Her name was Dawn. She had ash-blonde hair. She was several years older than I was and she sat behind me on Bus 5.
For months, she would pull my hair. I would turn around and yell at her – the best I could considering we were riding the bus.
She didn’t stop.
I would go home, crying – and then hide from my dad as soon as I walked into the house.
I was only in kindergarten.
Finally, one day, she pulled on my hair a bit too hard. I had enough. It was time to react.
For the first time in my young life – remember, I was only maybe 5 years old – I stood up for myself. I wasn’t going let her ruin my life.
I felt her fingers touch my hair, quickly grabbing her arm, I clawed her – hard. I drew blood.
She cried. I went home – less than a block from her own house – and yelled for my dad. I told him what I had done. I was waiting for him to punish me. But, I also told him how every day she would pull my hair and how on that particular day, I used my nails to scratch her.
He heard enough.
Taking my hand, he marched up to her front door. She answered.
“Is your mom or dad home?” he asked in his “teacher voice.”
“What’s the problem?” the man asked my dad.
“Dawn here has been pulling on Melissa’s hair when riding the bus. This better stop NOW!” he said looking straight into her eyes.
“Dawn …” the father said.
And then turning to my dad, her father apologized and then forced Dawn to do the same.
The girl never touched me again.
Today, we live in a society where we are almost afraid to stick up for ourselves. We are too afraid of what might happen. We are too afraid that we may hurt someone else’s feelings. We are constantly being politically correct.
It’s exhausting and complete bullshit.
Sticking up for myself at the age of 5 has stuck with me for the past 34 years. I have not, nor will I ever, allow for someone to hurt me the way Dawn did all those years ago. Sure, she was “only pulling on my hair” but what if I never told my dad what was happening on the bus? What if I continued to let it happen over and over again?
Being a parent in the 2000s is very different from the 1980s, but sadly, people really haven’t changed. And I refuse to let my kids suffer in silence. We, as parents, are their voice. It’s time to be heard and not silenced.