Learning To Love You More




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

Sharon Joon
Brooklyn, New York USA



I was born at New York University Hospital at 5:00 a.m. on December 6th. My first word was bottle, although I didn t speak any English until I was three. My mom spoke to me exclusively in Farsi and my dad spoke to me exclusively in French, so those were the only two languages I knew. I was the first born. We lived in North Shore Towers in Queens. There was a movie theater and hair salon in the building s basement. When I was two years old, my brother Sean was born. My family watched jeopardy and wheel of fortune a lot. I used to think that the doorman of our building and Pat Sayjack were the same person.
I started Nursery School when I was two and a half at Temple Beth El. I started to learn English then. When I was four, my family moved to a house in a New York suburb. My mom and I used to peel masking tape off of the walls.
I remember not having any friends from the very beginning. One day, I went around the whole nursery school classroom, asking each person to play with me. Everyone said no. But sometimes, people did play with me. One time, I was playing with Julie Wlodinger when Adam took her away because he wanted to tell her a secret. She kept coming back to play with me and going back to him for more secrets. Then I asked him why he never told me any secrets. Then either a few minutes later or the next day or something, he told me he had a secret for me. He took me to the bathroom and pulled down his pants. It wasn t the first time I ever saw a penis because I took showers with my brother and dad all the time. He asked me to pull down my pants and I didn t respond. Then he said he would give me a diamond ring the next day if I showed him my private part, so I did. I was very disappointed when I never got the diamond ring.
Every day at nursery school, we went outside to play for a short period of time. As soon as we got to the playground, every kid raced to get to this plastic gas station pump, so they could be the gas station attendant when all the other kids rode up with their tricycles. One day, I got to the gas station pump first and I got to be the gas station attendant. But as soon as I got there, I had to pee. I tried asking several kids if they would save my spot while I went to the bathroom. No one really responded to me and eventually I peed in my pants. I was wearing grey. Then my teacher took me to the classroom, and changed my clothes for me. (Each kid had their own shoe box with clothes in it for just such a situation.) I also remember them showing us this movie about a man who kept putting off doing the dishes for another day, until one day his house was full of dishes and he had to use a bulldozer to take care of it.
The summer I was four, my family took a trip to Switzerland, France, Israel, and maybe some other countries. I remember going to a place with all these beautiful gardens and I remember riding in the back of a convertible with my brother. He wore a blue shirt and hat. My dad trucked around a giant video camera the entire trip, but I don t remember ever seeing the video. The trip was the first time I remember meeting my French cousin Ludo. He kept hiding my Aunt Dolly s shoes all over their apartment in Paris and she kept getting angry at him. He also knew how to fart on demand. He did it lots of times and made my brother and me laugh.
In Israel, we met my then favorite Aunt Rosette at a swimming pool. I also remember walking down these stone steps on the last day of the trip and my mother telling me that I was missing the first day of kindergarten as we spoke. To this day, I blame missing that first day of real school for all the times people haven t wanted to be my friend.
When we got back to New York, I started kindergarten at a Jewish school. I rode the bus back and forth every day. My bus driver s name was Mr. Jennings. I used to sit alone in the first row seat diagonal from him and talk to him the whole time. One day in kindergarten, I was really hot all day and then later when I was waiting for the bus to leave the school parking lot after school, I realized that I accidentally forgot to take off my pajamas that day. The reason I was so hot was that I was wearing two sweatshirts. One day, when the bus dropped me off, my mom wasn t home and I started to cry. My diagonal-from-my-house neighbors let me wait for her in their driveway.
One night, when I was five, my dad and I were lying on my parents bed and I told him all about how I didn t have any friends and no one liked me. The next day, the principal of the school took me out of class to talk to me. He told me that he ran into my dad in the street and heard that I wasn t happy. I don t remember how I responded.
My sister was born that year on a Friday in June. Mamalisa, my grandmother, took me to the bus stop instead of my mom, because she was in the hospital. I took different color generic lollipops to school to celebrate it.
In first grade, I switched to public elementary school. My teacher, Ms. Caleo, asked Jennifer Heifitz to show me around for the next couple of days. There were four reading groups in my class. I was placed in the second highest one. At some point during that year, one of our classmates, Sadako, had to move back to Japan. I remember we were all sad. Mrs. Friedlander, the music teacher, taught us some song that she told us to sing and think of Sadako.
My cousin David was in Miss Sobol s class across the hall. At some point during that year, there was a square dance event at my school. The person assigned to be my partner was sick, so then they assigned David to be my partner. David had pooped in his pants a couple of days ago at school, so I was embarrassed to be his cousin. I pretended I didn t know who he was at first. Tracy Schechtman made me feel worse about it.
In second grade, I was in Miss Cohen s class. I sat alone every day at lunch, except for one day when Ms. Cohen sat with me. They were serving grilled cheese in the cafeteria that day. There was also another time when Seppideh invited me to sit at her table with her and her friends. During the Christmas Vacation that year, my family went to Disney World. I didn't have a particularly good time, and thought that somehow, because my parents were immigrants, we had ended up at the wrong Disney World. I also went to the dermatologist for the first time that year because of pimples on my forehead.
In third grade, I was in Miss Hurwitz's class. She got married halfway through the school year and became Mrs. Lerch. My cousin Izzy also got married that year on Valentine's Day. I was one of the flower girls. Mr. and Mrs. Lerch went to New Orleans for their honeymoon. I don't know where Payam and Izzy went.
In third grade, we learned about Australia and made a rain forest out of paper in our class. We also learned how to make graphs. We made a graph of everyone in the class's prediction of what would win Best Picture at the Academy Awards that year. Most of the kids in the class voted for Beauty and The Beast. Tori Greene and I both voted for The Prince Of Tides. My teacher was the only one who voted for Silence of the Lambs. Silence of the Lambs ended up winning. I also started growing hair under my arms in third grade and had my first sexual dream that year. It took place on a couch in the school library with Eric Levine.
In fourth grade, I was placed in the interage which was a two-year long class of fourth graders and fifth graders together. That year, we read "Jump Ship to Freedom" and every day in math class, I flirted with Jessee Kates. I had a crush on Jeffrey Weinroth but he was mean to me. A large number of people in the class called me "acne acres." At the time, I thought "acne" meant nose, and thought that people were referring to my huge nose, as opposed to my acres of pimples which is what they were actually referring to.
I don't remember when my pubic hair started growing in, but I definitely had a full patch by the summer before fifth grade. I was also popular at day camp that summer.
In fifth grade, I was still in the interage. Benjamin asked me to be his World Buddy. Benjamin had emmigrated from a Spanish-speaking country so he didn't know English very well. Being his buddy meant that he taught me the months in Spanish and on World Buddy Day, I got to recite them on stage in front of the whole school. Jeffrey Weinroth always used to ask me: "Hey Sharon, I was just wondering, if you're not busy this weekend, maybe you'd want to go to the movies..." and my heart would start beating fast every time, and then he'd say "With BENJAMIN!" Around that time, I was becoming increasingly aware of my body odor, but was too shy to ask my mom about getting deoderant.
The following year, I started middle school. I wore green jeans and keds with studs on them to the first day of school. English with Ms. Marks was my first class of the day and reading with Ms. Greene was my last class of the day. My main friends in sixth grade were Neda, Samantha, Deepka, and Bita. Deepka's phone number was 466-2083. In April, I had to miss Bita's birthday party because I had the flu. Everyone said it was the most fun party they had ever been to. Some time that year, I started using Teen Spirit deoderant and developped a crush on my friend Arash who was my stand partner in Orchestra. We both played viola.
On May 9, 1995, I got my period for the first time. I didn't get it again until two months later, a couple of days before the final performance at my acting day camp. 1995 was also the summer of Samantha's dad's wedding. Samantha was only allowed to invite one friend and she invited me. I was very honored and attended the wedding wearing a blue polka dotted dress my mom had bought me from the kids section at Benetton a couple of years earlier. The night of the wedding, Samantha told me she had a dream that she kissed Ethan. For some reason, that grossed me out.
In seventh grade, I had a crush on Kevin Krupskee and Maryam was my best friend. I loved her more than I've ever loved any friend since. We talked on the phone every day and were on the track team together. Maryam was scared of bridges and had to close her eyes every time she was on one. In eighth grade, Maryam stopped talking to me one day. It had something to do with me being too depressed all the time and too competitive. I haven't spoken to her since. For many years, I wondered if there would ever be a time when I would think of Maryam fewer than five times a day.
The night before the first day of high school, I decided that in high school, I would smile all the time because I was sick of people asking me if I was tired or sad. I smiled that whole first day of school, but couldn't keep it up too much longer than that and eventually stopped smiling. That year, I was a really good English student and wore high heels regularly. I especially remember a huge pair of brown platforms I bought from Wet Seal that were pretty banged up by the end of that school year.
The summer before tenth grade, I went to biotechnology summer camp at a local University. The other campers and I stayed at the dorms during the week and went home on weekends. I think I looked the ugliest I ever looked that summer, but somehow I had the most friends, and two seperate people at the camp told me they had feelings for me. Kevin Bernstein was the first boy who told me he liked me. He called me in my dorm room and said "We could take it slow." Even though I liked him back, I rejected him out of fear. The next day at lunch, Lindsey Paluska flirted with him and I hated her from the depths of my being. They had really good french fries and tuna sandwiches in that cafeteria. Jonathan Giloni was the other boy who liked me. He was very skinny and tall with acne. He always wore a baseball cap. I think he liked me because I gave him so much attention. We had our own special handshake. At the end of the summer, the biotechnology teachers gave each camper a certificate, with some weird award on it. Jonathan received the "shy" award. I was very offended on his behalf. If someone is shy, how could they possibly feel good about receiving the "shy" award? I received "the golden leaf" award because my project had to do with comparing the bacteria found on dead leaves with the bacteria found on live ones.
When the four weeks of camp were over, I hated both of my parents. Spending time away from them for the first time made me realize how happy I could be without them in my life. A few days after camp were over, my family and I took a trip to Cape Cod. We ordered room service one night and they accidentally brought us two shrimp dishes for which they didn't charge us. When we got back from the trip, my father confronted me about hating him in front of a kosher butchery in Queens. I don't remember how the conversation went, but I remembering feeling very uncomfortable. It was the first time I realized I was trapped in a family.
In tenth grade, I played Rosalie in my high school's production of The Children's Hour. Lines of my own that I remember from that play are: "But just 'cause I got a good disposition!" and "I've got my strapless dress!" Other people's lines that I remember from the play are: "Rosalie!," "I saw them," "Mary, what are you doing home?," "Might as well throw it away," and "Throw it away?" My drama teacher's name was Ms. Stern. She had fake blond hair and the teeth of a serious smoker. She cast herself as the teacher in the play.
The summer before eleventh grade, I worked in a polymer research science lab. A couple of weeks into the summer, I started making out with a boy who was my first kiss, my first boyfriend, and my first every thing else sexual besides intercourse. Eventually, we would both show up at the lab every day, drop off our stuff in the office, make out all over campus, and then come back at the end of the day to pick up our stuff and go home. I wasn't allowed to date, so I had to keep Danny a secret from my parents. When the summer was over, and I could no longer see Danny at camp every day, I arranged to secretly meet him almost every time I left my house. I begged my parents for a beeper to make arranging the sneak-outs easier. My parents agreed to get me a beeper because they thought it would somehow help them keep more of an eye out for me. After Danny and I were together for about seven months, my parents caught me in one two many lies and I broke down and told them the truth. They forbid me from seeing Danny again. I continued to see him for a little while, but we eventually drifted apart.
The summer I was sixteen was the first time I realized I was pretty. I was wearing a purple tank top and was looking in a mirror in the bathroom of the Psychology building of New York Univeristy when it happened.
I don't want to write anything else because I'm twenty-one years old and all the rest of the stuff is still too close to me to reveal. Even though I'm an exhibitionist, I started this life story twenty-two hours ago and I'm starting to feel shy. I will say that today I spent most of my day looking through the "Learning to Love You More" website. I also ate lunch with my boyfriend Josh who I am very much in love with. I have to write a paper for school tonight if I want to graduate this May. A few days ago, I got a new bed.