Re: The Sandman’s Q&A #2

Hello, friends! For those who don’t remember, several months ago, a fellow blogger posted a short Q&A on his blog, and invited others to join him in answering. I decided to participate, and you can read my answers here. Well, The Sandman is at it again with a second Q&A! So, I thought I would shake off these stormy weather blues, and do a bit of writing today, since things are pretty chill in my house today. You can read the questions, and my answers, below!

#1) Describe one moment from your youth that is impenetrably seared into your memory.

Honestly, my memory is pretty fuzzy when it comes to things that happened in my childhood. I’m not entirely sure why. I am able to recall certain things in vivid detail, but for the most part, there are huge gaps in my memory, where I can’t remember a damn thing. High school was particularly traumatic for me, and many of it is a blur. Middle school is basically the same story, but slightly less severe. Maybe I just didn’t care enough to retain the memories. Who knows?

There are two memories in my life that often pop into my head, presenting as vivid, flashbulb memories. The first, and possibly the earliest memory of my life, is of the backseat windows of the first car my mom ever had with me. One of the back windows had two parts, and the back part was shaped like a shark fin, and had little black dots on it. I remember looking out this window as a baby. My mom said she got rid of that car before my first birthday, and that there is no way I could have remembered it. But I do.

The second memory is from middle school. When I was in the sixth grade, I had a crush on a boy in my class, named Billy. He had an older brother, who was in the eighth grade at the time, and I liked him, too. However, neither had any interest in a relationship with me, friendship or otherwise, and were often cruel to me, teasing me, and spreading rumors about me. I had a pretty thick skin back then, and it didn’t bother me much.

Until the final dance of the school year.

I showed up alone, but immediately met up with a few friends of mine, who reassured me with urgency that everything was going to be okay. I was confused. Long story short, Billy and his brother had created a fake AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) profile, using my name, and faked a ridiculous conversation between “me” and themselves. Then, after fabricating numerous embarrassing confessions, they printed out copies of the conversation, and plastered them all over the walls of the cafeteria, where the dance was being held.

I was furious. I confronted the duo, who were sitting in the back of the cafeteria with friends, too cool to participate in the dance, while my friends took down the posters. I made it very clear that I was not embarrassed, and that I felt sorry for them for being pathetic and immature enough to put so much effort into trying to humiliate a girl they supposedly had no interest in. I got my point across. I remember telling a chaperone, who was probably a parent, and not a teacher, and they said they couldn’t do anything about it. And that was it. We took down the posters, we danced, and we moved on. I got over it. After that night, the boys never bothered me again.

#2) Would you be upset if a long-term partner confessed that s/he’d committed a serious crime before you met? How do you think it would affect your relationship?

Honestly, it would depend on the crime. There are many unforgivable crimes. Was it assault? Burglary? Rape? Murder?Did they go to prison, or is this a deep, dark secret? Have they turned their life around for the better? Everyone makes mistakes, and does stupid things in their lifetime, especially when they are young and stupid. I can forgive things like assault (assuming it was justified in some way, and not some sort of hate crime), certain kinds of theft, certain drug offenses, traffic violations, etc. I am a pretty forgiving person, as long as they have changed for the better, and treat me well.

However, there are things that I can not forgive. There are some crimes that are committed by people, often more than once, and it defines what kind of person they are. A lot of times, they don’t change. I won’t go into detail, but whatever you’re thinking that I’m talking about, you’re probably right. Sometimes, there are no excuses, and no coming back from something. If I discovered something horrible in their past (and chances are, they probably didn’t go to prison for it if we’re in a relationship, meaning it was a secret), I would confront them. I would hear them out. But in the end, I probably would not stay in the relationship. And, depending on the seriousness of the crime, I may even turn them in.

Well, there are my answers to The Sandman’s Q&A #2. I invite you all to answer these questions for yourselves, either in the comments, or as a pingback post. Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Random Prompt | 6th Grade

“Write about yourself in the 6th grade.”

I’ve written about this in the past, but wanted to share it again with anyone who never read those posts. The 6th grade was actually a monumental turning point in my life. Four years prior (I think?), the first Harry Potter novel had come out in the US. I was only 8 at the time, and did not really know much about it. It wasn’t until I was in the 5th grade that I heard much about the book, and it wasn’t until the 6th grade that I was able to read it. And it changed my life.

My 6th grade homeroom teacher’s name was Mr. Eder. He was also my English teacher. Mr. Eder was already very familiar (and slightly obsessed) with the world of Harry Potter, and decided to plan our entire school year around it. First, my class was divided up into the four houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. I was put into Slytherin, which I later learned was actually quite perfect, and I have related with being a Slytherin for the rest of my life. No joke.

Next, each group voted on who would be the Head of the house. Guess who won for Slytherin? Meee! It didn’t really mean anything though, but it was still fun. We read the book aloud in class, but I finished it on my own time within a week. I had never known that I was a fast reader before that point in my life. Each week, we had a test on what we had read thus far, and the points from each house’s tests were averaged, and the houses that scored the highest would get points. We also had fun tournaments and games, including a Quidditch game at the end of the year. I don’t mean to brag, but Slytherin won the Quidditch game, as well as most of the other challenges (my friend Travis and I carried our entire house basically). We won the House Cup at the end of the year, and got to choose a theme for a party for the class… we chose Harry Potter theme. Obviously.

Being a part of this experience not only opened my eyes to the world of Harry Potter, but also the world of books, and imagination. I started spending a lot more time at the library, and convinced my mom to buy me books whenever we went out. I read so much, that I won an award at my senior assembly for graduation as well! It also helped me with my writing, which is something that I also got really into in middle school.

I still wish I had tons of money to throw at books, but, ya know… adulthood stuff happened. Stupid bills.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Daily Prompt 2/15/2016 | Working For Free

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/15/2016 | Money for Nothing

If you’re like most of us, you need to earn money by working for a living. Describe your ultimate job. If you’re in your dream job, tell us all about it — what is it that you love? What fulfills you? If you’re not in your dream job, describe for us what your ultimate job would be.”

My current job title is Super Mom… you may have also heard of the titles Stay-at-Home Mom, or SAHM. Those are the same thing. It’s a pretty demanding job, and includes early mornings, late nights, mandatory overtime, bio-hazardous waste cleanup, and being Chef de Cuisine, mastering the crafts of mac ‘n cheese, broccoli and cheese omelettes, and oatmeal. Did I mention that I perform these various tasks with absolutely no pay? It’s true. My bank account is about as empty as it comes. And I’m okay with that.

I always knew that I wanted to be a mother, and I even knew that I wanted to have my first child when I was 24 years old, which I did. However, I always thought that I would have had my degree, a house, and decent income by 24 years old as well… and that didn’t happen.

I went to school to study Psychology, something that I have been passionate about since elementary school. I planned to work with children and teenagers in a school setting, or even as a social worker for the state, but specifically for lower income families. Maybe even start my own practice, where people pay only what they can afford. Growing up, I had a hard life. Sure, it could have been worse, but it was hard for me. I dealt with divorce, abuse, poverty, and witnessing my mom’s abuse. It took it’s toll on me, and I ended up developing some severe self-esteem issues by the time I was in elementary school, which carried into middle school, where my grades started suffering, and I developed some self-abusive habits, which worsened as I entered high school. In high school, I made some choices that I wish I hadn’t, and let people take advantage of me. I also came very close to losing someone very close to me to suicide, who ended up making it through, but blamed me for it, and turned my friends against me.

The reason I am telling you all of this is because I want to share with you how helpless and alone I felt. My school did not have any qualified counselors that I could speak to, and I wasn’t close enough with any of my teachers to let them into my life. My mom did not have any sort of insurance, and even though she knew about my issues, she couldn’t afford to get me the help that I needed. I suffered in silence, and my relationships with everyone around me crumbled. I first attempted suicide at 15 years old, then again at 16. I survived, but what if I hadn’t?

I don’t know how my life would be different if I had gotten the help that I needed, and still need, but I feel like I would be more comfortable in my own skin, and would know a bit more about why I am the way I am, and feel the way I feel. Being a teenager is hard, and there is a lot more going on than most would lead you to know. It is important to talk about issues, otherwise they can eat you away from the inside. I needed someone to talk to during those years, and I had no one, and it damaged me. Lower income families, and the children within them, are especially susceptible to bullying, self-esteem issues, and abuse, and help for these kids is not always available, or affordable. I want to change that.

I’ve had a lot of setbacks with school, mostly financial, but I still hold onto that dream. I want to make a difference, to help people, and I truly believe that I will someday.

Thank you for reading, friends.

Jan

Random Prompt | The Dumbest Lie I’ve Ever Told

“What is the dumbest lie that you have ever told? Why did you feel the need to lie?”

When I was in the 5th grade, I developed a crush on a guy in my class named John. John and his younger brother, Brian, were both popular, good looking guys, but weren’t all that nice, and didn’t really like me at all. In the 6th grade, I learned that John and his brother both played hockey, and had been playing since they were little. In an attempt to impress him, and get him to like me, I told all my friends to start spreading around a rumor that I played on a street hockey team. They agreed, and started casually slipping it into conversations.

The problem? We hadn’t agreed on any of the details. At all. Someone said I was a goalie, someone else said I was a cheerleader for a street hockey team, someone else said I played professionally… it was a complete mess. Word eventually got to John and his friends, who immediately knew it was complete crap. He didn’t find my desperation cute, or funny, and proceeded to tease and humiliate me, asking me hockey-related questions while we were in the cafeteria, or out at recess, that he knew I would never know. It was awful.

Despite the humiliation, in the coming weeks, for some idiotic reason, I kept going with the lie, making up excuse after excuse for my lack of knowledge. I even blew off a school dance and told people I had a big street hockey championship game. Eventually, I gave up. No one was impressed by my stories, or even believing a single word I said. To save face, I told everyone that I had actually quit the team, but maintained that it had been real the whole time. I later joined the field hockey team, and ended up being a freaking rock star on the field, but it didn’t make up for my ridiculous lie.

So what’s the moral of the story? Never make something up to try and impress, or get attention, from people. If people don’t like you for who you are, and how you live your life, then they aren’t worth your time and energy. Be who you are, not who you think other people want you to be. Lies always come back to bite you in the ass.

Always.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Random Prompt | Schoolyard Bully

“Tell a story from your grammar school days.”

When I was in middle school (grades 6-8), we had dances every weekend. Sometimes, these dances were themed. This particular, unpleasant memory takes place during a Hawaiian-themed dance that I attended in the 6th grade.

But first, a little backstory.

When I was in the 4th grade, I developed a crush on a boy named Billy, who I had several classes with, and always sat near, because our last names were near each other in alphabetical order. He was a skinny boy, with gray-blue eyes and pale blond hair. Billy had an older brother named Bobby (I’m not joking, those are their real names), who was two grades above us. However, Billy did not like me. Despite the popular belief that, when a boy is mean to you in elementary school, he likes you… yeah, no, he didn’t like me. And he made sure to make that perfectly clear to me in the following years, even after my crush had gone away, by teasing and taunting me on an almost daily basis.

Okay, now skip forward to the 6th grade Hawaiian dance.

I showed up at the dance in my black pants, black tank top, and an over-sized, men’s Hawaiian shirt… which was blue and black. I wore a lot of black, even back then. I walked in and was immediately approached by my friend Travis, who told me, “Please, don’t get mad…” I was confused. He told me that Billy and his brother had pulled a mean joke on me, and had hung posters around the hallways and cafeteria, where the dance was being held, depicting a fake AIM/AOL conversation between “me” and Billy. I was mad alright.

We went into the cafeteria, and sure enough, there were white pieces of paper taped up to the walls. Dozens and dozens of them. I tore one down and read through it. Someone had created a fake AIM name, it was “janice95775” or something, and was pretending to be me, saying embarrassing, mean things. First of all, that isn’t even how you spell my name, which luckily, a lot of people knew, because teachers were always saying my name wrong, and it was kind of a running joke. Second, I had always been known for my great grammar and spelling, even in elementary and middle school… and this person did not type like me.

The conversation was vulgar, and disgusting, and mean.

I wanted to cry, but I was too angry. Travis and a few other friends helped me tear down all of the posters, while Billy, Bobby, and their friends, laughed at us from the chairs in the corner of the dark room. They were loving it.

After we tore down all of the posters, I angrily marched over to them, and threw them in Billy’s face. I called him an asshole, or a prick, or something similar, and walked away. The next day, I reported him to the principal, and he was given several days of detentions, since I had ample proof of his mean joke.

After that day, he left me alone. Despite having several classes together in high school, we never spoke to each other again, until our junior year, when we exchanged words during an assembly on bullying. He did eventually apologize, but I could tell by his laughing that he wasn’t serious.

While his joke was cruel and immature, it didn’t bother me as much as I could have let it. I think I found the fact that they thought that people would fall for it made me almost feel bad for them. They wasted all that paper, and so much of their precious time, trying to make me look bad, and not a single person fell for it.

Don’t let bullies get you down, friends. They aren’t worth your time and energy.

Jan