When Does Friendly Teasing Turn into Something Else?

Teasing is a playful way for people to connect, as long as all parties involved know the intent. Teasing becomes bullying when one person becomes the aggressor either in hurtful words or physical acts.

Here, I will give a very embarrassing antidote about teasing that went wrong when I was little. One year my dad took me for a haircut, which was usually my mom’s domain. I am not 100% how the events occurred but my father told the man to cut my hair short and I ended up walking out looking like a little boy, super short hair with bangs. Later down the timeline I lost a front tooth which leads me to believe I was probably about 6 or 7. Now, I am quite certain my father was teasing originally when he nicknamed me “Butch the toothless boy” during this time however, he encourage my older brother to also use this term. Even when I cried and wanted them to stop it did not. That was the line, it was teasing until my feelings were hurt, I asked for it to stop and it continued anyhow, that is when it became bullying. Thinking about it 30 years later still makes me sad and anger, so we need to be careful with our words.

Our kids today are easy to escalate to bullying from teasing and as a mother this worries me. My son has a very good friend and they tease each other equally, they playfully smack each other and say weird things I do not understand but they both know it is in good fun. Somewhere along the road however, it escalated. It’s fine now, but there were a couple of days where my son asked him to stop punching him and his friend did not. A conversation with the mom, thankfully we are friends, and it was resolved. Or at least, there’s no more punching, though they are a bit offish to each other at the moment I imagine they will figure it out.

In our current world where people who should be respected but our leaders call each other names we are setting up our kids for the same behavior. I will not sit back and watch the people in my life be bullied, and I now am confident enough so I will not be bullied.

I Didn’t Know I Had an Eating Disorder

Food and I have never really had a healthy relationship until recently. When ever I hear eating disorder I think of anorexia or bulimia, not emotional eating and hiding foods.

Since I was young though, food was my comfort. Feeling sad, have some candy, feeling stressed how about some ice cream, bored… carbs! This obviously resulted in weight gain and very unhealthy coping strategies.

Apparently, emotional eating can lead to binge eating. Psychiatry.org defines: “Eating disorders are illnesses in which the people experience severe disturbances in their eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions.” Binge eating usually happens at least once a week for over 3 months of time in addition to a lack of control.

Eat faster than normal, check. Eat until uncomfortably full, check. Eat large amounts of food when not physically hungry, check. Eat alone, mostly out of boredom but check. Feel guilty and depressed about eating so much, check. Oh look, I checked each of the little warning signs and you only need three for verification.

Apparently, there are nine types of eating disorders currently classified. Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge eating are the top three. According to NIMH, “Researchers are finding that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors.” Fun science is also showing differences in MRIs of healthy women compared to women with eating disorders.

So here’s the thing. I had no clue that this was as bad as it was until I was in therapy this week. I was discussing things that were triggering my trauma recently and how I felt the need to eat more when I saw I was losing weight this week. I am on Keto to be healthy, I realize how insane this was and that is why I spoke to my therapist about it. I didn’t over eat, though ever fiber of my being really wanted to, instead I snacked on almonds and drank more water.

Being a “victim” is very hard for me, being vulnerable is even harder. So with some work, we uncovered that I was not only using food as comfort but when things got really hard for me, my go to was to use my body and my weight as a defense. Blend in and not get noticed.

It gnaws at me still just typing this. I do not want to be this person who uses food instead of emotion, who eats out of boredom and stress. I am working on getting healthy because even when my brain is shrinking from MS and I cannot control what my body does I can at least try and control the balance inside this body.

Sources

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/eating-disorders/what-are-eating-disorders

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/common-eating-disorders#binge-eating-disorder

Eating Disorders: Causes, Symptoms, Signs & Medical Complications

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders/index.shtml

When You’re Doing it Right and Someone Else is Stupid

As if a giant sign out of no where, when I was trying to find something lighthearted to blog about after my last one this thing happened.

The setup: my youngest son is in the second grade, there are only four handicap spots at his school. Since mid-way through first grade I have had him come to the car at the pickup loop so I don’t have to be there an hour early to get a spot. This means I rarely use a spot any more. I have posted numerous times on the parent Facebook group for the school about my service dog because I know the kids will tell the parents and the parents usually have questions, because I “look normal”.

Today, I had to park (an hour early) to go in an buy raffle tickets for a Halloween Bash they are doing at the school. I do not use a handicap placard because my disability will only get worse and there is no cure, therefore, my license plate sports the international symbol for disability, smack dab in the middle of the numbers. In addition to that, the back of my SUV has a sticker that says “Service Dog on Board”. I am the only parent at this particular school who uses a service dog on the property.

When I got back to my car, after most of the cars had left, there was a post it note on my driver side window; “Where is your Handicap Plackard??” Grammar and spelling aside, my brain might be shrinking but I am not that stupid yet, I was enraged. I immediately felt my blood pressure rise and had to take a beat.

I am the biggest fucking advocate for those of us with disabilities, I talk to the principals at both of my kids schools about needing more spaces for us. During events I ask about the possibility of blocking off some regular spots for more of us so we can all park. We are a weird little group, those of us who are disabled. I get seriously pissed off when people park in the disability spots without the appropriate tags, but I check the license plate first and placard second.

Is this person someone with a disability and just an ignorant asshat, or are they a normal person feeling the need to make them-self feel superior. Either way, they only succeeded at pissing me of, publicly shaming them on Facebook, and now here and now everyone knows they can’t spell and they don’t have all the information they need to actually make a difference.

Would this same person put this note on the car of one of the disabled veterans that park at this school? They don’t have the handy little wheelchair on a plate or a placard, they get the dignified DV on their plate. It commands respect and I would be livid if I witnessed this happen to them.

How dare you make me justify my disability in a public forum because you leave a cowardly note on my car. You have no clue what I go through everyday just to live, let alone participate with people socially or be there for my kids. I am bombarded with questions every single time I leave my house with my service dog. I expect it, I do not enjoy it, it adds stress and anxiety to my life but I answer the polite questions nicely, the not so polite ones get curt answers.

I have not had to justify my disability to anyone since I was in Europe last year at the Louvre when some lady (with a tour group) tried to tell me I could not use the elevator because it’s only for the disabled. “I AM disabled” I responded loud enough to get the point across.

So once again, I feel that my multiple sclerosis is not enough for the mass public. When my legs stop working and feel like jelly, when one leg doesn’t remember what to do and just kind of drags along. When I have pain in every nerve in my body because I over heated from outside temp or being surrounded by too many people.

You know what though, my MS is enough, my life is harder than any “normal” person can even comprehend. So to you, cowardly note leaver, fuck off. I did everything right and you are a bully.