On Bravery

On Bravery

People keep saying The Donkey is brave. It may sound like false modesty to say
I’ve always thought myself rather timid and cowardly. It’s one thing to give an
e-hoofing- quite another to admit that the closet door cannot be cracked and the
shower curtain must stay open. Hair washing is mildly unpleasant because I cannot
just open my eyes when I feel like it.

I’ve been that way since childhood. Up until a few days ago. (Mom called it being “goosy.”)

You know what I really hated? I hated that phenomena of laying in bed in the dark with the door
cracked so light can come through, and it looks as if the door is sloooowly moving open.

I had a dummy named Lester. It was all fun and games until Magic was published, and then it was NOT hilarious! Lester slept in the closet at night and that closet door stayed VERY tightly shut. Thank the Lord I was not a little kid when I saw IT and Poltergiest. Mom knew better than to let me see horror shows as a child.

You say, well, kids are like that, but I was like that as an adult.

Once I saw a banana peel rotting on the gate walking home from middle school. I got the idea for the sinister story, “The Buckled Goatee.”*

I recently discovered I have a terror of misrepresentation. As a child I had a horrid dream about Superman in the shower. I saw him in there, and he was bald! I was dumbstruck and awoke screaming, probably. It was the idea that he was NOT what he appeared! This always terrified me.

So back to my story. I wrote it about a man who used a buckled goatee to slip on and do his nefarious deeds. I forgot about the story’s inspiration….

dun dun DUN

As you can imagine, and may already be laughing, I then one day saw the now much more rotten and sinister looking nee banana peel, “Buckled Goatee” hanging on the fence, and almost screamed and fainted before remembering.

Now that is a pretty silly kid.

And then,

I was also like this.

1. Dunderhead-

This kid bullied me and other kids. He was a beefy sort. It was jolly times for him to toss kids in the creek, and generally be an @$$, I heard later.

One day I was walking down the bicycle path with some of the day care kids of mom’s coming home from school, and guess who was there ahead. A group of kids had gathered, watching quietly as Dunderhead had one of our day care boy’s (I’ll call him Bear) collar and was holding him in the air. I strode up and slapped Dunderhead in the face! I was probably wearing a knit polyester dress with a lace collar…snerk…and I had never slapped anyone in my life, nor been punched. He immediately dropped his prey. I importantly said, “Run.” to the other kids. The young ones did. The older ones stayed to observe. Immediately he punched me in the nose. I stood there and stared at him (it did not bleed) and thought, THAT is what it is like to be punched in the nose? THAT’S not so bad! and walked calmly away.

This caused problems solved later, deliciously, but that’s not for this day. Later that day the boy’s sister called me and thanked me. No greater glory could have been experienced….ahhhh…..

2. Singing-

In middle school, again (oh, that is a crappy age!) I was in choir, and the teacher was very nice. Some very popular girls were being real jerks and refusing to sing to blackmail/punish the teacher.

I was a very strange, self-conscious, one-friend kind of kid. A weirdo to the other kids opinion, I think. (Except that I missed first place in the school spelling bee in 8th grade, the highest grade in that school, and when I misspelled the word, it sounded like everyone said, “Awwwwwwwwwwwww”, and meant it. I stood, thunderstruck. It was too late to realize, I had been liked, my pedantic, weird little self, the whole time. They were just intimidated by me.

But I digress (as usual, LOL!) My number one fear, above and waaaay beyond Lester walking outta dat closet and staring at me with a grinning face, was SINGING IN PUBLIC. And I suuuuucked. I couldn’t carry a tune back then.

After the third round of music, and those little biatches sitting there refusing to sing (and no one else daring to, cause who wants to stand up to the popular girls in 7th grade?) ….guess what?
I started singing loud and strong as I could.

I figured there would be shouts and screams of derision and laughter. There was stone cold silence. I felt the hot, prickly, sick fear and red face. I sang.

The next rendition, those damned girls sang.

3. In the hospital the staff was insulting my friend, a schitzophrenic. He was such a sweet and lovely boy. I loved him dearly, and he came to love me, too. I knew. They were calling him roly-poly and saying, “blink” and sitting there on their asses smirking, looking at each other, and him, in the day room.

I said, “I feel like I am in high school.”

The male tech turned and said, surprised, “Why?” and that was when they got hoofed.

The schitzophrenic made his appropriate addition and regally and with great dignity, left the room.

They did not repeat the behavior.

Imagine, my first time in a locked psychiatric facility. I had a lot to lose by condemning these people. It didn’t matter. I was treated the same, with respect and kindness. I was scared, but I did it anyway.

Now, are you seeing a pattern?

I’m afraid/loathe to stand up for myself, but I’ll stand up in front of a bullet for YOU.

I think that is exactly what caused the meltdown with my father, a man i usually bow down to. He accused me of accusing HIM of lying, and then treated me with anger and disdain. I lost it.

“Speak your mind even if your hands shake.” Even if you get a hot, sick chill.

Lately, the stress and shock of what I’ve been through, including my friend’s husband dying, has left me numb. I don’t have any fears right now. I feel fearless.

My shower door stays pulled closed nowadays. If Mr. Bates shows up, he’s gonna get hoofed.