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Booty. Hiney. The Gluteus Maximus and not to mention a defining moment in my life. Who would have thought that the dictionary could not accurately describe a word? Yet there I was, eleven years old and a word with so many diverse definitions was the word -- the word that helped mold the Remi that I am today.
Me, as an eleven year old. What did I know about life? Not much except for the regulations that ruled it and told me how I was expected to act. Everything and everyone had their place. Especially in the world of adolescents.
Every grade- 6th grade included- has their stereotypes. Even in grammar school, the boundaries are made clear. Growing up, I was a “goody-two shoes” and shied away from activities that made me feel uncomfortable. In many cases, I would bring injustices to light. (Or as the other kids used to call it, “tattle-taling”)
That wasn't how I saw myself. I wanted to shed that reputation. It was a time when I yearned to be “cool.” I remember that year because I made friends with two of the cheerleaders. There were many instances when I was put in situations were I was uncomfortable. My reputation- my “goody-two shoes” reputation- preceded me. Each time I was put in a situation, they would look at me expectantly. Each time I nodded along, I followed.
For a school function one day, we were asked to design our own t-shirts. The night before, my mother let me use a plain tee we had lying around the house. The problem, however, was that the t-shirt was extremely large on me. “Well,” My mother reasoned. “the bigger the shirt, the bigger the canvas.” Infused with her optimism, I went to the school function with my head up, quite proud of the work of art I was sporting.
The next morning at the function, I saw my cheerleader friends wearing small, form fitting t-shirts. I remember feeling terribly self-conscious. The shirt reached to my knees and I was trying desperately to fold it in such a way that it would resemble my friends' shirts. I can still feel the burn of embarrassment on my cheeks as I tried and tried to no avail to look like them.
“Nice shirt.” One of them smiled. They waited for my response. I had to say something. I had to agree. I had to agree in such a way that maybe they would forgive me for such an embarrassing outfit.
“No way!” I replied enthusiastically. “My mom made me wear this big a** t-shirt.” My other friend spun around.
“What did you say?” She asked incredulously.
“I said that my mom made me wear this big a** t-shirt.”
“You don't say a**.” She stated. It was a fact. Remi Lourenco was a goody two shoes. And goody two shoes certainly didn't say a**.
“I just did.” I responded. At that moment, I hadn't just nodded along. I was in an uncomfortable situation, but spoke up. I broke every name anyone had ever called me. I threw it away. I had wiped the canvas clean.
In many ways, this sounds like a tale of a girl conforming to the status quo of coolness. To me, it was so much more. Using that word, though on one hand did give me the social acceptance I wanted, allowed me to create my own reputation. It birthed a personality that had been buried deep inside me. It birthed an individual I had never known. I no longer had to fit the mold of another. I was full of surprises and full of my own convictions and view of myself and what I wanted the world to see me as.
My cheerleader “friends” have long since gone, but the lesson they helped me learn has stayed with me. I have gone through many phases, recreated myself many times. But each time the changes have been dictated by me in the image of who I want to be.
College will be another “a**” for me. It was through this awakening of its use that that I began to understand my potential. I want to feel that expulsive liberation again, but at a much larger scale. I want to be given the tools to not only recreate myself, but to recreate a world that I am sure is in need of change. I want my mind to be infused with ideas that will force me to to go under, connect, disconnect and invent. I may be the one to create my own world, but I want to be the able to share it with everyone else.