Learning To Love You More




Assignment #14
Write your life story in less than a day.

Maura Casserly
New Brunswick, New Jersey USA



I was born on may 31st, 1981 in plainfield, new jersey. On the drive to the hospital in the middle of the night, my father saw an old friend riding his bike, and proceeded to stop and chat with him, my mother doing her lamaze breathing and yelling at him from the passenger's seat.
I was very small: about 5 pounds. I lived with my parents and an old yellow dog named Feo in a little house on a river. We were a very small, photogenic family which would later double in size. There is a photo from this era, on a camping trip in Cape Cod. My mother is wearing a turquoise bathing suit, my Dad has long hair, and I am a little worm in a white baby bonnet. My grandfather calls us "The Sunshine Family" in this picture.
My sister was born exactly 2 years later, spoiling my second birthday party. Basically, most of what I remember from my childhood is just a series of pretty cool birthday parties. My mother would always make a beautiful cake that would match the theme of the party. Standouts include a carousel cake, and one that looked like a cat's face. We would always have some kind of crazy activity, like hunting for (spray-painted) gold rocks in the garden, whatever the race is called where you stand in a sack and sort of hop across a yard (hop-sack-race? sack-jumping? I can't remember...) Another party was Hawaiian-themed, with hot-dogs in lieu of roast pig, and paper leis and me in a grass skirt. I always loved opening presents, and as a matter of fact, it is still one of my favorite things to do. The worst thing, though, is when you are expecting one thing, and after ripping of shiny paper, you find the opposite of that thing. For example: for my sixth birthday party, I had informed my mother weeks before that I hoped no one would give me a Jem doll for my birthday (I was an avid Barbie collector). When I unwrapped my present from Julie and saw Jem's pink rockstar hair and her pasty skin tone, I started to cry, and said "Mom, I told you I didn't want any Jems!" I was never invited to any of Julie's birthday parties after that day, and I don't think she ever wanted to come back to any of mine. It was a good thing that my sister and I had a good outlet for unwanted Jem dolls and Barbie dolls we no longer wanted: Mattel extreme sports, in which we would trek out into the woods behind our house. Little dolls with long strings tied around their waists would 'bungee jump' down waterfalls. So my Jem left her career with the Holograms for more exciting things, and eventually her leg fell off and was lost in the stream. I think I was a bit of a morbid child; I also sort of resembled Wednesday Addams.
I lost my first tooth the same day Michael Jackson's video for "Bad" hit MTV. We were on vacation in Cape Cod. I was watching it on the little staticky TV, dancing with my little sister when it fell out.
During these birthday party/tooth fairy years, I had two more brothers, and became a very bossy and domineering older sister. I got my first zit in fourth grade, and my father introduced me to Sea Breeze facial astringent, which I found ineffectual. I also became a novelist, filling up those blank journals with the never ending saga of a pioneer girl named Little Chris and her family. Whenever the plotline got boring, I would write in Ma having a new baby (Little's Chris' family grew more significantly than mine: by the fifth book she had sixteen siblings) or somebody dying of scarlet fever. My father would read samples of my story and humor me by saying he knew an editor who wanted to see my writing. The sad thing is that I actually believed him.
Though my novella was never published, I kept on writing, and my notebooks and dear diaries from grades six through eight (and, I hate to report, even into high school) contain some of the most heart- wrenching and poignant poetry and diary entries ever written. I was pretty frustrated with the lack of people (especially boy people) who could really 'understand' me and were not 'fake & stupid'. I thought a lof of things were 'ironic' and 'subtle' that were not ironic or subtle at all.
I also, in days pre-email, kept up written correspondence with a variety of penpals in all parts of the globe. I eventually lost touch with most of them, including Maki Sawada, from whom I never heard again after some big earthquake in her zipcode in Japan.
In high school I fancied myself a track star for a while, but the truth is that I was never really that fast. I think I just liked the pants. I was also awful at math, and had the world's most mathy math teacher. His name was Mr.Farber, and he looked like a troll with yellow teeth. He wore a pocket protector and could write different math equations on the board with both hands simultaneously. He also was in a barber-shop quartet, and he brought in his guitar one day to sing us some math songs he'd written. He had a Xerox for us to follow along, but of course nobody did. The only one I can remember went like this: "I'm looking over a set of data, that I overlooked before..." sung to the tune of 'I'm Looking Over a 4-Leaf Clover'. One time when I was fifteen I went to an under-21 dance club. I wore a sheer purple top and was dancing with a Puerto Rican boy when he nibbled my ear. I did NOT think this was sexy! I think I started to cry. Around this time, I started being a vegetarian. Though I always told myself it was because I cared so much about animals, in retrospect I think I was just trying to be different.
I went to college and listened to Tori Amos and stayed up late having 'really deep' conversations with people. This part of my life makes me cringe!! I stopped being a vegetarian. I changed my major a couple of times. I got a lot of parking tickets. My second year I wanted to drop out and move to India with my boyfriend and work on an ashram. Luckily, I did not. I got my own apartment for the first time, and I got a kitten but my boyfriend was allergic to it so I was forced to choose between the two. I had my heart broken for the first time, and it was terrible! I cried myself to sleep and did not eat for five straight days!! I went backpacking in Morocco and I studied for a semester in Spain. I danced to a lot of bad songs.
I am still in college (for one semester more). I live in a dirty post- industrial town that has a college tacked to one end, like an afterthought. I take a lot of Spanish classes, and for a job I take notes for blind students. I hope to be a teacher next year, or else a birthday card designer. I spend way too much money on shoes and expensive cheese. Sometimes I ride my bike. Sometimes I drink too much and sleep all day long. Sometimes I sing in the shower.