I remember sitting in math class, in the seventh grade, wearing fake reading glasses that I thought would make me cool. I remember a boy named Nick asking me what my vision was. Well shit, I thought, This is awkward. My mind raced, Okay, normal eyesight is 20/20, so….
“20/4,” I replied, thinking for sure that it represented a horrible spot on the vision scale.
“So you have the sight of an eagle?” Nick laughed, as he proceeded to tell the entire class what I had said.
It was almost as bad as the time I stuffed my bra before class in sixth grade. I had left flat chested the day before, and entered this day with a great toilet paper B cup. I noticed all the boys staring. I noticed all the girls staring. Shit, I noticed myself staring. I really thought I had gotten away with it, until I went to the restroom and a girl reached under my stall asking for some tissue from my bra. “I’m out,” she said, “Can I use your boobs?”
My adolescence was created through all kinds of awkward holes that I dug myself into. I had the best intentions; I wanted to fit in, to be like everyone else … but I never thought them through. This, in turn, got me stuck in deep shit every time.
Like when I had all of my classmates convinced that my mom had died … until she came to pick me up from school. Or the time that I cut my hair real short and went to school pretending I was a foreign exchange student from California. Oh yes.
I guess it goes without saying that I had a wild imagination. I had spent my early years being my own best friend. I would run around naked and wild in the forest, playing with unicorns and pretending that I was Darth Vader’s son. I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be loved. And so I suppose I began creating different realities because I figured it was the only way to be interesting enough to acquire those things.
Only problem was that people started seeing through my stories. They started calling me a liar. I started wearing the scarlet letter on my heart, and people began to be cruel. It was then that I learned how to sweat and blush, how to trip on my own feet, and how to eat lunch in bathroom stalls. I knew that I was odd, that I was different. I knew that in my favorite novels, the protagonists always got to live in world’s separate from everyone elses … why couldn’t I? I wanted to believe that there was a place for me and my wild mind, but I slowly began to lose all hope of it.
But then, one day, I found a pen. It was then that I began to see that my various realities could actually be real. I traveled through space, I no longer misread the word ‘election’ as ‘erection’ when reading out loud in class, and my blanket took me across the seas. The sun rose at night, and the moon shined during the day. I breathed in water, and held my breath in the air. Up was down and over was under.
And I finally became the me that I always was.