Friday, March 13, 2009

Teasing Sucks!

Names Can Hurt

Everyone (or at least everyone I know) has had to deal with teasing in their life. It's part of being a kid. But when you are really different and that difference is obvious, the teasing starts early.

Great movie.

The movie Peter Pan came out when I was 4 years old. At that time (and for most of my life), I wore a prosthesis in the shape of a hook. A whole bunch of us went to see the movie for this one boy's 5th birthday (Great party by the way!) and the second we walked out of the theater, it started.

This is just like the hook I wear.

The kids began talking about how they had their very own Captain Hook. They asked me why I never told them I was in a movie. And of course, every time we played Peter Pan, I automatically got the part of Hook.

That was just the beginning. Every time a movie/tv show came out about something with robotic parts, I got a new nickname - Transformer, RoboGirl, Bionic Woman. The worst ever though came in 7th grade (12 years old for those of you who don't do school grades like the US). That was the first year we had sex ed in school. The boy I was hopelessly crushing on decided that a great new nickname for me was Hooker.

So how did I deal with all this teasing? I can tell you it wasn't easy at all. My mom was a big help (though I didn't really think so at the time). The "ignore them" advice, well let's just say it didn't work too well. I don't have that kind of personality. But she also said that if I couldn't ignore them, I should turn the tables on them.

And Captain Hook became my identity. For 7 years I dressed as him for every Halloween and costume party. I would sign notes as Captain Hook. When I got my first email ID, it was capthook :)

Once I did that, it became easier to deal with. Though it took a lot longer for it to stop hurting.

More Problems

This will be me one day.

For almost 2 decades, I have been going steadily blind. My doctor has predicted that if some muracle surgery (LASIC won't fix it) doesn't come to light in the next 15 or so years, I will no longer be able to see at all when I'm in my 50s. My birth mother was blind by age 20, so at least it's going slower for me.

So what am I doing about it? I'm preparing. A couple of years ago I started teaching myself how to read Braille. I've looked into the cost and training of a seeing-eye dog (my mom used to raise and train them). I am basically doing everything I can to make it as easy a thing possible. Not an easy task.

The Braille alphabet.

What about you? If you had to chose to have one major difference,
what would it be? Would you want the time to prepare for it? How
would you prepare?


  1. Sarah, I didn't know that about your eyesight. Wow. I have so much respect and awe for you. You are one amazing person to me!

    If I had to choose one major difference, I think it would be to lose my hearing. I already know sign language. Or maybe it would be to lose a hand or an arm, but not a leg. Unfortunately, we can't choose these things, as you very well know. I love your nickname. I think it's wonderful that you use it to your advantage. It never crossed my mind that it hurt you in the beginning. :(

  2. Thanks. Right back at ya.

    I would agree with hearing. That would be my pick as well. Unfortunately we don't always have a choice :(

    Most things hurt at the beginning. And the teasing helped me develop the thick skin that I carried over to my writing.

  3. *wince* Okay, talk about painful childhood memories.

    My "handicaps"? As a child I was the smallest or second smallest child in my class. Every time. I'm also a redhead. Did I mention I reacted badly to teasing, which of course only prompted more?

    I am so grateful I was blessed to know the boys who bullied me grow up to be responsible men, it made it much easier to forgive them. And am I EVER grateful for family and real friends that came along later to put my self-defeating perspectives to right.

    Actually I'm different that hearing would be the last of the traditional five senses I would want to lose. Precluded by sight. I think if I had to lose one sense it would be scent. I already live with minimal scents because so many friends are allergic to perfumes and/or most nature. Of course I wouldn’t know how much I rely on scents until I didn’t have that tool, but I think a few extra electronic detectors around the house would be the most immediate preparation need.

    Thank you for sharing your stories. The biggest thing that you are doing which impresses me so much is that when you know there is a problem or will be one, you prepare for it. No hiding. No procrastination. No matter that it is hard - which is what really impresses me. You are still doing all you can.

    sraasch put it one of the best ways I've ever heard: "If I honestly do my best, no matter what, I can go to bed with a peace of mind at the end of the day that there was nothing more I could do."

  4. Soarenth - I'm a redhead too! Or was before the gray set in *grumbles* My older brother was always the smallest too. I can't remember how many times I had to beat people up for messing with him.

    Scent is not one I would choose to give up. I had a bf who lost his sense of smell when we were dating, and it was weird. Because smell affects your tastebuds (don't ask me how), so foods would not taste the same. I couldn't handle suddenly not being able to enjoy my favorite foods.

  5. I have no sense of smell - that's definitely the easiest to give up. If I was to chose a handicap, probably would be losing my left arm, strange as that sounds.

    Just found your blog today - terribly interesting, and you're one helluva inspirational woman!