He Brings It On To Himself
“And in this corner
weighing in at
4lbs, 3 ounces”
I was a freak from the day I was born
and I wasn’t even a primi
just simply ½ the size of tiny
Yup, this is where my status as an Outsider
begins, but of course
it never truly ends
A lot of people talk of a pressure to conform
to fit in –VS- a need to go their own way
like that perpetual Black Sheep
always “out of step with the world” [i]
but for me it was never that easy
because I never had the choice or option to fit in
bell hooks said once upon a time that
”Being oppressed means the absence of choices”
well for me
fitting in was never a choice
So in one corner
not even aware that I had been born into a boxing ring
and in the other corner
is societies social status quos
and the bastards that laughed along
I was so small
in a world built for big
they couldn’t even find a hospital ID bracelet for me [ii]
So how are they gonna find 10ounce gloves in my size?
never mind protective headgear…
Yup, I was way outta my weight class right from the beginning
so as you can imagine I took a lotta shots
and I spent a lot of time running
“DING! DING! ROUND ONE BEGINS!!!”
and if kindergarten was to be any indication
I was in for a nightmare lifetime of humiliation
I had only one friend, a kid named Terry
who lived next door
and at school he wouldn’t talk to me
or play with me
cause if he did, he also got picked on more
I have only ever met one other kid that was failed from kindergarten
And he broke another kids jaw
AT LEAST HE DID SOMETHING!
The next year was even worse
I spent the mornings in grade one and the afternoons in kindergarten…
Needless to say
by year 3 of my formal education, I was still in grade one
just in a new school… in a new town…
Ah! Small town Alberta! [iii]
Such an accepting place
where things move at a. . . progressive, pace!
Not only was I now the smallest kid in the grade
shorter than all the other boys, and girls
but now I was also the oldest by a year
and to top it off I was poorer than anyone else from around there
cause I was now the child of a single mother
Of course there were not things I understood until years later
instead I tried things like
not wearing my glasses
so I would not get called 4 eyes, or geek, or nerd
but instead of ending the hurt
they just changed the pejoratives to
or other such words
So what do you do when you are backed into a corner
and treated like a foreigner?
you get tough!
or at least you try!!!
which is pretty hard to do when you are half sized
So I began lifting weights
every day [iv]
in an attempt to change what seemed like fate
and I started listening to heavy metal
and eventually punk
and started wearing all black
except my hair
which was dyed a different color every few weeks
and spiked up with Knox and other junk [v]
In doing so I began to take back a degree of control
cause no I was the one rejecting, not rejected
but who’s keeping toll?
“He brings it on to himself”
the principal told my mother
making it all my fault
in those 6 words he justified all the years of pain
and hurt and abuse I felt
removing any responsibility from the school
or the teacher
or himself [vi]
Around that time 2 kids in the USA picked up guns
and they took AIM at those that they deemed responsible for their pain [vii]
and I thought
“Shit! It’s finally happening!
Maybe they will finally learn
that you can’t just keep doing this to people
eventually they will fight back
and it will be YOU that get’s hurt”
and I realized for the first time
that I was not alone
but they didn’t learn… they didn’t learn a thing
instead they blamed the victim
And I was told that I couldn’t wear chains to school anymore
and I had to leave my trench coat at home
rules made just for me!
to keep everyone else safe
safe to continue to pick on me
I talked with other kids from other towns
who were always…
they too had experienced going from the target
to the terrorist threat
meanwhile all around soccer moms
of bully boys formed parent groups
“how to stop bullying in highschools”
never once realizing it we their kids
who were calling us tools
cause it was their kids
who defined who/what was cool
cause it was their system
and their rules
and it’s kinda like Audre Lorde said
about the Masters Tools[viii]
about how you can’t use them to dismantle the masters house
cause if you could
they simply wouldn’t give you access to the tool box.
So at some point I came to a realization
that would change the rest of my life
I decided it wasn’t enough for me to not get bullied
bullying had to stop[ix]
not just for me, but for everybody, everywhere
Not one more kid should have to go through what I did
Now don’t get me wrong if I could go back in time I wouldn’t change a thing
because I like who I am, and who I became
but for what I gained
I don’t know if it was worth the pain
that is why we must work to create change
towards a world where this is never allowed to happen again!
[i] song lyrics by Minor Threat from what is often considered the first straightedge song Out Of Step, which is about how they feel like they can’t relate to a lot of people cause as Ian Mckay says in the revised version of the song
“I’m thinkin’ of three things that are like, so important to our world i don’t have to find much importance in because of these things, whether they are fucking or whether it’s playing golf, because of that I feel I can’t keep up,”
[ii] My mother told me this story many times about how none of the bracelets for babies would stay on me in the hospital cause my wrists were so small. She also said something about not being able to find baby cloths for me when she first got me home from the hospital
[iii] My mother left my father cause he was abusive, so we moved from the edge of Edmonton, to the family farm my mother had grown up on in Kitscoty, a shit town of 700 near lloydminster, just off highway 16. There was 2 kinds of kids in kitscoty, jocks, and cowboys.
[iv] in probably about grade 3 or 4 I began to lift weights, I wanted them so bad that my mother, even with her hesitations about my safety at such a young age, bought some cheap free-weights at a auction sale and a workout bench. I lifted weights every day, and in grade 5 when the school had a school fair, where anyone could have a booth, I applied to have an arm wrestling booth. The school went from kidergarden to grade 6, and yet there was only one person in the whole school that could beat me, a kid named Mark, who was 5’8” in grade 5 and could already palm a basketball. I believe he ended up 6’4” tall. Luckily for me Mark was the only jock in the school that wasn’t a complete and total prick, he never helped me or stood up for me, but he also never picked on me, which made him unique, cause probably about 95% of the other kids (and even some teachers) did pick on me. I was by this time stronger than anyone close to my age (except Mark) even though I was still the shortest in the grade, and often shorter than kids in the grade below… This fact didn’t stop people from picking on me though.
However soon as I went from grade 6 to grade 7, everything changed, as that school webnt up to grade 12, and so there was many kids stringer than me.
Around the age of 11 I also started doing Jodu, thinking it would be helpful for learning to defend myself. However, it was fun, but judo is more sport than self defense. Did that for 6 years or so. Eventually went to train in other martial arts.
[v] I would steal hair dye from Shoppers Drug Mart (my version of product placement, mention corporate stores that are easy to steal from), or in some cases I used bingo markers. Knox is pure gelatin, obviously I wasn’t vegan back then. Other things that worked almost as well as knox was woodglue, or this one type of hairspray that my sister use to buy to do up her bangs when she was a rocker. Now she is a yuppy accountant.
[vi] When I was about 14 or 15 there was a point where the harassment had gotten so bad that I absolutely refused to attend school. I vividly remember having 3 kids in grade 12 physically tear my pants from my body by ripping them in half while I was wearing them. I vividly remember having to carry all my binders to class because kids would break into my locker, cover it with deodorant, and trash it, almost every day. I remember kids tripping me, spitting on me, throwing shit at me, and all the time the teachers did fuck all (some even aged id on).
So my mother arranged a meeting with Tealing, the principal. A total lazy jackass that just really didn’t give a shit. I was in the room when Tealing told my mother that “he brings it on to himself”
I don’t always get a long with my mom, we have some pretty major differences, she is a blatant racist and homophobe, but when it came to this I gotta say she did really try. She went to the school board, and the principal almost lost his job. However, not a lot actually changed. And by 15 , just before my 16th bday, I dropped out for the first time and took off, hitchhiked across Kkkanaduh and ended up in Windsor Onterrible.
[vii] I am referring to the Columbine shooting in the USA, although there followed a shooting closer to home in Taber Alberta a few weeks later. For me this was a pivotal time, it looked like it was about to be Revenge of the Nerds for real!
[viii] In her amazing but oft misquoted essay The Masters Tools, Audre lorde argues that the methods of change sanctioned by the oppressor usually reaffirm to hierarchy and perpetuate the oppression. She was really talking about the racism in the feminist movement in which certain circles were very white dominated.
This should be obvious, yet we still have liberals who condemn anyone who protests in any way that is not within the laws set out by those in control of the legal apparatus.
Derrick Jensen in one of the Endgame volumes, does a pretty good dissection of the misquoted use of Lorde’s words. Unfortunately he doesn’t really go into the actual application of what she WAS saying.
[ix] This really was pivotal to my life, cause it was through this that I began to understand that in my case it was things like class (and later I figured out that gender and patriarchy and homophobia were also huge forces in why I was so bullied) that were causing me to be picked on, since it was rich kids who played sports who picked on poor kids who didn’t do good at sports. There was a lot of invisible walls built to keep their clique elite, so the rest of us couldn’t get in. But in realizing that class was a reason, I began to understand that capitalism had to go, and through that started to see all the other inter related forms of oppression that keeps this system up, and keeps some at the bottom so that others can be at the top. But what gose up, must come down.
xXx Comrade Black xXx