An excerpt from my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel. I made the 50k word mark by November 28, 2014. Now I’m in edit mode. I’ll post a few teasers here, from time to time as I get them “edited” and feel comfortable putting them out. Please feel free to comment. I may listen, or I may not. But I appreciate input. This is my life story, written down. I only hope I can do justice to it without hiding the pain, too much.
When I talk to myself about myself, I don’t feel particularly special or grand. I do not feel incredible or inspiring. I feel like the same little, undervalued girl I always have been. I was not the smartest kid in high school. I definitely was not popular in any good way. Everyone may have known me, but it was more likely my name and insane dream that helped people remember I existed. My dream was to be an astronaut. I wanted to go to the moon. I wanted to live in space. I wanted off this planet to explore “strange new worlds.” In school, it was a silly dream that made me an easy target for teasing. The teasing came not just from other kids, but from teachers and even my “guidance” counselor, who scoffed at me when I said I wanted to go to college. He suggested I learn to type because then I could aspire to be a secretary.
Unbeknownst, (always wanted to use that word) to anyone in my school, I was living in an abusive home. It was horrible. Bleeding and the inability to breathe deeply were part of my day to day. No one knew. Back then, no one was looking. I had “friends” who may have experienced some of what I lived, because suddenly they were never allowed to come visit again. However, no one ever had gave much thought that there may have been something dark in my home. That indifference or “blind eye” affected me, too. It destroyed my sense of value. No one valued me enough to even start a whisper campaign. It made me believe, I’d never live past 21. I was sure I would be killed before then. A psychologist misdiagnosed me as suicidal, when in reality I was not suicidal. I just believed that someone would kill me. It is different but I suppose the symptoms can manifest similarly. I did not want to die. I just did not believe I would live.
Life was not joyous. I was ridiculed at home and at school. I was threatened and worse at home. I tried to do normal “high school kid” things but that just made my home life more unpleasant. Doing “normal” forced others to act “normal” in public. I cannot forget that my high school graduation was “inconvenient.” Some in my family had to rearrange their schedule to get me to the event. I actually felt apologetic for not having attracted a boy and gotten pregnant or killed prior to graduating.
After graduation and I mean IMMEDIATELY after graduation, I was no longer part of a group of friends. The few people I would have called friend no longer were available to be part of my life. They all had bright futures and I was, for lack of a better term, undesirable at that point. I was going to college. I had managed to get accepted even though I barely graduated with a 2.something. However, I was not in the same position as everyone else. I was 17 years old when I graduated. This was not because I was super smart, but more because I started school at five instead of 6. A feature of where my birthday fell in the calendar year.
When I got to college however, being 17 was not a good thing. I was too young to have fun with everyone, but on top of that, I was too immature to understand what was expected of me. I went to classes… most of the time. My first semester, I passed two of my classes which put me on academic probation. I also had two roommates my first semester. Neither worked well with me.
The first was a cheerleader from Wisconsin who wanted nothing more than to join a sorority. Being a young brown girl, more interested in science and space, I did not meet her expectations for the perfect roommate. I arrived first to the campus and moved in, lying out my arsenal of fake weaponry, (a machete, a crossbow, nun chucks, a spear and an assortment of knives) on my bedspread. I was quite proud of my fake arsenal. She arrived two days later with her family. I was reading a book at the desk when they came in. I stood up and proclaimed, “Ah! So we meet for the first time, and perhaps the last time.” Her and her parents stared at me as if I had three heads.
After the initial shock I gave them, they took us shopping to spruce up the dorm room. Her parents bought a pink carpet and matching pink comforters for our beds. Pink curtains and pink pillows. They bought a pink refrigerator and even a pink microwave. This was all astounding to me. Not only was the influx of pink overwhelming, but also on top of it, it never occurred to me that anyone would have such luxuries in her room. I did have a 9″, black and white, rabbit ear television with a rotary channel dial. That was my one luxury. Suddenly I had a roommate who lived in pink plush and had an 18″ color television, WITH A REMOTE! I did not know how to deal with it.
I remember two conversations with her. The first was about how exciting it was to be going to such a great school (University of Colorado at Boulder) and as such, we would surely find excellent husbands before we graduated. The fact that I did not want a husband was foreign to her. The second was when she was telling me she was moving out because I was too scary as a roommate with all my fake weaponry and love of science fiction.
She wanted a sorority sister so badly. I was not what she, nor her sorority wanted. After the first Rush event she made me go with her to, it was apparent I was not to be coveted by the sorority. She, however, finished Rush Week and was happily accepted in to the sorority. So, two weeks after she moved in, her new sorority sisters helped her move out to live in the sorority house. My drab little dorm room became a cell for one again.
Unfortunately, that did not last long. My second roommate came with a criminal record and a propensity to have frequent sexual encounters.
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