I learned very early on that I was good at more than my school subjects. I learned if someone tried to make me feel less than with words, I could come back with something in a split second ten times better, that would turn the tables and make them feel really dumb. I learned my physical strength, without even trying, was kind of freakish. With that knowledge I knew that it might take years of proving myself, but sooner or later, people would stop messing with me.
I never had a problem fitting in. I always knew I was different and felt like an outsider, but put me in any situation and within 15 minutes I had a group of people around saying, “I like her.” This was very important to me up until junior high. Then I started purposely not fitting in and realizing I not only didn’t NEED everyone to like me, but I didn’t want them to. I went through many phases in high school and college. I was a goth kid, I was a hardcore kid, I was a raver. Any time I got to the point where I knew the “cool” crowd of any scene, I would get out. I never wanted to be the cool kid. I didn’t want to stand out. I wanted to blend. I learned it was kind of impossible. I am very animated when I talk, and I learn about subjects quite quickly. I am also like Cliff Clavin. I have tons of useless knowledge stored in my noggin. Apparently, people find this interesting. I sometimes wish it would just go away. That I could hear a blip or read a blurb, and it didn’t stick with me forever. But remembering to take something to work? Nope. I have to make a note for that. My brain is too busy remembering all the people that Exene from X dated.
I got in to many battles, both physical and verbal. I would see a nazi skinhead and I would immediately start harassing them. I got my nose broken over a dozen times being kicked in the face by groups of men. But I never backed down. I didn’t have that fight or flight thing. I only had fight. I would beat people up so bad they’d end up in the hospital. This only had to happen a handful of times before I refused to hit people. My anger would well up so much that I would black out and I couldn’t stop hitting or kicking. I didn’t like it. It scared me. The last two fights I got in to I threw my hands down and refused to even defend myself. It is the hardest, and most rewarding thing I have ever done. Have you seen Mask with Eric Stoltz? That’s what my face looked like after the last fight I got in. My cheekbones were shattered, nose broken, and all kinds of fun stuff. I went to the hospital to get checked out and refused to tell them who did it. I wasn’t that kind of girl. To this day I don’t call the cops. I take care of things my own way.
I once had a lady comment on the creepers I was wearing and say, “Nice Frankenstein shoes.” Without missing a beat I turned and said, “Nice shoes whatever fashion magazine told you it was okay to wear this month. How does it feel to be a sheep?” Then I actually bleated at her. Some time later I was hitting the handicap button with my elbow at work, to get the door to open. I did not like touching handles right after I’d washed my hands in the restroom. A lady said, “Well that was a waste of energy” eluding to the fact that I’d used power to open the door, when I could have just opened it with my hand. I turned and said, “Not as much a waste of energy as you making that comment.” I prided myself on things like this. The things that other people would think up twenty minutes later and say, “I wish I’d said that” I actually HAD said.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because no one is all positivity and roses. I do not want to paint a picture of myself of this always perfect positive Polly, because that’s not who I am. Although I no longer bark back when people say mean things, I used to be a total asshole. I am not ashamed of it, because it made me who I am today. I have been in dank bars, in drug houses surrounded by pounds of crystal meth, in jails, and now I sit in an office and wear sensible shoes. We all have the opportunity to change. Nothing is set in stone. You have the ability to be whoever you want to be, even if your life hasn’t been all wine and roses. I am a survivor of molestation, of rape, and of a lot of emotional abuse, and I have come out the other side stronger.
When people say mean things I now look at them and think, “They must be hating themselves right now to have to try and make someone else feel bad. They don’t realize tearing someone else down isn’t the key to feeling better. Building yourself up is.” But it’s easier to just think everyone is inferior, than really do the hard work to make yourself *good.*
I still find myself saying really snappy smartass things, but it’s becoming less and less frequent. Every time I DON’T do it is a proud moment indeed. It doesn’t matter how physically or mentally tough you are. It’s far more disciplined and difficult to not react, and to just smile and walk away.
Now instead of priding myself on being the comeback queen, I pride myself on complimenting at least one person every day, and making as many people smile and laugh as I can. ‘Cause that’s my other gift: humor. I pride myself on sick humor too.
Totally off subject but something that I just remembered that made me laugh. The other morning Rich and I were in bed and I said, “Oh jeez, I need to get in the shower. I feel like I smell like a thousand whores.” My sweet, sweet boyfriend turned to me and said, “Awww, no hon, you only smell like one whore.” And thus, I adore him. I notice him adopting my biting sense of humor more and more, and I have to admit, I really like it. I laughed so hard that morning. Laughter is so healing to me. But I will get more in to that tomorrow.
Happy picture of the day: my robot tea infuser. I like buying loose leaf tea, and I swear this little guy actually makes the tea taste better.