Learning To Love You More




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

Shaina Feinberg
Brooklyn, New York USA
Email Shaina



Born February 10th, 1977 to Paul and Mary Feinberg. I weighed just over six and a half pounds. The first few years are hazy, really, I mean they are all grey and I can't make out much. What follows is what I remember of my life so far:
1. I rode in a car with two other girls and their pop. He took us to day care. One day I put my pants on backwards and when I got into the car, I pulled my pants down and put them on the right way. Their pop drove us through Harlem to get to day care and sometimes he would buy us a sugarcane. He'd park the car in front of our school (a giant and stone church) and he would stand in the street cutting the sugarcane into mouth-sized chunks that we would suck on. We'd suck all the sweets out of that cane.
2. In kindergarten I'd sit cross-legged next to a boy and I'd pull up my skirt and slide my panties over and show them what I had.
3. In first grade I made a mask. I made it from magazine pages and string. I wore it while I sat on my pop's lap after dinner.
4. I went to Pat Stone's funeral. She was the mother of my then-friend Michal Stone. I sat at the back of a large church. My mother and I had just gone to see her not long before. She was ill in bed--bald-headed and pale. My mother bought a gardenia plant, the base of it wrapped in red checked plastic. i gave that plant to Pat and she turned the corners of her mouth up at me--the best smile she had by that point. A few days later, Pat died. My mother stood in a doorway and told my father who said "Oh, sweetie" and got up to hug her. A few weeks later my mother was sick with a cold. She lay in bed with a red handkerchief on her head and I pressed my way into her room and climbed up onto the bed. I thought she would soon be dead too, like Pat. It made me very nervous and sad. My mother didn't die.
5. My parents began to fight a lot and it made me uncomfortable. I hid a lot in my closet and behind a pink and brown chair. I was no good at school either. Everyone else seemed much more normal and capable than me. I sat at the back of classrooms and picked dirt from the bottom of my Stan Smith sneakers. I was quiet too and I had a real hard time learning the days of the week. All this combined made me seem retarded and I was placed in special ed. I wore a seat belt and learned everything from a view finder, remember those things?
At home, I hid in closets; At school, I assumed retard status--life wasn't so good.
6. I spent 4 months in special ed and then my parents transfered me to an alternative school. I was plump and had permed hair. I made friends with girls named Qiana and Shaniqwa and Amber Rose. For a while, I was the white girl. Then I made friends with L. Segan who lived downtown, in Chelsea, in a loft with her arty parents. In my parents' kitchen, she pulled her pants down and revealed the first pubic hairs I'd seen--coarse and wavy. I thought, Things for us are changing.
7. I wore thermal pants under skirts in an attempt to cultivate alternative cool status. I thinned out some. Kissed boys. One boy was Omari and he was a puffy-cheeked black boy from way uptown. I loved him like, like for real. I loved that Omari.
8. Friday nights I got to order Chinese food--lomein or chicken with broccoli--and I'd watch "Overboard" or "Moonstruck". I couldn't wait to have grown-up love.
9. I went to high school in Brooklyn, rode the D train all the way out there every day. I was on the swim team and I danced then too--modern dance. I studied Italian with Ms. Schreiber and I took history with Mr. Cener. I'd look out at sunlight Brooklyn and imagine my life in the future. I was always doing that.
10. There are things that happen during and after high school, but they are too boring to recount. Basically, I lost my virginity, smoked some weed and had a beer or two and some cigarettes. Plus, I had my first breakdown. I spent months on the couch with a sheet over my face and I refused to go out or see my friends. I spent all my time with my worried parents. I thought, What will happen to me? I will never be good.
11. I went to college in New York state for a year and then dropped out with my boyfriend, Sean. We moved out West with two of my girlfriends. We put all of our junk into a Ryder truck and drove it out to Santa Cruz California. At first we lived in a hotel and then a cottage by the beach. At night the four of us would walk out to the beach and we'd watch the ocean. It was chilly at night and we all wore sweatshirts. My hair was cut close to my head.
12. Sean and I broke up and he moved back to New York. My two girlfriends moved back too. It was just me. I lived in a converted garage. I worked at a Japanese restaurant and started to take classes. I made one friend, a boy named Sean Reed. He was so hot to me. He worked as a mechanic and he smelled god awful. He was missing his two front teeth. I no longer know him.
13. I enrolled in college again and moved closer to the campus. I lived with a bunch of girls and a gay boy named Sean Lyons.
14. I met my friend Rachel and we made up dances that we performed on the streets of Santa Cruz. I got chubby when I lived with her. But I was happy.
15. I met Andy Cavin on a bus and decided to be his girlfriend. Soon, it was a reality. He and I went out for three years. We have many private jokes and a lot of nicknames. We are still best friends, though we broke up three years ago. Sometimes we say, let's get married OK? We love each other so much. My heart skips like a lamb when I see his face.
16. I moved back to New York City and got a job dog walking. Then I traded up to working at "The New York Observer", which is where I work still. I only work there two days a week. I met Juj there. Juj is my very excellent and funny friend. She and I have a public access television show in Brooklyn. It is called the Spew and we have a website too: www.spewtv.com. I work at "The Observer" and I also work with a non-profit. I facilitate creative writing workshops. I write fiction and non-fiction. I make many little things. I live in Brooklyn. I have a fish named Sammy. Sometimes I get depressed. I have had many terrible boyfriends through the years and also, I have been so sad a lot.
17. Last night, I went to the taqueria with Juj and we planned the next Spew. I lay around on the floor and she sat on the couch. We batted around ideas and drank some beers and gin and tonics. She told me to look down at the rug, so I did. She said, Look closer. So I did. Then she whacked the back of my head. She said, I thought you'd enjoy that. I did think it was funny. After she left, I went to my friends' house and a bunch of people were sitting around. No one was all that friendly and I thought, why do I hang out with these people? My new boyfriend, JJ, was there. I said, Let's go. We left and drove home to my house. Soon we were on the couch and we were sleepy and I said, I think you are very cute and he smiled (showing off his big, goofy teeth) and then he coughed.