Dick Nose (17)
I fully admit that I had a hard time managing my emotions about Beverly. I was kind to her because she didn’t deserve anything but kindness, but inside I was jealous of nature’s gifts. Beverly was the perfect trifecta - stunningly beautiful, smart, and interesting. She was already a swan and when she walked by, I couldn’t help but gasp at how magnificent she was. I started losing hope that I’d ever be a swan myself and went through a dark period of depression. I didn’t feel like I had much hope, but I did have something that I knew was true, I was intelligent and I was curious. That had to count for something. Remember, if I wasn’t beautiful, I had to be smart, and well, I felt like I had a pretty good noggin.
Even though I was boy crazy, I wasn’t getting anywhere with them. Pursuing the opposite sex seemed like a lost cause. My friend Tamar threw a party at her house while her mom was away and I did the typical thing where you lie to your parents about your friend’s mom being home and you are having a “sleepover”.
Tamar surprised me by inviting Will, my last available crush. I honestly had no idea what to do. Tamar teed up everything for me and very little happened. She had a massive waterbed that she let us share. We both kept our distance and tried not to move, else we’d cause waves to happen between us and that was incredibly awkward.
However, just as we were both about to fall asleep, from across the other side of the bed, Will said, “Cyan, will you be my girlfriend?” I lit up and gushed, “Absolutely!!” He then smiled and closed his eyes and I tried to remain motionless while I stared at the profile of his face, admiring all of it. His face was covered with scars from some sort of explosion that happened when he was a small child and I found them incredibly interesting and beautiful.
When we woke up, Will bolted. After that, we only spent time skating at Gabe’s house and avoiding any real conversations.
One day in science class a note was passed to me. I had passed out a lot of notes, but this was my first time receiving one from a boy. I was so excited. I looked back at the author behind me, blushed, and smiled. I nervously opened the note under my desk and was impressed that he went to the effort to fold it intricately. I flattened it out and put it on my leg to reveal the words..
I crumpled up the note into a ball and threw it back at him and gave him the finger. He started laughing and I sank down in my chair. My inner critic started up. Did my nose look like a dick? Was it unusually large? When I went home that night, I asked my mother if there was something I could do about my nose to make it smaller. She told me that there was, but also that there was nothing wrong with it. She reminded me about being an ugly duck and then again told me not to worry.
“Cyan, there are people all over the world with noses as big or bigger than yours. Yours is pretty average. Navajo noses are just smaller. It is just how it is.”
While some things were not going well, some things were going exceptionally well. When I started the 6th grade, my band teacher was like the sorting hat at Hogwarts. He had you stand in front of the class, he’d look you up and down and then hand you an instrument. You didn’t get to choose. For me, he looked at me and declared, “I think we have a french horn player here! Don’t we Dirty Harry?!” I didn’t at all understand why he called me Dirty Harry, but that became my nickname with other kids and my teachers. Well, it turned out I really enjoyed playing the french horn and started excelling at it quickly. I also started competing in speech and debate tournaments and winning medals. I wasn’t athletic really, so being good at anything gave me some hope.
I had a friend named Janine who was cousins with Will, but something bizarre happened where we had been friends for a few years and suddenly she started tripping me when I’d walk by. Tripping became shoving and eventually, she knocked me down a ramp outside of debate class. This really sucked and I decided I hated school and didn’t want to go anymore. I’d head out in the morning before my mother would go to work and as soon as I’d see her truck leave, I’d turn right back around and head back in to eat whatever I wanted and play Skate or Die. It was way more fun and safe than being at school where I was picked on constantly and failing to attract boys that I desperately wanted to hold hands with. Well, that didn’t last long. My mother worked in the same school system as my teachers so she found out pretty quickly. One day she came into the house after pretending to leave for work and caught me red-handed. She was furious. That was the end of my Nintendo.
So, I had to go to school and not only face detention but also Janine. To this day I don’t know what got into her or what I did, but she became more and more aggressive. One day a boy in class leaned over to me and said, “Hey, you realize what you have to do right?”
I looked puzzled.
“Well, you have to fight her. That’s the only way to get this to stop, unfortunately. You have to fight her and win. I can’t really explain why this works, but this worked for me and another kid. Nobody picks on me anymore.”
I didn’t like physical stuff. I was a hand holder, not a fighter, but I understood what he meant deep down. As long as she felt she could keep tripping me and getting positive reinforcement from her friends, I was in constant danger. It was so animalistic and gross, but I felt that I had to attack her. I really didn’t want to, but I also didn’t want skinned knees or worse anymore. The school wasn’t going to stop her, so I had to.
Janine played the flute and the french horn section was behind the flutes. So, I decided that I’d follow her out of band class and confront her as soon as class was over. She was with a group of friends who also shoved me, so I had to do this right in order for it to work. I walked up behind her and grabbed her flute out of her hands and as she turned around I hit her with it.
“Bitch, don’t fuck with me anymore”. I stared her down and got into her personal space, something I practiced for days before this incident. I had to really look menacing. I puffed out my chest as a circle formed around us.
”Go blondie! Go blondie! Fight. Fight. Fight.” could be heard chanted around me. She charged at me and I hit her again with the flute case and threw the case at her, which caused her to fall to the ground. Suddenly teachers swooped in and separated us and I was hauled to the principal’s office by my shirt collar. The teacher yelled at me all of the ways there, but I had a massive grin because I knew that I had succeeded. Janine, because she was on the ground was sent off to class and didn’t have to face the music as I did.
I was sent to detention but I was perfectly fine with it and the boy from class, with all of his wisdom, was sadly correct. She never ever hit me again and neither did anyone else. That was the end of any bullying from that day forward. No “dick nose” notes. Nothing. I didn’t make a lot of new friends, but I at least didn’t have to worry about my personal safety anymore.
To this day I don’t feel good about what happened. I would have much rather Janine and I go back to being the friends we once were, but I knew there was the truth about the animalistic nature of posturing and standing up for myself. If I never did, the abuse would compound. It sucks that kids have to go through this shit and it is an unfortunate byproduct of sticking a bunch of kids into the public education “system”. We learn a lot of shitty behaviors from other kids and their parents and we also teach a lot of shitty behaviors of our own to them.