Dear 5th grade assholes,
There are a few of you, so I’m not sure who to address this to and I’m not even sure that you remember me or even think of me at all. I struggle with that, knowing that I don’t even matter to you while your behavior mattered so much to me.
You called me “Thunder Thighs.” No, I wasn’t a skinny girl, but I certainly wasn’t fat. Jay Chaffe, I think you came up with that nickname and it caught on like a wildfire. A 5th grade boy brain has a frightening power, and 5th grade boy brains joining forces can cause serious damage.
I’m not sure why you guys picked this year to start. The year that my dad kicked my grandmother out, who had raised me since I was a baby, so my not-so-nice stepmother could move in. Perhaps there was a secret mark that you guys saw. The mark of my grandmother’s absence written all over my body with my unwashed clothes, greasy hair, and a diet that consisted of noodles with fake powered butter which was all my stepmother would cook for me.
“Thunder Thighs.” I remember the first time I heard those words. Those words that for a while I couldn’t even say out loud without cringing. Mrs. Farfield, my homeroom teacher, had split the class up to work on our group projects on Ancient Egypt. I was sitting outside the classroom with a group of 5 other students, working on our pyramid poster, when Jeffery Ducacki, a student from a different class, walked by to use the bathroom. He stopped and said hi to another guy, Reese, in our group, and they talked about something dumb that happened in P.E. Reese had no interest in helping out with the pyramid so we continued to glue without him. As Jeffery was walking away, he said to the group, and I guess me included since I was part of the group, “Oh lucky ya’ll! Ya’ll got paired up with Thunder Thighs.” He laughed loudly at his own joke. Reese thought it was hilarious too. The other kids turned to look at me and see my reaction. I tried not to show any emotion even though I could feel it all over my face. I didn’t say anything. I knew what he said was mean, but I didn’t really understand it as first. But after 4 straight years of being called “Thunder Thighs,” I eventually got the point.
That first year, I would cry myself to sleep every night. Looking back, I think some of those tears were for my grandmother, but at that time, I didn’t realize that. You guys were so vicious. I didn’t have my grandmother to tell me otherwise, so instead, I actually believed your insults. In the mornings, I often rehearsed what I wanted to say back. One morning I was determined to call Jeffery Ducacki a “little bitch” since he was already tiny. But when I went to school that day and confided to my best friend, Ashley, my plan, she laughed in my face and said, “Don’t you know? Only girls can be called bitches. Not boys. Duh.” So the next time Jeffery said something mean to me, I did what I usually did, bit the inside of my cheek while swallowing hurt and shame. In hindsight, I should have called Jeffery Ducacki a “little bitch.”
Whenever you called me “Thunder Thighs,” “dog,” “weirdo” or sometimes would even physically push me, I would get this burning feeling that always started with my cheeks but then would go straight down into my insides. It was as strong as anything I’ve ever felt, even to this day. I wanted to be anyone but me. And that type of pain is unbearable. But deep down, I knew that there was an end to this. I knew that I was going to be someone. I was different from you and frankly, I was happy about it. See, there was something magical that happened when my grandmother raised me. She made me feel uniquely special, but it was so much more than that. It’s hard to express in words. In a way, it was spiritual. She planted this seed of importance, creativity, and purpose. Or maybe she saw this seed and cultivated it within me. Even though she wasn’t living with me, that seed was.
I’m older now. I still don’t have the smallest thighs, but men seem to really love them. I’ve been on your TV countless times and am working everyday to further my career. I’ve started this blog and am now beginning to write a book. Yet, I still find myself trying to prove my worth to you guys. F*ucking crazy. I mean, I’m truly dumbfounded and embarrassed by the power of a of twelve year old’s words.
I guess being bullied is a part of who I am today. And I like who I am today. So… thank you? But really, FUCK. YOU.