Driving to work today, I almost got hit by a giant schoolbus. No lie.
My near brush with the broad side of a bus (ha!) sparked a flashback to elementary and high school, and my bus drivers for both. It also reminded me of how much I loved high school and yet HATED elementary school.
Kinda backwards, right? A lot of people I know agree that high school was the most miserable time of their lives. I guess I can see why that would be the case… high school is not for the faint of heart. Middle Sis once told me that she used to cry every day on the way home from school, and I consider her one of the toughest cookies I know. Ironically I’m considered the biggest crybaby of the family and I really enjoyed my years in high school. I wasn’t the prom queen or anything (although I was a cheerleader), but I was finally learning not to give a crap about people’s opinions, and although I hadn’t mastered it just yet, I was starting to come into my own. I can’t say that all my memories of high school are pleasant, but compared to elementary school, high school was a year round vacation.
One reason I hated elementary school was because of the bullies. One I remember the most was a girl named Keiona. In elementary school, I was a shrimp, with big goggle Sally Jessie Raphael glasses, and mushroom-shaped hair. Keiona was fat (in 2nd grade, I guess she could be called pudgy) and not terribly smart or cute, and I think she compensated for these shortcomings by finding someone she could bully. That ended up being me.
One thing I learned in elementary school was that kids are better than bloodhounds: they can smell fear, urine and weakness form a mile away. I was a bit of a nerd (no surprise), I liked keeping to myself and reading, and I was so afraid of getting in trouble at home for misbehaving that I never defended myself. Any village idiot could tell you that I was a prime target, ripe for the picking. She pulled all of the traditional bully tactics: pushing me, jumping my space in line, writing stupid notes about me to MY friends, making jokes at my expense, everything. This stupid pudgy girl made me hate myself all through elementary school, and I will NEVER forgive that.
One particular memory I won’t ever forget: I was sitting by myself in the lunchroom, reading my newest Babysitter’s Club book, and Keiona sauntered over. It was apple spice cake day, which any kid in my school could tell you was one of the best desserts of the month! I was saving my piece of cake until the end of my lunch, and Keiona STUCK HER FINGER INTO MY CAKE and said “did you want this?”. I angrily pushed it away, and told her she could have it. Lil fatty scampered off, mouthful of cake, while her friends laughed.
A few years later, I got my period and had an “accident” in class. I was already embarrassed, and the bullies took an opportunity to prey upon my further. I was mortified.
The worst part of it all I think was the helplessness, being angry and feeling like I couldn’t do anything. I’m pretty sure now that my parents would understand if I’d gone batshit on those kids, but I wasn’t willing to risk it. Good behavior was so instilled in me that I didn’t do anything. I didn’t even tell the teacher. But I never forgot.
When I saw I’ll never forget, I mean it: Keiona recently friend requested me on Facebook, and I declined. The image of that fat little bully has never really left my mind. I wanted to message her “B!tch you owe me a piece of apple spice cake!”