Learning To Love You More




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

Em Jay
Seattle, Washington USA



I came into the world at approximately six in the evening on the sixteenth of December 1989 in Oakland, California. The next day my mom got a birthday cake that read: "Happy Birthday! Nancy 30 years. Melissa 1 day". I was the best birthday present she ever got. The only things I remember from those early months are what I've been told. Apparently I was a wonderful flaky, jaundiced, yellow color, resulting in a couple-day hospital stay soon after being brought home. I didn't have much hair. I cried incessantly. My parents would take it in turns to carry me up and down a flight of stairs, the soothing motion eventually lulling me to sleep. They would place me carefully in my crib, afraid of anything that would wake me and begin the crying again.
My dad was a civil engineer and my mom was a speech pathologist, so during the daytime I went to a nanny. She spoke only Chinese but her daughter was always around to translate for my parents. I picked up Chinese from my nanny, but would only speak it with her. When prompted by her daughter or my relatives, I remained silent. This is unfortunate because I would have liked to grow up bilingual.
When I was almost three, my brother was born. I wore a cow print shirt to celebrate the eventful day and held him carefully. I was an attention seeker and the birth of Craig meant more attention for him, and much, much less for me. I became a nuisance. I refused to learn to be potty trained and threw extravagant tempter tantrums resulting in me wailing in my bedroom, kicking at the door, while my parents held the doorknob from the hallway so I couldn't get out (we had no locks). I was also an avid thumb sucker until a rather late age, when I sucked my thumb so dry it bled and was shocked enough to stop.
Eventually my brother graduated from annoying-little-attention-hog to playmate. We played with trains, legos, Lincoln logs, and made the sand in our sandbox into delicious cakes. We captured roly-polies from under the flowerpots and aided the "babbling brook" that ran next to our house. We had two cats, Woody and Ralphie. Woody was vicious and protective like a dog, while Ralphie was skittish and shy. They liked to lay with their heads beneath the bed ruffle, leaving only their bodies visible to soak up the sunshine coming in through the window. They looked like the headless chickens we would sometimes roast for dinner.
On my first day of preschool at Duck's Nest, I cried at being left behind, but I soon became devoted to my teachers, one in particular named Rachel. There was this girl who was a year older who used to chase me around the playground trying to give me hugs. Her hugs were bone-crushing and I was terrified. My preschool years were eventful: I peed my pants (tights?) for the first time while waiting in line for the bathroom, I swallowed a hard candy whole on accident, and I got locked in a closet at a friends house and threw up.
My first day of elementary school also began in tears; separation anxiety was not my friend. I refused to let go of my mother's hand, but I came to realize that school was pretty cool. My friend Kimi shared her hostess cupcakes with me at lunch everyday since my mom was a health nut and accompanied my sandwiches with carrot sticks and raisins. At recess we chased boys, trying to kiss them. In third grade, I made two new best friends, Lizzie and Kiyome. We called ourselves LKM. Our fourth grade teacher let us use our class time to write a story. We wrote about Ginger, Pepper, and Rosemary, three elves living in a forest that go on an adventure to rescue their kidnapped friend. When my dad announced that he had gotten a job in London, we changed the ending of our story: Rosemary is adopted by a British family and moves away, leaving her two best elf friends behind.
I spent three years in London with my family. These were my awkward years. I was painfully shy and all too aware of how uncool I was. Fifth, sixth, and seventh grade were dominated by a group of girls who wore tight jeans, low cut shirts, and had both boobs and boyfriends. My best friend in fifth grade dropped me like a hot potato once we got to sixth grade to hang out with the "popular" kids. I made a new best friend with a similar obsession with Lord of the Rings and we spent many class field trips pretending to slay orcs with my arrows and her sword.
In the three years I lived in London, I was able to visit more than fifteen countries including Italy, France, Norway, Morocco, and Iceland. Since most of the memories I have of these places are activated by pictures, it is pointless to attempt to describe them. However, I was able to see more of the world than I knew existed, and it was mind-blowing.
When I was thirteen, my dad's contract was at its end and we relocated to sunny San Diego. I was not a fan of eighth grade. I was dorky and shy, and felt unable to relate to many of my peers. The one thing I did like was playing trumpet in concert band. I developed a huge crush on the first player, who also happened to be in my science class. Unfortunately, I had about zero self-confidence and that, coupled with a complete inability to create a cohesive sentence when talking to the opposite sex, meant that I only exchanged about twenty words with him throughout the entire year. I had a group of friends that I sat with at lunch, but rarely hung out with outside of school. I definitely spent a couple lunch periods hidden between the bookshelves of the media center, mortified and wallowing in my self-deprecating sense of loserdom. About halfway through the year I got contacts, which improved my self-confidence, but the rest of eighth grade still sucked.
My high school experience was anything but normal. Freshman year began, and we didn't even have classrooms; our school was nothing more than a circle of trailers in a parking lot. I took biology, P.E., performing arts, English, band, and a couple of less exciting classes while construction workers built up our school around us. We were the inaugural class of 275 and it felt like a family. During that first year, I was very disoriented, but I became close with three other girls. Unfortunately, one of them turned out to be an insecure bitch and I realized that people are not always what they appear to be. If my high school experience was a graph, it would be a bell curve. Freshman year: so-so; sophomore year: getting better; junior year: pretty freaking awesome; senior year: get me out of here!!
In my second year of high school, I met my best friend R. It was the first day of school in chemistry class. We had to partner up and complete a lab, and she approached me, saying she had already done the lab in another chemistry class earlier that day, but had changed her classes and was now in my third period class. We clicked instantly. She was fun and outgoing, never without a smile on her face. I felt like she brought out my fun side; with her I did things I wouldn't normally do and had a blast doing them. We were inseparable. No one would speak of one of us without mentioning the other.
Sophomore year was also when I developed my second big crush on a boy. He was in band with me, a saxophone player. He was goofy and cute and had the most beautiful blue eyes ever. I must have seemed like such a creeper; every time he turned around I swear he caught me staring dreamily at him with a smile on my face. I was still completely useless when it came to the opposite gender, so I treasured him from afar. It was pretty much your typical crush: butterflies, endless daydreaming, an exponential increase in heart rate whenever he directed so much as a sentence towards me. Yes, it was ridiculous, but it was exciting and it got me up in the morning.
In December, the Winter Semi-formal approached and although R and I were dateless, it wasn't a big deal since we had each other. We went and danced and I got my first kiss from the freshman guitar player who had apparently been eyeing me for a while. I went out with him for a month before realizing that I was still infatuated with the saxophone player, so I dumped him over AIM. However frivolous and insensitive this was, it gave me a huge boost in confidence. Boys liked me! Towards the end of the year, R and I befriended two boys, A and E.
The four of us became close. We dealt with a few minor dramatic moments, and some unrequited crushes, but remained good friends. In February of Junior year I went to my first house party and drank my first beer with E. E and R started dating, and she broke up with him after a month when she decided she didn't actually like him that much anyway. I began talking to another boy, K, mostly over AIM. He had me in stitches every time we talked and it was with him, his friends, and R that I smoked hookah with for the first time. We smoked fruity and mint shish and listened to Gorillaz. Slowly, R and I became part of their group. They were all guys, and they all shared a cynical, sarcastic view of the world and a love for video games. Their humor was witty, crude, and immature and they didn't give a fuck about what people thought about them. We were inducted into their crew; we drove around aimlessly and got stoned, yelled at people out of car windows, had toilet paper fights in parks. K developed a puppy-like crush on me, and over the summer, I agreed to be his girlfriend. It was fun, but short-lived, and when I broke up with him in October of Senior year, suddenly R and I were no longer allowed to hang out with their crew. However, one of them, N, continued to talk to us. He never really fit in with the rest of them, mostly because he didn't smoke pot. R and N became my new best friends and we spent our time drifting corners in the suburbs, stealing tequila from his parents' liquor cabinet, and playing Rock Band.
Most of senior year was spent complaining about pretty much everything: the people, the useless schoolwork, the teachers. We couldn't wait to get out.
Over the summer, I went to China with my family and grandparents. You never really know someone until you travel with them, that's for sure. I came back and got mono from someone I never would have kissed had I been sober. Then, in late September, I packed up my life and moved to Seattle.
Fall quarter of college was crazy. I experienced freedom like I never had before. In the first couple months, I had done many new things. I went to my first frat party, threw up from drinking for the first time, and lost my virginity to a guy I had known for three weeks (although I don't regret it).
Right now the first week of winter quarter has just ended. I am sick, and staying in tonight in order to help myself recover. I just spilled water down the front of my shirt.