Since my 20th birthday has come and gone, I’ve been reflecting on birthdays of my past and got to thinking about what the younger version of myself was like.
I’ll tell you straight up- I was a fucking joy.
This is a simplified timeline of my life up to this point as I remember it:
0-1: Ate, slept, pooped, cried
2-3: Tried cutting off all my hair
3-4: Stole a girl’s jacket by accident in Pre-School. Mega embarrassing.
4-5: Started Kindergarten, made my first friend (I believe her name was Emmy K.) Kindergarten was a tough time because my classroom had a big mat with the alphabet in a circle and I really wanted to sit on the K but I was forced to sit on the O for an entire year. I also had a really tough time with using scissors. Also Kindergarten was first time I was actually embarrassed by anything. We were learning “C” in the alphabet and I foolishly asked if “Seal” started with a C and my teacher told me it wasn’t. That really stung. For the longest time seals were my least favorite animal.
5-6: 1st grade! I got my first crush on a boy. I also can remember three specific times that I cheated during Heads- Up 7 Up. I had a purple Winnie-the-Pooh backpack which I later swapped for a blue, sparkly Lisa Frank backpack except the plastic coat around it broke so I switched back for the rest of the year. I was also introduced to Pokemon for the first time, a life-changing experience. I remember my school had it’s own small book-making lab and from 1-3rd grade we all got to make our own books. This year I wrote about my pet hamster named Harry (who I killed) and I wrote about my family, How cliche. That summer we had a big family trip to Lake Powell where I slid off a waterslide and onto a jetski which would be awesome in theory except I landed on the front of it and ended up with a scar.
6-7: I can honestly say that 2nd grade was probably my favorite year of elementary school. I had a good teacher and we learned about cool things like pioneers, dinosaurs and Littleton, Colorado. As a class, we got to make a page about our favorite dinosaur (triceratops) and then our teacher made copies and we all got legitimate bound books that we got to color in. It was awesome. We also had a Pioneer day where we got to pretend to be pioneer people and I was a school teacher. One of my books this year featured a story about Cowboys and Unicorns, a sort of battle-of-the-sexes scenario that I included specific people. My favorite books were of the Junie B. Jones series but I also like the Babysitter’s Club Little Sisters stories. Also, it was about this point in my life where I got sick of walking and would pray that both my legs would break so I could be pushed around in a wheelchair. We toured downtown Littleton and I kissed a frog statue. Another very specific memory I have is that during the winter the blacktop outside got a really thick piece of ice in one spot and instead of going out and playing with the other kids I stood in one spot by myself and kicked the ice block until it started to break up. I thought this was a hoot and a half and sooner or later other people started to kick the ice too and eventually there were so many people kicking the ice that I got booted from my spot. It was my first taste of injustice.
7-8: I was in third grade when 9/11 happened so that’s the brightest memory I had of the year. I remember writing a lot of poems and letters to firefighters and to the victim’s families. Also the summer before we had a big family reunion in Minnesota. My biggest memories of Minnesota are mosquitoes, humidity and the Mall of America. Third grade taught me cursive, a skill I still use today. I was also in a class that had a student teacher from UNC. My mom went to UNC also so I worked up the nerve to tell her after class one day thinking that it would make me her favorite student but instead when I told her she said “that’s nice” and walked away. WHAT A BITCH! It actually really hurt my feelings at the time. Another thing I should include is my grandparents lived right behind my elementary school so after school we (my siblings and I) would walk over and play cards with my grandmother and eat applesauce with graham crackers. Also my family decided to stick it to the man after 9/11 and toured Washington DC and that would have been really cool except the first night in town my family watched this horrible movie about poisonous hallucinogenic spores that made people kill each other and I was scared to go outside. My little brother walked in front of a truck and almost died. I remember that the aquarium was disappointing but I really liked the Smithsonian.
8-9: This was the year I went to Hawaii with my mom and siblings. My dad sat this trip out because he had work. We went to Honolulu and it was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. We shopped and someone sodl my little brother Ben-Wa balls and no one but my mom knew how truly creepy it was and she yelled at the shopkeeper in the International Market Place. We went to Pearl Harbor and toured around. We also were going to go on a whale watching cruise and this was one of the scariest times of my life. We were all going to go on the trip except somehow me and my siblings got separated from my mom and we got on a bus that took us to the cruise sight and my mom was no where to be found. None of us had phones and we didn’t have any idea where we were. The bus driver took us back to where he picked us up but she wasn’t there either and eventually we found her at the hotel. She had asked the police to help find us and they refused and it was just a sucky time. We got over it. My little brother’s birthday was during our trip too and we went to a restaurant called Moose McGullicuty’s and this gigantic black guy named Tiny bought my little brother a cupcake. Also in fourth grade I was in a class that split me up between two teachers every day so that was a big adjustment. One of my teachers kicked over my tote on purpose and that was the first time I ever wanted to kill someone. I learned long division! We had a class pet which was a duck and I really wanted to take care of it when it was still a baby but I didn’t get to until it was a normal duck.
9-10: My fifth and final year of elementary school. It sucked. It was one of the worst times of my life. I was put into a GT class because I was obviously brilliant except all my friends were in normal classes and basically all the GT kids were fucking assholes. I spent the whole year with no friends and every recess I would hang out with one of the old guard-ladys. I thought that Harry Potter was the devil’s book and I got really preachy about it. I was really obnoxious. Like, really. I would fake sick nearly every day so my dad would come and take me home. One day I really had to go to the bathroom and the one guard who was on-duty hated me and my family so when I asked her if I could go inside and go to the bathroom she said no. I told her it was an emergency and she told me to hold it and I ended up peeing myself during recess. I’m going to write her name: it was MRS. NORMIE. What kind of heinous bitch denies a 10 year old kid a chance to go to the bathroom. Like, WHAT THE MOTHER FUCKING HELL? I feel like this is one of those things I’ll probably never let go. I also read “Gone with the Wind” that year and I don’t want to get into how awful I became. I was really impressionable! My class did a Civil War re-enactment and I got to be a British soldier so I talked with an accent for a long time. Everyone told me that the accent I was doing was Australian instead of British and I was like “Fuck you all I know what I’m doing.” Ugh, bad year. Bad bad year.