1 I came into this world ass first on March 6, 1990, with a name straight out of a movie. A name my parents found in the credits because my mom’s first choice was a name that reminded my dad of an ex-girlfriend. Regardless, they both said the song that should have been playing upon my arrival was Born To Be Wild.
2 It was a Tuesday morning in Lafayette, Louisiana. A split mixture of Mississippi dirt from my dad and Louisiana swamp blood from my mom. I was just some small porcelain doll that couldn’t control her big green alien eyes and eventually sprouted a weird stick-up hairdo.
3 The second child and youngest of two girls. Sixteen months apart from my sister and soon-to-be best friend. The one-year-old that held me softly in her arms like her very own baby doll not knowing that I would eventually steal clothes from her, play soccer with her, and follow her to college.
4 My family found themselves in and out of waiting rooms because of my asthma. I didn’t let it consume or define me though. I rode down our street on my tricycle with no shirt, no shoes, just a pair of cutoff shorts, and rocking a shaggy bowl-cut while waving to my neighbors who must have thought that my sister had a younger brother.
5 Matchbox Cars and Barbie’s, Power Rangers and Disney princesses, big comfy t-shirts that fell down to my knees and my dance costumes. In kindergarten, I fell in love with two boys at the same time, one I called my boyfriend and the other one was my best friend. The first friend I made in class gave me a sparkly crayon so we played together at recess.
6 My next-door neighbor cried when the moving truck came. My family left for Arkansas in the middle of my first-grade year. It was a week before Christmas, the first time I had ever seen snow stick to the ground was in this new and foreign state.
7 I was welcomed into my new first grade classroom with open arms and I naturally became the teacher’s pet. The one who stood next to the teacher in the class picture, befriended new students, and made good grades. I was on the honor roll, just like my sister, and we ended up on the same soccer and softball teams too.
8 A powerful force that knew no boundaries even when my sickness held me back. I explored nature will riding my bike with my dog by my side. A tomboy at heart and a girl who wasn’t afraid to play soccer at recess with the boys.
9 Raised on girl power and boy bands, Lunchables and Capri Suns, Topanga and Cory. I ran around outside with my best friends until it became uncool to do so. They worried less about grass stains and more about makeup and boys.
10 The month was August, the year was 2001, and September 11th was only a few weeks away. My mom picked me up from school the day my grandpa had a heart attack and collapsed in his art class. Tears flooded her eyes while she whispered his name to me, her body had to be held up by a family friend, an image I’m still unable to erase from my memory.
11 The first time I ever felt depression was my seventh grade year when my mom transformed into a person I didn’t know. The same year I had a Bat Mitzvah with both of my parent’s families surrounding me. A time in my life when I should have been full of joy for all that I had accomplished, but all I felt was sadness.
12 My family soon realized that school was giving me anxiety. I couldn’t walk into the building the rest of that year without having a small panic attack in the bathroom. The pressure of being perfect, a goal I set for myself, and living up to my sister’s standards had taken a toll on me.
13 Once junior high started I lost connections with some of my best friends. It was the year of braces, puberty, frizzy hair, and pure insecurity. Trying to keep up with my sister’s good looks, soccer skills, and advanced classes left me in the dust.
14 The next year I met my best friend while playing flute in the marching band. Her Christian views and my carefree Jewish mom didn’t hold us back from bonding over funny movies, sweet and sour candy, and the love of writing. I tried out for the high school soccer team, made it, but would soon quit and blame it on my asthma. I wore my student section shirt with pride, screamed loud at every football game, and craved a boy that would never like me back.
15 My young body craved snow cones, candid photos, and late nights in my friend’s front yard. My dad taught me how to drive his 1990 Toyota Camry behind the bank in our small town. Little did he know at that time I would inherit his road rage and the ability to drive with my knees.
16 High school was nothing like the movies. I wasn’t beautiful and popular, geeky and unattractive, or athletic and smart. I was sick because the panic attacks would consume my life once again. First dates that ended badly, riding solo to homecomings and proms, realizing I wasn’t as pretty as all the other girls I grew up with, but finding beauty in the power of friendship.
17 I steered clear of trouble. I continued to be that cautious little girl who was afraid of the lifeguards blowing their whistle at me if I went down the slide the wrong way. Abiding by the rules, frightened of getting in trouble, and relying on structure for my sensitive soul. Unsure of what college was going to bring.
18 I stepped into a whole new world. A world I was not fully prepared to roam because it was occupied by unknown creatures. A world only two and a half hours away from home, away from the friends I relied on, away from my safety net.
19 A world where I only knew two acquaintances from my high school and, of course, my sister. She encouraged me to rush her sorority, but like soccer, I quit. I didn’t need Greek letters attached to my friends. I had already found a group of girls who didn’t join a sorority and with that I felt peace and, more importantly, happiness.
21 That small group of friends expanded over those four years. We expanded into an intricate family living in and out of dorms and apartments where we took our small trinkets from our individual homes and placed them into new ones. They never took the spots of my old friends, but instead brought a new light into some of the best years of my life.
22 We were each other’s safety nets now. After breakups, failed exams, and reoccurring family issues we’d find each other and collapse into one another’s arms. That rare feeling you get when you know you’re home. The happiest feeling of all; a feeling of comfort.
23 But as most friend groups do, we diminished after graduation. Some got married, moved off to different states, and others just didn’t return your calls. But that’s life in your twenties. The world turns, people grow up, people move on, and you just have to go with the flow so you don’t get lost in the hustle and bustle.
24 I searched for a home many years after graduating. I moved around like I majored in Gypsy 101. I was home for six months living with my parents and then Oklahoma for a year of teaching the sweetest first graders. But I felt a strange sadness creeping inside of me. A sadness that told me this wasn’t home. So I boldly packed up those small trinkets and moved.
25 The state of California and a bright coast brought that exciting new rush I felt when I first entered my college campus. A break from teaching brought me a new role as a full-time nanny. I lived with my sister and her husband for a year but I found no such luck in this new world. I craved that feeling of comfort, the feeling of home.
26 Home came in the form of Arkansas, again. This time I moved to the city and it was there where I taught for another two years. But I was a teacher just as lost and hopeless as her students. A girl stuck inside a woman’s body that wore combat boots on first dates. Born to be wild or just scared and afraid that I had made the wrong choice with my life. Worried to the point that it consumed me and I broke. My breaking point was a boy.
27 A boy that had ruined me. He wasn’t the first to do so but for some strange reason his actions consumed my soul. I stayed in the town we met in for another year but I knew I had to leave, just like he did. I had to leave to another world full of possibilities. I had to get back to my roots and how this whole story of my life started. I wanted to write, be creative, explore nature, and become that powerful force again.
28 I feel old now but I know I’m not. My back and shoulder ache sometimes and I’ve never felt more lost and yet so found in my life; another rare feeling I suppose. I know that this chapter will be ending soon and I can see myself rushing. I’m rushing towards the future, towards the door that is closing on me, and I’ll be stuck in this room I don’t want to be in. But I know this is all just a journey and this twenty-eighth year is just one part of me, a part of me that I’m happy with.