Learning To Love You More




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

Peter Hollister
Los Angeles, California USA



I was born on June 12, 1981 to Jane Richards Hollister and Edward Hollister in Los Angeles, California. I have an older sister, Cassie, who is three years older than I am. I grew up in a two story house that was blue. When I was a kid, Cassie would always pick on me, steal my action figures, and get our dog Skipper to pee on me. I really hated her. I didn't go to preschool for some reason. But my parents taught my sister and me at home when we were really little. I was pretty smart, so I picked up the alphabet, reading, and phonics right away. Soon they were really tired of teaching me because I always craved more information than they had time for. I was sent to kindergarten as soon as I could register and I went to a school within walking distance of my house. It was a Catholic school where we had to wear uniforms. My sister went to the same school that I did. I had a crush on one of my sister's friends at the young age of five. Her name was Lacy. She was a pretty cool eight year old, but she never really paid any attention to me. Why would she? Sometimes I would try to tag along with Cassie and Lacy but they had pretty much nothing to do with me. At school, I was pretty good at every subject I came across. By the time I was eight, I went to a public magnet elementary school instead the Catholic school so I could focus on science and math. I remember public school being weird. There was this one time the teachers started to talk to the kids about stuff drug and alcohol awareness, puberty, and some other embarrassing things. I didn't think I needed the drug awareness classes (It was called D.A.R.E., or something like that). I didn't know anyone who did drugs, and smoking and drinking seemed pretty stupid to me. The thing is, my dad drank a lot when I was growing up, and it was something that my whole family wanted to get away from and not talk about. I knew that I didnt want to be like him at all. During the lectures about puberty, the whole class giggled, and I always felt really embarrassed. My sister had gotten her period right when I started my fifth grade classes, and it was a big deal between her and my mom. I thought it was kind of disgusting but I would never say that to her face. Sometimes during class, my attention would wander, and I would start to pay attention to this really cute girl. She always had on peel-off nail polish and a cute denim skirt with embroidered girly stuff on it. Her name was Susan. I sat right behind her and would frequently peek over to look at what she was writing in her notebook. She liked Lisa Frank, and she would always doodle rainbow unicorns and flying penguins on her notebook. On Valentine's Day 1989 (or was it 1990?), I made her a Pound Puppies valentine from old stationery I had and gave it to her when we were by the jungle gym. Susan looked at it, and looked at me. I remember her laughing a little bit and then not saying anything. She then ran away. I later saw her hanging out with Billy, a kid who was considered the bad boy in our classes. He always spoke out of turn in class and didn't do his homework. After that, I didn't really talk to Susan anymore. When I was 10, I had to choose which middle school I wanted to go to, and my parents made me look at about 50 of them. We finally decided to go to another magnet school (this is a science magnet) in the Valley. I rode a bus to school everyday and I had to wake up really early. I really enjoyed a lot of nerdier things at the school like science club, chess club, and the video game club, where we all played Mario and Zelda. I made a close group of friends at school- Mike, a skinny kid who knew the almost all the digits of pi, Jason, a photo geek who would build his own cameras from scratch, Marcus, who was on the soccer team, but also liked to race radio controlled cars, and then there was me- the kid who took things apart and put them back together to make them work even better. We were all nerds and pretty unpopular at school. I remember I joined the concert band late in 7th grade, and played the trumpet. Around this time, my dad started to really suffer from his alcoholism. He lost his job because he stopped showing up, and he was fighting with my mom all the time. He forgot Cassie's birthday and she was crying the whole day. Eventually, my mom kicked him out of the house. I really couldn't deal with all that was going on at home, so I stayed over my friends' houses a lot to escape the madness. I stayed at Mikes house the most, because he didn't live too far from me. I rode my bike to his house, and we would have camp-outs in his backyard. One day, while we were staring at Cassiopeia, he mentioned that he had stolen some of his parents' alcohol, and he had it right there with him in the tent. I don't remember what kind it was, when I tasted it, it burned my throat. We both finished the bottle, and as I drank it I thought of my father, and wondered if he had tasted the same thing. It made me cry a little, which freaked Mike out. I hadn't talked to my dad in about a year. He had missed so many band performances and science fairs of mine. I didn't think I would ever see him again. I began to wonder if my sister Cassie had been looking for a father figure because she started dating older boys, especially college age boys when she was in high school. My mom always yelled at her for doing so. When Mike saw me crying, he told me that it was okay to cry, because he cried all the time. When I asked him why, he said he didn't know. But he said he got depressed a lot and sometimes even thought of killing himself. This really scared me, and I remember giving Mike a hug and telling him not to because he was my best friend. We got really close after that, and spent all of our spare time together. We would build computers and I remember going on the internet for the first time when I was 14 on our custom-made computer. People started to think that we were gay because we spent so much time together. Even my mother asked me what was going on. I told her I wasn't, but I don't think she believed me. I didn't know if I was or not, actually. I liked Mike, but I wasn't sure in what kind of way. We would talk all the time, and he was my best friend in the whole world. I didn't really think of him in any sexual ways. When it came time for high school, my mother wanted me to go to a prep school, but I wanted to go to the school where Mike was going. He was going to a special science magnet so he could possibly get a scholarship to MIT or Cal Tech. It had a really hard admissions test, and my mom didn't want me to take it for some insane reason. I didn't end up going to Mike's high school, and I was really bummed about this. I would sneak over to his house at night, and just sleep on the floor because I didn't want to deal with my mom and sister. My mom was always lecturing me, telling me to cut my hair, and to start studying for my PSATs so I could go to college, get a good job, and make a lot of money so I could support the family. My sister kept dating a whole bunch of different guys, and whenever she was home, she would tell me to get lost. After a while, Mike started to become distant from me. He wouldn't talk to me when we were online, and he started hanging out with his new friends from his science magnet school. I didn't have any friends at my high school. I sat in the library reading fantasy novels, and I would skip lunch to research different things in encyclopedias. I started practicing for my standardized tests, since I had nothing better to do. I took my PSATs and started practicing for my SATs in 10th grade. I did really well on all my tests, but I was pretty depressed because I felt I didn't have much of a life. Mike didn't even call me anymore, and he didn't let me in to sleep over because he would sometimes have a girl over. I hadn't liked any girls since middle school, and I was starting to think most human beings were a waste of time. I stayed in my room a lot, and played too many video games. When I was in eleventh grade, I had to start thinking about where I wanted to go to college. But I really didn't care about college, or anything. I started to wonder if I was going to become suicidal, like Mike was a few years back. He had completely stopped talking to me. I sort of gave up at school around the time I was 16. I let my grades slip and nothing really interested me. I did have some thoughts of suicide, but I pretty much quelled it by hanging out with kids who did drugs and drank a lot. I tried a lot of drugs that year, and I was rarely at home. I was only home to sleep, and maybe to get some money from my mom. My sister had left home by this time. She went to a Cal State far from where we were (Sacramento), and my mother would have various boyfriends over. It was so awkward being there, and having to be the son that she had all these expectations for. My sister had pretty much failed her, since she didn't excel in anything, or do anything that made my mother proud. When I was in my senior year of college, I applied to almost every public school in California and in my spare time, I would create websites (it reminded me of Mike, I don't know why) while being slightly high or buzzed on weed or something else. Even though I had good SAT scores, my grades had slipped so much, and I was rejected from every school I applied to. My mom was furious at me. I remember coming home one night and she had this pile of rejection letters in her lap. She was crying and her lipstick was smeared in this funny way. She asked me why I didn't try harder, and I said it was because of dad leaving and Mike leaving. I told her how I didn't have any real friends, and the only people I spent time with were stoners who just liked me because I bought them weed. I started to cry too, and she just told me that she didn't want a son who was a failure. I started thinking about all my options at this time, and I could either go to community college or stay at home and get a job. I really didn't want to live at home with my mother. I decided to go to community college and took design classes, because I liked making websites. I was actually having fun in my classes, unlike in high school, and I was getting good grades again. I was there for two years and I wanted to apply to art school so I could become a graphic designer. I don't know why, but it was just so fun to me. I liked making things. I applied to Art Center, Cal Arts, and California College of Arts and Crafts. I got into all the schools, and I decided to go to Art Center because I heard it was really good. My mom was really happy for me. She hadn't been doing anything with herself and she just totally brightened up when I told her I was going there. When I was in my first year of art school, I got a call from my dad saying that he wanted to meet me. He also called my sister Cassie, but she hadn't called him back. I wasn't sure what to do but I decided to talk to him again. He came out to Pasadena to visit me. It was weird. I hadn't seen him in eight years. He looked really different. He had shaved his beard and was wearing some nicer clothes. He told me that he had gone to New York, after my mom had kicked him out. He had a girlfriend on the side (he met her on the internet) and he was living with her. He was really still into boozing, but after this girlfriend had left him, too, he decided to get his act together. He went to AA, and took night classes at an adult school. He had moved in with some of our relatives, and they were helping him, too. He got his master's degree recently. He didn't have a steady job, but he had some leads and he might be teaching sometime soon. He asked me what my mom was up to, and I told him that she was just staying at home all the time. He looked sad to hear this, but didn't say anything. I showed him my design work, and he said he wanted me to make a website for him. It was a really awkward meeting, but I am glad I talked to him. I didn't forgive him, but I was more at peace with my dad than before. At school people really liked my work, and I started to meet a lot of cool people. Some of them were girls, and this one girl, Carol started hanging around with me a lot. I really liked her, and I told her this one night when we were sitting in my room listening to music. We started making out, and we eventually had sex on my bed. I lost my virginity to her, and it was a really amazing experience. It was my first real time being with a girl, although I didn't tell her this because I thought it was a little pathetic. She became my girlfriend. She was an illustrator and always made pictures of me. I was really happy with her, and I told her all my secrets, about my dad and mom, and Mike, and my sister. We graduated art Center in the same year, and then we moved in together, in Los Angeles. She does freelance work for magazines and online stuff. Right after graduating, I worked at Kinko's for a while to make ends meet and submitted my work to contests and other design places. Right now I have a small job making zines and working at a small press and I am thinking about getting married to Carol although I haven't told her anything yet.