June 2, 2008

Punch Out

A few months ago I posted a blog asking YOU what you wanted to read about from me. Now, I'm not kidding myself--I know I have 5 readers on a good day, but I thought it would be fun to write something telling you what you wanted to know about me. This came as a request from Melody.

Hey lady, you asked...

I’ve always been a little bit of a tomboy. Ok, so a little more than a little bit.

I grew up on a street with 13 boys my age. 13! All my girlfriends thought I was sooooo lucky and didn’t I think any of them were cute? And if I didn’t think so then please would I say something to one of the boys for them?


I was always more interested in playing football with them than making out with any of them. They were very much my brothers, looking out for me, teaching me how to make the most of non-girly situations (i.e.: a deep cut on your leg from the sprinkler, while it may hurt now, makes for a very cool scar later), and making my life hell when I was finally old enough to date.

Imagine if you will, 13 boys standing outside the house while a prospective suitor knocks on my door. Ok, really, who am I kidding? They never even let anyone make it to the door.

I hated them as much as I loved them, and just as real siblings, we fought. And while I was always faster than them with the verbal comebacks, I was no match for any of them physically.

But I tried.

The first fist fight I ever got into was with one of them, Blonde Boy #2, when we were 9.

Well, really, I was 9, he was 8.

Oh, quit whining…he was a boy, and he was a big 8.

Ok, so not really. He was a pretty puny 8.

But he was a boy. AND he started it.

Oh all right, that’s a lie too. I totally started it.

I was being mouthy and he had just HAD IT. They were all raised with enough couth to know that hitting girls = BAD, but I don’t know that at 9 any of them considered me a
real girl yet. So I said something smart back to something he said and he slugged me in the shoulder.


I remember that moment so insanely clearly. I remember what he looked like, standing there with his hands balled into fists at his side, curly blonde hair a mess on his head like it always was from running around outside all day, cheeks red with rage, eyes squinting at me and hearing him say,

“You shut UP Cheryl! I’m gonna hit you!”

“Do it then! Do it! I don’t care! I’ll hit you right back!”

And then he did.

And then I did.

It was this wild instinctual thing, the hitting back. He socked me in the left shoulder with his right fist, and while I swayed back and recovered from the blow, I balled my fist up and stepped into the punch.

I gave him a bloody nose.


I remember seeing my fist hit his face and thinking I hope he doesn’t go tell his mom because I am about to be in SO much trouble.

The fear faded quickly when I saw his eyes fill up and spill over, all down his cheeks. Then his nose started bleeding. Bad. I felt like a freaking rock star.

Oh get over it…it was the first time I had ever punched anyone. The first time I had ever gotten into a fight. The first time I had the chance to assert myself physically over any of the neighborhood boys and I KICKED HIS ASS.

The rest of the guys teased him mercilessly. They teased me too--"Ooohhh...watch out for Cheryl...she'll just get mad and punch you out!"--but it felt good. After that afternoon, they treated me a little differently. They started asking my opinions on things other than whether or not their date for Friday would think this shirt looked ok. They stopped treating me like the only girl on the street and started treating me like one of the guys. I loved it.

Unfortunately, that single punch would come back to me 10-fold over the next 6 years in the form of water balloons to the head after discovering the blow dryer and spending 30 minutes trying to dry my own hair, terrorizing me and my girlfriends while we hung out in the front yard while in junior high, and stains to cute clothes from countless rotten fruit fights courtesy of the fallen produce from the orchard down the street.

Due to one punch, he pretty much tried to make my adolescent years miserable. Despite all that though, I wouldn’t take that punch back for anything.

Sorry, man …but dude, it was totally worth it.


Melody said...


I have always wanted to punch someone in the face. Growing up with sisters, I slapped them across the face a few times, but never actually threw a good punch. I'm totally impressed you gave a bloody nose!

I like hearing about people's backgrounds. Not only is it fun to remember childhood and what it was like, but it is also cool to think about how you are shaped by it. I'm sure you are a different person, growing up on a street of all boys, than you would have been had you grown up on a street with all girls. Those seemingly insignificant details truly do play a part in the people we become.

Thanks for sharing the story! Definitely made me laugh. =)

KAREN! said...

i agree with Melody-- never punched someone out, but i definitely slapped a lot of people in my day.

i want more childhood stories! i dont remember my childhood with this much clarity so lets hear more about yours!

Vered said...

"water balloons to the head after discovering the blow dryer and spending 30 minutes trying to dry my own hair".

I seriously can't imagine anything worse than that.


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