Learning To Love You More




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

Jacqueline H.
Louisville, Kentucky USA



i was born on a sunday in february. my mom ate an entire jar of pickles that day. i'm not sure what my dad was doing but i do know that he wasn't at the hospital. (my parents divorced after three months of marriage, so it's safe to say that i was not planned.) my mom and i lived with her mom and younger sister d until she met the man who became my stepdad. he and my mom had my sister when i was in kindergarten. while my mom was pregnant with her, we all, minus my stepdad, drove to florida. i remember consuming mass quantities of bahama mama slush puppies (then unconsuming said slush puppies at a rest stop in tennessee,) losing one of my favorite earrings (orange hearts with silver sparkles) in the parking lot of disneyworld, and my grandma accidentally burning me with a cigarette (she was diagnosed with neck, throat and lung cancer later that year. seeing all the pain she went through has made me fairly unsympathetic towards and intolerant of people whose complaints about physical ailments are exaggerated. have a tube sticking out of your neck and half of your tongue removed and THEN complain to me.) that was the only family vacation we ever took. i had imaginary friends named bushup and pea. playing with them almost always resulted in my mom calling me by my full name. she eventually ran them over while backing out of the driveway, to which i was surprisingly indifferent. we started going to church, which meant goodbye non-christian music (although my mom did let me keep her gogo's 'beauty and the beat' cassette.) i did well in school, testing into the 'advanced program' at age 6. people always thought i was smart for my age; in retrospect, i think most of that comes not from actual intelligence but rather from having read a lot. i met my oldest (i hate the term 'best,' as i don't think friendship should be ranked) friend j in second grade, when she bit the spanish teacher. (it's funny how sometimes you just know when something is meant to be.) we were poor and then we became poorer when we lost our only source of income.(i don't care what people say, i still maintain that government cheese is damn tasty when grilled.) my grandma died when i was in the fifth grade. shortly after, my mom started having terrible stomach pains. i got picked up early from school one day only to spend thirteen hours waiting in the lobby of the emergency room at the university hospital. my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer in march and she died in july. she was 32 years old. (in their attempts to give condolences, people tend to offer speculations as to how they would feel but until loss is experienced firsthand, speculations are meaningless. hearing the phrase 'better place' still makes me want to scream. as much comfort as i have found in the words of others, sometimes just being there does a wondrous amount of good.) my little sister moved across the bridge with her dad and i went to live with d and her family. d somehow managed to convince the school board to allow me to attend the same middle school as j. i went through the next three years perfecting my 'everything's great' face. i won a national poetry contest with a seriously hokey poem that took all of five minutes to write. i joined choir and heard the beatles for the first time. over the three years spent there, i made a lot of friends, lost a lot of friends, cried over a lot of boys, and made my first bad grade in a series of many. by the time high school rolled around, i was good and angsty. for a while i hated everything and everyone, including myself. thus my attraction to self-destructive behavior began. midway through my high school career, i started dating f@#$ face. he was the first person to really seem interested in getting to know me. we dated off and on for about two years. we talked about getting married (i think because we knew it would never happen) and as crazy as i was about him, deep down i knew he was just using me to get away from his family. i put up with a lot of b.s. because i had low self-esteem and was afraid of being alone.
i wouldn't say that i regret dating him because it taught me a lot about what i do and don't want in a relationship but i would say that i hope that karma does exist. (i harbor resentments for ungodly amounts of time and unabashedly take pleasure in seeing or imagining people get what they deserve. while this may sound self-righteous, i am fully aware that i am not exempt from blame. i just prefer not to think about that.) also, during that time i met c while working as a cashier at a health food store. she's one of the few people i've met that have instantly become an intimate friend (and no, not in a physical way.) she helped me get through the break up and get settled back into d's house. i told d i'd be there three months, tops; i moved out three years later. after having alienated most of my friends during the saga of f@#$ face, i spent a lot of time working and being lonely, in no particular order of degree. i eventually started spending a lot of time with m, a high school friend who introduced me to b. a man of few words, b and i connected through music. we both loved sublime and he was the only other person i knew who had heard of me first and the gimme gimmes (a terrific cover band.) i developed a slight crush on him and m's sister convinced me to ask him out. on our first date, i took him to my favorite restaurant (they have the best ginger chicken!) and then to my favorite thrift store, where i purchased and still have two national geographics. we've been together nearly six years. (to quote the lemonheads, he's the puzzle piece behind the couch that makes the sky complete.) he motivated me to go to school and right now i'm working on a double major (psychology and international studies) which seems long overdue. maybe we'll get married someday, maybe we won't. maybe we'll have babies, maybe we won't. one day at a time, he says. i'm only twenty-five; hopefully i'll be around for awhile. because of my mom i have to get a colonoscopy every five years, the first of which i had last year. it wasn't as horrible as i expected (i'm cancer free so far.) it's been tumultuous, but i truly believe that life is what one makes of it. one may or may not have control over one's destiny but the freedom to choose how it is handled speaks volumes about one's character. i'm off to make some tea.