By Andersen Richards
April 30th, 2016
I could tell you a lot of dumb little stories about why I am the way I am.
When I was in kindergarten my class was walking in line to the library. Tommy asked Chris in front of me if he could have “cuts”. Chris said “no” but he could have “back-cuts”. I was behind Chris. That meant Tommy would cut me. I didn’t like that and it didn’t seem fair.
No one asked me what I wanted.
So when Tommy took a step towards the line, I hit him in the face.
He hit the ground. There was blood all over my socks.
My mom was called at work. It’s the first time I remember her telling me I was a screw up.
I wasn’t mad at Chris, or at Tommy.
I just didn’t want to be cut.
When I was in the third grade, my dad was supposed to pick me up after school every other weekend.
He didn’t. Not usually.
I’d wait until the teachers were gone, but other students were still there.
They’d push me, take things.
One day they spilled my backpack on the sidewalk and made fun of all the drawings.
I didn’t draw for a long time after that.
But dad wasn’t any better about showing up. So I tried fighting back.
It didn’t go super well.
Not only did they beat me up, during school hours they started looking for me, like I was a game. There’s a lot I don’t want to talk about there.
Weekends I was supposed to be at Dad’s I started walking home, while all the other kids were being picked up, so the older kids wouldn’t see me.
Then one day, during lunch, I found the older kids sitting at a table eating. I had a baseball bat and they didn’t see me until it was too late.
I didn’t go to school there anymore after that. I didn’t fight again, either.
Summer of seventh grade, I was in an anger management class for kids. It was the first time I felt like anybody was listening. And the more I talked, the more they listened. And the more I showed them I could do things other than fight and yell and break things, the more they approved of me.
And mom loved me and dad loved me. But the people at the anger management class approved of me.
When it was over, I started breaking mirrors, punching holes in walls.
I wasn’t angry. I just wanted to go back.
I could tell you all sorts of dumb little stories about god knows what and say “this is why I am the way I am” but nobody fucking knows. I don’t know.
And you don’t know.
And if you’re going to judge me, all explaining myself will ever do is give you more to use against me.
So excuse me if I keep to myself.