Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…

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the kids are alright?

everyday, when i get up and greet the day, and after i’ve fed and watered cats and dogs, before ziona has wakened from her dreams, i take stock and give thanks. there is so much for which i am grateful!

that feeling of being graced is accentuated whenever i hear of or read about other parents raising transgender kids, or autistic kids, who are having a worse time of it. who have to struggle with schools, with getting the need of their kids met, and the special problems their children have to face in a system that has few or no safeguards in place for them.

i get to stay home and teach my child. and altho ziona often rebels against lessons (sometimes violently) no i.e.p could ever meet her needs the way that i can. here at home, i can make certain that she learns in a safe environment, that no schoolyard bully will attack her at recess, that she wont be denied the right to use the bathroom without scrutiny.

many folk whose blogs i read, or who post in chat rooms that i visit have much more fighting to do on their children’s behalf in large part because of the schools to which they must send them while they are working outside the home to earn a living. this seems outrageous and incredible to me.

families these days, by and large, require two incomes to keep afloat, for single parent households there’s just barely money enough to tread water. most don’t have the luxury of forfeiting the workplace so that they can teach their kids at home. so they must entrust them to the schools.

where can they turn when the schools fail to provide for their ‘neuro-diverse’ or gender variant children? of course, they advocate for their children, try to make sure the i.e.p for their autistic child is followed. of course they bring bullying or other indiscretions to the attention of those who claim to be in charge. naturally they fight for their children. but in an environment which is supposed to foster learning, why should they have need of ‘the fight’?

what has happened? to our society? to our world?

true that in years past the discrimination was as bad or worse for gender variant folk, for gay or lesbian youth…so much so that a closet was the safe way to go. but this is the 21st century, after all. and altho much has been done to try to right the wrongs of the past, the schools to which we send our children are lagging behind, to the detriment of future generations.

what becomes of our’tomorrow world’ when the morals and compassion one should learn as children, from parents and teachers, fall by the wayside? are the kids really alright?

i empathise with all those parents who must send their child to off to school while they are at work. the worry and concern they must feel, especially when their ‘different’ child comes home with stories of what happened to them at school. or when they don’t tell their stories, cause they’ve seen it won’t change anything.

no answers of course. unless somehow we can time-travel back to the bad old good old days of father knows best and stay at homes moms, to the drawing board, as it were, of today’s society and add a few courses to the curriculum taught, starting with sensitivity training for both the students and the teachers


nowhere safe

just think.
wouldn’t it be nice if our neuro-diverse, gender variant children had a safe environment in which they could receive the education everyone must have in order to get along in our complex world?
it’s a simple wish…you’d think that at least the educators who are given the responsibility of caring for these children would be up to the task of ensuring our ‘special’ children aren’t bullied by classmates.
but sadly, not only do some teachers not bother to weed out the predatory behaviour of their students, but engage in terrorising the children they are charged with teaching!

this is why i homeschool. read here and weep for our doomed culture, especially since i could fill this blog with literally hundreds of examples as bad or worse than this from various news articles from just the past two years!


passing it on

this morning my little beautiful thing slept in…til almost 8:30! it isn’t a ‘school day’ so i let her be. but still, worried about her, i checked to listen that she was breathing. i always do this. well into their teens i have crept silently past the doors of my childrens’ rooms to make sure they haven’t died in the night.

yesterday was a bit of a hardship for her. altho she loves playing with her cousins, she is autistic and often has a low level of tolerance for certain aspects of normal childhood play. pretend escapes her, but she loves to make up stories. competitiveness is beyond her ken and nuanced meanness also goes right over her head.

the cousins are public schooled, the only time they get to spend with their mom is weekends and the period between the time they’re picked up from the after-school program and bedtime.. perhaps only two hours at night, while their mom tries to feed them and get them to bed, only an hour in the morning while she tries to feed them and get them to school.

lather, rinse, repeat.

this reality is one shared by not only single moms, but also by many two parent families in this economy. to make ends meet and afford their life (under a roof), the children are shuffled off to pre-school daycare or regular public school for the older ones, while the parents get into their cars and head to whatever ‘wage slave’ jobs they’ve been able to secure.

children of the 1% (i.e. rich fucks) are often not much better off as regards time spent with their parental units. some are shipped off to boarding schools, those that aren’t also attend school, albeit often nice ones, and the parents, who have ‘careers’ to attend to spend just as little time with their progeny as the 99%.

childhood is becoming a thing done alone or with minimal parental input, and it’s beginning to show. in the frequent instances of severe bullying, the gang activity, the way in which the politeness and good manners that were expected of my generation (feigned or not) are all but absent in most young people today.

if a fight breaks out in the school yard, more likely than a good samaritan intervening are a crowd of would-be film-makers brandishing their smartphones over the heads of others, vying for a clear shot of the skirmish, which they will almost immediately upload to facebook and youtube. in my day, someone would try to break it up, and others would be pulling the combatants off of one another.

there’s hate-speech, bullying and bigotry roaming the school hallways. often a serious student must struggle to learn in an environment that is rife with violence and bereft of adequate adult supervision. schools don’t pay teachers well enough nor is their time for them to embue our kids with morals and values that should’ve been learned at home. with often 34 or more kids per teacher and classroom, it’s hard enough just to get through the curriculum.

i could provide many more instances of the ways in which modern life has shortchanged our children. the television baby-sitting them, the texting that replaces communication. it goes on and on.

are the kids alright?
i don’t know.

there seems to be a difference between those children fortunate enough to have more ‘face time’ with their parents…grandparents or other adult tasked with raising them. the jiminy cricket effect. they seem to have been at the very least introduced to a conscience; to life lessons that have less to do with arithmetic than with a right path, less of reading words and more of reading situations and knowing the appropriate response.

it is lucky for ziona and i that we are able to homeschool. not just because her autism would present special issues that schools haven’t provided for, not just because she is transgender and would likely be bullied, perhaps even to death (by suicide) as some have been. but because by having so much time together the values passed down to me by my mother, are rubbing off on her. and it’s a good thing. (my mother’s heart is a beautiful thing)

a while back there was a movie called “pay it forward”. a wonderful moral-of-the-story type venture that depicted a very special boy and his choice for a school project: his idea involved helping others with only the caveat that they ‘pass it on’. in other words help someone else. (i highly recommend this movie, by the way)

i think that as parents our special project is to pass on values, morals and rules that will help not only our children but all of society by extension. it isn’t easy to carve out chunks of time to be with our kids these days. but if we don’t ‘rub off’ on them, someone else will…and that might not be so good.


bully, be yourself!

quite often i peruse the blogosphere reading what’s on other people’s minds. while not always leaving my two-cent’s worth comments, rarely do i come away without giving pause in thought about what i’ve read.

recently i came across some blogs that had to do with two things that often through life have occupied my mind. bullying, and being one’s self. there seems to my way of thinking, to be a co-relation between these two.

a couple of cases in point:

my daughter, who was born with a male body and is autistic besides, is fortunate to have a mom who is retired and able to homeschool. this saves her the bother of bullies, and spares me the troublesome battles of insisting upon her rights within a system that doesn’t understand her needs.

but for a few days this school year ziona did attend a very private school. expensive, but specialising in kids with developmental delays, the only thing we insisted upon at our intake and admission appointment was that she not be bullied. of course, we were given every assurance that such behaviour was simply not tolerated.

that assurance later was borne out to be patently untrue. in a classroom of only 5 students with two teachers present at all times, a boy who sat behind ziona teased, taunted and bullied her from day one. her reports of this to the teacher fell on deaf ears, and when i tried to “hip” the teacher to the situation, it was no better received. my earlier post about this incident is here

the boy who was my daughter’s tormentor was guilty of this behaviour with others as well. all of his victims were girls. and the taunt used towards them was the mere fact of their girlness…in other words, he teased girls for being girls.

there’s an old saying that whenever one points a finger to accuse or taunt, three point back toward themself.

often i have pondered just what makes a bully bully. altho not having researched the phenomenon i have developed my own hypothesis about the bully syndrome. i believe that, like lying about something you’ve done or are, bullying is a fear-based defense-mechanism. (take note that this does not excuse the behaviour.)

under this reasoning, the boy who teased girls about being girls might be transgender, or perhaps attracted to other boys. fear of being or just facing who he is could be his tipping point.

and, reaching back into my own childhood, consider this incident that started me thinking about the whole bullying thing over fifty years ago. a third-grade boy, was teasing an older boy, who was both developmentally delayed and had cerebral palsy. 3rd grader was calling the older boy, “mental” and “retard”, even following closely behind his victim to further torment him. no one else seemed to want to stop him and of course some minions were actually snickering in support of the bully. i couldn’t bear watching. tho only in 1st grade myself, and not very big or strong (or brave really) i told the boy that he was himself the retard for calling the other one names. in response the bully quite unexpectedly and violently punched me in the solar plexus. (my first such assault. i actually fell to the ground)

using my ‘fear-based bullying’ hypothesis it is possible that the bully was aware of his own inadequacies. he was, after all, in remedial studies for every single subject.

of course, there are many who are fearful of being themselves who never become bullies. not everyone who is a transgender person torments those of the gender he or she hides from the world, not every closeted gay person strikes out against other homosexual folk. but what if society were such a place that there was no onus to being different? no judgment for being ‘other’? how much of bullying would vanish were there no underlying, tacit support for prejudice or bigotry?

i tend to oversimplify when trying to wrap my mind around concepts that baffle me. so i’m aware that this might seem a naive hypothesis. but in trying to somehow comprehend the indefensible actions of others, compassion may prevent me judging them too harshly. and what if the hypothesis bears true in at least some of the cases? then should i feel pity for those poor souls, so fearful of being who they are that they attack others for being mirrors that show them their self? or should i tell them to check their makeup, as it were. should i say “hey bully, be yourself!”

wonder what the response might be…

probably another punch to the solar plexus, but who knows?

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it gets better…i hope!

sometimes i’m not sure how much about ‘life as it is’ today i should share with zeeona.

i rarely talk about the really scary stuff, like rape, hate-crimes, wife beatings.

but today she brought up the subject of bullying. perhaps because she had recently had an experience with it during the very brief installment at a private school. (the boy had teased her because she’s a girl. irony?)

(i wrote about it in this blog but can’t remember what i entitled the piece.)

she wondered why people bully. in attempting to answer the question, since i really can’t imagine a good reason for the behaviour, i suggested that when people are younger they sometimes don’t know how to act. maybe they don’t like their selves so they try to make others feel bad about their selves too…misery loves company.

zee then said, “well, at least grown-ups don’t bully.”

then looked to me for agreement on the statement, which unfortunately i couldn’t in all honesty provide.

instead, i went on to say that sometimes grown-ups do bully. like men bully or tease women. it hadn’t occurred to me that we were about to get into a talk about gender inequality. but i’ve recently been re-reading ‘whipping girl’ (a great book, by the way! definitely look it up. amazon has it) so i began to launch into the facts surrounding this concept. (deftly leaving out things like rape and sexual harassment that the notion of men bullying women had evoked in my mind)

only half a diatribe into the semi-rant i began to notice the look of disillusion wash over zeeona’s features.

she said “well, then that makes me wish i were male”

i must have had that ‘deer in the headlights’ look on my face and i was nearly speechless for half a second, before i said: “well, you could do that.”

she looked at me helplessly and said “how?!”

now, zeeona is not ignorant of the fact that she will have to take hormones, and have surgery to prevent her body from becoming ‘a man’s body’. her question had nothing to do with how she could be male physically. because she knows that as far as her external form is concerned it already is.

but, you see, she’s as much a girl as i am. and even if i woke up tomorrow with male genitalia, it wouldn’t change a thing as far as my identity is concerned. it is the same with zee.

she moved quickly onto “do grown men tease and bully other men?” to which i answered, that they do and it is often through this behaviour that they bond or develop relationships with one another.

then we were on to discussing other areas of what my philosophy professor at university would call “man’s inhumanity to man”.

as i reflected on this conversation throughout the day, i began to understand just how much a girl she is!

my initial shock when she said the thing about ‘being male’ was short-lived. i didn’t respond as did to try to unseat her from her female identity, but i admit that if she’d have taken that opportunity to ‘come out of the phase’ i would’ve been fine with switching gears right then and there to allow her to try on that male persona: the one she’d never worn, even while being seen and treated as a little cute boy.

this knee-jerk reaction has less to do with her identity, or my acceptance of her than it does the fears that linger deep in my psyche of the ugly parts of the real world. those parts that allow transphobic folk to bully, assault or murder transwomen. (it’s rarer to find such attacks against transmen: see also “whipping girl”)

so we come again to the kinds of question that all parents face: how much about ‘life as it is’ should we share with our children?

perhaps i’m part optimist after all, because one reason i’m loathe to bring up some of the things i fear with regard to zeeona’s tomorrows is that i hope that world will also ‘grow up’. that tendencies to fear and harm those who are ‘other-than’ will begin to fall away and a more fair societal paradigm rise instead.

every day i come across evidence that today’s attitudes and ideals are in a state of flux with respect to transgender people. on the one hand, not a day goes by when there isn’t an article in the news (i get mine from the internet, twitter, and various websites) about some horrendous thing being done to a woman simply because she is transgender or transsexual.

at the same time there are many high-profile transgender people helping to bring about awareness regarding trans issues, (in poland a transgender person and open homosexual were recently elected into two of the highest political positions in the land,) and ever increasing news bites about new legislation made to protect transgender folk against hate crimes and discrimination.

so, it maybe that it’s okay not to share with zeeona today’s version of ‘life as it is’. because maybe, the cliche going around these days is true. maybe in tomorrow’s world, ‘it gets better’.


school’s out

ever notice how dismissive adults are of children?

that question arises in my mind alot!
i’ve seen parents, who love their children, simply not hear them when they try to convey something to them. even very important things.

like gender identification.
like bullying.

i was very excited about the prospect of the new school we’d found for zeeona. she was too. but every day of the entire five days she’s been at school, a boy who sits right behind her has been harassing her, calling her names and today he even hit her.

the teacher never mentioned a problem, seemed oblivious.
so today, since the behaviour of the young boy had escalated to being physical, i brought her attention to it. she called the incident ‘socialization’.

while i was talking to zeeona about it, two of the other female children spoke up. they chimed in right after zee had told me and i told the teacher, that the boy had hit her.
the teacher’s response? “i didn’t see anything” so one of the children who had seen spoke and said “i saw it.”

then one of the other girls spoke and said, “he’s like that to all the girls.”

the teacher kept interupting while the other kids were talking with zee and i, answering the questions i was putting to them with her back turned to my self, zeeona and the other girls. in a most ‘couldn’t care less’ way.

when i told her, that i was not speaking to her but to the children, and that they had also had problems with the boy, she said, “yes, all of the children are learning socialization skills.” and added that the boy was a child.

she was dismissive of the corroberation of the other children and simply said, and told me, they’re just children. she wouldn’t take their word for what zeeona was saying. she was dismissive even of me.

tomorrow i will unenroll my daughter from school. we will go on a nice nature walk on the gulf shores bayou. and the next day, we will start back homeschooling.

the irony of the fact that the boy was harassing zeeona because she’s a girl hasn’t escaped my notice. it is only further proof that she is a girl. but it is also her first time feeling the sexism of our society in which females are picked on just for being females.

welcome to the world as it is!