Learning To Love You More




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

Chelsea Robinson
Seattle, Washington USA



I was born on December 20, 1982 in Winchester, Massachusetts to father Paul and mother Donsa. My parents separated when I was 6 months old after my father fell in love with a woman named Tricia. My mother would later tell me that she went with her to get an abortion and it was the weirdest experience she had ever had. I wonder what my little brother or sister would have been like sometimes.
Despite the breakdown of my parents' marriage I was a happy kid and there was always love in my life. My mother, brother, and father were the most wonderful family I could have ever had. Along with two aunts and two uncles by blood and more by marriage we were happy. Time went on, life changed, couples separated, people's hearts got broken, and I chewed gum, watched T.V., and rode the minibus to the mall with Jennifer Pouliott. Jen was my best friend for most of my childhood. Her mom's name was Bernie, her brother's name was Nick, and they had a dog named Blackie. Jen always had the best stuff. She had a Slip N' Slide, the My Little Pony castle, and best of all, make-up and hairspray galore. She was by far the coolest girl ever. She was two years older (In my brother's grade) and she was MY friend.
Jen eventually figured out I was not very cool and dissolved the friendship. I got chubbier and chubbier and kids made fun of me an awful lot. It was astounding to walk down the street I lived on and not be called Shamu or blimp or some other large noun. I cried all the time.
My mom and dad got divorced when I was ten and my dad fell in love with a woman named Linda. She might be one of the worst people I have ever known. She essentially broke up my family and ruined the once copacetic relations between my mom and dad. I cried a lot then, too.
It became so bad that my mom decided we needed to move. From Woburn, Massachusetts to Seattle, Washington, where my mom's sister Denise and her husband Alan lived. We had gone out there for a visit the year before and loved it. Coming from a very small town, the culture shock of the city was a little disorienting. I remember very clearly the first time I saw homosexuals, I saw two men holding hands in a shopping center and had no idea what to think. I resolved that all love is good and felt okay about it, even though it was new and foreign.
On the day we moved, Grampy cried and it was the first time I had ever seen him do that. It was weird. I cried buckets, but I was excited to move to a city, a place that was new and fresh, where we could forget the nightmare that was my parents' very messy and heartbreaking divorce. It was hard to leave and easy to leave at the same time. I would miss my dad, but we all needed distance to heal. And distance we got.
I started 5th grade at Greenwood Elementary and the kids were very different from Woburn kids. They were actually very nice, for the most part. I made several friends, including a girl named Sage. She was really into poetry and we used to make crazy tea with the jars of herbs her mom, Moon, had in the cupboards. She was the coolest girl I had ever met. She knew about spiritual things and she wrote poems. She was in touch with herself in a way that no one I had ever met had ever been. She really helped me start journaling and start coming out of my shell.
The longer we lived in Seattle, the easier it was for me to just be myself and not be scared I was going to be ridiculed for it. Then came middle school.
When I was 13, my brother and I flew back to Massachusetts to see my dad. We had not seen him in three years and were pretty nervous about the trip. It was really awkward. He was still with Linda and it was very hard to be around her, knowing how she had been a major factor in the fracturing of my family. We managed to have an okay trip, despite Linda and the weirdness. It felt nice to see my dad again, even after everything that happened, all the fights and the heartbreak. When we got back, my mom said my dad had called the house and spoken to my nanna about being "concerned about my weight". I felt outraged. I was 13 years old and extremely insecure. I don't see my father for 3 years and all he has to say is that he's worried because I'm fat? Fuck him.
It was around 7th and 8th grade that I discovered rock n' roll and more specifically, punk rock. Through music, I got through the terrible years of adolescence. I was being made fun of again and it was terrible. I thought I was older and I could handle myself. Wrong. It still sucked and it still hurt. Worse, because I thought I was out of that phase. I was angry in so many ways, as teenagers tend to be. I wanted to rip the world down and stomp on it. So, it was really good that I found punk rock and the Riot Grrl Movement when I was about 14. In that music I found the empowerment that I had been looking for, the strength to stand up for myself and to care about myself. At the same time, I had started going to a summer arts camp. It had workshops on everything fro singing to self defense to a women's sharing circle. Being there was another huge step in my personal growth. I learned more about who I was and how I wanted to present myself to the world in two weeks than I had in my whole life.
When I was 16 I decided to quite school and get my GED. I felt like high school was an environment that was detrimental to my ability to grow as a person, I still feel like it was the best decision I ever made. I started working at a local co-op, bagging groceries. I had no work ethic and didn't particularly want to be in another situation where my soul was again crushed by structure and authority. So, I got fired and I was not sad. I smoked a lot of cigarettes and felt very sorry for myself. Around this time I started driving down to Olympia to visit friends from camp. That's when I got a really big crush on Gabe.
Gabe was so fucking cool. He slicked his hair back and wore a leather jacket, he looked straight out of the fifties and I was totally in love with him. He was dating somebody else, but I did everything I could to let him know I liked him, except for actually tell him. On New Year's Eve I ended up playing spin the bottle with him and a girl named Rita, who I had previously had disdain for. She was loud and weird and always had the best outfits. I thought she was a total bitch. Because she and I were the same. Anyhow, on New Year's Eve we all made out. And Rita became my best friend and Gabe became my boyfriend. It was awesome.
Gabe and I were together for two glorious months and I lost my virginity to him n a Sunday afternoon in my bedroom, listening to rock n' roll. We went and got cheeseburgers afterwards and we held hands downtown. I'll never forget that feeling. He was the coolest guy ever and he was mine. I thought about every minute. I wasn't sure if I loved him, but I knew I loved how he made me feel.
I was in Olympia, visiting the friends one weekend. My friend Landon was out of town and he let me stay in his apartment while he was gone. Gabe and I were pretty much playing house all weekend. We made macaroni and cheese with hot dogs and we held hands ever second. A bunch of people were over and we were watching Twin Peaks. Gabe had to go home, but before he did we had the hottest make-out session I have had in my life. Then he was gone. And I wanted more. And Isaac was there. And then it all got bad. I told Gabe and he still wanted to be with me. But Isaac was so different and I was young and stupid and I wanted to see what Isaac was like. So, I broke up with Gabe. I still hate myself a little for it, but I am learning to forgive myself. I suppose it helps that I got karma right back in my face when Isaac broke up with me.
We had only been together for a month, but Isaac was amazing. He was so sweet and smart and he gave me my first orgasm. It was wonderful. My family liked him, he kissed me in my sleep, and I missed him fiercely when he wasn't around. Which is why I spent all night on the bus going to visit him. I called him when I got into town and he told me to come over. We took the bus downtown so he could run some errands and this old woman was getting off the bus with her wheeled shopping basket. Isaac got up and helped her off the bus. It was in that moment I decided I love him. Then, we got back to his house and I went with him to walk his dog. And he broke up with me. In the woods. It was the worst thing that had ever happened to me. It was awful. I called Rita and told her what happened, I asked her if I could stay with her and she demanded I come over immediately so she could comfort me. God knows where any of us would be without friends. I know I'd be a hell of a lot worse off. Rita made me laugh and we watched some really bad movies and made fun of them. She held me while I cried and tried to comfort me. After I went home, the next few months of my life were very difficult, but my heart eventually mended.
I have not since been in love with anyone. In fact, I haven't even had anything one could even vaguely call a boyfriend. I am often very lonely and I'm afraid I'll never be able to feel the seventeen-year-old feelings again. I sometimes stay up in bed at night and think about life and why we are here on earth. I think it has something to do with love, about loving other people and figuring out how to do that. And how to love yourself at the same time. I know that sounds incredibly corny, but how else is it going to be when you are dying and you think back on your life? Are we going to think about our jobs and how much money we made? I think we'll probably be remembering the people we loved and how that feels and really how very alive it makes you feel to be in that place and be in love. That's how we are going to tell our life story, the stories of who we loved and how we loved them.
I am 26 years old and I never became the person I thought I would grow up to be. I am not a globe-trotting movie star, I'm not particularly beautiful, I don't have a husband. But I don't really care anymore. If I can figure out how to appreciate this life and make what I can out of the time I have I will have one heck of an epic tale to tell in 30 years. For now I can tell you that I had cinnamon toast and tea and looked out my window at the rain and felt so full of gratitude for everything that life is that the sheer weight of it all made me weep. And I'm so lucky.