Learning To Love You More




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

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA



My mom's makeup was perfectly in place when I was born on the afternoon of May 8, 1981. The most distinct colors in the Polaroid taken after the event were her rouged cheeks and my black hair.
When I was taken home in a Fiat spider to Edina, MN, I slept and ate and pooped until I was two years old and my parents got divorced. My mom, sister, and I drove away from the house and my dad in that same Fiat.
We arrived in the Black Hills of South Dakota in my mom's hometown of ten-thousand, Spearfish. My mom never really wanted to go back there but this is where I ended up going to church daycare, where we sang songs about Jesus and ate lots of cookies and drank juice.
We also went to Grandma's house a lot. She taught me and my sister how to read and the first book she gave me was Little Women. I was four years old and kept repeating Louisa May Alcott out loud to anyone who would listen. I could spell vanilla but my sister couldn't.
One June morning my sister and I went over to my Grandma's house and no one answered so we called our mom. She got into my Grandma's house and came out crying and my sister and I spent the rest of the day in the kitchen with my mom and her sister. They talked about diabetes and phone calls.
We went to Georgia's house after that. She made macaroni and cheese with brown sugar on top and Shane Burnison and my sister kissed in the tree house out back.
I wanted to be Punky Brewster and wore lots of bandanas but I didn't want a dog. I was scared of dogs.
When I was seven I got glasses, big black plastic ones that swamped my small face. I spent most of my time in the Grace Balloch Memorial Library where the librarians all knew my name and I lingered around the new book section. I read a lot of Caldecott winners and also Babysitter's Club.
My mom had a boyfriend named Rich and I didn't like him so whenever he took us out to eat I wouldn't finish my food. He took my mom on a motorcycle ride and I begged her not to go; I thought she would never come back.
I was uncomfortable around men.
In school I didn't talk a lot but I got good grades and had a best friend named Elizabeth Miller. We would watch scary movies in her basement and then I would have nightmares. My sister was best friends with her older sister. I never wondered if my mom was lonely. Once I started middle school, Elizabeth and I were no longer friends. We had called each other bad names and I had run away from her house and never returned.
In sixth grade I had a huge crush on the student teacher; his name was Mr. Colfax and he also played football at the local college. My mom worked at the college so I asked her if she knew him but she didn't.
In seventh grade I got contact lenses and my nickname "the brain" started to be used less often by the jocks.
In eighth grade I got third place in the school spelling bee because I spelled the world "pillion" with one l instead of two.
When I started high school I got my hair cut short like the models in Delia's catalogue. I also got stuck with a locker next to my sister so I made my mom call the school and switch. I ended up running cross country because my friends did and we stuck together. We were a group of five goody-goodies who got good grades and participated in school activities. Sophomore year I got moved from junior varsity to varsity and I thought that I was pretty good at this. My confidence grew enough to tell a boy off at a school dance. His name was Ryan and I had had a crush on him for two years. When I asked him to dance and he said no I poked him with my index finger and told him he would spend the rest of his life alone.
Junior year I didn't do as well in cross country so I made up for it by not eating. Lunch was always a slice of bread, carrots, and lots of foot-tapping. My mom saw it happening over a few months and I saw my ribs becoming so prominent I thought my chest was caving in. That was when I was taken to a nutritionist and forced to put mayonnaise on my subway sandwiches. I was almost sent away when I refused to eat a brownie but I finally gave in. I slowly gained back the twenty pounds I had lost.
I patiently waited for senior year of high school to be over because I felt stifled in the small town. I was salutatorian of my class and the night before I graduated I went to my first party with the popular kids. I left early because I was too afraid of getting caught and not being able to give my speech the next day. The speech was about differences, changes, and choices. I spoke really loudly into the microphone.
I started college in Minneapolis and lived in an apartment with other freshmen. My roommate and I choreographed a dance to Time of My Life from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and I got drunk for the first time. Jello shots of course.
My other roommate got me into a band called Belle and Sebastian when I was nineteen and that changed me forever. I became obsessed with indie pop music, especially stuff from Scotland and I got a scholarship to take an English literature course in Edinburgh.
I had already decided on English as a major after my freshman composition major told me I should be one. I had never really thought about it, but I guess I liked to read and write.
When I took my first creative writing course, I wrote a bad, esoteric poem with big words and no meaning. I also wrote a short story about a patient in a mental hospital. I began to tell people I liked to write.
I met different boys and started to use more than one hand when I counted how many I had kissed. One boy said Sonic Youth had saved his life and another had called my breasts tits. I broke up with boys, always blaming myself, never them.
When I was twenty-one I taught English in the Czech Republic and traveled around Europe for a few months.
Then I graduated from college in 2003. And I spent the summer listening to Minnesota public radio and jotting down the unemployment rate, 6.7 %.
When I finally got a job at a used bookstore I decided that was exactly what I should be doing at twenty-two. The nine months I worked there after college I had four roommates, three boyfriends, took one trip to Thailand, and started knitting. I spent a lot of time with my roommates and we developed acronyms for lots of things. O.O.C (out of control) and T.M.I. (too much information) became part of our vernacular.
When I heard about a job at the University library where I had worked in college I applied and got the job. I started to date a boy named Matt who I met through friends and he made me laugh a lot. I met his family and he met mine. We are in love even though we haven't said it yet. I have a large apartment and do lots of walking. I'm looking for a different job. I wish my mom lived closer. My friends and I watch America's Next Top Model every Wednesday. I'm trying to think of a Halloween costume. I like to sleep.