Posts Tagged ‘judgment’

To the man who yelled “fat ass” out his window

Fat ass

No way!?

Thank you. I’m sure you were just trying to be helpful. Your words were truly enlightening. I had no idea prior to your comments that I do, in fact, have a fat ass. Even has I pulled my size 24 pants on this morning, I just completely missed the fact that my ass is fat. So, thank you.

And although you didn’t have time to elaborate as you drove past, I’m sure you were really just trying to point out my obesity in order to remind me of health risks, such as diabetes, heart disease, and sleep apnea. Of course, those are all things I would never have thought to discuss with my doctor (whose office I had actually just left) if you didn’t take the time out of your busy day to call me a fat ass.

You’re not the first, ya know. I’ve heard various forms of “fat ass” throughout my life. All that fat must clog my brain and make me stupid because I obviously need constant reminding. So, of course, you won’t be the last either.

I’m sure you’re an expert on all that is me. You learned all you needed to in those few seconds. I’m sure you know how lazy I am and that all I do is sit on the couch, watch TV, and eat Twinkies. It must have just been a rare occasion for me to peel my bulbous behind off the sofa. Just looking at me, it’s obvious that I’m undisciplined, unmotivated, and of course, sedentary.

But, you know, just in case you have a few things wrong, or you’re even remotely interested, here are some real things about me . . . . good and bad:

~I have a 9-year-old daughter who is my world.
~I watched my mom die when I was 16.
~I battle anxiety and depression every day.
~I’m a sci-fi/fantasy geek . . . and am particularly obsessed with Doctor Who and all things Joss Whedon.
~I wasn’t always fat, but I’ve always thought I was.
~I work with kids with special behavioral needs. It can be incredibly stressful but also incredibly rewarding. I love what I do.
~I started working as a freelance writer/editor four years ago. It was something I had wanted to do since adolescence but never thought I’d be able to pull it off.
~I’m a (mostly) recovering self-injurer and I’m working on a book to help myself and others realize they’re not alone and self-injury does not just affect teenage girls.
~I want to learn how to sew just so I can learn how to make better costumes for comic cons, renaissance faires, and Halloween.
~I’m an adult child of an alcoholic.
~I have an obsession with books.
~Even at 300+ lbs., I can still walk a 15-minute mile.
~I’m an emotional eater. I’ve always had difficulty loving myself and I learned a long time ago that food is a comfort when I can’t find it elsewhere. I’m fighting to break free from that.
~I’ve always wanted to travel, but I’ve never made it out of the United States (and I haven’t even traveled much within the country).

This is just a small sample of the things you can’t possibly know about me just by looking at me, but, of course, my fat ass trumps them all.

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‘Bratty’ kids and their parents

A couple of my friends posted an article from CNN.com’s Opinion section on Facebook yesterday.  I started commenting on one of their posts and after a few paragraphs decided that my views would be better served as a blog post. And so here I am!

Permissive parents: Curb your brats seems aimed at exposing what most people are supposedly thinking –  We can’t stand other people’s kids, well at least the ones whose parents let them run rampant in restaurants and grocery stores or ones who scream loudly in movie theaters and on airplanes.

The article discusses the responsibilities of parents to discipline their children. I don’t disagree with this.

My issue is with the automatic conclusions drawn from seeing rowdy kids in public. My issue is with the judgment placed on the parents – judgment that says those parents must not be properly disciplining their children. I’m not saying that’s not the case sometimes. I am saying that is not the case all the time.

I worked in customer service for years. I’ve seen a mother push her toddler around in a shopping cart letting him drop crackers throughout the entire store. She never stopped him from tossing them out of the cart. She never took the crackers away. She left us to sweep 11 aisles of crackers. I’ve almost tripped over kids in a restaurant while carrying 40 lb trays of food because parents did not feel the need to make their child sit in his seat.

I’ve also spent several years working in the field of special education. I’ve walked into a store with an autistic child who started to stim on several occasions. Stimming, or self-stimulatory behaviors are often an autistic child’s way of dealing with excitement or anxiety. Imagine when you tap your foot because you’re nervous. Now think about a child who cannot control those feelings. It can very much look like a child acting out. Jumping up and down. Flailing arms. Screaming. These can all be stimming behaviors.

And when the boy I was working with would start to stim in the grocery store, I did not yell at him or give him “the look” as the author suggests because well, both of those things would have been pointless. I did work on redirecting his behaviors. Sometimes that worked. Sometimes it didn’t. When it didn’t work, we would leave the store. I had that luxury because I was his behavioral support. The only reason we were in the store was because I was working on teaching him how to behave in public settings.

Parents have no such luxury. Mom needs to go buy milk and bread. Mom needs to take her child with her. The child starts acting out in the store. Maybe it’s because mom doesn’t discipline properly. Maybe it’s because the child has a disability and can’t control himself. Maybe mom just got done a second shift and is too exhausted to do anything but grab the milk and bread and rush out of the store as quickly as possible.

The point is that you don’t know.

I’ll admit I have a bit more aggravation when incidents occur in restaurants and movie theaters. They’re not necessities. (Though I’d also like to point out that children will only learn how to act in these settings when they’re exposed to them.) But trips to the grocery store, shopping at the mall and yes, even airplane rides are sometimes unavoidable. Can it be unpleasant for others? Sure. But that parent is typically mortified. She feels your eyes on her. She hears your groans. She senses your judgment.

Do I think kids generally need more discipline than what they’re getting? Yes. I also agree with the author that kids should be taught that they are not the center of the universe.

But I stopped passing judgment on parents in public places a long time ago.

And every once in a while when those ugly thoughts come into my head, I think about the kids I used to work with. I think about the dirty looks I would get when they stimmed in public.

I also think about when I worked third shift. My daughter was a toddler. Sometimes I had no choice but to take her shopping with me after work. Sometimes I was up for 36 hours straight. Sometimes I was so infused with caffeine just to keep myself awake that I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking. And yeah, sometimes she would throw a tantrum in the store and I’d grab my milk and bread and get out of there as fast as possible.

I think about the fact that I have no idea what is going on with that family. I think about how much I despise being judged based on only a few minutes of exposure to who I am – as a person or as a parent.