body of water during golden hour

Bullying, Unfashionable Diseases and Becoming Outmoded.

I watched a documentary last night called “Bully”, it is a decade old now, but it was no less powerful for not being current. Let’s face it, the world has hardly fixed bullying in the last ten years, and to be frank, considering human nature, despite the best efforts of anti-bullying activists, I consider it a pipe dream to stop it, even if perhaps awareness means that the most vulnerable might be taken seriously slightly more often than in the past.

I was what is commonly known as ‘an odd duck’ as a child, and this odd duck-iness, was partly the cause of an absolutely miserable childhood. I am not sure if the world is lucky or far worse for the fact that I am also a stubborn cow that refuses to let the bastards totally destroy me. Yet destroy me the little shits did their very best to drag me down. I was called a lezzer and a dyke, a boy and a boffin. Knives were wielded in my general direction, and I was threatened with being cut up in bathrooms, to the point where I refused to drink anything during my school day in case I had to go into the bathroom and risk another beating, punch to the gut or vicious mocking and threats. It was miserable. My guardians told me that I should stop being so odd. Teachers entreated me, in a nice bit of victim blaming, to ‘try and get along with people.’ I was not the problem. I didn’t even want to be friends, I wanted people to simply leave me alone.

Added to the fact that my home-life was abusive and I barely saw my biological father, or grandparents, who I felt at least an affinity for, and I was utterly alone. I dreaded going to school. I dreaded the walk home. I absolutely lived for the times when I was able to stay in my room and not a soul bother me. This behavior carried on into adult life, I still don’t like the company of others. In fact I find it harder than ever to cope with other people.

Of course, I got to about 17 or so, and became passably pretty, and reasonably cool. My oddness was tolerated, and my friend group was as odd as I was. I suppose I am eternally grateful for not being one of those mundane maddening hoards who insist everybody has to be like their dull selves.

One of the marvelous things about being an old girl is I quite simply don’t give a fuck any more about other people. Apart from my son, Ruthie, and a few of you bloggers and writing community twitterers there are few people I want to talk to. That is not to say that those boys and girls that once punched me in the stomach, took my lunch money and tore up my homework haven’t grown up to be utter assholes in adulthood. They have, and I spend way too much energy coping with the fact they still nip and badger. Modern social media bullying is more insidious. I sometimes have to simply take a fucking break.

The list of horror show characters is long and illustrious: racists and the right wing maga klowns, those who detest immigrants while being descended from them, curious souls who insist that all lesbians are dreaded terfs and insist that women who don’t dig prick, still fuck with it even though it leaves them cold at best, those who insist that celiac disease is a fashion and that celiacs can eat everything bar bread and certified food is not required, people who post a lot of photos of bacon and blue steaks whilst declaring they love animals, Russian sympathizers and a few (usually female actually) GOP witches that give me the shudders up my spine and praying to a God that I don’t believe in to never ever let me accidentally get Karen hair. I am leaving out more than a few freaks. Korean boy band fans and Hatsune Miku abusers are the least of my bugbears. If I get as far as the anti asian and anti semetic dark soft underbelly then it can officially be counted as a bad day. I usually stop myself before it all goes wrong, and I move beyond liking photos of Keith Richards, whilst noting his scarf-game, retweeting videos of squirrels eating almonds and offering vague but heartfelt support to other writers. I have to live a deliberately vague life, or else risk a cancelling.

Still, my small forays into online lesbian dating have been a nightmare. 90 percent of the respondents have been owners of trouser snakes. I am sure they are perfectly nice people…but I thought lesbian generally meant no dick. Not anymore. Just about anyone can be a dyke. And for the record, before I blow a fucking fuse, considering how many times I have had that word hurled at me as a slur, I think I have the fucking right to use it. Try turning someone down because their own the wrong genitals for ‘you’ and behold the responses – so nasty I have deleted my account. Fuck it. I’m ok with being alone. I am too old anyway. It’s ok. I don’t suppose it is showing I am rapidly reaching my limits for self editing? No? Good.

I was accused of being a real ‘go getter’. I wanted to scream in their face. What? Because I speak with an accent that is considered ‘posh’ or ‘refined’ to others? Because I am working my ass off to try and make a career as a writer whilst suffering crippling social anxiety and vast PTSD fear episodes that leave me shaking? Because I try to be intelligent and reasonable company? Because I don’t fit the stereotype of what others want from a victim or an ex addict or a homeless person? To not drink and not get high takes a shit load of effort from me on a daily basis, and to be frank I miss my fuel. I have spent the last few days wanting a drink so badly it left me breathless and crying. But that’s ok. Because I look and sound like someone who should be living an easy and safe life. Fuck that, and fuck them.

You see, I consider it all a continuation of high school misery. If you don’t fit the correct image and categories of acceptability, then it is curtains for you. Some people can absorb that shunning, but I am already too far outside of society to even dare raise my head above the parapet. I have taken to biting my tongue so hard I am shocked there is any of it left. You see, I don’t have that kind of power. I have no ability to take part in representative democracy, and even if I did, I am politically homeless, somewhere to the left of the democrats, whilst not being on board with everything they push forward in the package of beliefs. It is ok. I believe democracy to be a veneer, a sham, an ideal that humanity has sorely taken advantage off and wasted. The only thing I am content with is that Trump is nowhere near power, but I can’t even rely on that being permanent, and besides there is always another Trump around the corner.

Celiac disease is deeply unfashionable, and it being celiac awareness month, I am doomed to be totally gnashing my teeth and snarling at people who have a lot of opinions on the matter, but know nothing about it. Celiac is not a ‘sensitivity’, it can cause cancers, (Stomach, lymphoma), brain damage, nerve damage, one of the most awful skin rashes known to mankind, horribly painful stomach issues, extreme fatigue, hair loss…tooth loss, bone density issues….the list goes on. It is a really serious disease. Gluten free processed food has to be tested and labelled and produced on gluten free lines. Anything over 20ppm will cause medical damage to a celiac. Some celiacs cannot tolerate avenin which is in oats, which is a gluten-like protein. I personally, like many other celiacs have to be careful about how much 20ppm foods I eat, as it builds up and I start to get very unwell indeed.

Gluten removed foods (yes, it is a thing, the producers apparently wash the wheat to remove the gliadin) always make me unwell. Yet it is seen as ok to mock and bully people with a serious medical condition, because some idiots simply don’t understand the severity or how hard it is to control a diet with no malt, no rye, no wheat or barley. Even flavored waters and soft drinks have been known to use barley and malt in flavorings. “Modified food starch’ is sometimes wheat based. Everything I eat has to either be a raw material, or else certified. Strawberries and mushrooms grown on straw and wheat based mediums make many celiacs sick…hence the ‘gluten free’ designation in some packets of strawberries. This information does not hurt any non celiac, but if it can stop a celiac sufferer getting cancer, why do people actually mind? Because they are idiots and bores and have minds as dull as a butter knife.

I am going to spend the rest of my working day knocking out another 2000 words of my novel. It is really taking shape, the plot lines holding together, and the great may day weekend massacre of the characters really helped it tighten up. I know where this is going, at least for the next 20,000 words, and that is what matters, right? All I have to do is put in my headphones, look at photos of sunsets, and pretend it is at least 30 years in the past and that everything is going to be alright. I don’t hate people. I love people…at least ones without red hats. It is society I can’t get along with. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, I suppose…

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