When I got married I lived overseas and became used to being protected by the men in the community and a lot of military in the streets.
When we relocated to the states, we lived in the haven of the midwest for a number of years.
Towns where folks didn’t even lock their doors at night.
Moving to Maryland has been a culture shock.
Unlike Minnesota where you can say, “Hello good morning” to anyone you happen to see,
in Maryland you keep your eyes forward and a curt nod means you are packin’ heat.
Crime is rampant, seems like there is no respect for the law.
But how did I, a nice, soft spoken middle-aged mom get so mean?
It started with my husband swaying toward my bed in the middle of the night.
“Are you okay?” I asked
The man turns and walks out of the room.
Fear turns to cortisol and fills your mouth with battery acid when you realize your home has been violated.
That the man in your bedroom is not, in fact, your husband.
My heart pounds in my ears, I distantly hear our front door open and close.
“Someone is in the house, someone is in the house!!!”
Someone had broken into our home!
He took our keys and a camera.
(We have children not belongings.)
Most frightening was he had gone into our 6 children’s bedrooms.
We hired an alarm company to come and turn our home into Fort Knox.
Every screen now armed, every door with a scary alarm voice warning intruders police were coming.
But I was still afraid.
Trembling at every sound I couldn’t identify.
Afraid to go out after dark.
Few months after the break in…
I was walking 2 of my babies into a shopping mall when a stranger altered his path to cross ours.
“The Hulk” inside me just beginning to take root.
I scream , “You better keep walking mister or I will hurt you!”
(Course I didn’t have a way to hurt anybody and I had 2 children with me but it worked!)
He cut me a wide berth.
What’s happening to me? Where did that scream come from?
Was I now the bully?
Some change was going on deep down in the tangled mess of my DNA.
Mean was taking root.
From then on, if anyone tried to take advantage of me or mine I let the Hulk out.
I learned the distance between being bullied and being the bully is really quite small.
You can cross the line from one to the next without even realizing you are on the other side.
I got attacked again just outside my house.
Fellow caught me unaware and had me on the ground before I knew what was happening.
After that episode I was not only mean I was pissed.
My DNA stepped up in transformation.
Like The Incredible Hulk I felt the change deep down on a cellular level and spread out like wildfire.
Maryland has groomed this nice woman to not let herself get bullied no more.
I practiced my Hulk in front of the mirror, showing my angriest face and gesturing menacingly.
“Oh no you don’t, not again, not to me!”
I went to a used appliance store and bought a refrigerator.
I paid to have it delivered, set up and my old fridge taken away.
2 black workman came to my house.
They wouldn’t bring the fridge into the house or remove the old one unless the owner authorised it.
Never mind that I just paid for this service.
I said no problem let me call the store and I will clear this up.
The owner of the store gets on the phone and says no agreement was made claiming the charges on the contract were for bringing the fridge.
The workmen, seeing “The Hulk” rising up said aside to me,
“Mrs. you don’t want to mess with him, oh no ma’am you don’t he crazy!”
I could see they were scared and I said so.
“You are afraid of him, why are you afraid?”
They shot each other a look.
“Guys are you aware that slavery ended some 145 years ago?
If this guy is threatening you there are people who can help you…”
(couldn’t they see I was the Hulk?)
Then their cell phone rang.
It was the store owner, the men left in a hurry without another word, the fridge sitting in my driveway.
I canceled my check to the store and waited.
Few days later the furious owner calls threatening me that I better get in to the store because now I owe him for the canceled check, and the fridge, and some other charge for his trouble.
I yelled right back, “I have already called the district attorney’s office and filed a complaint for breach of contract.
I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and my son who is a federal criminal lawyer is just itching to do his momma a favor.
You don’t know who you’re dealing with do you, I know what you’re all about with your men and I’ll see you in court and I’ll expose everything that’s going on in your shady business!!!”
I am not sure what that last part was supposed to mean but it kind of fit in with my modus operandi.
He never called again.
In the end I sent the store a check for the cost of the refrigerator.
(I’m nothing if not law-abiding.) But that bad man store owner, intimidating his workers… he never even cashed the check!
The point is if people don’t know what you are capable of then you just might be worse than they are.
When my brothers and sisters and I were kids we would joke that old people were mean.
Like poor eyesight,weird odors and aching joints, old people were all mean and crotchety.
I’m on the threshold myself now and I’m thinking…maybe not mean…maybe superheroes.
Be sure to read this link to an article about staying safe in your own neighborhoods.
This is gmom and family,