I Don't Want To Be Confirmed, Mom!
One day, I showed up at her house. I arrived earlier than I had meant to, so I thought I'd hang out in the clubhouse until Kayla got back. Then, I heard Kayla's voice saying "...but we can't tell Joan, she'll have a fit". This stopped me from going in, and I sat outside to listen. "I'll take the knife, you take the fisticuffs, and you take the club. When they get out for recess, we'll beat the boys who did this to Joan bloody, let them know just who they're messing with."
"Holy cow!" I shouted as I walked in.
"Joan…you're not supposed to be here yet…" stammered Kayla.
Our other friends looked stunned. "Kayla," I said, "I know they deserve it, but you'll get arrested. You'll go to jail!"
"I don't care," she said.
"It won't stop them," I said, "Unless you kill them, they'll recover, come back, and go for revenge. Then, when I have to go to the public high school, I won't have any friends to protect me. Remember that girl who got her throat slit?"
"You'll be fine," said Kayla, "You have other friends, you won't be alone."
"How would you feel if I got arrested?" I asked, "If you don't care about going to jail yourself, do you really think the police will think I wasn't involved? Do you really think I'd last five minutes in prison?"
Kayla looked down. "I hadn't thought of that," she said, "I still want to beat the hell out of those boys".
"I appreciate that," I said, "but I don't want you to ruin your life over it. I'll survive; I already beat up Matt. It's only one year and six months. Then it will be over".
"A-lot can happen in that time," said Kayla, "One day, and you could be raped or dead."
"Then I'd better punch hard," I said, "One year and six months versus prison until I'm 21. What would you choose?"
Kayla promised she wouldn't show up at the school. With Kayla, her word was worth more than any gold, so I said nothing to the adults. As promised, she didn't show up, though she said I only needed to say the word. If I changed my mind, she'd be there. I never did; this was my fight. Oh, she stole the weapons from her dad. He was a crooked cop. he kept he weapons he confiscated for himself.
The school gave me a U in conduct for PE, leading to my parents making frantic calls to the school, a major two parent scolding, threats, the works. "Alright," I said, "I'll participate, but you might find that leads to more trouble than you bargained for". So, I played basketball, and got many bruises. That's when I started to lose it. One girl in particular (Alexia) was tormenting me. While everyone body slammed me, she was hitting me with the ball and threatening to beat me unconscious. Between classes, she was throwing blunt objects at my head, like textbooks. One day, another girl held the basketball over my head and pretended she was going to hit me. I punched it, and it slammed her in the face. "You bitch!" she screamed. I smirked. Alexia then said "I'll get you for that," she tried to punch me, but I blocked her and hit her so hard she bled.
One day, after a particularly bad recess, I started crying right in front of everyone. That brought more hell raining down on my head, obviously. Sometime after that, I caught one of the boys in my class bullying a kindergarten boy. I punched him and made him leave the kid alone. The next day, the boys surrounded me. Then, from behind them, the much larger boys accompanied by girls in the 8th grade came up behind us. "Leave her alone," said the biggest boy in the group.
My tormenters panicked. "Why are you helping her?" one of them asked.
"Beat it, or I'll beat the shit out of you," he said as the other boys flexed their muscles.
The little jerks skulked off looking more than a-little confused. "You OK," asked one of the girls as she placed an arm around me.
"Yeah, thanks" I said. I was just as surprised as the jerks.
"That boy you defended yesterday," said the big guy who's name was Chad, "That's my brother."
The outdoor portion of lunch was no longer hell; anyone bugged me, and the eighth graders gave them hell. But the first half of lunch, we ate in our separate classrooms, and that was a living nightmare. Then one day, something in me just snapped. Alexia was following me around harassing me. Contrary to what the adults said, ignoring bullies doesn't work. She'd throw things or hit me to get my attention. I went up to the parent supervising and asked him to make her stop. "Deal with your own problems", he said. I looked for a teacher, but there was no one. I sat back down, mad as hell. I crumpled up a piece of aluminum foil, silently seething. I pretended to throw it at her.
"You throw it," she said, "and I'll punch your F-ing face".
I threw it. She got up; I stood. I only remember the first few punches; after that, everything went black. No, she didn't beat me up. I blacked out in rage and threw her into the wall. I'm told I pulled some serious ninja moves, but I don't remember any of it.
A few days later, I said to my mom "I don't want to be confirmed in the Catholic church?"
"What!?!" she exclaimed.
"I want nothing to do with the Catholic church," I said, "Not after what they did."
But mom wasn't having any of it. "You most certainly are going to be confirmed, young lady," she said.
"You're asking me to vow to be loyal to a church I no longer believe is of God," I said.
"Too bad!" She said, "What will everyone say if my daughter is the only one not to be confirmed?"
"Of course," I said, "It's about what everyone else thinks, not about what's best for me."
"They'll talk about you," she said, "make fun of you more."
"I don't see how things could get much worse."
In the end, I was confirmed under protest. But, a funny thing happened during the ceremony. I felt God speak to me when that oil touched my forehead, and He said "This is not what I wanted for you; get away from these people and this church".
"I will," I said silently, "As soon as I graduate." I knew he didn't mean for me to run away; He meant for me to graduate and then distance myself from these people. it's impossible to adequately describe this experience, but I knew He didn't approve of what was being done to me. To this day, I take great comfort in that.
I haven't heard God speak to me in that way since.