sticks and stines may break mybones but words will never hurt me (again)
“if it ain’t true, you ain’t talkin’ bout me
There was a boy named Quinton in Mr. Wallace’s fifth grade class. Quinton didn’t like me very much. I was new to Harper Woods.
“Aye,” he tapped Delcie, “ Don’t she look like a black ugly ogre with that black spot on her face”
He was talking about my mole/beauty mark…I don’t really know which one it is. I heard giggling in the classroom behind me. That was the beginning.
I kept thinking it would all go away, the rumors, the mean comments, and that I should just stick it out and wait. Then it all got worse. I don’t know exactly when it started but my grades began to go down and I began to get really far away and disrespectful at home. I was always in trouble because of this, it made my mom, who says what she thinks no matter what, say things like she wished she never adopted me. It hurt. Soon I started to feel like there was no place in the world for me.
I felt like it was all my fault…like I myself had pushed everyone away from me. My classmates, my mom, even down to my biological mom. Maybe if I was pretty or white, I used to think. Maybe if I did everything I was told and nothing I wasn’t, maybe then somebody, anybody would want me.
So then I tried to people please. He wanted this, she needed that. I never really could please my mother, though. Soon I realized I was being used, even though I let everybody copy off of my papers and shared my lunch, people still talked about me behind my back. It hurt, because now I didn’t just feel unwanted. I felt used and unwanted. Being now, a seventh grader, I contemplated, and came up with what I thought was the only way out.
The last day of seventh grade was murder…or something close to it. I looked at my two best friends, my only friends, Jamie and Deyjah. The friends who were nothing like me, and despite the warning everyone gave them about me, got to know me, the friends who spoke up for me, when my own voice was choked with the pain of trying to hold back tears. Maybe there was another way out. When I came home my mother asked me how my last day went, fine, was my answer, just like every other day, of every other school day.
One night that summer, I was left on punishment at home doing the dishes, while my mom and sisters went to my grandmas house. I began to feel alone, not in a sense of people around me, I knew my brothers were downstairs, I felt alone in my soul, like I was continuously grabbing at something that seemed within my reach, but never was. I looked in the mirror for at least fifteen minutes. My skin was too dark, my eyes too big, my nose too pointy, my lips too small. I began to see why nobody liked me…I was so damn ugly. My biological mother probably took one look at me and couldn’t even claim me. Never came to see if my looks had progressed, never came, just figured I’d always be ugly.
I went back to the kitchen. I’d better hurry up and finish the kitchen before my mom came home or I’d be in trouble, once again. I was wiping the counter when I saw the Ibuprofen. The bottle said do not exceed 8 pills in 24 hours. I opened the bottle and poured 16 into the palm of my hand. I got a 24 ounce cup of water, and one by one I took the pills.
I began to cry immediately after I finished. I didn’t really want to die, what was I trying to do, how could I be so stupid. I was assured now that every body’s words didn’t really matter . I was sure I could fix everything. I turned to God. I prayed and prayed, and prayed and prayed. I said that I didn’t care anymore about what other people said, I said I only wanted to be beautiful to him, I said sorry so many times, knowing that committing suicide is a sin. I wrote a note to my mom, saying that I was sorry for all this would cost her, a
funeral and all, especially since time was really hurting her pockets right now. I finished the kitchen and took a shower, I climbed into bed, not really expecting to wake up the next morning.
The sun peeled through the blinds. I opened my eyes and looked around, I was in my pink tweety bird room, it was then I realized how good I had it, how beautiful my room was, how many people had a life so much worse than me. My heart was beating incredulously fast, and once again I began to cry. I found my journal and wrote a poem entitled Good Morning in which the incident was described as a dream, that had me crying in my sleep and I set out to make the best dream ever come true.
I was so grateful to be alive. It took me a year to finally tell someone, and then my mother. My mom looked me in my eyes and called me stupid, she asked me why I hadn’t told her why did I let it bother me that much, how did I let it go that far, I’d kill for one of my baby’s, she said, and at the moment I realized someone had wanted me all along. I began to cry and she took me in her arms as if I was an itty bitty baby and cried with me, she told me I was beautiful and that there is no way I should’ve let them get to me, she told me she says things out of anger and that she never meant to hurt me. Till this day, you can call me a nerd, the black scum off the devils shoe, and in the words of my mother, “if it ain’t true, you ain’t talkin’ bout me.”