Of all the nicknames from my hometown, the nickname that affected me the most was Scar Face. My nick name was Scar Face. I have a scar on my face. Mostly, I like to forget that nickname.
When I was five, I was staying at my grandma's house. She had a dog named Charlie. I specifically remember my grandma telling me NOT TO FEED THE DOG CANDY. I remember specifically telling my grandma; "That's crazy. Charlie loves candy."
I got THE look. "DO NOT feed Charlie candy. He will get sick."
Silly grandma. She didn't know what she is talking about.
Later that night, I was playing house and decided that Charlie should be my husband. I put a blanket over his head and was hugging him. He got scared and bit me.
I don't remember the actual bite. I remember my sister seeing the blood and screaming. I remember my mom and dad getting me from my grandma's and bringing me to the emergency room. I remember the doctor sewing up my cheek and nurses holding my hand.
I remember going back to school with stitches on my face, and the kids backing away from me. I had glasses the size of coke bottles, stitching across my cheek, and a patch on one eye because of lazy eye.
As we grew up, the class ahead of me started watching "The Godfather," and my nick name was born. Growing up with that nickname was the hardest thing I ever had to do.
As an adult, I've chosen forgiveness. When I see the boys who've spit on me and taunted me, I pretend like it never happened, and the men, they've become, are grateful for the amnesia. There is always a silent exchange of "I'm so sorry" and "I forgive you." If it was said out loud, there probably would be tears. I would rather silently acknowledge the pain and move on.
When I talk to my students of bullying, I gloss over the stories of being "Scar Face." When adult strangers ask me about my scar, I'm always suprised that they would ask me about something so personal.