1) According to the DSM-5, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a condition in which a child or teen displays an ongoing pattern of defiant or argumentative behavior and vindictiveness toward people in authority. The cause of ODD is unknown, but the condition is likely a result of environmental and genetic factors. There are several symptoms of ODD.
a) frequent outbursts of anger and resentment
2) When the star quarterback called me a dot head and ordered me to go back to 7-Eleven, I struck and left my mark: raw, then red. Testimony from the redhead science teacher noted: she slapped him, and she slapped him hard. I heard it from my classroom.
b) actively refusing to comply with requests and rules
3) Despite my protests, the principal declared my out-of-school suspension with finality and perceived my body language as disrespectful. I heard you’re on honor roll. I don’t understand why you’d do this.
c) being spiteful and seeking revenge
4) When the white boy in Rocawear instructed me to cross the border back to Mexico, I slammed the locker door hard into his arm. He cried upon impact. I called him a pussy. The language arts teacher witnessed the aftermath with crossed arms. I walked away. I offered no apology.
5) Comments on my report card included “Behavior Needs Improvement.” Notes left on AOL Instant Messenger informed me that I was too Indian. I once wore huge hoop earrings from Claire’s with a Southpole jacket. The white boy in a snapback informed me: You’re not black, Hindu. In the lunch line, the white boy in cargo shorts screamed bomb behind me.
d) blaming others for your own mistakes
6) The phone calls home from school had shame waiting on the opposite end of the receiver. I knew Ma’s strike. I was her failure. She called other Bangalis: why was this happening to her? What did she do to deserve this sin?
e) saying hurtful things when upset
7) I threatened to call the police when Ma wouldn’t stop. Do it. I’m not afraid to go to jail.
8) I told my friend that I was the only brown person in our social studies class. The green-eyed teacher with highlighted hair overheard. What are you trying to prove? I stayed silent.
9) According to the concept of sensory adaptation, a continuous stimulus initially receives an immediate response. But with time, the body may respond less and less until it ceases to feel or respond at all.
10) When I was fourteen, I became a naturalized citizen of the United States. I qualified for the National Spelling Bee. Months after suspension, I made that middle school proud: my name painted on the main office bulletin board, spelled out on the school’s marquee sign.
Anuradha Bhowmik is a Bangladeshi-American poet and writer from South Jersey. She is a 2018 AWP Intro Journals Project Winner in Poetry, and she earned her MFA from Virginia Tech. Anuradha has received awards from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, the New York State Summer Writers Institute, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Frost Place, the Indiana University Writers’ Conference, the Eckerd College Writers’ Conference, and the Juniper Summer Writing Institute. Her poetry and prose have appeared in The Sun, diode poetry journal, Quarterly West, Nashville Review, Indiana Review, The Offing, Bayou Magazine, Contrary, Crab Orchard Review, Slice Magazine, Zone 3, The Normal School, Copper Nickel, Ninth Letter Online, and elsewhere. Anuradha can be found at http://www.anuradhabhowmik.com.
Cover Photo by teofilo