Hey Fambly, I have never felt free to share this much of myself as I am about to do. But I feel the need to do it and I feel the Destee fambly is a safe place to do it. Only one other person has read this and he encouraged me to share it with you. I tell this story not to make anyone feel sorry for me but to speak for those who like myself as a child could not speak for themselves and also to heal. I have made a tremendous effort to remain sane and have done a lot better than most would or could in my shoes, but there is still some pain and anger right under the surface. Brotha Oldsoul has taught me a lot about the law of attraction and the subconscious yet sometimes controlling my mind is so hard. The landmarks in my life are marks that a dagger might leave. It is not easy for me to talk about what I have experienced in school because when I do find a friend they are so precious that I do not want to dump on them. But I think talking about it might help release the feelings and memories. As parents, teachers and those who interact with kids in your neighborhood this is what I want you to get out of my story. I want you to be sure to keep a close watch on what your child's teachers write in your child's records. Pay closer attention and ask questions if you notice a difference between the child the teacher sees and the child you see--the way your child gets along with kids they meet over the summer and the way he/she gets along with kids at school. Don't just believe everything the teachers say about your child then give the child warnings without talking to the child and sharing what the teachers say so the child can answer for his/herself. It was very hard for me growing up in public school with a hidden yet progressive hearing loss. Because there was so much I could hear I was not aware that there were things I was not hearing. By the time it progressed to the point of notice ability at age twelve my hearing impairment was not seen for what it was, a disability, but as just another manifestation of my stupidity and not having any common sense. “You can‘t hear that? You dumb.” “You just let people talk about you and don‘t take up for yourself so you deserve to be talked about.” As I look back at the strange things people said to me and the way they reacted to me I see what happened. In the first grade I befriended a little girl who pretended to be my friend and walked me home from school one day 'When we got to my porch she kicked me down and stole my mother's hat and ran off. I was too shocked to act at the time but the next day when I arrived on the playground there was only one thing on my mind: seek and destroy. This was before I learned to be afraid. This was before I learned that I would always be the bad guy, always the one sent out of the room while the teacher told the class what to do about me. When she saw me she started running. I chased her and started punching her for all I was worth. A teacher pulled us into a store room and whipped both of us. I know what happened after that. Although at the time I did not know and for years would not know I have seen it happen over and over. "Iowno why she was trying to fight me. I was just playing when she came on the playground and started chasing me." So without asking me what happened the teacher writes down in my record that I liked to fight. My family moved a lot and I went to six different elementary schools so I never had a chance to be known for who I am rather than what was written about me. I never understood why kids I met over the summer turned against me when school started. "Oh that's thast girl." "She better not mess with mee." " She's eassy to beat up" I'd hear but I never heard the context in which these things were said. I was too young to know that things are supposed to have a context. So I never looked for one. I never understood why an atmosphere of rejection greeted me whenever I entered a room. I never came to see teachers and authority figures as my protectors though I wished and wanted them to be. They laughed when kids beat me up. My mother, not believing that I was being picked on but warning me to stop trying to be big and bad, told me to tell the teacher when kids tried to fight me. so one day in the third grade when a boy and some other kids were harassing me on the way home I went back and told a teacher. she said "Don't tell me about it. These kids take up for each other around here." I did not understand why she was saying this. All I knew was she was not going to protect me. All I knew was what my mother had told me was wrong. I did not understand what was happening but I had been told that bad people never understand why people don't like them. bad people always think no one understands them. So am I bad. I was told that if I would act right things would go right for me. I didn't know what act right is. I was in a city that was 87 percent Black and I was being treated by my own like I was the Black man's ******, someone who could be mistreated with impunity and blamed for everything. It is unimaginable to walk around with a label, to be told by everyone everywhere over and over you are dumb, you are stupid, you lack common sense, we don't like you, nobody likes you and then be expected to figure out what it means to act right. "Why7 don't you act like so and so?" But you hate me which means so and so must hate me to if they are liked by someone who hates me so why should I act like someone who hates me? I finally did figure it out after forty years, after twelve years of a silent world, six years of a blurry world that forced me to look inside myself and discover who I am apart from the nasty remarks and bad opinions of others. I have only shared a part of my story with you. sometimes I think about if I could go back to those people and let them see who I really am but one thing they always said to me "We don't care." How can I expect to find healing trying to placate people who don't care? But you guys here at Destee have been an anchor for me. I had come to expect rejection. I had come to expect that anyone who started out liking me would eventually hate me once they realized what a bad person I am. But in my introspection I have come to realize that I am in control of my reputation but only if I take control and not leave it to others. I see that the most important thing is that I not give up on myself I can blame the world for doing me wrong and lay claim to my right to be miserable or I can realize that people are people and I am no different. I am part of the universe. I gossip. I talk about what others do wrong. I laugh at stupidity. But in the midnight hour I wonder how then can I be bitter at the people who laughed at me? Shall I not forgive them as I forgive myself? Ma'at will not allow me to hold them guilty and hold myself innocent. In this realization is a much needed release and the ability to be truly happy. Now for you my fambly, remember what I said. don't let your child spend forty years in confusion and pain. Talk to your child's teachers. talk to (not at) your child. and listen.