When I was six, my grandfather moved in and out of the hospital. We watched Archie Bunker when he was home and he told me and my sister stories about Peter Brodie and Mary Anne. One time he let me try his hospital food, and it was gross. I always felt his love, which was much. He died early one morning. My sister and I slept in my parents bed and cried that night. I swore to my mom I would never love anyone again, at least not as deeply as I loved him.
When I was nine, I went on a trip to Cape Breton. We stayed in a creepy old cottage that had the door locked to the basement. We went to old shops and I stole a pen. My sister said I would go to prison and never see my parents again, I slept with them for the rest of the trip. The police didn’t come after me.
When I was 11 I met A, who was my first crush, and I thought I would marry him. He wore cargo pants every day to school, which at the time was cool. He passed notes with his best friend under my desk. Once I read a note and it talked about a girl in my classes boobs. That’s when I realized I didn’t have any.
When I was 13, my mom finally let me wear a two-piece bathing suit. It was green and showed what little cleavage I had. I went with my best friend and three boys in our junior high. I lost my top infront of them, and they all stared as my friend stumbled to cover me up again. One boy said “gross” and the other told everyone in my high school about my boobs. I didn’t wear a bathing suit again for eight years.
When I was 16, my uncle was sick. He had trouble walking down his stairs. My dad stayed up late at night to make new stairs for him. I said goodbye to him three days before he died. He was thin and I didn’t recognize him. I cried infront of his wife and my mother. The receiving line was weird, as I shook hands with people he had talked about my entire life. After the funeral, I got a Peanut Butter Parfait and I haven’t had one since.
When I was 17, a boy made me feel uncomfortable. I asked him to stop and he didn’t. It was the beginning of my battle with anxiety.
When I was 18, I graduated high school. I was valedictorian and I quoted Conan O’Brien three times in my speech. I was never nostalgic to go back.
Then I went to college, I met my friend Jocelyn. She tried to get me to stop sitting next to her but I didn’t pay attention. She laughed at all my jokes and never made me feel bad about not drinking alcohol and loving Jesus.
When I was 19, I transferred courses. I met my friend Lindsay. She was quiet. Then I met my friend Nicole. She wasn’t quiet. I told them I had anxiety, so did Nicole. I wasn’t alone and I felt better. We ate at Swiss Chalet a lot.
When I was 19, I told my parents I wanted a breast reduction. My doctor gasped when I told him “I don’t remember what my stomach looks like” and he said “those are a problem”. My grandmother told me I would have to repent because it was a sin to change my body. Under the influence of morphine, I tweeted Tom Hanks 20 times. He never tweeted back.
When I was 20, I fell inlove with someone who was very different than me. He had different friends and different ideas. I told him about my anxiety, and he loved me anyway. I forgot my name when I was being introduced to his brother, and my hands shook when I was nervous – he held them anyway.
Now I’m 21 and my hands still always shake a little and I stutter when my anxiety is bad. My dog crawls into bed with me every morning and it makes me happy. I have a best friend who bakes me cinnamon rolls when I’m sad. I wore a bikini for the first time this summer. I’ll have something new to write about when I’m twenty-two.