Here I sit on my “can I get the cheapest one” firm twin bed in an apartment room that is slowly and cozily becoming my own. I just moved in here. I just moved in to this stage of my life. In some ways it feels like my first week of college. I’ve been here for a year, but I’ve never devoted all of my time to things I am in love with, until now.
As has anyone who has ever taken a class in the humanities or health education, applied for a customer service job, or taken advice from a guidance counselor, I have found it entirely impossible to tell anyone about myself. Who am I? How did I get to where I am? Who influenced the person I am today? What are at least two skills that make me special? These questions lead me to one thing only: lying. Lying prettily.
The most I can do in the situation of this assignment is not to lie, but to give you a few scrawny details about my life. I am Omaha bred and Alaska bound. Recently I have been twisted by tightening feelings of homesickness and panic that I will never be at home again for an extended period of time. My mother is an English teacher and frustratingly savvy. My stepfather is a drummer and is always researching careers in hippie-dom. Conrad and Dan are my little brothers—Conrad the sly one who talks like a grownup and Dan the green teen who hides his acne with his hair and taught me a new game where he pretends there is a mosquito on my face and then punches me. As a family we dream along with my stepdad of salmon fishing in Alaska and starting a tradition of oyster stew on New Year’s.
My father is difficult but in a boring way and sent me the same Valentine’s Day card two years in a row. But we are working things out.
I am not a born-again Christian, but an all-growing, all-grateful one. I believe in Evangelism but only a little bit. A recent struggle in my life has been sticking to my Catholic roots while being highly involved in a Protestant church.
One thing I can tell you in earnest that has been a part of me all my 19 years is music. Through it I reach that point of indecisive, luminescent, breathless exuberance like being surrounded by only clouds of a silvery-bluish color and feeling as if you are rising to an unknown but utterly happy destination. Through it I plunge through ragged tendons of heartache down past my knees and ankles. But it always rescues me again.
Aside from these details, I can only think to tell you what I’m doing as I write this—a less warped insight into my person. My decorations are hanging out on the floor in a pile as they have yet to be hung up—figurines scavenged from dumpsters, a foam robot, a crossed out doodle I found in my best friend’s room, the ball of blue painter’s tape we peeled from the border on the wall when we repainted our dorm. My laptop is hot on my legs and I have to pee but I have no intention of getting up to fix any of that. I have gone back and forth worrying if having the window open in my room is really a terrible hindrance to the air conditioning in the hall. There is a collection of Hitchcock tapes on my bookshelf that I have never seen, and a collection of books the shelves below that I have never read. I am comforted by the smell of my roommate painting her toenails in the next room.
I rub my eyes for the two-hundredth time. I take a sip of the lukewarm water on my nightstand. I go to sleep. I look forward to the morning.