Girlie, Hootie, Oogy, Squak. They sure did have a lot of nicknames for me. My mama and daddy gave me the name Girlie. They said I was their cute little girlie. They called me Girlie for a long time until my friends decided to change it. We were playing stickball outside and I had to pee. I tried to cross my legs and hold it but couldn’t. I put my hand down there to try and hold it back, but that didn’t work either. Soon, as the warm, wet pee ran down my legs, laughter flooded the playground.
“Look, she peed all over herself!”
Soon, everyone in the playground was calling me ‘Hootie pee-er’. I don’t know why, but for days after, they called me Hootie pee-er. Soon they dropped ‘pee-er’ and simply called me Hootie. I wouldn’t have minded being called Hootie if it hadn’t reminded me of that embarrassing day. At least it was better than Girlie. Mama said that it was better too.
“You don’t want no boys calling you Girlie, they be thinkin’ you their property or somethin’,” she said.
“I ain’t no one’s property,” I yelled back at her.
“From now on, you will tell people to call you by your given name, hear?”
“Yes mama, I hear.”
My mama was right. Why shouldn’t people call me by my real name? I thought it was a nice name. On that day, I decided to tell everyone to call me Olivia. It would be hard to tell people not to call me Hootie, but mama said I should and that was what I was going to do.
That’s where they got Oogy and Squak. See, my teachers had even taken to callin’ me Hootie. In every class, I had to tell people to call me Olivia. In math class, Miss Peterson called on me to answer a question. She called me Hootie.
“Miss Peterson,” I said, “ I would like for you to call me Olivia.”
The class thought that this was the funniest thing they had ever heard. They began laughing and hollering,
“Hootie doesn’t want to be called Hootie, she wants to be called Olivia! Ha!”
“Miss Peterson, I would like you to call me Olivia,” Brad Stevens cooed.
“She said her name is Olivia, Oogy Olivia!”
That’s where Oogy came from. It only lasted the day though because after school, the whole class was waiting for me outside.
“Hey, Olivia, Why you got to tell the teacher you didn’t like your nickname,” someone yelled.
“I want to be called by my given name; my mama told me to.” I was frightened of giving them any other words to give me a nickname for.
“What are you gonna do if we don’t stop calling you Oogy, tell your mama?” someone yelled back at me.
“If you tell your mama, we’ll call you Squak! What do you think of that?” Brad Stevens asked.
“I told you to call me Olivia. If you don’t I’ll tell my mama and she’ll make you!”
I ran home crying, knowing that they would never call me by my real name. I didn’t dare tell my mama what had happened.
On the way to school the next day, I walked slower, trying to imagine what nicknames they would come up with that day. Would it be Hootie, Oogy, or Squak? Whatever it would be, I would still tell them to call me Olivia.
The first person I saw when I got to school was Brad. He looked me square in the eye and said, “Hi there, Oogy!”
I walked past him, quietly correcting him. “Olivia,” I said.
He just ignored me. The second person from my class called me Squak. I corrected her, too.
“Olivia,” I said again, only louder.
I said my name more times in that day than I ever said it in my entire life. Even Miss Peterson still called me Hootie. Each time I would correct them. “Olivia,” I would say.
That was the longest day of my life. Not one person called me by my real name. I was beginning to get mad. Each time I said “Olivia,” I got louder and louder and angrier and angrier. By the time I left school that day, I was ready to explode. What was so hard about calling me by my real name?
Outside of school, a gang of kids was waiting for me.
“Hey Squak! Come here,” Brad yelled to me.
“My name’s not Squak, it’s Olivia,” I yelled back, continuing on my way.
I knew that if I got near enough to him I probably would have hit him so I just kept walking. I made it about half a block when I felt a hand around my arm. Whoever it was, they were alone because I saw all of the other kids leaving the schoolyard. I never felt so alone in my life.
“Hey Nigger, I told you to come over,” Brad said.
He kept talking, but I stopped hearing him. What was a Nigger? They had never called me that before. I would have to ask my mama what it meant.
“Why didn’t you come when I told you to, Nigger?”
There was that word again. I wanted to ask him what it meant but didn’t want him to call me Dummy or some other nickname so I just kept quiet. He was squeezing my arm tighter and dragging me with him.
“My dad says that niggers are here to serve us white folks. I think it’s time you started serving me.”
I closed my eyes, waiting for what he would do next. I could hear him doing something but I was too scared to open my eyes. After he was done, he told me to get down onto my knees. I did what he said, afraid of what he’d do to me. I kept my eyes shut.
“Open your mouth,” he yelled.
“Why?” I asked, not knowing what he was going to do.
“Just do it, Nigger! It’s about time you served me like my dad says you’re supposed to.”
When I opened my mouth, he put something inside it that felt like a banana with the skin still on it. It smelled funny and it hurt when he pushed it back into my throat. It almost made me throw up. He started moving it back and forth in my mouth. I couldn’t breathe. I opened my eyes and saw what it was that was in my mouth. I felt sick to my stomach. I really don’t know what I did after that; all I know is that Brad was crying and holding his peep. At least it wasn’t in my mouth anymore; it tasted awful. I figured that I bit him because I saw that it was all red and bleeding. It must have really hurt him because he couldn’t even speak. He just stood there with his pants around his ankles and tears running down his face. He must have been embarrassed because he pulled up his pants and ran all the way home. I stayed there, not sure if it was over. I tried to spit out the dirty taste in my mouth as I got up. I was pretty sure that I knew what Brad meant by ‘Nigger’.
I made my way home slowly, thinking of what had happened. I vowed to myself that from that day forward, no one would ever make me feel that way again.
People will call me by my given name, Olivia.
To those who begin sentences with the words
“The problem with feminists…”
And proceed to attack my most deeply held beliefs
To those who have the nerve to tell me
That the most terrifying situation of my life
Was all about my selfish personal convenience
To those who equate the fear, the helplessness and the pain
With cold-hearted murder,
And speak of “viability” and the soul
To those who presume to lecture me
About the sacred blessing and responsibility of child-bearing
And would reduce me to nothing more than an incubator
To those who accuse me
Of continuing the cycle of violence that first began with an attack on me
By making the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make
To those who remind me that I am an adopted child
A supposed refugee from the anti-child world of choice
With the charge of returning the favor
To those who say I’ve committed abortion
Not had one
And believe I’ve no right to decide what I do with my body
Fuck you and your opinions
I have no interest
In your hypothetical scenarios
I am not some case study for you to test your theories
I will not debate the philosophical and moral possibilities
Nor entertain the idea that you can possibly understand “where I’m coming from”
I will not explain myself
At least not any more
I’m done talking about it
Cold and cruel this world can be,
So I began to build a wall.
A fortress built with many stones,
A refuge that would not fall.
Insecurity laid as the cornerstone,
And the foundation was set in place.
Trust and love too easily shattered,
So mistrust was used as a base.
My fortress was built with many stones,
Stones of fear, and pain, and pride.
My heart grew cold and calloused within,
As all emotions were kept inside.
Locked away in solitude,
I kept violence and rape.
Protected and closely guarded,
So that no secret would ever escape.
Listen! Listen! It’s the voice of Wisdom.
He’s handing me a key.
He’s asking me to unlock the truth
For only truth can set you free.
When I unlocked the door I was astounded,
For things were not as I presumed;
It wasn’t a fortress I had built,
I had merely built a tomb.
You know that song, I Hate Everything About You? For some reason childhood abuse and rape makes one hate everything about themselves.
I hate me. I hate me. I hate me.
I am told by others that I am intelligent, strong, beautiful, a wonderful mom, saint like in the love I can show others. It is not that I do not believe them. If I could see myself through their eyes I would most likely agree. But I don’t see me through their eyes.
I look at pictures of myself as a teen. I see this stunning, beautiful girl who is a fucking knock-out. That is me. But I thought I was ugly then. I hated myself.
I hate that I got pregnant by a man I did not love. I hate that I only have parts of my memories. I hate that I care too much for other people. I hate that I do not care about me. I hate that I am a target for people to rape or mistreat. I hate everything about me.
I have pictures of me when I was 17 and in Hawaii. There was an older man who took an interest in me. He was so handsome. He was Australian. He was fun. We walked. He held my hand. He sang songs to me. He played rugby. He had longish, curlyish, dirty blond hair. He had nice, playful gentle eyes. He had an open, strong smile. We went to meet his friends by the pool. They were nice and fun. We laughed.
He raped me.
He wanted to show me a really pretty beach that was nearby. I said no. He said it was so beautiful and I would love it. He said we will watch the sunset together. I said no. He said it won’t take long. I said let me go change out of my bathing suit. He said no it won’t take long. This beach is real close. He said he had to go meet his rugby team for a game. There was no time for me to change. Let’s just watch the sunset together before it is too late.
He took me to a parking lot behind an ugly building. I asked where the beach was. He said it is on the other side of the building. It did not make sense. I am scared. I am in his car. I am in my bikini. I am alone with him. There is no beautiful beach. There is no sunset. I do not know how to get back to my hotel. His beautiful eyes and smile are gone.
He pulls me on his lap. I say no and try to make him stop. I am thin and little. He is big. He puts me on his lap, facing him. I am light. He lifts me easily. He pushes my bikini bottoms aside. I feel his dick in me. I look into his face. His eyes are evil. His smile is a snarl. He is scary. He is the devil. I freeze. I can not move. He moves my body up and down with his hands. His hands are on my waist. I am so small. I feel him moving me. I feel his body moving. But I am numb. I don’t feel him inside me anymore. I am numb. I can’t take my eyes off his face. I am frozen. I do not blink. I watch him cum. I watch his face twist and contort in pleasure. The pleasure of evil. He gives me a very satisfied smile when he is finished.
I wonder if he is going to kill me now that he is done. Will my body be found in a parking lot behind an ugly building? He doesn’t kill me. He drives me back to my hotel. He says he will call me. I say nothing.
I get gin and drink.
I HATE ME! Why did God make me?