I am She-Ra!

In response to a comment my mother made yesterday on my post at Miss Unlimited about haters, I promised the ever-funny Hellraisin that I would tell this tale:

I enjoyed many cartoons as an 80’s kid, but the first one that I enjoyed to the extent of near-obsession was She-Ra, the kick-ass cousin of He-Man. I never missed the back-to-back episodes that came on right after I got home from school. I had a variety of She-Ra jigsaw puzzles. I had the She-Ra action figure and her winged horse Swift Wind (which sounds like a fast fart, now that I think of it). For Christmas, I asked for and received She-Ra’s musical Crystal Castle dollhouse. But my most prized She-Ra possession was my pink plastic She-Ra lunchbox.

Like this, only pink

When I was in second grade, a fifth grader the size of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man teased me relentlessly. I was a shrimp. Not only was I below-average in height, but I’d also skipped a grade, so I was EXTRA small in comparison to this boy.

After about a month of his teasing, I came home in tears. I told Mom that no matter how much I pleaded with him to stop, he never did. “He pokes me and says mean things about me and tries to intimidate me.” (I’m pretty sure I used that exact word).

HER exact words: “Well, Moxie, you might just have to kick his ass. Sometimes that’s the only way to get through to people like him.”

A couple of days later, he doubled his efforts to bother me. We got off the bus after school and he began following me home, going in the direction opposite from where he lived just to keep messing with me. I tried to ignore him. Finally, he crossed the line when he pushed me in the back (HARD) and said, “I know you hear me talking to you, NIGGER!”

It was like something snapped. Everything slowed down and I swear sensed the rotation of the Earth. The hand which gripped the handle of my beloved lunchbox grew hot; I could feel The Power of Greyskull travel up my arm. It morphed my fear into a focused anger.

 

Before I realized what I was doing, I spun around, swinging my She-Ra lunchbox up in a careful arc to make a direct hit with the side of Stay-Puft’s face. WHACK! I went into a blind rage. I was vaguely aware of other kids around us gasping and stopping to watch in slack-jawed amazement. I know that I swung She-Ra around a few more times, and then survival instinct snapped me wide awake and pushed one word to the forefront of my mind:
RUN!

I’m no fool; I hauled ass home, my little arms pumping away as I blazed a trail of fire in my wake. I was crying by the time I burst through the door and slammed it behind me (I locked it just in case).

Mom heard the commotion and came rushing out to see what was wrong. The words tumbled out of me and I was damn-near hyperventilating. In her ever-present calm demeanor, she told me that everything was going to be okay. I settled down enough to stop crying and went to watch She-Ra.

Not more than 20 minutes later, there was a knock at the door. I had a feeling that the visitor had something to do with Stay-Puft, and I knew I was right when I heard, “LOOK WHAT YOUR CHILD DID!” resound through the house and into the hallway, where I sat on the floor listening, but not able to see around into the kitchen where all the action was happening.

The mother was understandably upset, and I could tell that she was straining to keep her composure to talk about the matter without letting her anger get the better of her.

Unflappable, Mom simply replied, “Did you know that your son has been teasing my daughter?”

“Stay-Puft is only in fifth grade,” the mother countered, “and he’s a big boy. I’m sure that this is just a case of kids being kids; they tease each other sometimes. I think your daughter took things too far. For him to come home looking like this, your child has to be a lot bigger than he is. Please teach your daughter to pick on kids her own size.”

I could almost hear the triumphant smile in Mom’s voice when she said, “Moxie, can you come out here, please?” Somehow she knew that I’d been listening from the hall.

Timidly, I inched around the corner into the kitchen.

The mother looked at me. Then she looked at her son. Then back at me. Then back at him.

Then I looked at him. My eyes widened at what I saw: both of his lips were busted and swollen, there was a knot swelling on his forehead, and livid bruise was darkening on his cheekbone where She-Ra first made contact. I thought to myself, Oh, crap, I’m in A LOT of trouble!

The mom took one last, long, hard look at me. Then she whirled on her son and said, “THIS IS THE GIRL WHO DID THIS TO YOU?” She popped him upside the back of his head as she fussed at him: “THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT YOU DESERVE! SHE’S SMALL! SHE’S LITTLE! I HOPE YOU LEARNED YOUR LESSON, YOU BULLY!” 

She paused for half a second to apologize to both of us, then grabbed Stay-Puft by the scruff of his shirt and dragged him out the door. We heard her fussing continue as she pulled him away.

I’d always been a shy, somewhat meek child. For the first time,  I saw that I had the potential to be my own superhero in moments when I needed to be saved; I could be my own She-Ra.

I owe it all to my pink lunchbox.

(And maybe also to my first superhero, who is every bit the heroine today as she was all those years ago.)

Comments

      • says

        Hmmm, I could have used it for sure. I was an….odd kid to say the least. Wore petticoats to school because I wanted to be in Little House in the Big Woods that bad. Spent lunch in the library, but my constant reading did not translate into good grades. Bummer deal. :) She-Ra Power would have been a good thing. :)))

        • says

          We were kindred souls, then. I read TONS and also did not make good grades. As an adult, I now attribute that to having been bullied terribly in my 6th grade year, and one of the reasons was because people perceived that I was smarter than they were. From there on out, I had a serious case of underachiever syndrome.

  1. Tisha says

    Talk about girl power!

    I had the exact same lunchbox as the picture, although I never used it the same manner as you. Did your lunchbox survive its encounter with Stay-Puft?

  2. says

    OMG I was obsessed with She-Ra (Princess of Power) too! I totally envy you that lunchbox. Do you still have it?

    Way to kick bully ass, BTW.

    • says

      I really wish I still had it. I think it was misplaced on our move to the next duty station. If I’m remembering correctly, I think my next lunchbox was a yellow one with Popples on it. Do you remember those?

    • says

      Now THAT is awesome, Jen! I remember those plastic mask costumes of the 80’s! My sister was Rainbow Brite and had one of those plastic masks.

      You’d think that I would have wanted to be She-Ra, but that year I think I was a punk rocker for Halloween.

    • says

      I wouldn’t say that I was cool..it’s more like fight or flight kicked in for a split second. Then the flight instinct took over because I just KNEW that I was about to get my ass kicked.

      I did feel a little cool the next day when HE was the target of everyone else’s teasing, for once. I didn’t gloat, but I did have a sense of satisfaction every time someone rubbed his nose in getting the snot beat out of him by a second-grader. :)

  3. Alexicographer says

    This is beautiful, also, I’m grateful the 5th-grader’s mom (also) had some sense … there are those who don’t, I’m told.

    • says

      Thanks, Alex! I couldn’t believe it when she started swacking him for having picked on me. Talk about a teachable moment! I always wondered if that ass whooping ever permanently cured him of his teasing habits. I wonder how HE would blog about the situation today.

    • says

      And that is why I love YOU, Carrie! It doesn’t surprise me one bit to hear that you had your own powerful pink lunchbox moment. We’ve always had so much in common!

  4. says

    Go She-Ra Moxie! And your mom, gangsta that she is, was absolutely right – sometimes you just have to kick someone’s ass.

    I’m pretty impressed that the bully’s mom recognized that her boy was being a bully without much in the way of discussion about it. I think that’s rare.

    • says

      It seems like it’s growing more and more rare as time goes on. It couldn’t have been hard for her to clearly see that I was the one being bullied. The size difference between the two of us was clear – he was more than double my height and was probably three times my weight. This was a BIG kid – thing Augustus Gloop big.

  5. El Cinco's Gran-Gran says

    Now… the rest of the story. Moxie and her sisters were trained as soon as they were old enough to comprehend what was being said, two simple words: SELF DEFENSE! I taught them to use the common things children carry with them to and from school. The blessed lunchbox was one of the weapons I taught them to use. Also, to keep a nice sharpened pencil handy to stab with, how never to say, “Help” but “Fire!” because people respond faster to fire! than they do “help”. I taught them balance and how to use your opponent’s balance against them. So yes… a mere piece of paper used the correct way can be a weapon.

    They learned to try to walk away, try as hard as you can, to ignore. BUT, if someone lays a hand on you, in my book, there is no such thing as a fair fight. You fight to win when you’ve done all you can to avoid it.

    I taught street smart self defense (won an award for it too!) to people I worked with then as well as their families. I was a Smart Kid, Safe Kid instructor. I taught them how to use verbal judo and when all else fails and you’re being touched in anyway, all bets are off buddy.

    Yes… that mother was livid initially but I was she saw her son for what he was at that moment. I also found out other parents talked to her about her son picking on others.

    Moxie… never had another problem with ANYONE after that incident.

    DaniGirl ought to add her tale about Rodney!

    Gentle Reader: Please don’t think I encouraged fighting but in the real world, there are times when you gotta do what you gotta do. I stand firm on that. You may ask, what would have happened if one of them had gotten beat up… back to the dojo for some more training. Seriously, I also taught them, if you make the decision to fight be prepared to lose.

    • El Cinco's Gran-Gran says

      It is now 0120! This sentence has a sentence I started to write and didn’t finish the thought:

      Yes… that mother was livid initially but I was she saw her son for what he was at that moment. I also found out other parents talked to her about her son picking on others.

      It should read: Yes… that mother was livid initially but I think she saw her son for what he was at that moment. I also found out other parents talked to her about her son picking on others.

  6. El Cinco's Gran-Gran says

    Oh… *sniff* I just clicked on the link at the end of your post… after I wrote my response.

    Wow… thank you! *sniff*

  7. Cory says

    You go girl, show ‘em whose boss.

    I really like the way you stood up to him. I never had the courage to fight back. I guess that’s what you call overcoming the impossible.

    • says

      In my 6th grade year, I was bullied relentlessly by the whole damned school, it seemed. I had no courage at all, so I just endured it. That was and still is the worst year of my life. It forever shaped who I am, for better and for worse. On the good side, I think back to that experience and use it as a reminder that only *I* can say how I’m supposed to feel about myself, and not others.

  8. says

    This. Is. Amazing. Your post strikes a very distinct nerve about my own experience with being bullied as a child, almost around the same age, just a little younger. I’ve had something written about it for months now, just sitting in the drafts folder. I’m terrified to publish it, for a variety of reasons, but your post is emboldening me to reconsider. I wish as a child I had the kind of courage you did.

    Also- She-Ra fucking ROCKS. I had the crown & pink power sword which sadly fell behind our washing machine after I had had it for like, a year or so. I sobbed. My parents wouldn’t move them to get it out. When they FINALLY bought a new washer and dryer, my mom gave me the pink plastic sword, still down there (and covered in gross) – I was in college.

    Fact: I cried real tears of joy to have it back after all those years. Fact the deuce: I still have that sword.

    • says

      Is it the fear you felt when you were a child the same fear that keeps you from publishing your post about being bullied? I really hope that you post it as part of the campaign that you shared with me on FB yesterday. I’m going to write up a completely different post that will be tough to write. There is one instance when i was much older in which I tried to defend myself against a bully by responding in a bully-like manner. The interesting thing is that it wasn’t until recently that I even viewed it as *me* being the bully, even though my target WAS a bully. It caused me to think about bullies/bullying from an angle that had occurred to me, but that I never spent enough time really working through and processing fully. It will take courage for both of us to post about our experiences, but we can do it.

      How BAD ASS is it that you still have your sword! We did so much moving around that I don’t have ANY of my She-Ra stuff. I wonder if I can at least find a t-shirt online somewhere…

  9. says

    Moxie–

    excellent post, gangsta!
    ironically, was thinking about writing my own bully post for #MU. only i was never as brave as you, and i didn’t have a She-Ra lunch box (I had a Wonder Woman lunch box, and it was metal—now that would’ve caused some serious damage, too, huh?!)…

    • says

      I don’t think that I was brave at all. I think it was much less an intentional decision on my part and was more of a knee-jerk reaction. It was more like a moment of temporary insanity, which is why I RAN home. In my mind’s eye, he was chasing after me and was going to beat me to a pulp. I really think it took MUCH longer for me to find true courage to stand up to bullies in the RIGHT way.

  10. says

    “I AM She-Ra!!!” I loved her and did not know until just now that Hee-Man was her twin brother. Gotta add them to my boy/girl twins mythology list along with Luke and Leia as well as the Wonder Twins.

    Way to go, Moxie!

  11. says

    DAMN. I love this post, from you standing up for yourself to the reaction of that boy’s mom when she realized what her son was doing.

    My brother was bullied. He was bullied so bad it almost killed him. There is NOTHING I hate more than a bully.

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