try to find humor in nearly everything that autism throws at us, but bullying, along with a couple of other things that I'll likely delve into later, just isn't funny. Not one bit, not at all.

    P.S. Thanks for commenting, love ya darlin!