Learning To Love You More




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

New York, New York USA
Email Meigh



I was born on December 31, 1979 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. My mother was not married though my father was present at my birth & I remember him being around in the very beginning. I grew up assuming my parents had married though they never had. My mother raised me independently. Since I was a baby I stayed with other people who became my family for certain periods of my life. My mother allowed me to cut my pacifier with scissors after I begged her then told me that was the only one & that ended that. I remember sitting in the sun for lunch with my mother, outside our house, eating hard-boiled eggs together, her teaching me about albumen. I have such dreamy memories of her face, smiling at me. I remember her connecting to me with her eyes. I would often play outside while she mowed the lawn. Often times I would act out scenes with myself & she would see me & we both would smile. I am an only child. I grew up with three pets. Max, a brindle boxer whom I was a best friend with for years. We would play all the time & forage through forests on back trails, finding old, rusty abandoned cars & forgotten fire pits. He was the first friend I lost to death. I remember being so sad & truly grieving on my own. It was sunny & I was sitting before our piano in our living room. Schatze, a gift to me from my mother, I believe she gave him to me during a summer season. He was our love. Entirely. I can remember him coming out from under my bookshelves the first moment I ever laid my eyes on him. I once saw Schatze climb about four feet up a tree & back down again. He loved to come in the bathroom while we showered & would often come running to bump heads with you if you got down low. Fritz came to live with us for about one year. Schatze & Fritz got on so well, it was so amazing. They were serious pals & they would play a lot. I can remember them running around the house in the middle of the night, frequently waking me. When my mother & I would come home the rugs would be disheveled & sometimes Fritz would enjoy enacting the cat pats the paper towel roll. It was good times. My mother was the sweetest for taking in Fritz as it saved him from being away from his owner & they were reunited again. Oh, I'm forgetting all about George & Crescent. My best friend growing up from Pre-K to 8th Grade was Jennifer LS. She & I met at Centenary College. I don't remember the first time I saw her though I do remember playing with her at the school & out in the yard. We had such amazing jewelry then. I remember loving these colourful plastic bracelets in primary or pastel, sometimes shells, sometimes hearts. I also had this necklace with a Koala Bear on it with a small removable pen that came out the bottom. I lost that pen in the school playground. Eventually Jennifer & I began taking horseback riding lessons. We would go once a week, Fridays & have an hour-long riding lesson. Even in the dead of winter. Our mothers would take us, they were so amazing to have stayed there waiting for us & watching. There were so many horses to ride & their names were amazing as they completely matched their personalities. Merlin would literally escape his stall if you didn't have both chains linked. It happened to me once & being so young I was terrified, thinking Merlin would never come back. Merlin was a black pony. Joey was a very tall, lanky light brown horse; very pokey & I only remember riding him once, maybe twice. It was not so fun; he was an uncontrollable mope. Blaze was a red & white speckled horse, possibly an appaloosa. Blaze had a temper, was quite sassy to ride & was also known for biting. I always felt stressed when I rode blaze. It always felt like a direct challenge when I was assigned to him. Blaze bit Jennifer's mother Linda in the arm one day. It was an awful bite & quite painful. Jennifer & I took lessons from a woman named Cookie. She was definitely cool & we looked up to her but she was seriously tough on us. Lessons were really hard; looking back I am impressed with my strength & endurance. Gigi had a somewhat serious reputation at the barn. Either she owned the place or was just known as the best & toughest trainer. I did take a few lessons with her & don't remember exactly how it was. I remember feeling intimidated by her. I remember getting ready after school in the bathroom with Jennifer, putting on our riding clothes, boots included. It was definitely the usual procedure & we would laugh & talk & I remember in the bathrooms there were tiny toilets, ones for very small people. Once a woman came in while we were changing & went into the stall with the tiny toilet & made an exclamation about the toilet & Jennifer & I just laughed but we were shy about laughing so I bet we tried to hold it in. Eventually, Jennifer's family moved to a place with a barn & arena to ride in. It was amazing. Jennifer got a horse for her birthday. The horse's name was Crescent & I remember there was a very large red bow on the horse's neck. I vividly remember pictures of this night. There was even cake. Jennifer was wearing rust coloured riding pants with an off white oversized sweater. She was so awesome. Her mother owned a horse, George, & she would often allow me to ride him, with Jennifer, for lessons & even in shows. It was amazing. We would ride often at Jennifer's house & also have lessons there. I remember us walking out Crescent & George after a long practice; sometimes we would do it bareback, which I always loved. I can see the view from the arena, a small hillside in the distance with houses, early dusk. It was beautiful & so calm. I would stare at the distance & landscape & seriously wonder if it wasn't all just a visual facade. It blew my mind, even then. Jennifer & I had so many sleepovers. It was amazing, we would play The Sleeping Bag Game & Murder, and also Jennifer had this amazing sci-fi electric blue glass shock looking orb. We watched Labyrinth all the time & slept & laid around in sleeping bags, eating ice cream & drinking milk. We played Truth or Dare. It was such a special time, staying up late together, truly having the house to ourselves when at that age, we rarely did. Once Jennifer told me she had a dream about a lake in the woods above her house. The next day we hiked up there & found it. We stayed there for hours. It was odd & beautiful. We were kissing & necking too. I had my first orgasms with her. The next day we decided to go back up & tie brown yarn to the trees to make a path for anyone who might want to visit. I believe Cookie came while we were way up in the woods. We had totally lost track of time & forgot about our riding lesson. Jennifer & I went to a Christian grade school. It was good at the time but now so many things about it seem so strange. We had chapel on Monday mornings & through the eight years I attended classes there, not one female ever gave a sermon. Once every season at performance practices, the director, who was also pastor at the church & the father of one of my close friends, would freak out & yell at us regarding our poor skills in acting & singing. I suppose after that we habitually got it together, scared into it or something. I'm not sure. I remember getting use to that & expecting it after a few years. During those eight years, I played the Flute, the Clarinet, the Piano, & the Saxophone. I kissed my first boy Ryan C in the coatroom & I cannot remember the kiss exactly but I do remember him writing me love letters, which I loved. We once went out on a date. My mother & I drove to pick him up. I met his mother briefly & their rabbit whose name I don't remember. We took him to our house where we ate lasagna, which he claimed to have never heard of before, & then went to see the movie Terminator. I sat next to Ryan & my mother sat directly behind us. I remember wearing a red cardigan sweater I borrowed from my mother & jeans. There were other boys I liked but towards the end of the period, I lost all my friends. In eighth grade the class was divided up into two groups. One for Algebra I & the other for the usual math level. I was the only one of my close friends to not make it to the Algebra I side & was seated in the last desk in the back left corner of the room. I was seated next to Giovanni who was fairly new to our class. Most of the students I had known since first grade. I tried to befriend Gio, & he was not very friendly. I think at some point I got sick of trying & him being so unfriendly so out of boredom I began to tease him a lot. Playfully though he would become very angry. Later, my math & science teacher pulled me outside of class to talk. He mentioned my not having a father & informing me that if I liked Gio, I was doing the wrong things to let him know. I didn't like Gio, I just wanted to talk to someone, and also I didn't know what my not having a father had anything to do with this. I read The Diary of Anne Frank in eighth grade. I also read The Scarlet Letter but poorly as it was quite challenging & I ended up staying up almost all night for the first time, trying to finish & writing a false report on something I didn't understand. I played soccer, ran track (the 800 was my race) & even took tennis lessons. Max died while I was in eighth grade. It was a tough time, my friends had abandoned me & even though I carpooled with Sarah every day, she would not speak to me. I have no idea why they all stopped speaking to me. Even Sarah, who took part in it all, does not know. I've asked her. The spring of my eighth grade year I met my grandfather, my mother's father, for the first time. He & I became great friends & since his second wife had passed on very recently, he moved in with my mother & I. He lived with us for years & while my mother was away, we would spend time together. He taught me how to drive stick in his truck, which I loved, & still love, & also we played gin rummy often. We both loved Little House on The Prairie so we would watch that together often. I once sang along to the songs in the movie Beaches for him. He listened & smiled. I went to a boarding school for high school though I was a day student. It was a very challenging adjustment; I have never been quite as methodically busy in my life as I was while I took classes there. We were required to play sports; we also went to school on Saturdays half day. I made friends eventually, played soccer, basketball, lacrosse & even learned to snowboard. I got kicked off the soccer team my junior year & tried out for the play instead. My part was a tragedian. It was fun. I remember going to try out for the play & falling down the stairs on my way in. I was so upset. I left the building & just outside was my best friend Kim. I have no idea how or why she was there but she was. I was crying & she laughed & encouraged me to go back in. I did. I was Most improved Player on the varsity lacrosse team my senior year. I loved playing lacrosse that year, some of the best times of my life, without doubt. I loved away games, sitting in the vans with the girls, the windows open, sandwiches, shin guards, blue uniforms & ponytails. My mother got married when I was sixteen. She married the man she was in love with while I was much younger so I knew him. My friends came to the wedding & it was so much fun. I was my mother's maid of honor & I wore a yellow dress with daises in my hair. Robert lived in Montana but would then begin to live with us in New Jersey as well as in the northwest. I began to make visits to Montana regularly at this time. I took a photography class spring of my sophomore year & continued until graduation. When asked what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, the only thing I could imagine doing for a very long time is be in a darkroom. So I chose. I was accepted in The School of Visual Arts on Valentine's Day. Everything seemed so right so I went to New York. My major was photography & my first dorm room was located on Gramercy Park; we had access to the park. I had three roommates. My grandfather was sick at the time with cancer so I went home most weekends. I spent a lot of time photographing him & being with my mother. It was a tough time. My grandfather died in November. All my roommates moved out at the end of the first semester so I got three new ones. I stayed friends with Gillian & Syd. I would often see Syd in classes as she was a photography major as well. We would travel out to Brooklyn to government owned buildings & explore with our cameras. We both did photographic series in the inspiration of Francesca Woodman. It was pretty special & we were going every Saturday for a period. We went through the winter into the spring. It was cold but exciting. I had my hair made into dreadlocks & a year later cut them off & started running again. My other roommate Elaine & I would run from 20th St. to 50th & back most days, sometimes at seven a.m., even on the hottest summer days. I always looked forward to that as it was a special meeting of sorts, one we both enjoyed. In general, art school was the most challenging part of my life. Everything as I knew it fell apart & being who I am, I was confused & extremely offended by everything I felt was superficial. I fell in love with Bob Dylan & writing & smoking & drinking coffee. I focused intensely on my photographs during this time & graduated with honors. I struggled after school, living in Brooklyn, working a job I did not like, balancing & adjusting to life after school. I am now living in Manhattan & have found friends in the city like I've never found here or in life before. My friends are not plentiful though I know who they are & we love each other as much as we can. I am currently very much in love & despite the cold season, feel very warm inside & out. I believe somehow over the past ten years my body temperature in its general state has plummeted & then I've managed to elevate it, where now it stays at a level I can stand, a level that is so much less cold than it had been at times. Internal temperature versus outside interests me immensely. Also, I wonder if through running & activity, one cannot manipulate this. I am having my first solo show at my high school this spring. It's in a few months & since being there I have come to realize I'm so much more than a photographer as I value existence & experience over paper so much. I am excited & will include other mediums in the show. I often fantasize about a show I want to have one day: a room full of white cats & kittens, for anyone to come & visit.