From Cooties to Cool

Paula Raymond was the ring leader to all of my childhood bullying. She would not let a day go by without making sure she made me cry. She used to trip me every time I would get up to sharpen my pencil, accuse me of cheating on test days, destroy my pictures during art class, and tell everyone I had cooties so they wouldn’t play with me at recess. Paula was Miss Popular and it was her job to make me miserable every day.

One particular day during recess we were all playing tag and Paula was it. All of the kids were running around having the time of their lives while I was actually running for my life. Paula was out to get me. She was a fast runner and was never it for too long. I was slow and hated being it so I decided to cheat and hide behind a tree. My hiding spot was not too smart because Paula ended up finding me. “You’re it now, stupid” she said as she snuck up behind me and pushed me with all her might. I ended up falling into a pit of mud and got the back of my uniform dirty.

Paula then went around telling everyone that I was hiding behind the tree taking a poop. I was so embarrassed and couldn’t even defend myself because I knew no one would believe me. For the rest of the day I was holding back tears and anxiously watching the clock tick during fifth period. When the bell finally rang I ran home and begged my mother to send me to another school. I just did not understand why she hated me so much. I was always really nice to her and I wanted to be her friend. I wanted to be accepted by the popular girl crew but she did everything in her power to make people think I was a loser.

All of the popular girls were splitting images of Paula. They all had form fitting uniforms with long black hair down their backs and cute matching ribbons and ponytail holders. My mother thought it was okay to buy my uniform two sizes too big just so they would last long and put my hair up in fat braids with non-matching barrettes. I was the tallest and skinniest girl in my class wearing an oversized uniform with a big head full of fat braids and ugly barrettes. My horrific memories could go on and on but now it’s time for revenge.

It is 1998 and I am in the 3rd grade all over again. I am in Sister Maurine’s class and we are going over the multiplication table. Sister Maurine writes on the board “4 X 4 =” and then says “Who wants to come up and finish this problem?” My hand shoots up first. All of the kids’ huff and puff and Paula roll her eyes at me with disgust. Sister Maurine acknowledges me and I make my way to the board.

Paula slowly slides her foot out the side of her desk and turns her head in the opposite direction. I see her foot and my super ninja powers kick in and I do a front flip over her foot and land on top of her desk. I am standing above her and the whole class turns to my direction. I look her dead in the eyes and say

“I challenge you to a ninja fight at recess and if I win you will never show your face here ever again.”

Paula swallows her spit with fear, “Get off my desk! I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do!”

Sister Maurine intervenes, “Paula, you have to do it or I will fight you myself.” With everyone’s mouths hanging open in amazement they look to Sister Maurine then to me and then to Paula who had no choice but to say “ok.”

The bell rang for lunch time and the news spread like wildfire. I clearly didn’t have cooties anymore because everyone wanted to be around me and ask me questions. “Kim, do you think you’re going to win?” “Are you really going to make her leave the school?” “When did you become a ninja?” I just sat quietly and ate my lunch. Paula on the other hand was sweating bullets. She didn’t even take a bite of her sandwich at lunch. The bell rang for recess and the whole lunch room went silent.

I got up first, throw my trash away and make my way outside. Right behind me was Sister Maurine. Next thing I know Paula and I are in the middle of a big crowd of students and teachers. “YOU’RE GOING DOWN PAULA!” They even begin to chant my name. “KIM! KIM! KIM!” Sister Maurine went in between us and said “Okay this is going to be a clean ninja fight. On the count of three, one, two, three! FIGHT!” Paula ran towards me in full speed but I flipped over her head and grabbed her hair to pull her to the ground. The crowd went wild. “DANG!!!” Sister Maurine screamed at the top of her lungs. Then followed “BEAT HER UP!” by the lunch lady.

Paula gets up feeling woozy and then tries to take a swing at me but I do a matrix back bend that makes her fall into a pit of mud. I walk over to her and say “Just give up and leave. You’ll never win. I’m a ninja.” She looks up at me with her face covered in mud and says “When did you become a ninja? I don’t want to fight, Kimberly. I’m really sorry. Please don’t make me leave.” I look at her with disgust, “You have no choice but fight me and lose or just leave.” She looks at me with tears swelling up in her eyes then gets up and runs away. I never saw Paula again. I’m Popular now.

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