Story Time – Part 1: It’s Elementary, (Dear Watson)

I had this epiphany the other day to write more about my life, to really share what my life was like growing up, etc. Shout out to my friend DP for some inspiration. He’s writing a blog book on his dating life and how he found his wife. It’s really cool to look back on life in this way. To write about your life and really see where you came from and where you are now is interesting.

So where do I start? The beginning? The high school years? College? When I think about it, I don’t know if anything from my younger years (5-11) were that exciting. But I can start there and do a synopsis. Perhaps I’ll stumble across a story or two in there. In fact, I think I’ll just start when I was 9 entering the 4th grade and go from there.

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“The Teasing Years”

Teasing. That was the name of the game for me when I started my new school. Looking back, I don’t know why I was teased so much. I guess it was because of the glasses (they were super thick back then), but I guess it was mainly because I was smart. There were plenty of smart kids in my class though, so I don’t know why the bullies in my class chose me as their target. I suppose I could find them on Facebook and question them after all these years. Or maybe, I’ll just continue with this story.

My family had moved into a new house when I was about 7 years old. It was a HUGE house (to me). Some of you reading this have been to that house. My family has moved out of that house, but we still own it (hopefully that changes this year). That house was so wonderful to me back then. There was so much space to run around in. I didn’t realize how small our old house was until getting the new house. There were two rooms on the top level that were unfinished. One became my playroom, which was awesome. But there were no walls or floors. And it was super hot in the summer. I didn’t care though, it was my own space to play. And my mom didn’t care that my toys were strewn all over the place because the room was upstairs and we could just close the door. Perfect. At some point though, we got the rooms finished and that room became my bedroom. Oh, right, it was when my sister moved back home to have my nephew. Then my other sister moved back home, so we needed the space.

My new school was fine. It was another Catholic school, so no big deal there. But this school was right around the corner from my house, so I could walk to school! Later on, I’d meet the neighbor girl down the street and we’d walk to/from school together (along with her teenage brother). I made friends relatively easily in school, but sometimes I think back and wonder how. I was unbelievably shy back then. I guess my shyness equated to niceness. I never had a real problem at that school until 6th grade. That’s when things got rough.

There was this girl named Tamika (yes, that’s her real name, she’s not reading this I’m sure) and a kid named Jeremy (real name). They harassed the hell out of me daily. Oh, let me go back. By the 6th grade, our class size had dwindled tremendously. The school actually closed after my 6th grade year due to poor enrollment. I guess a lot of families in the area just couldn’t afford to pay for school. I assume. I don’t know for sure. Anyway, back to Tamika and Jeremy.

My 6th grade class consisted of me, Tamika, Jeremy, Terrell(?) and someone else. The “someone else” stopped attending. So it was just the four of us. Can you believe that? I’ve been to small elementary schools all my life, but this was ridiculous. The three were constantly against me. Many days, I didn’t want to go to school. I’d tell my mom I didn’t feel good, which never worked. So I’d trudge off to school, dreading my day.

Once there, the teasing began immediately. They’d tease me about my hair, my glasses, the way I talked, and even that I made honor roll every semester! I remember one time, they teased me because I didn’t curse. They sat there during some free time we were given, egging me on to say (quietly, the teacher was in the room of course) any curse word. I didn’t do it. It was dumb. Kids are dumb. Not all kids, but some are. I can’t imagine living in this day and age as a young kid. The internet, social media…I’d be a really sad kid. Luckily though, I grew up back then and didn’t have to deal with that nonsense outside of the classroom.

But let me give you a better picture of what I was dealing with. And I’m saying this as fact, not to be mean/offensive. Tamika and Jeremy were both overweight. They were both 11-12 years old and would most likely be considered very overweight/obese according today’s standards. Tamika was not a nice girl. She never treated me nice at all. So when I say this, I say this as a fact and not in any way trying to stoop to her level. She smelled. She smelled really, really, really, really bad. She smelled like poop and jheri curl activator. Yes, I’m wrong for saying that, but I have a really good memory and I won’t ever forget that smell. And now you won’t either! *lol* Seriously, she smelled so, so, so bad. Jeremy, I think harassed me because he liked me. He was nice to me sometimes. But when he saw Tamika harassing me, he’d join in.  I’m commenting about their appearance because it was always ironic to me that they bullied me, yet they themselves could’ve been bullied. In fact, I could’ve said a lot of mean things about their weight or smell, but didn’t. I wasn’t raised that way. Did I want to say something? YES. But…Tamika was so large (as in taller than me). She’d kick my butt for sure.

The other kid, Terrell(?)…. NO. TERRENCE! That’s his name. He’d sit there and laugh. Most times, he was pretty quiet. But he definitely did not come to my defense. Punk. *smh*

Because our 6th grade class was so small, the school split our class with the 7th graders. How many did they have? Four. Yup, four of them. Four of us. The 8th grade had about 15 kids. I don’t know how they ended up with a typical class size, but they did. At some point, I befriended some of the 7th and 8th grade girls. I remember one day at lunch, one of the ‘cool’ girls in the 8th grade asked me if I was friends with Tamika (Tamika was out sick, so I was invited to sit with the 7th and 8th graders). I said no. She laughed and asked why. I said because she’s mean to me and I don’t do anything to her. Some of the other 7th and 8th graders had joined the conversation by this point and made comments that Tamika shouldn’t talk given her weight. I laughed because it was true (and she was mean to me!) They were all really nice and told me that if I ever wanted to hang with them at lunch, I could. I was so happy!

I did start to hang with them at lunch, but eventually Tamika would come along too. The other girls weren’t too happy about it and wouldn’t talk to her much. It felt nice to belong, but I did feel bad for Tamika sometimes. And when I look back at it now, of course, I see it as her just being unhappy with herself. You know what they say, ‘hurt people, hurt people’. Who knows, maybe people in her life (e.g. family) were abusive to her, so she took out her anger on me. Or maybe she was just mimicking that behavior back to me. So, these days, I feel sad for her. But back then, I hated her. With a passion!

Well, that’s all I have for ya’ll today. High school presented new challenges, but overall, I really enjoyed high school. I used to think about it when I was in college. In college, I missed my h.s. friends a lot. I made friends in college, but it wasn’t the same to me for a long time. But I’ll get into it the next post.

-t

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