Today, I thought I’d talk about a thing I’m somewhat ashamed of, despite not feeling shame as an emotion. I am an expert on non-emotional shame, and this expertise began at slightly beyond the age where one is expected to use cutlery.
I’ve never liked it. It squeals and scrapes and clatters, which is painful and anxiety inducing, it’s awkward to hold, and you have to hold it wrong.
And it’s hard to use. Every moment I am using it, I am so very anxious that I will mess it up. Whether it’s accidentally pushing something off the plate, dropping it off the cutlery as I lift it, squealing knife along plate when I cut through something and twitching at the noise..
The list goes on. An awkward, humiliating eternity of it, made of small moments with the same cringing, ashamed thoughts behind each. “Did nobody see or are they just pretending not to have?” “What do I do now?” “I’m going to remember this forever, just like the last time.”
Every single time you have to eat.
And people want you to hurry up, that’s the thing. You’re naturally slow at eating, but when you have to use cutlery, and think about dropping and pushing and cutting and *drool* and all those other small, terrible moments, you simply cannot do anything quickly.
But you’re under pressure to hurry, hurry, hurry.
You can’t take hours to have tea, you can’t lose awareness of all those moments that are waiting to casually step in and make you hate yourself, you can’t forget the cutlery, but you have to do one of them or your attention is too divided.
All you can do is deliberately fail, or stress yourself and fail. And when you fail, you are disgusting. I feel disgusting, hammering this out at four letters per second on my Ipod touch with one finger, because I can’t multitask well enough to use two.
I feel ashamed, and disgusting, and I know that there are people who will agree with me, even though it isn’t my fault. Unless it’s my fault for not knowing I’m disgusting, for needing to eat.
It’s not something I’ll soon forget, anyhow. I never eat or mention that I do in front of anyone now, no matter how much they’d like me to stay for tea, or eat with the family.
I don’t think I could do it if I tried, and I don’t.
Whether it’s quiet hands, or disgusting, or any other words of shame and fear and self loathing, once you hammer it into a developmentally disabled persyn’s mind, you will never be able to take it back.
Before you do, I want you to comprehend that.
You may never take this back. You have poisoned this part of their mind for as long as you and they live.
You won’t even stop whatever you didn’t like.
You haven’t fixed anything, and now it is going to be like that forever. And edventually, your child will be writing their own little article on disgusting, or quiet hands, or whatever you poisoned them with.
Just like me.