“Do they really need the abuse of being compared to a rhinoceros on top of everything else?”

Art installation from The Burning Man exhibit, 2015.
Inner Child – art installation from The Burning Man-2015

M. gave me a gift today.  It’s an F*** Box from the UK.  It’s a grid of 16 buttons that play sound bytes of the F word being used in various ways (with feeling) by people with British accents.  I effing love it!  I need to hack it a bit to lower the volume, though, (this is the midwest.)  It’s the size of a deck of cards, and it now resides on my desk where I can press and giggle at will.

I saw a young woman speak horribly to a man earlier.  As I cringed, I thought to myself she should have served in the military.  It provides excellent training on how to treat humans, regardless of their social grouping.  I didn’t say anything because I couldn’t think of anything besides shaming her.  (I know from trial and error this isn’t a practical method for civilians.)

I used to be her.  Only for about a week, (because I was in the Army when I finally realized males aren’t disgusting after all.)  I trampled on a man’s ego as if it made me cute in earshot of a woman, once.  She corrected the shit out of my behavior. (It was terrifying to be a girl in the Army.  The women watch everything you do at all times as if every mistake you make halves their paycheck.)

I got kicked out of the barracks and had to move in with her and her three kids in military housing.  At first, I was in shock and had the gall to act like I was unjustly singled out and punished.  I didn’t even get a private room or bed.  I had to sleep with a toddler who wet the bed at least once a week.  I learned baby pee is no biggie, and they don’t take up much room.

Then I learned how to treat men by spending all my free time with two little boys and a toddler baby girl.  I don’t remember how long it took before I was allowed to move back into the barracks.  It’s not that living in the barracks was highly desirable;  more that I eventually figured out how shameful it was to be someone who couldn’t be trusted to live there without (verbally) abusing the 200 or so young men who also lived there.

I do remember what I did that got me in so much trouble.  A man who was in my battalion but not my battery, asked me out while we were standing in line for chow.  I was 18 at the time, and he was 25.  (Lowering my head in shame)  I said, “Eww.”  To his face.  In front of others.  And I didn’t realize I just kicked him in the nuts and set his hair on fire.  So I turned around and made the, Can you believe this guy? motion I learned from TV.  (And then assumed it was perfectly fine to go on living my life like I didn’t just do that.)

children

Whew.  I’m still paying for it in regret and shame.  My SSG told me whenever I look at a man, also see the cute little boy operating the man-sized avatar, because that’s where we all keep our feelings.  Spending time with her kids was a lot of fun, I’ll admit.  I adored them and still think of them sometimes.  The oldest was 13, and we were an even match in basketball.  (We spent more energy on talking shit than playing, though.)

The middle boy was 9ish.  It’s possible he was sweeter than Amelia Bedelia is now, and that’s saying something.  The baby was 3 or 4.  We used to watch music videos of The Boys, our mutually adored band, then dance in front of the mirror.  She was adorable and fascinating.  I was awestruck by how developed her personality was at such a young age.  She’s an incredible woman now, just like her mom.

It was the first and last time I abused a man.  It’s hard to see young women and girls make the mistakes I did and not intervene, but I’m nobody’s SSG, and this isn’t the military.  It’s easy to copy the behaviors and words we see on TV and in movies.  Especially those of us on the autism spectrum.  I couldn’t communicate with people if I couldn’t study actors to show me how and teach me the scripts.  Naturally, I assume everyone uses this tool to some degree.  🙃

Not everything we see actors do on TV is things we can copy, for many reasons.  There has to be a consideration in real life, because of real feelings.  No matter how someone looks on the outside, they’re still that adorable child (often operating their adult avatar.)  I don’t need help remembering anymore, but you know what I did.  I’m super thankful my SSG took the time to teach me this vital life lesson.  Hopefully, others can benefit as well, (without getting peed on.)

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