Revision Street: Lisa Gardner (III)

Revision Street: Lisa Gardner (III)

WBEZ brings you fact-based news and information. Sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on the stories that matter.

Lisa was explaining that she doesn’t spend much time with friends after school.

So what do you like to do for fun?

To tell the truth, I don’t even watch TV. TV just doesn’t really interest me. I’m on Facebook. I go on Facebook, I would say, every other day. Facebook is a lot of drama. It don’t do nothing but put your business out, ‘cause everybody writing on each others’ wall, talking about whoever doing whatever, like the world wanna know. It’s just a lot of drama on Facebook. You get a lot of people in trouble. I don’t even go there. MySpace, I haven’t been on that since last year.

There’s a lot of people I think I can meet and I become friends with. I don’t like to be in the public a lot. I couldn’t go to a club—it’s too crowded, and there are too many people. I don’t like to be around a lot of people. I don’t like to be around young people because they like to fight. I don’t wanna be around all that. I try to stay away from trouble as much as I can. I guess because of the way I look, people always assume I got an attitude, so I just try to stay away from people. They always say, You can’t judge a book by its cover, but people do do that. [Laughs.] People jump to a whole other level when they see you lookin’ like, It’s hot out here. You’re probably thinking, It’s hot out here, but they be like, Why she looking like that?

I have been in so many fights. I would say the biggest fight I ever got into was at the beach. Rainbow Beach. There were some, I’m gonna say, feminine men bothering me and all my sisters. Some gay men trying to pick on us. Basically, ‘cause all of us are heavy and we all had on swimsuits, so they were trying to make fun of how big we were. That was the biggest fight I ever got into, ‘cause me and all my sisters, we were fightin’ a bunch of gay men. We were fistfighting. Men. I ain’t gonna say, a bunch, ‘cause there was three of them and four or five of us. To tell the truth, I couldn’t even say who won ‘cause it was so long. That was the longest fight I ever had. People weren’t breakin’ it up, they were just watching us fight. I guess it was entertaining them that we were fighting men. Even if they are feminine, a man shouldn’t hit a woman.

But stuff like that entertains people, like they have DVDs out. Ghetto fights, you ever seen that? People record the stupidest stuff, they really do. Put it on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube. If you look on YouTube, ghetto fights, so many will pop up it don’t make no sense. It’s stupid and it’s ignorant cause you ain’t doin’ nothing but watching people hurt each other. Have you ever seen the clip they had of that boy, um, what’s his name? He was at Fenger and they killed him? They jumped on him and they killed him. That is something they would put on YouTube and think it’s funny.*

Anger and embarrassment, that’s where I believe violence comes from. Say, if you are the type of kid and you know that you don’t have it all and it’s embarrassing, you’re not like the other kids, you’re surrounded by kids that have everything they want. Perfect parents, everything. And you know that your mama’s on drugs, and you can’t afford no shoes, you can’t afford no clothes, you can’t afford to keep your haircut, people make fun of you and you’re embarrassed about stuff like that. People point out your flaws. They’ll talk about you and make you feel bad, and some people are so embarrassed they want to cry but they’d rather fight. Instead of trying to handle it and talk it out, they’d rather fight. They feel like you hurt them. People say words don’t hurt. Words hurt a lot, and people don’t understand that.

I don’t try to hold conversations with people, ‘cause I don’t want to get into it with nobody. I know my feelings are easily hurt, and if you hurt my feelings, I feel like I’m gonna hurt you. I hold back so much. I just stay to myself, ‘cause I’m too old to be fighting with you.

It’s boring. There ain’t a lot to do unless you like doing stuff like going to the Shedd Aquarium because they have days when it’s free. I think it’s real violent here. No, I’m not gonna say that, ‘cause all of Chicago is not like that. It’s only certain areas. Right up the street the day before yesterday somebody got shot in the head, two blocks down from me. Luckily I stay in the house. I don’t know nobody in my neighborhood, and I feel like I don’t wanna know nobody in my neighborhood. I stay to myself, but it’s boring.

*Sixteen-year-old Fenger High School student Derrion Albert was kicked and beaten to death by three other teenagers in late September 2009, in an incident that made international news.