When I was a little girl I was super polite. My mom had encouraged me to be forgiving, humble and not to repay evil with evil but instead, be nice to my enemies. I was a good little girl.
Being a good girl was a good thing to be! I did well in school, I wasn't a 'problem child', and my mom was very proud of me.
As a child, my mom and I moved around a lot. She was a single parent with little to no support or education, so we relocated often for her to find work. Being the constant 'new kid' at school was a big target on my back (not to mention my freckles and chubby cheeks).
Where ever we lived, it seemed like I was constantly picked on and bullied.
The worst it ever got was when I came home one day, at the tender age of 6, with bruises all over my body. Earlier that afternoon, after school, three boys my age had ganged up on me, threw me against a chain-link fence and proceeded to punch and kick me.
My mother took me to the Doctor and after he examined and spoke with me, he took my mother aside and quietly said, "This child has no sense of self preservation."
This came as a shock to her. She had always taught me the 'Golden Rule' and encouraged me to be a good girl. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine that by not teaching me to defend myself, or to stand up for myself, she was essentially sending her little sheep out to the wolves.
That's when things changed.
Later at home my mom asked me if I knew any curse words. I was in shock. She said,"Do you know what the F-word is?" Stunned, I answered, "Yes.", feeling my cheeks flush bright red. Using some caution in her approach she taught me how and when to say, "F*#K OFF!". She outlined the different circumstances of when that kind of language would be OK to use, and she taught me some basic self defense moves like 'Karate Chopping' and kicking. It was definitely emphasized that I should not just go around and randomly hit people, and if I was getting picked on to go to my teacher or a supervising adult first. BUT, if I was getting pushed around, beat up, hit, kicked it was OK to stand up for myself and hit back, or say "F*#K OFF!".
I remember clearly, a week or two later, a bully at school started picking on me while we were out on recess. I said, "Stop. I'm going to tell on you." He then punched me in the shoulder. To his great surprise, instead of just 'taking it' and crying, I "KARATE CHOPPED" him immediately in the arm. I can still remember the look on his face as he recoiled in shock.
He never bothered me again.
Throughout my teenage years and as a young women, there have been times where I had to pull out the 'BIG GUNS' in situations where using the word 'NO' wasn't enough. There have been times when I felt someone was being too aggressive with me and being a "nice, polite woman" just wasn't going to cut it.
Don't get me wrong. I think it's really important to learn manners and be polite, but it's also equally important to know how to stand up and defend yourself, and know how to curse like a trucker if the moment calls for it.
Sometimes life gets hard and bad things happen. When push comes to shove you need to have a back bone and survive... and when the going gets tough, little Miss Goody-Two-Shoes needs to move over and make room for Big, Ole, Nasty Bertha!