This may seem so small, little, even microscopic to most folks that don’t live in between the windy mountains of the Antelope Valley. But Yours Truly was raised there and came into adulthood in that questionable pocket of Los Angeles County. A child in the 80’s, I was the awkward black girl with the Pippy Longstocking ponytails. Even though we were not poor, my mother made me substitute dresses I’d outgrown for shirts, often with corduroy pants and Buster Brown’s. Aside from Michelle, the crippled girl with cerebral palsy and the Mexican girl who couldn’t speak a word of English, I was the one everyone teased.
I remember coming home crying because some boys were buzzing around me saying I had “the cooties,” whatever that was. I was sensitive, therefore a very easy mark. And who could forget Mrs. Nakamora, my fifth grade teacher, who played favorites and even laughed as others tormented me, and Mrs. Vernon from sixth who had so much contempt for me, her only black student, that I got so fed up I went HAM on her the last day of school. (I’ll never forget the look on her face; old, racist white ladies make THE BEST shocked faces! AHAHAHAHA!)
I made out better in middle school, and high school was fresh hell all over again, but I survived. The high school I graduated from has, last time I checked, an API score of 1 out of 10. Aside from reading, I practically taught myself until college.
So here I am, in this little paper, that probably won’t be more than a blip…
But for me, it means a whole hell of a lot. My father, who died before SWIRLING was ever born, read the Antelope Valley Press from start to finish every single day, and I know that if he were alive, he’d have this little clipping taped to his forehead.
Here’s to proving everyone who’s ever thought you wouldn’t amount to anything eating their words.