My life…

by Colin Davidson
(the views of the guest are not necessarily the views of me)

In my life I’ve had many ups and downs but I guess that’s life. I guess I should start with the thing that took up most of my childhood, which is school. I can’t remember a lot about elementary school but the stuff I can remember were not the best times of my life. I’ll start with the positives, the breaks (aka lunch and recess) were nice. I was able to hang out with my friends and just chill out. But that’s all that I can remember about the good parts of school. The bad parts were weird. I remember my teacher just never helping. I was never able to learn fast, obviously, because of autism. I probably should have had someone sitting next to me, telling me what to do but I remember having my hand up for thirty or forty minutes at a time but no one would actually help because, I’m assuming they thought I knew how to do it. And whenever I got upset at the teachers they’d put me into the kitchen with a desk and a chair and that was it (Kathleen ~ he was supposed to be the snoezelen room but they saved that for good behaviour, which is not how it works).

High school was another thing altogether. My school life went from bad to worse. But I should start with the first high school I went to. I was able to make friends in the class, pretty simply, and it felt like the teachers were actually listening. They weren’t teaching, at the beginning, as they should but I could tell they were making an effort. The only thing I can say about that school was they should have taught math more but, when I told them I felt uncomfortable eating in the cafeteria that found me a safe place to eat.

The second high school was worse than the first. It actually felt like the teachers actively didn’t like me and made it their mission not to let me do what I wanted to do. I would sometimes bike to school, without my Mom’s permission, so she wouldn’t call the bus company. Some days I’d arrive five or ten minutes late. Well math would be written on the board. And the board is supposed to be this almighty powerful thing that dictates the entire day. But come second period, when math was supposed to be taught, they’d pick something else. I’ve had days where I’d come back to school after a doctor’s appointment or something and the class would be talking about how they did math the day before. I’d always want to do math but it never happened. It always felt like I was being singled out. We’d always have talks when we came back to school after the weekend or holidays where we talked about what we did. She’d let different students talk for more longer so I always kept an eye on the time, like every second when I was at school. So I always knew how long most people got. One person in the class always got like thirty minutes. Everyone else who would actually talk, got like five. And the teachers themselves got like thirty minutes. It wouldn’t abnormal for the class, when we got back from break to have the talks go until lunch. So me and the other students she didn’t like would get like five minutes. I honestly think that teacher should not have been in a special ed class. She would do things like just talk to the EAs and help no students who needed help. Any time I pointed out to her that we needed to learn basic math, she’d get upset. She wanted everyone to be on the same level of education, but no one was at all. I was in times tables with math and there would kids in the class who could barely do addition. They couldn’t do subtraction. And there was a kid in the class who couldn’t tell time off an analogue time at all. It was weird when I got onto the bus going home. I actually had comments from people on the bus saying it was weird I was taking the bus home because I was sent home that much. I have a disagreement with the teacher, I literally asked for math like ten to fifteen times. Now, in the winter they were more hesitant to send me home and to be quite honest, I regret not calling the police that day. It was -20C and the only thing I had to wear, which the school knew, was a long sleeved shirt. I only had a shirt because I always forgot to grab a jacket. After that day I didn’t forget my jacket.

Just a small note. It didn’t affect me too much but, at the time I identified as non-binary and the teachers refused to say my pronouns. It wasn’t the biggest deal for me because of all the stuff I said before but it was still a problem. My Mom brought in someone from the school board to tell them what they had to say and they still refused.

So it was obviously nice times I had with the family. They’d bring us to the zoo and we’d walk over to their place and have fun there. But there were also some things that weren’t great. One of the best examples is I had a skateboard I bought for myself. It was a Darth Vader skateboard. I spent extra for it because it was Darth Vader. I made sure not to use it too much so I wouldn’t mess up the picture. And then, I don’t know if it was me or my Mom but we left it at Nana and Grandad’s. I can’t remember if I asked where it was or they told me but my cousins were using it one day and they left it outside and it got stolen. They didn’t offer to buy me a new one, they just said “kids will be kids” and left it at that. But then there’s also the zoo trips were getting pretty repetitive for me. To this day, I can still tell you everywhere we went. We’d go to see the polar bears, the great apes, and we’d see the bats, and then that would pretty much be it. Every so often we’d do different things but it wasn’t that often. But now we’re going on to what happened at home.

There’s a lot of great things that happened at home. I don’t know how many DSlites my Mom helped me buy because I’d accidentally break them. I think it was five. I’d save up a hundred dollars and be all excited because I was buying a DS lite. And Mom would chip in probably a hundred dollars. But then there was stuff that weren’t the best things. To put in mildly, Kait was not gentle. I don’t know how any of our plates managed to get out of that apartment. One of the things that Kaitlyn would do is just grab plates and drop them out the window onto the roof over the entrance to our building. It was usual for me to wake up to Mom and Kaitlyn yelling. I remember waking up and not even thinking why are they yelling but, how long can I stay in my bedroom for because I have to use the washroom. Honestly the best times of my childhood has to be when Kaitlyn wasn’t at the apartment (Kathleen ~ they were the best of friends until Kait was a teenager and Kait’s issues started when her Dad tried to be more involved). She was taken away by the police twice because the police thought she was a danger to me.

Dad was an entire thing all on his own. I’m sure my Mom, if she hasn’t already, could write an entire blog just on him. So he did stuff like when Kait went over her maximum phone minutes, he’d tell her things like he’d never get mad, he’d just pay the bill. And then he’d make both me and Kaitlyn get upset at Mom and then say that, don’t worry, I’ll get each of you out starting with you Kaitlyn then I’ll get Colin out. He actually brought us to an apartment and said that, if he wins, he’d move us in there. He gave up trying for custody after he learned that the government money didn’t cover all of the expenses and him. That’s when he cut communication with both me and Kaitlyn. He’d often cut communication off with us. He’d constantly just stop talking to both me and Kaitlyn randomly.

Kaitlyn moved in to the place we’re currently living. So when this was going on, I was dealing with the second high school. So I was stressed out from school and stressed that Kaitlyn was here. I was optimistic. I thought everything was going to be fine (I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t). The biggest regret I have happened and I’ll say first. If there was one thing I could go back and change from high school I’d change this. I was dating this chick in high school. We both liked each other. Every day though, when I got home from hanging out with her, I’d hear from Kait that I should break up with her. And eventually, just to have her stop saying it, I did. I guess I should have been more strong willed but I was dealing with high school.

But she would do other things like, I paid $50 for her old smart phone. She originally said I could just have it and I didn’t have to give her any money and then she said she felt like she had to give it to me so I offered to pay her $50 for it. I left a video one because I was using the phone as a wifi antenna. I was listening to music at the time, in a playlist and Mom brought me over to Superstore and I left my phone at home. And I knew I’d left it at home because the computer kept playing videos 12 to 15 minutes after we left. I haven’t seen that phone since and Kaitlyn had been the last person in the apartment.

We had an agreement that she got the living room and we wouldn’t go in there at night. Well I’d have to wake up for school. I’d have to be outside at 8am and Kait would get upset at me because she needed to get dressed and ready to go. We gave her a large closet area to get dressed and leave, she was never meant to change in the living room. She only changed in the living room. So I was getting ready to run out the door and I would have Kaitlyn yelling at me that I needed to go back to my bedroom because she needed to change. I remember once, when this was happening, she pushed the fridge door at me, well what was I supposed to do? I pushed it back at her and she started screaming about how I’d assaulted her. So Mom was going to go out and buy ink for this printer that obviously was broken and I threw the printer on the floor because if it was broken, buying ink for it would be pointless. So I made everyone know it was broken because I wasn’t able to convince them. I threw it at my feet. Honestly I was slightly worried I was going to hit my own feet because I was that close. Kaitlyn’s boyfriend ran over and put me into the most violent hold I’ve ever been put into. And they were planning on leaving anyways so I told them to leave. Eventually they did leave but we continued arguing for an extra 10 or 15 minutes. At the time this happened I think Kaitlyn’s boyfriend was about twenty. I think he’s four years older than me.

Well that’s it for this one. Like, comment, and subscribe. See you guys on the next one. Generic YouTuber out.

The hues of September…

Yesterday was steaming hot, the sort of day where you feel like you walked face first into an athlete’s sweaty gym sock, a huge, all encompassing one. I eyed the outdoor pool wistfully, its quietness a reminder that it’s been closed for another year.

boat at the Peterborough lift locks crop

A boat at the Peterborough lift locks

Today is a different day entirely. Today brings to mind brilliant fall leaves, the smells of cinnamon and nutmeg, crisp autumn apples, and crisp new schedules. While I happily celebrate New Year’s Eve at the end of December, September seems to me like another New Year. I’m sure all sorts of Jewish people agree with me on this ūüôā

Colin’s home sick today with a nasty cold but he was back at school yesterday, getting his schedule and starting his math class. Something he’s quite excited about. And Kait will soon be entering the wonderful world of trying to get a baby on some sort of schedule. Meanwhile the baby’s belly will be calling the shots. It’s amazing how insistent something the size of a shooter marble can be.

All my programs start again next week. Yoga on Monday evening, Social Recreation on Tuesday afternoon, and Wellness on Thursday. There’ll be some anxiety while I get back into the routine. There’s some anxiety right now even thinking of it. But I know I’ll get used to it soon and I’m already looking forward to the walks to and/or from groups.

Last year Colin signed me up for a site which offers Google Play credits in exchange for completing surveys. The one thing he didn’t take into consideration is how rarely I actually play games. So the credits have been accumulating since then, reaching a grand total of $44. That was when I discovered the Play store has the newest Doctor Who series. So I bought it and splurged and got the high definition version. Now I’ve got something else to stick in my schedule. I can’t wait to find out how the new doctor’s going to manage falling to a planet from an exploding Tardis.

Spoilers dear

I can’t wait for apple pie and new activities and family time and Thanksgiving and fresh new baby snuggles and apple picking and homemade vegan butter tarts.

Welcome autumn. I didn’t think I had but I missed you.

All about Colin (by Colin)

One of my earliest memories was hanging out under the bridge at my old place. It was so dirty. It was a swamp. If I wasn’t careful enough my feet would go right into the soil. One of my favourite memories was that I stole my Mom’s laptop when she was at work and my friend and I stayed in this elevator for about two hours, nice and air conditioned elevator. And we just sat there on the elevator and it was fabulous. We were just playing this one game, I think it was Facade, the game where you go into this house. You’re celebrating the fact these people got married and you had to try to keep them together. It was this most challenging game and it took over YouTube longer than most games. The only game that took over longer, I think, is FNAF (Five Nights At Freddys).

I did not have a nice time going to high school. My first high school wasn’t as bad as my second. I got into arguments about doing math. A sneak preview for the second one is the second high school would change what they were doing in the day just to bug me. Manipulate the other students to not like me. Bring me to the office for barely any reason. Refuse to let me do the classes I wanted to do. They didn’t let me do any work placement stuff. Caused one of my friends to move because of the stress their parents were going under.

Now let’s get back to my first high school. They did stuff bad like I wanted to do more school work. They started handing out more then they told everyone in the class that it was my fault because I kept asking for more school work. But I got the last laugh because I pointed out that I could do the work while everyone else had free time. For the most part, if we stayed there it probably would have gotten better. But, because we moved, oh boy does it get bad.

The second school, they did stuff like, I’d bike to school and they didn’t know I was coming in because I was 10 minutes late so I’d come into class and they’d have math on the board and I’d say “Great, we’re doing math?” and they’d be like, “No, we’re doing something else, we’re doing science.” They’d say we’re doing this for you but it was always weird because they were doing it instead of math. Days that I was not at school because I had a dentist appointment, a doctor’s appointment, I had to stop the universe from imploding again, they’d always have math. They’d always talk about how they had math the day before. I asked in the third year if they were moving math and removing it if I was there or not. You’ll never guess what they said, they said they’re not. And, if you don’t understand why I thought they were, just go to the beginning and re-read again. It’s blatantly obvious. Then one day I did go into class quite upset but all I did was keep asking to do math and they sent me to the office who sent me home, in the middle of winter, and I’d forgot my jacket.

They’d do other stuff like manipulate the class to get the kids to fall into line. They make sure kids follow exactly what they say or they’d punish them, for no reason, by sending them to the office and sending them home. They’d hold back school work. There was one kid, I remember who was going home every day walking. Eventually he stopped going home early. I asked him why and it was because of the teacher. Has anyone heard of the flexing kids of snapchat? They basically just flex their money and tell people “I can afford this and you can’t”. That’s basically what my teachers would do when we got back to school every Monday. They would talk about how their trailer was amazing and how they got like a golf cart and their 16 year old kid a brand new car. Almost every kid in that class was doing horribly financially. And they’d talk for half an hour. Then it would come to me and I’d have five minutes tops. Oh and they’d talk about, like, their boat too. Keep in mind this person had a car, a house, a car for their kid, a trailer, and a boat.

My best friend for two years in high school got pushed out of where he even lived because of the stuff that was going on. I think it was mainly him being my friend that got him bullied by the teachers. I asked his parents when I saw them last if they were moving because of the school and the teachers and they said yes. And, umm, the one teacher who was nice to me got transferred to another class. A tonne of other teachers were confused about how I wasn’t listening to my teachers when I was listening to them and trying my hardest and I could just see in their faces they were confused as to why the teachers weren’t letting me go to other classes.

Now going to the best part of all, they wouldn’t go by the gender pronouns I wanted. I don’t go by them at all anymore but it was zie and zir. First thing I want to say is, I don’t think they should have been fined but it shows their character. They refused to call me by the gender pronouns I wanted for absolutely no reason. Even when the school board came in and told them they had to, nothing happened. And then they’d do this stuff that ladies first and I told them jokingly I’d have to go between because of my gender and mostly because I wanted them to stop having women go up first. And it was causing a thing where women hanged out with women and men hanged out with men. I don’t know how the others saw me because I don’t know what the teachers said when I wasn’t at school.

Now we’re at the present today. Now I’m finally getting the education I wanted. I went to the John Howard Society and got a shit ton of math done. And it was for like a year and it was great because they’d me sit down and listen to music and do as much math as I could that day. Some days would be a page and some would be five. And now I’m going through college courses.

I want to transition to female but I can’t because I want to have kids. I knew something was wrong with my gender when I was a kid, that I was probably born with the wrong gender. But I didn’t know exactly what and, to be honest, I didn’t particularly care. I was more interested in “hey, where does that creek go?” I feel upset about not transitioning.

So that’s about it. That’s my life. Other than video games, I really don’t do much anymore. I’m thinking about starting a gaming channel or something like that.

And coming up in the next blog, my views on politics. Here’s a sneak preview, politics is a bit more difficult than most people believe like Obama legalizing gay marriage is possibly one of the worst things he’s done.

Colin on the dock

p.s. How Canada did it is how Obama should have done it.

Valentine’s Day

My morning started with a 7am call from my daughter Kait. She chatted as the sunlight streamed across my bed and three of our cats curled up around my legs. We don’t chat for a short time, we’re two hour long gabbers so we ended up chatting while I dressed, fed the oldest cats their wet food, and got myself breakfast.

Then it came time to wake up Colin. I’m a romantic at heart and woke him up by opening the bedroom door and yelling, “Stank love, sweat poo!” This, of course, confused the heck out of him until I explained they were Valentine’s Day wishes written by an AI. Then he thought that was amazing.

We needed to do a bit of tidying up as Colin’s claimed our storage closet as his own and relocated everything from the closet to the living room. I hadn’t worried about clutter in the closet, that’s what the door’s for. I’m way more concerned about the clutter when it’s on my living room floor and dining room table. Then I washed the dishes while Colin cleaned his beaded mini lamp. I’m sure everyone who tiptoes around the closet stuff will be in awe over his lamp shade. If they don’t trip first and land in the hospital.

It was creeping close to dinner when I showed Colin an article about students who couldn’t say no to someone wanting to take them to the Valentine’s Day dance. Colin was furious. First at feminists, who he was positive were behind this. I have no idea why. Then low-key mad at the school in the article and raging mad about his old school. He decided that what the school in the article needed to do was ask the students to write down their likes and dislikes, hobbies, and favourite things, then the staff could pair the similar students with each other. That way they’d at least have something to talk about. I agreed with his idea although chances are the girls would end up paired with the girls and the boys with the boys at that age. I’m not sure how well that would go in Utah.

“I liked the school dances at first,” Colin admitted, as he settled in to discussing his old school. “Then I slowly started to hate them. The only thing good about them were the snacks and I couldn’t always buy them.”

“That’s because you were going to at least one dance a month,” I reminded him.

From the look on his face, that was a surprise. Then again he wasn’t the one marking them down on the calendar.

“I would just stand by the wall because no one wanted to dance with me,” he informed me.

I wasn’t surprised. I knew the teacher was pushing his classmates away from him. When he was with his friends at lunch time, the teacher would come up and ask the kids if they really wanted to be with him. Were they sure? They could always walk away.

Every. Single. Time.

I would have complained but I’d already seen how far I’d gotten with Colin’s pronouns. They followed the rules when writing paperwork, once someone from the board told them they had to, but used he/him pronouns when they talked to him. And, when I brought that up in a meeting I got told they most certainly used zie and zir during the school day. Considering how often they misgendered him in the meetings, it was pretty obvious they didn’t. There was definitely no way they’d admit to trying to manipulate one student against another.

Then he told me that the students were warned not to be like Colin when they acted up. He was their bad example. “I know you don’t want to work on your spelling right now but you have to. You don’t want to be like Colin, do you?” I would have exploded with rage if I’d known that before he graduated. As it is, I can understand why he didn’t want to follow up with their bridging program. He might have been their “bad example” but he’s been a hardworking and well liked student in his current programs.

Colin joined me in the kitchen while I made brownies and started on the spaghetti sauce and I listened while he chattered about computer parts and the different tests he does on the computers. I have very little idea what he’s doing. All I know is one test looks like a fuzzy doughnut and another looks like an old time office. But he’s interested and that’s what matters.

And now dinner’s done, the brownies enjoyed, and it’s time to relax.

For those who are interested, Blackie is still doing well. She’s not eating nearly enough, just half of one of the big cans of Friskies (the ones that are the size of a tin of tuna). But she’s not losing any weight and is active. She loves curling up in my arms while I’m at the computer or lying between my keyboard and monitor. And she loves getting petted.

And, since it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m writing out the brownie recipe we use just for you.

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a square brownie pan. Place 1/2 cup margarine or butter into a glass measuring cup and 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Microwave for 35 seconds.

In a medium sized bowl add 6tbsps aquafaba (otherwise known as the water in a tin of canned beans) or 2 eggs. Then add one cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cups flour, a dash of salt, and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. My kids hate nuts in baked goods so I add 1/2 a cup chocolate chips instead. Don’t mix yet. Now stir the melted butter and cocoa mixture and pour it over the rest of the ingredients. Now you can stir until it’s all mixed evenly. I’m pretty sure these brownies cause the blood sugar to rise in everyone in the near vicinity, they’re so sweet, but they’re worth it. Now try not to lick the mixing spoon. Try harder. I know the batter is really good but you can do it. It’s okay, that’s what the tap’s for, just rinse it off.

Pour the batter into the pan, leaving a bit of batter in the bowl for you, then set the timer for 30 minutes. Let cool (I toss mine onto the balcony in the winter but they can go into a self defrosting freezer for a bit too). And enjoy ūüôā

Blackie on my desk

Blackie-Boo on my desk. Ignore the clutter, I’ve already cleaned up most of it LOL

The February blues…

It’s early February and outside is buried under snow and slush, thankfully more of the former than the latter. Salt crunches on sidewalks and turns both the sidewalks and roads white. The elevator talk is all about the weather. How cold is it going to be? How many centimetres of snow are we going to get?

I’m doing a lot better this winter than last. Last winter I was hospitalized twice, once in January and once in February, but this winter I’ve stayed home. Maybe it’s the pills, goodness knows they’ve been adjusted enough times. Maybe it’s the support of family, friends, and community groups. Maybe it’s a bit of euphoria that Blackie is alive and now thriving. And maybe it’s because I can escape to my room, which has been decorated in a springtime theme.

Colin’s life is relatively on track. He has a doctor’s appointment at the end of February and sees his new psychiatrist toward the end of March. Hopefully the two of them can work on a new treatment plan for him. His prescription helped with his highs but he was, and is, struggling with depression and anxiety. Despite both, he’s finished his schooling at the John Howard Society and has moved on to a work at home program run through our local college. He goes in for four hours every Friday for new assignments and help with any of the previous work. He came in here to chatter earlier and is back in his room running speed tests on all his computers and comparing the results. The downside of having a kid who builds and fixes computers is a whole whack of computers around the apartment. The upside is free technical support on everything.

Kait’s doing well too. The hardest part of her job, for me, is her hours make it nearly impossible for us to connect. She’s in bed sleeping by the time I get up and gets up shortly after I go to bed. But we do sometimes connect and, when we do, we gab for about an hour about everything from her job to her fur babies.

Soon February will turn into March… giving way to April. Soon the snow will melt and blue bells, trilliums, and snow drops will push their way through damp soil. Until then I’ll be found¬†ensconced in my swinging chair, pondering the next chapter of my novel and waiting for spring.

my room

A good day…

I woke this morning to three purring cats, all snuggled over and around me, and Jeremy laughing in his room. I’m not sure what he was watching but apparently it was good.

I then got a message from a friend of mine saying the website that doxxed me is gone (for now at least). Ironically, the owner of the site got doxxed and didn’t like it, to put it mildly.

To make it even funnier and more ironic, here’s a line from his goodbye speech:

‚ÄúI have thought hard about the cumulative value of the site and all the opportunities it presents me and us, as a community. We have done amazing things. But, the cumulative damage outweighs all of that. It is enormous.‚ÄĚ

The opportunities it presented? Amazing things? This whole site consisted of nothing more than bashing people anonymously. Telling lies about people they have never, and never will, meet interspersed with sharing private information like home addresses and the real names of children. Today karma bit back. Tomorrow? Well they’re worms, I’m sure they’ll pop up through a new hole at some point. But for now they’re gone.

I start intensive group therapy on Monday. It’s going to be similar to attending school, except it’s one for feelings. We have our own time tables and classes in such things as psychotherapy, coping skills, self-esteem, and stress/symptom management. We even have a lunch period where we can go down to the cafeteria to eat. I bought myself a fancy turquoise binder complete with folders and a zipper yesterday. Luckily my work lunch bag is still good.

Jeremy is eager to go back to school. The good news is he has a lovely certificate showing he graduated from his Lifeskills program in high school. The bad news is it’s apparently worth less than the paper it’s printed on. He can’t go to the local alternative high school or to the nearby continuing education school to upgrade, he doesn’t have enough education for either. But we have options we’re looking into. One is a bridge to school program through local high schools and the other is an education program run through a nearby mental health hospital. Hopefully one of the two options will pan out.

As for today, I’m anxious enough to need an Ativan and rocking while I type. Even so, it’s a peaceful day. I’m going to force myself to go to the gym for a walk on the track with my favourite music because my health is worth it.

Here’s my current favourite exercise song. Enjoy ūüôā

Graded heteronormative crap…

This gem showed up in my Facebook’s newsfeed today… a grade eleven AP honours assignment. What the class is, I don’t know. Do they have a class called “Heteronormative 1950’s Bullshit” in Utah?

fucking-heteronormative-bullshit

He even gets to sign for her grade

My first thought was for the bullied and shy students in the class¬†because you know there’s going to be someone in the class who is absolutely everyone’s last pick. You know someone’s going to be saying, “Well I guess I have to date you.” And what if the class is uneven? Is there going to be a student-teacher date? Does one poor sod date themself?

Plus what about the kids who aren’t interested in the opposite binary gender? Judging by this sheet, the school’s answer is “fake it till you make it (to heterosexuality)”.

My last thought was $5? Where are they going with five dollars*? Are they splitting a burger at McDonalds? I can’t remember the last time I was at McDonalds but Emma pointed out that they’d have to order from the dollar menu, even with splitting a single burger. Then she went through the list, point by point, and made her own comments.

Here they are:

-If I say I don’t want to go out with you, don’t be pushy (and don’t shoot me)
-If I say I don’t care, don’t push for an answer, because I probably actually don’t care
-Don’t expect a second date if your budget is $5 (money isn’t super important, but I do value myself enough to know that anything fun is going to be more than $5)
-Don’t get pissy if the serving size is too much for me to finish, I’m not going to gorge myself and feel like crap, so you can feel better
-Don’t assume I only care about money, I’ll go dutch no problem, but you have to be willing to spend enough that we can actually do something enjoyable
-If I’m spending the whole date thinking I look like crap, something has gone terribly wrong (ie. you said “dress casual” then surprised me with a fancy restaurant, you’re making me feel ugly (did you criticize how I look?)
-I’ll comb my hair if it needs to be combed, fuck you
-Why do you assume I will, or am, fishing for compliments?
-The only reason I can think of my body weight coming up on a first date, is because it was mentioned first. Unless you mean the “does this make me look fat?” stereotype, which doesn’t usually happen until well past the first date
-If I’m enjoying myself, you’ll know, if I look like I’m not enjoying being with you, then I actually am not
-I’ll sit next to you if it’s appropriate to do so (i.e not at a restaurant, that’s weird, but at the movies for sure)
-I’ll be in the bathroom for as long as I need to (how do I go in a group? How many people are on this date?)
-If I’m talking to the girl we’re doubling with, instead of you, then it’s because she’s got a better personality than you
-What’s considered appropriate for a $5 date? I’m thinking sweatpants.
-Fuck you, and fuck your “lady-like” standards, I’ll say whatever the fuck I want, and you can sit down, shut up, and appreciate it, you pile of shit.
-I show respect, where respect is deserved
-Why do you assume I won’t be?
-If I feel the need to flirt with/text/check out other guys, you clearly aren’t that fun to be around (and you better hold to the same standard for yourself and other girls)
-Seriously? Why do you keep assuming I’m a psychopath? If this is how you feel about me, the date isn’t even going to happen.
-So you not only are trying to dictate my personality now, but my feelings? I’ll have a good time, if you’re fun to be around.
-Again with assuming I’m not going to be a civil human on this date, why are we even going on it?
-It depends on the personal habit, if you’re habitually shoving your hand down your pants to scratch your balls, I’m telling you to stop. If you’re being gross, you’ll be told.
-I’ll compliment you if I think you should be complimented, but based off of this list, you probably shouldn’t be.
-How long do I stare at the door, before realizing you aren’t opening it?
-My standards mean this date isn’t happening. If by some miracle it does, however, are you going to respect the fact that my standards mean I’m not screwing you at the end of the night?
-I’ll criticize you’re driving if it needs to be. Bad driving isn’t always obviously unsafe, but any form of bad driving is unsafe in even subtle ways (also, what if I want to drive? Why are you assuming I want you to drive?)
-You made a giant list of rules for me, then told me to be myself? You just tried to dictate my entire personality (and feelings) for the night, I can’t be myself at that point. I also can’t relax, because this sounds like a dude who will murder me at the end of the night.

She also did some digging and found out the class was¬†an “adult roles and financial literacy class” which I’m pretty sure is a euphemism for “heteronormative 1950’s bullshit”. Plus she found the boy’s side of the assignment…

boys-page

Sorry about the blurriness. And look, there’s mutual signage.

Girls like flowers and little gifts? Umm… that’s sweet. It’s a five dollar mandated date. You’re lucky if you get¬†a bouquet of dandelions and a ring from the bubble gum machine. Go buy your own damn flowers.

I am so glad I’m not raising kids in Utah! I hear there’s nice mountains but holy hell!

*it looks like they’re each spending $5 so at least they can both order their own burger from the dollar menu.

I’m going to need a crowbar and forklift…

Jeremy went to school willingly on Monday, which not only floored me but surprised all my coworkers. I was thrilled with this… until I came home. I’d barely walked in the front door when Jeremy informed me zie’d gotten so fed up with being misgendered, zie started calling the teacher and EAs “he” and “him” to see how they’d like it. It turns out they didn’t like it at all.

One EA told Jeremy¬†that she didn’t mind at all, her voice dripping with sarcasm. Zir teacher complained that she was promised¬†zie wouldn’t make a scene if they forgot the right pronouns. Jeremy informed her that was supposed to be an occasional lapse, not non-stop for half a year. The teacher¬†then went on to complain about Jeremy’s¬†rudeness and told zir that she was going to write a letter to me about it. Then she sent zir out of the classroom ten minutes early sans letter. I figure she had second thoughts about writing me an angry note about being misgendered. Good choice on her part because I’d have either laughed hysterically or put that letter someplace letters should never go.

The irony of the whole situation is that Jeremy figures zie used the wrong pronouns for about five minutes.

I half joked on Facebook a few days ago that I was going to need a crowbar and forklift to get Jeremy out to school today. I could have used them because zie didn’t go. Jeremy¬†was positive they were going to be mean to zir, which made zir anxious. Jeremy¬†uses electronics to calm down, meanwhile they’re constantly fighting zir on having “gadgets” in the classroom.

There’s a meeting with the school board tomorrow night called Families Engaged, where they want to hear from LGBTQ families (either LGBTQ parents with children in the school board or parents with LGBTQ children). Emma and I are going and I’ll be sharing what’s happening with Jeremy. I also have a meeting with zir school on Tuesday. Jeremy’s not back in school until Wednesday so hopefully we can get something sorted out before zie returns; although considering my track record with this school I’m not hopeful.

School trepidation…

Gatineau*

The first time I heard that name was with Emma. She’d been dealing with several issues; bullying, anxiety, and an overwhelming conviction that she’d made her Dad disappear and he was never coming back. I asked the school’s social worker for help and was¬†assured that Emma and I talked well¬†so¬†we didn’t need any outside help. This¬†was flattering but not useful. I requested an assessment from the school psychologist and asked for more¬†help. Gatineau was recommended¬†and an assessment was scheduled immediately.

A¬†stern looking older man met us outside their interview room. Emma immediately froze. He stared at her then barked, “She’s obviously depressed.”

“She’s very shy,” I replied as we¬†edged past him into the room. “She’s always been scared of men. Besides, she was laughing and joking around just a minute ago.”

I looked back to see him glaring at me. “I’m the psychiatrist and I know depression when I see it. She’s depressed.”

His tone said he felt that was clearly the end of the discussion.¬†I figured it wasn’t worth starting off with an argument, not when I was¬†there to get Emma help so shut my mouth.

The room was filled¬†with a huge circle of chairs and a fish tank, which looked oddly out of place. We all sat near the door, the fishes swam alone on the other side of a¬†vast expanse of chairs. There was a¬†man who sat across from us with a pad and pen, obviously ready to take notes. He didn’t make Emma any more comfortable although, to be fair, she could hardly get any less comfortable.

Then I thought of something else. “Before we begin, I should let you know I’m having Emma tested for Aspergers.”

The psychiatrist looked over at Emma then shook his head. “She definitely does not have that,” he replied haughtily.

I began to wonder if it was possible to pull a doctorate of psychiatry out of a cereal box. The psychologist had me fill out checklists that started almost from conception and sat with Emma for hours. Meanwhile this doctor had diagnosed her in under two minutes without speaking to either of us or even attaining eye contact with her.

The doctor settled on play therapy for Emma along with a parenting group for me. I wanted Emma to get social skills help and was assured that would come as long as I joined their parenting group. I agreed and we were placed into art and group therapy at the same time. The only caveat was I needed to miss the first three sessions as my parents were away and I needed them to watch Jeremy. I was assured that was fine.

I knew immediately the group was a poor fit. Emma was prone to slamming her bedroom door while yelling, “I hate you! You’re mean!” Meanwhile the rest of the group were dealing with youths who set¬†fire to the living room, robbed stores, and smashed furniture.

The weeks went on. Emma enjoyed her therapy, coming home regularly with crafts, while I listened to the other parents and offered any support I could. One day our group mediator was late and conversation immediately moved to the psychiatrist.

No one in the group liked him. They disliked his attitude and distrusted his diagnoses. I commented that Emma was¬†diagnosed with Aspergers** but hadn’t got any of the social skills¬†help¬†I’d been promised. The mediator stepped into the room to tell¬†me I was wrong,¬†their psychiatrist had ruled out that diagnosis, and my diagnosis couldn’t count because Aspergers was¬†only diagnosed by a psychiatrist. I pointed out that he made that diagnosis in less than two¬†minutes, without speaking to Emma; meanwhile the psychologist spent hours with her. He retaliated, saying their art therapist¬†had also spent hours talking to Emma and agreed with the psychiatrist. I pointed out that their art therapist wasn’t a psychiatrist either, so if I couldn’t go by a psychologist’s thorough¬†assessment, he couldn’t use six¬†hours of art¬†therapy for¬†a diagnosis either. But she was well respected and spent¬†many hours with children… and¬†so was the psychologist. The mediator¬†told¬†me they’d never agreed to any further help for Emma and certainly not with social skills; they didn’t even offer it.

Didn’t even offer it. What the hell was I doing there then? I sat through the rest of the session feeling numb then talked to¬†Emma about her sessions. I’d thought the therapist was letting Emma¬†discuss her feelings about her father and school. Instead she’d been spending therapy listening to why her art therapist felt¬†she didn’t have Aspergers.¬†I¬†pulled us out of Gatineau.

I got a withdrawal letter a month¬†later, claiming I’d missed almost half the group sessions and had been a reluctant participant. I looked at the dates and¬†realized he’d not only counted the initial classes but a full month of sessions after we’d left. I vowed I’d never go back to the agency.

And then came the chance for a new class for Jeremy. A smaller class setting, an LGBTQ friendly school, a program that offered a chance to earn school credits, and it was brand new and barely had any students. Jeremy could get in almost immediately. But the class was run by Gatineau.

Yeah.

I stammered that I’d been there a few years ago and had not been impressed with the service, only to be reassured that they had almost all new¬†staff and no longer had that psychiatrist.

We had our intake assessment. The new psychiatrist was cheerful and engaging, while Jeremy was in amazing spirits and responded quite animatedly. I was told a second appointment would be set up “next week” between us, Gatineau, and someone from Jeremy’s school; probably zir teacher.

There was¬†a message from Gatineau today, wanting to arrange¬†Jeremy’s counselling sessions. I called them back and was told¬†they could only offer an appointment mid-day, which means Jeremy is going to miss a full day of school every week on top of¬†what¬†zie’s already missing due to anxiety. Then I asked about the class.

“Oh, umm, yes. Well, that class is full right now so Jeremy’s been placed on a waiting list. We’ll let you know when he gets to the top.”

“I’ll have to call [school board member] and try to get Jeremy into a different class then. Zie needs to get out of zir current¬†class immediately.”

“Oh! Oh!!!” She sounded shocked and a bit worried. “I’ll have to talk to J and see what she says. I’ll let you know next week where Jeremy is on the list and if we know how long it will take for him to get to the top.”

So yet more waiting. Waiting for Gatineau and waiting for the school board member to call me back.

There’s a meeting on Thursday between the school board and PFLAG to¬†address how the board can improve how they work with LGBTQ families. I figure we’ll have quite a lot to discuss.

* Gatineau is not the real name of the agency
** Emma was diagnosed with Aspergers through the school board. However it is not a diagnosis she agrees with and she’s subsequently been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and depression. I’ve also since discovered that Aspergers and anxiety have a lot of similar symptoms.