For those of you that don't know me: I grew up in Joliet, Illinois and went to St. Joseph's Catholic School.
St. Joe's is a Slovenian parish with a great education and less than three blocks away from my house as a kid.
As for my sister and I, my mom raised us Catholic and wanted us to be sure we made our sacraments on time. We wore plaid uniforms with knee socks and oxford shoes and learned Slovenian. We walked to and from school together.
My sister is 5 years older than I so by the time I reached 4th grade, she had graduated and started high school.
That meant I had to start walking home...ALONE.
Just so you know, I was a strange looking skinny girl with big glasses, big teeth and hair that went everywhere. My mom didn't make my life easier and insisted on giving me bowl-cut bangs because they were "stylish." I was well-mannered tough and never dreamed of using vular language.
To add to my strange aura, we were the only black Catholics in the area so my black friends who weren't Catholic stood by eating tea sandwiches at my 1st Communion party wondering what the hell it was all about. Their parents kept telling them to see if we were Jewish or report back about the sort of food we ate.
No one really understood but it didn't stop us kids from playing together every chance we got. It was a diverse neighborhood with blacks, whites and Hispanics and the whitest kid ever, Brad. We had no curfews and ran the neighborhood like it was our playground.
Even with all of the great summers and playtime, there was this one group of girls that hated me. A set of 4 chicks that lived two blocks up the hill. The ring-leader, Minnebell (I know, right?), was the main antagonist.
I can see her now as she stood there skinny as a rail, with her thumb in her mouth and a lopsided ponytail.
Minniebell didn't go to my school, but she got out about 5 minutes earlier than I did. So, that provided her and her gang ample time to post up and harrass me on my walk home. After some time, I told my parents and they suggested I confront her.
One day, they tossed rocks at my back while I walked. I didn't say anything but I was fuming inside. Why would anyone not like me? I was friends with everyone!
It made no sense at all so one day as Minniebell was walking on my heels I turned and asked,
"Why do you hate me?"
Minniebell popped her thumb out of her mouth and said, "Because you think you the sh*t but you ain't." She then went on about my shoes being ugly and that ugly uniform and my glasses.. She had several reasons and would remind me of them everyday.
Little did she know, I didn't think I was the "sh*t" and felt far from it.
My mom, although a Catholic, never preached that "turn the other cheek" lesson that we were taught in school. She always encouraged me to defend myself. Luckily abuse hadn't turned physical yet.
The verbal abuse continued for years as I went from one grade to the next. They harrassed me during the summer and tried hard to turn my other friends against me. I stopped trying to understand their reasoning and their hate continued to grow but they never tried to fight me until....
The last day of 6th grade.
I don't know what happened at school that day but I sure as hell wasn't in the mood for bullshit.
We had a half-day and I began my three-block walk home.
Sure enough, Minniebell jumped out with that f**ed up ponytail and flat overly sucked thumb and began her regular tirade of insults. As I walked, I could feel my face getting hot. Her gang followed me close to my house until I was right in front of my porch. I guess that's when something clicked:
I put my backpack down and said, "B**ch, I am about sick of your sh*t and if you want to fight me, then let's go."
I couldn't even recognize my own voice as I let "B**ch" fly out of my mouth. I never cursed out loud like that before.
It felt weird...but it felt good.
Next thing I knew, I was surrounded by Minnebell and three of her bird-faced friends. I figured, if I am going to get my ass whipped, might as well be today and might as well be here.
Minniebell took a windmill swing at me and I dodged the blow. I grabbed her by the lopsided ponytail and pounded her in the top of her head. The adrenaline was pumping in my temples and I felt stronger than I had ever felt before.
"What happened to the other bi**hes?" my mind wondered.
I turned to see that my mother had appeared out of nowhere and held the other three as they attempted to jump me.
You think that's crazy? My mom did something else that surprised the shit out of me...
She saw that I had given Minnebell a good sound beating and tossed me the next girl to fight.
I stood there and fought each of them as they came and won each time
When it was done, I stood strong and they limped away piecing together torn t-shirts and finding shoes. My mouth let loose in a hail of curse words as they ran away.
From that day forward, I never had a problem with Minniebell and her gang ever again or with anyone else who tried to bully me.
Unfortunately, I curse like a sailor now.
You win some, you lose some.
Anyhow, thanks so much for reading my post and I encourage you to share and comment. While you're at it, follow me on twitter @TheRealJoyRene.
Yep, you're welcome!