Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Guest Post: You Changed the Questions

Piper was always changing the questions, and that struck a chord with a lot of people, including De
Photo Credit:
De O'Brien is a wrestling fanatic who also writes the excellent Stretch Plum blog. She has a perspective on how Roddy Piper's originality and brashness helped cultivate her wrestling fandom.

You’re a girl.

You like boy things. You don’t talk about that because your mom doesn’t want the other moms to say anything; they already do because you’re bossy and you like to tell the other kids what to do on their work because you finished yours and you’re using words like “juvenile” in preschool, and they skipped you a grade, but you aren’t very smart, you’re just not what they expected you to be,

You won’t grow your hair long.

Your mom despairs of that. Your sister, she says, brushing said goblin’s hair until it’s shiny and a mass of fluffy, hateful curls, loves her hair long, isn’t that right? “You know,” she says to your dad one day, and you’re not sure if she means for you to hear, “She has to be different.” The back of your neck is an angry bright red because they used the lowest clip guard and your hair is short. You couldn’t care less.

You got pregnant and married young.

That wasn’t the plan. “You’ll go to school! And while you’re there, you’ll get a job and send money so we can send your sister!” That’s not how it’s going to work, but they don’t know that. It’s not as if you did it on purpose, but when you hold your first child, of five, you like the way this worked out.

You’re a woman.

You write about wrestling. No one pays attention to you because you aren’t popular. Your opinion means nothing. You don’t understand the business, you write about how it makes you feel to be a fat girl idolizing fat women kicking ass in a country you won’t see before you die, you write about your dead heroes. You’re from the South, you’re white trash, you’re missing a tooth.

You’re a stereotype.

They can’t make you feel like one. You’re forever not what they expect.

No one expects you to be literate. No one realizes you’ve read, you understand culture, you’ve been outside your box and you’re more than living in a trailer and sometimes waking up with roaches on your face and crying in the kitchen of a two room apartment because you had a pawn a TV you’re renting because you had no money. You’re more than ill-fitting clothes and a billow of lard around your waist and poorly cut hair and badly made glasses.

You’re not that kid from Saskatoon who was expelled from school for carrying a switchblade, whose dad was a cop, who couldn’t make it work with the old man.

You’re not that kid someone somewhere figured would never make it.

They always thought they knew the answers. Loser. Lowlife. Villain.

You acted. You did podcasts. You were shockingly well-spoken. You were crazy. You weren't just a bad guy. You were a legitimate threat to their perceptions.

You changed the questions.

I did too.

Thank you.