My mom is a fighter. I know this because she told me so. I knew as a kid she wasn’t lying when she told me about the fights she won when she was a kid, because she had that look in her eye whenever she told the stories.
I’m sure its the same look in her eye she had when Janice decked her.
Janice was the drug addict who decided to punch my mom with a sharpie when we were trying to move into the house her father had just sold to my parents. I remember the pen mark all the way down my mom’s white T-shirt.
Janice was the foolish woman who decided to throw a shoe at my dad. And let/encouraged her daughter to try to run over my little brother and sister.
And she is the woman my mom decked to the floor. Right in front of my little brother. (In self defense, of course. She’s not one to pick a fight, but when you stab her with a permanent marker, she’s going to come back with unequal force.)
Unfortunately I haven’t witnessed any of these events, but she’s tried to pass on the fighting spirit to me. Here is the typical scenario from my childhood:
As we pull up to the grocery store, “Here’s some money. Run in and grab us a loaf of bread.”
As I reach for the door handle, “Wait. What do you do if someone grabs you and holds a gun to you and tells you, ‘Come with me little girl or I’ll shoot you with my gun!’”
I reply (probably with a small eye roll), “I don’t know, Mom, what do I do?”
“You tell them, ‘Then shoot me now where there are witnesses because I know you’ll just drag me into the bushes and do it there anyway.”
This would happen fairly frequently. She would give me advice about where to hit someone if they were trying to grab me, to let myself go heavy like a dead weight if they tried to carry me, and most importantly, to “poke their eyes out.”
I always thought this was a disgusting proposition. “I don’t think I could do that, Mom!”
She would tell me, “I know! That’s why you have to practice in your mind. Use your thumbs to push, push, push, keep pushing to the back of their skull even though it is gross until they pop out of the sockets! You wont be able to do it unless you practice in your mind.”
She always had the look then. The look that said she had practiced this one hundred times in her mind. The look that said she would send any woman (or man) who threatened her family to the floor (or their eyeballs!) in one punch. The look of a fighter.
I always thought it was weird but I do try to think like her sometimes, particularly when I am home alone or walking by myself. “What do I do if someone jumps out of those bushes? or breaks into my house?”
And the first thing I think is, “Poke his eyes out.”
I’m still not sure I could do it (I have some more mental practicing to do—about 98 times more), but I hope to one day be a fighter like my mom; someone who isn’t afraid to stick up for herself or her family. Someone brave enough to defend herself even if it means hurting someone else or doing something scary (or gross). Until then, I’ll continue practicing.
Love you Mom, keep fighting!