1,2,3: Break Someone’s Clavicle!

WARNING: I’m about to condone violence amongst children.
After Cheyenne was flickered in the nose last week, I’ve been a tornado of anger, swirling about. I was stark-raving mad–Caleb and I had to negotiate each other off the "Kick a 13-year-old’s ass" roof that we were about to jump off of. At the very least I planned on giving his mom and dad an earful right before I tweaked their noses. And then something happened: Cheyenne stood up for herself.
I’m going to get flak for this, I know. I really don’t care. I’m not even going to be one of those mommies that say, "I’m not trying to encourage violent behavior, but…" because that’s exactlty what I’m doing, at least to a certain extent. I’m staight-up glad Cheyenne shoved that boy the hell out of her way when he tried to block her. It made him back off, and she hasn’t been bothered again. It probably took that little punk by surprise.
Cheyenne, at school, is the mousiest girl you’d ever meet. She’s not big by any means–she’s incredibly skinny and delicate. She makes straight A+’s. She’s quiet and shy and she lets people walk all over her. In other words, she’s a walking target for anyone feeling less than secure about themselves, which, in middle school, is pretty much everyone. She has gone from quiet to painfully shy to straight-up scared to talk to people, she had stopped dressing up–stopped carefully coordinating her outfits, stopped wearing make-up and jewelry…even stopped combing her hair–really. She just rolls out of bed and slings it back in a ponytail. She quit the cafeteria entirely and eats her lunch in the library, and instead of checking out her normal, challenging, way-above-grade-level books, she opts for simple Nancy Drew or Baby Sitters Club. Can you say "Down-ward Spiral"? She’s had a tough time this year–it’s become harder and harder for her to be sociable, even with the few good friends she used to have. This has made even more withdrawn. The thing that puzzles me is that she seems perfectly content–alone in her room at home, or standing by herself at school, for the most part–until someone starts picking on her. It’s especially hurtful (Hell, to her and to me!) when the picking comes from her so-called friends.
Now Caleb’s talking me down from the "Call an 11-year-old a bitch" cliff. I would never, ever, call a little girl such a thing, of course…but my protective nature is raging to come out and tell off just about every kid that ever made Cheyenne upset, to go nuts on the principal, the teachers, even the lunch ladies for not noticing what was going on last Thursday, to write anonymous letters to every house in our small town and warn them "LEAVE MY DAUGHTER ALONE"…but of course I can’t do that. It would do no real good.
I firmly believe that for Cheyenne to be "happy" again, she must make herself happy. She has to decide how to react to certain situations. She has the power to ignore, or run crying, or fight back. She determines how she lets things or people make her feel. Caleb and I cannot possibly rescue her from everything that happens to her. We can distract her of course, and get involved when we need to (i.e. making a call to the principal and letting him know what’s up) but as far as what went down last week goes…I think she did a good thing.
Yeah, I said it. And I’ll say it again, and I’ll say it to her. You shove that kid if he blocks your way. If he tweaks your nose, tweak him back and then go tell a teacher. If some little boy runs up behind you and slaps you on the butt, you punch him, in the face, as hard as you can. I got your back–Caleb, too. If you get in trouble, so be it. But damnit, somebody else is coming down, too, and not just the kid that did it in the first place–but the people in place at your school that are supposed to prevent stupid stuff like this from ever happening to begin with. Cheyenne, you do what you’ve got to do. I’ll handle the rest.
I gave her another pep-talk. Be Cheyenne again, Cheyenne. Be proud of who you are. You like pretty clothes. You like reading. You make good grades. You tell insanely funny jokes. It’s okay! You’re so awesome and you act like you don’t even know it! Don’t dare be ashamed or embarrassed of your looks, your body, your intelligence, whatever. You don’t owe anyone excuses or apologies for the way you are. And give people a chance! Not everyone is out to get you! Why, they’re "just as scared as you are"! And give people a chance to get to know you! Don’t deny your public!
Cheyenne’s wearing dresses again. She’s putting on pink eye-shadow and tootsie-roll flavored lip gloss. Yesterday she wore a ribbon in her hair–that she did comb. Instead of glasses she wore contacts. She took out 3 books from the library that I’m not even sure I could read. She’s brimming with ideas about how she wants to decorate her room, and she’s itching to spend her money on a new scooter. She’s got a spring in her step and a smile on her face again.
So, my daughter shoved a fat boy bully, got a across a message, and earned a little self-confidence in the process. Thank goodness for that little semi-violent streak. I don’t know what I’d have done without it.

About Toni

Mom. Wife. Artist. I take care of the kids and pretend to clean sometimes. I can cook spagetti and I have never been arrested. View all posts by Toni

5 responses to “1,2,3: Break Someone’s Clavicle!

  • C.C.

    All I will say is this:  Cheyenne ended up in a puddle of chocolate milk last week because someone got shoved into her.  How unfortunate would it be if another innocent classmate ended up in a puddle of milk (or worse–hurt!) as a result of Cheyenne’s shoving the bully?   

  • Hilary

    I am SO happy to hear that Cheyenne is doing better.  I cringe whenever I read about her because I remember how amazingly BAD jr high was.  I’m glad that you didn’t advocate violence, but you did advocate assertiveness and standing up for yourself!  In jr high, being assertive verbally isn’t going to stop bullies, but pushing them back and walking proudly away can!  Yeah Cheyenne!!!

  • Bev

    I wouldn’t even apologize (hence my previous comment).  Cheyenne is a beautiful girl and she will grow into that.  It sounds like she is back on the right track and I am so glad for her and for you.  There are going to be bullies, and brown nosers, and b*tches, and hateful people she will  encounter for the rest of her life.  I think when she accepts that not everyone is going to like her….and that’s okay, that she will be okay.  I see so much of myself in what you have written about her.  I was that way too.  When I learned to accept that I wasn’t going to be the most popular girl and not everyone was going to like me and to work with what God DID bless me with, then I was okay.  Your daughter has great advocates in her corner….you and Caleb.  I bet she is going to be BETTER than okay!! 

  • l

    I stop by here once and a while.  This time I felt compelled to respond.  Good for you!  Good for Cheyenne!  It seems lately in society we are raising our kids not to stand up for themselves for fear they will "offend, hurt, or be punished".  It is a terrible trend that when these children grow into adulthood I wonder how they will deal with life.  Middle school is tough, High school is tough.  Part of being an empowered young woman is knowing that you can stand up for yourself. 

  • Joell

    Nothing like kicking a little bully butt to boost the self-esteem.  No, I don’t advocate violence either, but it IS important for girls–especially in this day and time–to know how to protect themselves from bullies. Good for Cheyenne for standing up for herself.  And good for YOU for letting her do it herself.  She learned so much more that way than having you or Caleb "fix" it for her….even though you wanted to kick some bully butt yourself.  GO Cheyenne.  I hope she knows how much she rocks! :-)

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