For a few years, I was a hallway kid. The elementary kid that was so disruptive that I was a conundrum because I knew the work I was just so disruptive that I had a desk in the hallway where I celebrated the Valentine’s Day and the St Patrick’s Day parties by my lonesome in the hallway but I deserved it. I was forever interrupting the class off task.
Little old me went from being bullied to the kid who threw a stranger’s lunch away and the kid who loved books but threw a chair at the teacher. I am in no way proud of that kid but no one ever stepped to investigate what was wrong but if it wasn’t for my mom never giving up and me finding books, and the school seeing something in me I wouldn’t be the person I am today. They all separately worked together while I was crying at the bus stop because my childhood bully threw my shoe into traffic. In elementary school, some of my peers picked on me for having darker skin. I couldn’t process that because it was the only thing I couldn’t help while having grown adults tell me, “don’t sit in the sun too long you might get darker.”
That tribe that I mentioned earlier worked hard no matter how hard I wanted to rebel. I don’t remember much about intermediate school (not middle – – my school district had something before middle) but I remember giving up on the viola and these peer mediation classes that the school put me in. They wanted to teach a special group of people how to work through conflict. They were slick. Little old me didn’t realize that I was the student all along. We learned patience and conflict resolution and were excited to feel special because we got out of our usual class for this special program.
Later on, in life I would learn that the problem was me, and also a light bulb went off when my high school teacher confiscated my notebook because I finished my class work and homework in class early to write stories. I wasn’t being challenged enough. An idle young mind is a terrible thing to waste and I got so angry I tried to steal said notebook back because by then I knew my purpose was to write words. I was so good at it that my peers were reading stories in the notebooks chapter by chapter.
Am I embarrassed by my slightly brief chair throwing, temper tantrum, “I apologize that you felt that way,” time out plan writing behavior? Yes! Am I ashamed? Absolutely not because that made me who I am. My brothers and I all started in Woodland Hills School District and I am the only one to make it all the way through because if you’re any bit of a problem child they made it hard for you.
I look back at that girl proudly now because I talk excessively to stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves. I seek out challenges knowing I wasn’t challenged enough growing up and I’m thankful that my peers broke down my self-esteem before I could build it because now I have a solid foundation. It turns out that I’m glad and lucky that I only got into one fight because the person I was really fighting all along was me. I needed that war to become me.