As a child I thought my big lips were my downfall. Everyday I would get teased about the size of my lips. As far back as I can remember, as I grew my lips grew two size larger. In class I would sit and daydream about having plastic surgery to have them deflated. Momma use say “oh they’re all jealous because God gifted you these lips.” Jealous huh? It doesn’t feel that way when the kids point and laugh. I was called every name in the book every derogatory clever name created I was called.
Everyday my torture would continue. I wake up dreading going to school. Momma made sure I was up and ready in time for school. She even had my brother walk me to the bus stop to prevent the kids from picking on me. That tact worked until I got onto the bus. Scared I would try to sit as close to the front by the bus driver this way the torture wouldn’t be as bad. My friends did their best try to block the abuse. Walking me to class, walking me to my locker and then the bus stop but there’s was no stopping the hateful bullying I had to endure.
Now in High School the same kids my tormentors constantly having a go at me. Slowly chipping away at myself esteem. Even new kids jumped on the bandwagon. Gone is my shield, my protection of my crew from Jr. High. We all are scattered in different directions, different schools like the decaying brown autumn leaves blowing in the wind. I am alone in my torture. Everyday I am reminded how ugly I am, how my big lips takes up the bottom part of my face. This is during the eighties, we didn’t have social media, internet, no public support like it is today. We were told to toughen up or fight back or stand up for yourself. Momma told me until I fight back, I will be picked on. I don’t think Momma had any idea how bad this has become. I felt like I was going to the fortress of HELL everyday trying to avoid my tormentors.
One day going to history class, the main bully was on it. Just nonstop with the vicious attacks. Momma always said “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me, as long as she doesn’t put her hands on you you’ll be okay” well momma didn’t have to go to school and deal with this hell. I tried to convince myself of that and I can deal with her taunts. As we walk into class, this chick proceeds to come over to my desk standing over me yelling her insults. Getting into my space, I mean really getting into my face I can smell her nasty hot breath burning my nose hairs. Gaining an audience her taunts gets even more vicious. I get up to leave and she pushes me down. I get up she pushes me down again. Third attempt she put her hand on my chest, I grabbed her hand bending her fingers back standing up and pushing her back. She tumbles over the desk behind her falling to the ground. I grab my backpack and slam it into her face across her eye. Feeling full of myself, I drop my backpack and land a punch boom right in the kisser. Teacher coming breaking us up I say to her “now who has the big porn lips bitch!”.
Off to the principal office we go. We sat as the principal called our parents. I’m looking at her and now her lip is bleeding. It dawned on me what I did and I have to face my Momma. My mother finally getting to school, I see her walking down the hall with that look. You know that look when school officials calls a parent then said parent have to leave work missing out on hours of pay to come and deal with the trouble child. I was terrified. The only person who can ever put the fear of God in me is my Momma. I tried to be perfect just so I wouldn’t let her down and now I’m sitting here outside of the principal office in trouble for fighting that’s very disappointing. No matter how bad the torture is and how much of it I had to endure nothing is as bad as physical violence towards another. I shouldn’t have let it get to this point the point of violence.
Momma walks in looks at me and at my tormentor passing us to the secretary. Principal comes greeting her as they walked into his office. The door shut closed. I hear muffled sounds between the two seeing the shadows of them through the glass panel door. I am focused on Momma. Watching her shadow seeing if I can get a read and how to prepare myself for certain death. It’s funny, I got bullied for a long time, the one time I fought back now I’m in fear of the consequences the irony of it all. I was more scared of Momma then my tormentor. As I was thinking of what to say trying to come up with some type of defensive the door swung open, Momma had that look on her face like she just went 12 rounds with Mike Tyson and won. The principal comes out behind her trying to calm her down. Momma then turns to him getting up in his face pointing her finger and said “you knew about this! If you suspend my baby for defending herself I will bring this school to its knees!” She turns to me and say “let’s go!” Momma then turns to my tormentor and said “next time you decided to bully my daughter, I will put bricks in her backpack and this time when she hit you will have a lump to go with that busted lip!” Out of the office we walked.
I looked at my mother differently from then on. She’s a single mother of six kids. She managed to keep us all out of trouble. She kept a roof over our heads and food in our belly. It’s was hard for her when my father left us but she never let our circumstances get the better of us. I had no idea weeks before Momma called the school telling the principal of my daily torture. I didn’t think momma had a clue how bad this was for me that is until my big mouth sister telling my secret. Her noises always got the better of her where I was concerned. She loved ratting me out to Momma. We got into the car she looked at me asking me why did I put up with this for so long? My response “I didn’t want to cause trouble”. Momma then gave me some advice she said “never ever let anyone put you down. You have the right to defend your character.” She’s was right.
Years later now at forty-five, I ran into my tormentor or I should say she ran into me literally. I didn’t recognize her but she sure remember me. I hear this person speak my name. I now got my beautiful babies the three J’s. I’m trying to wrangle them up in the car along with my groceries, still I hear that raspy voice speaking my name. She comes over and proceeds to speak. I’m looking at her yes she’s familiar but I can’t put my finger on it. She tells me her name and in shock I see this plastic Barbie doll. We got to talking she tells me about her life she’s now wealthy due to three divorces and hubby number four is a surgeon. She tells me how she transformed becoming a better person. She had weight loss surgery, face lift, fillers and such. All I kept thinking about is for years you picked on me because of my natural lips and now she has to pay for hers #irony. I wanted so badly to tell her all the damage she caused the hell she put me through. All the therapy, the self help books, relationships, learning how to cope all of it I spent years trying to overcome. I didn’t why? Because at that moment I looked at her then looked at my babies I’m blessed, I survived.
We stood in the grocery store parking lot about thirty minutes chatting it up. She then starts to cry and offers up an apology for all the harm she caused which I accepted. as we saying goodbye she hands me a card with her number on it. Looking at the card I can see she’s gave herself the title of PR person. She tells me she doesn’t expect to hear from me but she hopes that I would give her a call and be willing to have coffee. She’s right I didn’t call sorry but some old wombs still hurt no matter how much time have passed. This is a can of worms I don’t want to open. However, I did thank her because if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have learned a valuable lesson. Because of her I learned how to toughen up. I gained a sense of myself worth. I know now what I will tolerate and what I won’t. If I didn’t experience her torture I wouldn’t be as strong as I am today.
“You can’t control how people treat to you, you can only control how you react to them”
Let’s be kind to each other.