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Double Standards Don’t Help Anyone Succeed

, , , , , | Learning | August 22, 2021

I was in fourth or fifth grade when this happened. I’m a girl, and at this time, I was also dealing with what would later be diagnosed as high-functioning autism. As a result, I had a really hard time interacting with my classmates. I did my best to learn what kind of behaviour was appropriate in different situations, but I found it to be very difficult, because the rules kept changing around depending on the individuals who were involved. 

One bright winter day, my classmates and I were playing King of the Hill on a big snowdrift in the schoolyard. The class bully kept winning, and I found it unfair, because he was so much bigger and stronger than the rest of us, and I thought he should give someone else a go instead of just kicking off anyone who tried to make an attempt to get to the top. This inevitably escalated into a fight between me and the bully, because I thought that the same rules applied to all children and had not yet grasped that girls were not supposed to fight. 

We ended up in an empty classroom with our teacher. It’s important to note that we were both chubby children, but [Class Bully] was tall and broad while I was short and squat. I’d been bullied for being fat for years, while no one had ever dared to say anything to [Class Bully].

Teacher: “Can you please tell me what happened?

Class Bully: “[My Name] said I was fat and to get off the hill!”

Me: “That’s not what happened! I told him he should let someone else have a chance to be King! I just said he’s as big as two people and it wasn’t fair!”

[Class Bully] started crying, which was usually what he did when he was being called out for his behaviour and there was an adult present.

Teacher: “[My Name], I’m very disappointed in you. You know bullying isn’t acceptable at this school!”

In fact, bullying was very much acceptable at this school; it just depended on who was doing the bullying.

Me: “But I wasn’t bullying him.”

Teacher: “You can’t go around calling other children fat. That sort of thing hurts. I’m going to have to call your parents about this.”

Me: “I didn’t say he was fat; I said he was big!”

Teacher: “It means the same thing, and it’s very hurtful. You need to be more considerate of others, [My Name]. See how sad you’ve made [Class Bully]?”

Me: “But the other children call me fat all the time; how is that any different? Why am I not allowed to say it?”

Teacher: “Well, we can’t always say everything we think. Now, apologize to [Class Bully] and then go home and think about what you’ve done.”

In my mind, I hadn’t done anything different than what the other kids were already doing to me without consequences, but in my little mental flowchart of human interaction, I carefully noted down, “Other children may be mean to me, but I may not be mean to them.”

This, and a hundred other little incidents like it, led to me, a few years later, being scolded by my teachers for not speaking up in class and not standing up for myself. 

It was very, very confusing until I reached my twenties and finally got a therapist who explained to me that I was not the stupid one.

Who Gave This Woman A License?!

, , , , | Related | August 17, 2021

This story takes place a decade ago. My mom and I are on a road trip. I’m seventeen, so I help with the driving. We take a lot of back roads so we don’t deal with much traffic. I’m currently driving and we are the only ones on the road for miles. I briefly take one hand off the wheel to adjust my AC controls.

Mom: “What are you doing?! Keep your hands on the wheel!”

Me: “I was just adjusting the AC. It was getting too cold for my hands.”

Mom: “You can’t do that. It’s reckless. You could cause an accident!”

Me: “Mom, I briefly took my hand off the wheel. I didn’t take my eyes off the road. I didn’t veer out of my lane. And there’s no one around us.”

Mom: “Doesn’t matter! I’m the grownup. You’re still a child. I have years of experience over you.”

I drop it, but at the next rest stop, I pull over and tell Mom she can drive if she doesn’t feel comfortable with my driving. Later, we actually hit some traffic and she’s trying to figure out which road we want to take next. She pulls out her map and opens it on the steering wheel while driving. She looks down at the map for a long time, veers out of her lane, and doesn’t realize what’s going on around her. A few people honk at her.

Me: “Mom, I can take the map and find where we are and where we need to go. Or I can look it up on the GPS or my phone.”

Mom: “I got it. I’ve been doing this for years before technology. How do you think we did this without phones?”

Me: “Mom, please hand me the map! I can look at it. You just need to focus on your driving.”

Mom: “Leave me alone, [My Name]. I’ve got it.”

Me: “You’re veering out of your lane. You’re not paying attention to what’s happening on the road. You might as well be texting and driving.”

Mom: “This is not the same. It’s nothing like texting and driving.”

Me: “You’re right. It’s worse. You’re taking your eyes off the road for way longer than you would if you were texting.”

After some arguing, I eventually convinced her to give me the map, but she continuously did similar things throughout the trip that just led to us fighting a majority of the time. And she wonders why I don’t have good memories of the road trips or why I started to refuse to go on them.

That Is Her Tragedy

, , , , | Related | May 8, 2021

My mother has always hated it when my grandmother complains about something that someone else does, but when it’s pointed out that she has done the same thing she always says, “It’s different for us.”

My sister has just moved into a new subdivision. All of the houses had one or two-car attached garages and very little in the way of landscaping. A few weeks after the move, we head to her place for a visit and we notice that one of the houses now has planted garden beds. One of the beds is across the front of their double garage doors.

Mum: *Angrily* “Look at that; they have planted bushes across the front of their garage doors. You know what they are going to do.”

I don’t see why she’s so angry.

Me: “Yeah, they’re going to turn the garage into rooms.”

Mum: “Well, it’s not right; they bought the house with a garage and it should stay as a garage, not be used as a room. It makes their house bigger than everyone else’s.”

Me: “But you turned your garage into a room.”

Mum: “It’s different for us. We built the garage in the first place; they bought the house with a garage.”

She didn’t mention that she and dad had extended their house until it was the biggest in the street, and she gets indignant when anyone points out how much she sounds like her mother.

Moonshine Is The Devil’s Drink; Wine Is A Gift From God

, , , , , , | Related | April 12, 2021

My mother-in-law recently bought a house in a small rural town and asked my husband and me to move in with her. She is very religious and has an interesting take on what is moral and what isn’t. Once we get settled in, I decide to learn a bit about the local history.

Me: “And did you know that [Town] used to be called [Name] Tavern? It was known for its moonshine. It’s a shame that there isn’t a bar in town called [Name] Tavern, but since it’s a dry county, I guess that’s out.”

Mother-In-Law: “We have moved into a hotbed of sin and alcoholism! We live in a tavern! How will I ever face my friends again?! They’ll think I’m a dirty liquor lover if they ever find out! Moonshine is the devil’s drink!

My husband then comes out of his office. 

Husband: “Hey, [My Name], do you feel like driving to [Neighboring Town] and getting us some wine to go with the steaks tonight?”

Mother-In-Law: “Oh, get me a good Pinot Grigio while you’re there. I’m almost out.”

You’re Allowed To Complain – Just Admit That’s What You’re Doing!

, , , | Right | March 27, 2021

Customer: “Do you have a comment card I can fill out?”

Me: “No, sir, but we have an online survey where you can leave comments. I am the manager on duty; how can I help?”

Customer: “Well, I’m not complaining, but our meal was terrible. The steak was way too small, and…”

Complain, complain, complain…

A friend of his walks by and says:

Customer’s Friend: “Hey, man! Great to see you! How you been doing?”

Customer: “Great, man! Too blessed to complain about anything! Good seeing you!”

The customer turns back to me.

Customer: “Anyway, my wife’s meal was bad, too. She…”

Complain, complain, complain…