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When I was a kid, my sisters and brother would antagonize me and I’d charge, like a little bull. Then they’d put their hand on my head and hold me away. I fell for it a lot and it always infuriated me and I’d fight even harder and they’d laugh even louder, which made me angrier, which made them laugh … it was a vicious circle. Until I learned to stop falling for it. I learned to stop showing them that they were getting to me. And I learned to fight dirty. I was the youngest and the smallest, I did what I had to do. A lot of that involved tattling. If I couldn’t beat them, I’d get them in trouble. We got older and my brother stopped trying to kill me, but it took my sisters longer to get the idea.

One day JR and I were at war (and it was always a full-scale war, never a minor skirmish) and she had me against the wall choking me. A few days earlier, she had fallen off a friend’s trampoline and had a big cut on her arm (she still has the scar). I stopped trying to pry her hands off my neck and I raised up and smashed her arm with everything I had – right on that wound. She howled and dropped me. I ran.  JR never touched me again.

I don’t remember what started that particular fight, but I’m sure I was not totally innocent. I was a scrappy kid and I had a big mouth. There was chaos in that house until I was 16, which is when everyone had moved out and I finally had a room to myself.

That temper burned out a long time ago. I don’t like chaos and I don’t like to fight anymore. A friendly debate is one thing, but you won’t find me in an argument these days. It takes too much energy and I’m lazy. In fact, some people think I’m a pushover. Bosshole, for example, walked on me. She did it because she got away with it – because I allowed it. I allowed it because it was the path of least resistance – because I just didn’t want to be bothered. If she had ever done something truly outrageous, I would have stood up to her but I don’t think she ever realized that.

I still have a spine. It’s still stainless steel. If you push me too far, I’ll whip it out and beat you senseless with it. You can push and push and I won’t react but when you cross that line, it’s over.

Cisco? You’ve crossed that line, bitch. I refuse to be intimidated. I refuse to back down. I will not quit. You will not get the best of me. You will not defeat me. You won’t make me cry and you won’t make me doubt myself. I don’t care if I flunk 100 practice tests – I will not fail when it counts. You can pose any trick question you want and I will know that the correct answer is always the Cisco answer. I ain’t your bitch, bitch.

Phoenix? You think you cram so much into 5 weeks that I will have to choose between getting a good grade with you and passing the Cisco exam? Really? Hi, Phoenix. I’m Determined.  And I’m smarter than that.

Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die? Oh no, not I.

You should have left me alone because now I’ve had it. You finally pissed me off and I’m about to kick both your asses.

It’s on.