As a kid growing up, I always tried to fit into one group of kids or another. Growing up, I think most of us did. No one ever want’s to be the “odd one out.”
“What’s a Nerd?”
Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don’t forget to breathe, very important.
- Mr. Miyagi (The Karate Kid)
When I was in third grade, one of the issues I had to deal with was bullies. I’d come home complain to my dad while crying, “Kids beat me up and called me a nerd. You need to complain to the principle!”
My dad, instead of talking to the school administrators, he enrolled me into the local martial arts school: Master Bai Taekwondo.
As a kid I was never really into sports, but martial arts was so much fun. It wasn’t long until people stopped bullying me. But, after a couple years my family moved again to another town.
Middle school was a time for me where I realized I’d be with my peers for a little bit longer than I had grown accustomed to.
Hackensack, NJ was predominantly urban and I felt the pressures to fit into the social norms. Because I was in a different school almost every year before this point, I was in a way a bit sheltered when compared to other children.
I didn’t even know the basic curse words until the sixth grade. I got teased a lot for that. One time someone called me gay. I looked it up in the dictionary and it was defined as someone who is “merry” or “cheerful.”
So, I was like, “What’s wrong with being happy?”
The teasing intensified. For the most part, I’d ignore it. However, when teasing became physical, I had reached my limit.