This is an entry I made for Creative Nonfiction. The assignment was to write about yourself in the third person.
She was different from the other kids in elementary school: a makeup-free airhead who was anything but cool or trendy. She wanted blue streaks to frame her oval face but she never got it done. She tried to fit in by getting Pokemon cards, but she traded based on how pretty the Pokemons were and not by their strengths in matches. She never learned how to play Pokemon. For the longest time she wasn’t even aware there was a game to be played with the trading cards.
How disappointed she was when Thomas beat her in a race. It wasn’t a real race; nobody had counted down to zero or determined a finish line, but, according to her, she had been defeated. She used to be the fastest kid on the playground – running away from icky boys used to be serious business - but while she stood on the sidelines out of breath, Thomas was already in mid-field. She hated P.E. after that and never tried to get the ball when they played soccer, even at recess. Somebody else would get the ball. Somebody better. “Get in the game!” her teacher would shout. She would run towards the action on the field but do nothing once the ball was in reach. How could she get the ball from a boy without touching or hurting him?
She wanted to be a doctor when she grew up. She would always help her grandparents check their blood pressure and apply Band-Aids to those wounded from falls on suburban sidewalks. When she was younger and a babysitter was taking care of her and her brother for the night, she would tell Aki that Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t be coming back just so he would cry and she could comfort him.
“What happened!?” the babysitter would ask.
“I don’t know!” she said, rocking Aki back and forth in her arms. “He thinks our parents won’t be coming back. But don’t worry; I’ve got it under control.” Once Aki started to catch on and she had matured a little, she stopped that. Whenever someone got hurt on the playground, she’d be the first on the scene. Whenever someone was crying, she’d make sure they were okay. This was more satisfying than being around the cool kids who would roll their eyes and pretend they didn’t see her whenever she walked over to them. The few times she stupidly spoke up, she was promptly put down, put back in her place.
“Actually, I don’t really think there is a god,” she said, even though she sometimes prayed before an exam.
“Yeah? Well, how do you suppose the earth was created then? Somebody had to make it. How do you suppose you were created?” a cool kid replied.
“My… mom and dad?”
“You really don’t know anything, do you?”
She learned it was better to just keep quiet; anything that came out of her mouth could be turned against her.
Her family moved to Santiago, Chile in 2002; her grandparents and friends cried but she did not shed a tear. There, she learned Spanish, the meaning of “sexy,” and the intentions of boys she liked. There were no cool kids or uncool kids at school; classes were much too small for that. She had the three greatest friends she could ever hope for and family at every corner of the city and beyond. She fell in love with Chile and never imagined herself leaving. She fit in. She belonged. Her height, body type, and dark hair and eye colour proved that as well. She was happy there. Leaving to start a new life again, this time in an old place, old Canada, pleased her friends and grandparents but made her cry. There was nothing she could do.
There was nothing she could do when her father decided to leave her mother either, which was just over a month after their return. They had come back because of him. But after he left, she and her mother became best friends.
She studied at home while her friends went to high school and her mom went to work. The stories they told her reassured her that the choice to homeschool was the right one. It was not always easy to be motivated when she was home alone, but she hated the feeling of doing nothing. She felt like she had to do something. She had to learn. She enrolled for distance education and moved painfully from course to course. Had it not been for studying at home, however, she might not have been able to have the same kind of focus on the arts as she did. She wrote excessively –chapters of her novel, poetry, or words to accompany music she had created on the piano. Photography was an interest she became passionate about too. For years she did not know which direction to go in – writing, music, or photography. Somehow she could not do all three to the extent she wished she could.
Not Back To School Camp in Oregon was where she met people who either affiliated themselves with, or were un/home-schoolers like herself. Going somewhere alone like that was completely out of her comfort zone but somehow she got the courage to go. She made numerous friends, learned about different ways of life, and at the end of each yearly one-week-long session she attended, she went home with self-confidence and inspiration. Leaving was always so hard, not only because it was difficult to say goodbye to her friends, but because people in real life were not as happy, friendly, safe, supportive, accepting, loving or randomly-huggable as NBTSCers.
That’s where she met D, where she stayed up until 5 in the morning talking to him almost every single night. D was her first kiss. D was her first real love. D was her first. Perhaps to continue on with the tradition, D was also the first to break her heart, which still sounds like an understatement to her. To this day he has no idea what kind of damage he caused, but she won’t ever tell him and she won’t ever let him back into her life.
It was because of her deeply religious, Seventh Day Adventist boyfriend who had temporarily moved in with her for four months when he left home, that she discovered a new love. It was a love, not for this boy, but for arguing, especially with creationists. It was a love for standing up for what she believed in and backing it up with facts and strong arguments. It was around this time during which skepticism, rationality, reason and logic were becoming her passions. Soon, a blog was born. She studied the bible - her boyfriend’s bible. She refuted each and every passage she could and every one of the claims made by her distance education peers, and she did so with sweat on her brow, heart beating fast, a smile on her face, and, of course, concrete evidence. Without even realizing it, she often blogged creative nonfiction. It was more than incoherent ramblings of a teenager. It was coherent. It was well written. It was entertaining and thought-provoking.
Finally, she decided on a career path. She would be a writer. She’s good at it, but knowing this makes her afraid that she might get cocky about it one day. Two of her artist friends are great at what they do, but they never let a person forget it. She can’t stand that. She knows it’s probably what will get them ahead in life, but she would rather write for months on end without anybody knowing about it than step on other people to lift herself up from the crowd. That's how she knew this was the right career for her. Even without support, a computer, or readers, she would still write. During the zombie apocalypse, she would still write. If an alien invasion occurred, she would still write. She would not go gently into that good night without a pen in one hand and a pad in the other. With these tools, she would rage, rage against the dying of the light.