Monday, January 21, 2013
When you grow up with a billboard on your back that says “I’m different”, creatures of all types get a kick out of making you miserable. At first, when you’re young and vulnerable and new to the game of bullying and intolerance, you don’t have much of a choice, except to duck and cover your wounds and tolerate these misery-seekers. Later, with a few years and sore spots under your belly, you develop the Big D attitude. That is, you get very defensive. The vulnerable underbelly is still there but covered up by a crusty outer layer of toughness. A necessary evil for dealing with the mean ones of the world.
Every wounded creature chooses a slightly different strategy for emotional and physical protection. Some learn to be brainiacs and try to outsmart everyone else. Others get bigger and stronger than the neighborhood bullies so no one with f*** with them ever again. Many make the big bucks so they can always buy their way out of trouble.
I chose to, well, let me just show you what the School Psychologist wrote about me.
Raine is a vulnerable animal that has developed a defensive, cynical attitude to protect her considerable wounds. This creative, intelligent creature has been at the precipice of a nervous breakdown and unconsciously chooses to be persistently vigilant to avert emotional threats from her environment. Prone to use humor to deflect uncomfortable feelings. Edgy, with a sarcastic wit. Should be considered fragile, but not dangerous to self or others. (I love that part.) Needs considerable therapeutic help, when she is ready.
In layman’s terms, I’d rather be edgy, defensive and cynical than go completely bonkers. And just in case you’re wondering, I wasn’t quite ready for that shrink job.
Yea, at first that Big D attitude was directed at my parents for the nerve of getting together in the first place: What the heck were they thinking? Didn’t they know what all three of us would be up against? But it was hard to stay mad at them since I wouldn’t exactly be here if they hadn’t made that impulsive decision. And anyway, didn’t they have the right – regardless of their interspecies diversity – to do whatever in the heck they wanted to. Lest we forget, the last time I checked, this was a free country made of a vast diversity of creatures from all over the world. That ‘huddled masses’ stuff, if you know what I mean.
So you see, my attitude is all over the place: at various times hostile, angry, serene and accepting. It just goes with the territory of growing up with unique challenges. More about that later. The School Psychologist quote was taken from Dr. P’s latest free e book, Prejudice and the Progeny. Check it out at www.drparrino.com.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Raine again, here to answer Dr. Parrino’s question: Why is it so tough to embrace our differences? He may be right about stress, fight-flight, bad memories and all of that scientific stuff. For me, it comes down to one fairly obvious fact: small brains.
Yea…it takes a rather miniscule mind to engage in prejudice, intolerance of differences and especially bullying. Think about it! When one uses his/her big brain to think, let’s say, about chastising the chunky kid at school, you might say to yourself: “Hey that kid has enough problems dealing with a weight problem without having to stress-out over a bunch of smart-assed, skinny peers that want to get a kick from poking at somebody’s sore spot.”
On the other hand, the small brainers don’t put common sense into the formula for bad behavior, but think more like this: “Battering someone else can sure make me feel better about my ‘self’ and I get the added bonus of looking cool with my little groupies.”
Maybe Dr. P was right after all, you know, about bad memories unconsciously provoking bad habits. Of course, those bad habits for some kids reduce the stress of fitting in with the in-crowd. And remember what he said about the brain mistaking a stick for a rattlesnake: That chunky kid is minding his own tough, emotional business, but the bully – because of his/her own fears – sees a rattler that’s about to strike. Sounds a little bonkers, I know, but that’s the way the miniscule mind works under stress.
Anyway, I’ve got my own problems dealing with the small brainers. Here’s an excerpt from Dr. P’s new e book, Prejudice and the Progeny (that’s moi), to help you understand my unique plight and challenges.
“Cat and Tort were angst-provoking, but to tell you the truth, my biggest challenge was at school. You humanoids worry about your kids being pushed around by bullies, and rightfully so. But think about this: We had bona fide bulls at my school. Yea, monstrous creatures with huge torsos, gargantuan horns - and when they were pissed - gross stuff oozed out of their gigantic noses.
If the burly bulls didn’t like your particular look, or your smell - or the way you moved your little fanny - you had big problems. A walk around the schoolyard was an invitation for trouble. At times, I felt like one of those Spanish matadors, side-stepping angry, dangerous toros at every turn. And nobody came to my rescue or screamed “olay” when I executed a cool escape.
My school was pretty much a disaster, with gangs of mammals and reptiles fighting for dominance over the campus. Not a great environment for learning. It’s not easy listening to teachers with reptiles crawling around, and bullshit tossed from one side of the classroom to the other. If you’ve ever been slammed on the side of the head with a flying disc of manure, you understand my pain.”
More “Raine rants” upcoming. For now, go to www.drparrino.com for his free e book about yours truly. Prejudice and the Progeny
Monday, January 7, 2013
Hello, I’m Raine, the main character in Dr. Parrino’s new e book, Prejudice and the Progeny: A Love Story and Lessons for Embracing Our Differences. He has kindly agreed to allow my unique voice – at times hostile, often erudite and perennially sensitive – to emerge in some of his blogs. You see, I’m the voice of all of us different and sometimes downtrodden beings.
I am the progeny of a mammal and reptile, a hybrid offspring. Here’s an excerpt from the book to give you an idea of what I look like and perhaps a bit about my character.
“Okay, so here’s the deal about my looks. I’m a cross between a tiger and a turtle, a mélange if you will. So what would you expect? A muscular, hairy, low-to-the-ground, volatile creature that can break your neck with a sudden life-ending lunge.
Not really. That’s just to create a little drama. I’m pretty mild-mannered like dad, and rather unique looking, some say in a good way. Not as large and hairy as mom, or as short as dad. I have cat-like features and a tortoise’s hard shell, the best of both animals. The down side is that I’m bullied by creeps that don’t get my unique looks and divergent view of the world. That’s when I want more of mom’s personality.”
As Dr. Parrino stated in an earlier blog, it’s tough to embrace our differences. Mom and Dad, Cat and Tortue, started off in a state of bliss (Early Relationship Brain Dysfunction according to Dr. G, their therapist), but soon after their offbeat wedding, reality set in, and they began to struggle with a minor fact that somehow eluded them: tigers and turtles are from different species. Seems like a no brainer, doesn’t it?
Then they had moi, the off-spring, which made the three of us the perfect target for prejudice, intolerance, and especially for me, a bad case of bullying. So that’s what I want to write about in future blogs. If you want to read more about mom, dad and me, check out Dr. P’s free e book at www.drparrino.com.