“As soon as the bell rings I’m going to punch you in the face.”
and that is exactly what he did.
It was second period in our block scheduling for the 8th grade at Robinson Middle school. I was seated at a table of four listening intently to the teacher because.. school. Along with me at that table was a girl I don’t care for, my cousin Gino and Donnie. These names are real.
Being completely uninterested in the conversation that Donnie was trying to pull me into and instead focusing on the task ahead his last plea to get my attention was as such. “If you don’t talk back to me I will hit you.”
That got my attention…
I quickly let him know that he is not going to do any such thing and to leave me alone. In Donnie I was not interested. His response.. “As soon as the bell rings I am going to punch you in the face.”
Rolling my eyes in disgust I turned my attention back to the teacher. Hitting someone because they didn’t want to talk to you seemed ridiculous and I was not intimidated by his threat. Then the bell rang…
I stood.. he stood.. and as I leaned to grab my belongings his fist came hurling towards me.
The next few moments were a blur, literally. My glasses had fallen off of my face. My books… I heard, crash onto the floor and laughter… I could hear classmates laughing and one laugh specifically belonged to my cousin. Students came closer to see my reaction and I heard urges to ‘hit him! HIT HIM!’ I could fuzzily see Donnie in front of me. Fist held up at attention and him urging me to swing…
I turned towards the direction of my cousin and yelled “find my glasses!” he quickly came closer, picked them up and handed them to me. Now able to again see I picked up my books, clutched them to my chest and walked through the crowd. Chin up until I reached the school office a floor below. Upon entering the staff asked what they can do for me and I assured them that I knew exactly what I needed.
I picked up an office phone and dialed 9-1-1. This was an emergency.
I waited in the office until the police arrived. I heard students outside baffled that I had called the police. I didn’t understand how they were questioning my actions. Donnie had in fact, hit me.
The police arrived and we sat in an office as I explained exactly what had happened to me. They keep asking questions like “are you sure?” saying things like “you look okay” as if I was supposed to be okay with what just happened to me.
Soon after my mom arrived and I was finally able to cry. I now had the attention of someone who cared for me yet as the police placed Donnie in handcuffs she turned to me and said “Maybe you should tell the police its okay, he’s just a kid” Recognizing my safe place was merely a mirage I reminded her that I too was a kid, and he was a kid… that HIT ME!
Donnie returned to school the next day. He had an apology and I was supposed to be okay. The expectation was that someone could purposely hurt you and you had to just deal with it. Forgive and forget. This is how I was taught early on to deal with pain.
Just years earlier I was punched in the stomach by a boy that I wouldn’t let touch my butt. I was in the fourth grade. When I commenced to smash his face I was told my actions weren’t okay. How was I to compare this to my 8th grade self. I was learning from these experiences that any action on my part was not okay. I was not supposed to protect… me.
I took that learned principle into my adult years. Making excuses for the actions of others and learning to simply deal with it. Adapt and overcome which is my fancy way of saying GET OVER IT even if behind closed doors this leaves my face stained with tears.
I would transition here into a call for action. I would tell you how much this learned behavior is untrue and how to appropriately deal with this.. but I live even today in a society where I deal with this. Today I have no answers for you… Im asking for them.
How can we prevent this? and like TLC proclaimed… What about yo friends?? Especially when all I can think of right now is that he didn’t actually hit me… so I should be okay??