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My Life In Pizza

June 29, 2013

I get hit with nostalgia often–like on a weekly, if not daily basis. Certain smells can transport me back to a specific place and time from my past. I have an absurd relationship with déjà vu–it doesn’t have to be something hyper-specific for me to feel like I’m experiencing an event all over again. And sometimes I feel as though I can command it–drive down a certain block, think an unrelated thought, and I’m back to this moment in time that just makes me feel… good.

I know, this is getting just a little too verbose yet still somehow very vague. I don’t need to explain what nostalgia or déjà vu is, I’m sure most people already know, and probably experience it often themselves. And I know, we kind of live in a culture of romanticized nostalgia that can get far too out of hand for its own good and even borderline dangerous. But, it’s not as though I smell a scent of rosewood and it reminds me of when I was four years old, rummaging through old luggage trunks in my grandfather’s attic and experiencing flight as I lived vicariously through the pictures of all the places he traveled in his youth as a traveling salesman.

Ok, maybe that never happened. Maybe I never spent early afternoons rummaging through old trunks gazing at souvenirs from across the globe. Maybe I don’t actually know what “rosewood” is and had to look it up to make sure I wasn’t confusing it with that Cher movie. And maybe my grandfather never traveled, or owned fancy luggage, or even an attic. Maybe both my grandparents have lived with me and my mom my entire life in cramped apartments. Maybe my grandfather’s longest “trip” was from Yonkers to Connecticut, where my mom cursed at him because he kept counting down all of the exits. Maybe my grandfather was never a traveling salesman, but instead a bartender. None of that really matters, that example was just for effect anyway. And, for the record, I’d rather take away awful puns and parlor jokes overheard from bar patrons than some dusty old luggage, anyway (though a nice old-fashioned trunk would look amazing at the foot of my bed.)

The point is, there are times when déjà vu and nostalgia are just expected–of course if you smell the exact same scent as you smelled 15 years ago it might remind you of some time or place or person. But, for me, I’m often reminded of small clips from very specific moments of my youth by random things that are in no way related to that certain time. And it’s often different things that remind me of that same moment, too–and I can almost command them, if I really, really want to.

“And what is that moment in time?” you may ask. It’s this: a gray October afternoon, Halloween to be exact. I’m sitting at home in my kitty cat costume watching Caddyshack.

 

That’s it. That’s literally fucking it.

 

“Did she seriously ramble on for four paragraphs about nostalgia and déjà vu and other cryptic things just to tell us that occasionally she remembers watching Caddyshack in a cat costume when she was a kid?”

Well, yea. I guess I did.

But I suppose what I was trying to get at was this: there are certain moments in life that “define” us. There are things that make us aware of who we are and what our purpose in life may or may not be. Maybe we listen to that song, that one perfect song that has those brilliant lyrics that just capture the essence of our being so well it was like it was written about us. Maybe we pick up that novel and feel as if we’re reading our own autobiography, just told through the lens of someone else as a fictionalized character. Maybe we can name three or four or five things that “describe” us. Maybe safety pins and kerosene and porcelain dolls and India ink are your thing. Put those four objects on a table and it tells your life story better than any author could. Maybe rosewood, old pictures, dusty luggage and stuffy attics are what defines you, and that one nostalgic moment in your life shaped you and, no matter what you do or where you go in life, returning to that moment in your mind is your where”home” truly is.

This might all be getting a little too far-fetched, maybe even nonsensical to many. But I’m sure others have experienced an intrinsic connection with inanimate object that just made sense to them and their views of life. Maybe.

Smells, thoughts, feelings, emotions aside, there’s one thing I’d like to explain my life in.

That thing is pizza.pizza copy

Let’s return to that moment of my childhood mentioned before: It’s not that I just remember watching TV on Halloween, it’s the vague details I can recall from the rest of that day that will better help me explain. I was about four years old, wearing my kitty costume, watching Caddyshack to pass the time. I didn’t go trick-or-treating. I lived in an apartment building full of older women who weren’t too keen on opening the door for people they didn’t know. (My family was no exception, we were the awful “grinches” of Halloween who would pretend we weren’t home and wait until the kids knocking on the door inquiring about candy left before we could continue chewing away at our stash of mini-Snickers bars.) I doubt my mom would have enjoyed carting me around to get candy from strangers, either. Instead, we waited until we had to leave to pick my grandma up from work, and then we’d just buy candy at the nearby CVS on our way there. It might not be “free,” but it would come without the high price of social interaction we so militantly dreaded. Seeing my grandma after work was the real “treat” that I looked forward to. I missed her when she was gone and couldn’t wait until she returned to play with her and talk to her.

And there was also the high probability that she would come out of work with a very special gift for me: a perfect slice of pizza.

My grandma worked in a pizza parlor from before I was born until I was about five years old. You know the old saying, “like a kid in a candy shop”–fuck that noise, being a little kid in a pizza parlor is where it’s at. Occasionally I’d get to go to work with her and watch her create her art. I’m not saying that to be facetious, either, making the perfect pizza is an unrecognized and vastly under-appreciated art form. A flawless slice from a local, family-owned pizza shop is a piece of fine art, while every Dominos and Pizza Hut’s mass-produced grease-filled slabs of under-cooked dough, fake cheese and “tomato” sauce are the maligned commercial art. My favorite part was not only watching her skillfully make pie after pie, but also getting to steal handfuls of shredded mozzarella cheese when no one was looking. My grandma made the best pizza around. She knew the ideal sauce-to-cheese ratio like the back of her hand, and could successfully reproduce the recipe over & over again. I always knew when the slice she’d bring home from work was hers compared to one of the other cook’s, and I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t one of her masterpieces. I’d settle for nothing less than the best.

I’m a harsh critic of pizza and a frequent searcher of the best slices around, but it doesn’t stop me from trying any and every kind. I get as kiddy as a child at the prospect of pizza and the phrase “pizza party” tickles me to no end. That said, I’m not of the belief that all free pizza is good pizza. In second grade I remember scoffing at the slices we ate at a pizza party we had in our classroom. “Grandma, I don’t know where they got that pizza from, but it tasted like… like… like ARTICHOKES! Not pizza!” (I loved artichokes dearly, don’t get me wrong, but pizza’s supposed to taste like pizza and nothing else!) I’ll order Dominos from time to time, but don’t call it “pizza,” call it “Dominos,” for it is most definitely a food item of its own category. And don’t even get me started on the tomato tortilla hybrid that they dare try to pass of as pizza at California Pizza Kitchen…

And I absolutely loathe anytime someone tries to inform me that Chicago deep-dish is better than a New York slice. Pizza is the perfect meal because it can be a sit-down dinner or an on-the-go snack. I don’t want to have to mentally prep to eat pizza, it should just be consumed.

I’m sure you’re dying to know, so I’ll walk you through my list of qualities a good slice of pizza needs:

  • An almost-paper, crispy wafer-ish type dough. Not burnt, but seasoned brown from years of wear from a good, old pizza oven.
  • The dough should also have some kind of flavor, not just a bread-y taste. And though it’s thin, it should still be durable.
  • A good heaping of tomato sauce. Not so much that it drips all over, but enough to properly coat the pizza and not make the dough soggy.
  • As crispy and non-soggy as the dough should be, it should also be able to be folded over without breaking or ripping in half.
  • CHEESE. Cheese-to-sauce ratio must be on par.
  • Grease. Most definitely NOT over-greased, but at least a little bit to get that nice, small drip.

I could go in-depth on toppings, too, but that will take far too long.

I’ve been fortunate enough to find a few places that make some really delicious pizza.  But I feel like I’m forever searching for the one place that makes the perfect pizza. The one that will send me back in time… the taste that will transport me instantaneously back to Halloween of ’92, my old living room, plopped down right in front of that TV.

Funny, isn’t it? To seek out a taste to remind me of a time when I wasn’t even eating? Isn’t it weird what triggers things in our minds? Isn’t it weird how finicky nostalgia can be?

I mean, the more I think about it, I didn’t even dress up as a cat when I was four. I think my cat costume was from when I was two (though I would wear it just for fun after that as well). I dressed up as Cinderella when I was four. And, thinking of it again, the CVS on my street didn’t even open until I was about six or seven…

Strange how the mind can mix up facts.

But I do remember being dressed up as Cinderella and sitting in my grandma’s pizza parlor, waiting for her to finish her shift. I remember the crinoline under my dress itching my tiny thighs. I remember being bored and wanting to go out and play in the park across the street, instead of sitting in a pizza shop waiting. I remember seeing a booger on the table I was seated at and it scarring me for a while after, not really wanting to eat there or even eat pizza at all for quite some time. I remember venturing to the back of the store and smelling the awful back-alley stench and seeing the broken down space behind the ovens.

I remember those moments quite vividly, actually.

And I remember all the times my grandmother quit that job, and the awful experiences she had working there.

But she did make a damn good pizza.

So, if I had to lay the inanimate objects out on a table that are characteristically “me,” what would they be? A cat costume, Halloween trinkets, a slice of pizza… ? Do these things define me? Does that one single moment I return to time and time again say anything about my personality and the person I am and wish to become?

No, I think it just means I like nostalgic vibes, I dig Halloween and I really enjoy eating pizza. It’s probably why I’ve spent a good portion of my day writing this, and maybe it’s why the person who I’m in a committed relationship with has a birthday on Halloween, and why I’ll never turn down a slice of free pizza, no matter where it’s from. These maybe facets of my personality, but not my life as a whole. What, did you think that my constant quest for the perfect slice is actually a symbol of my search to find my ideal “self”? That maybe I know the qualities about myself that I need to tap into to be the best me I can be, but I’m still working on creating the masterpiece that is my life by trying over and over again to harness all those qualities and apply them in a positive way. That maybe no matter who I encounter and what I try, I’m still searching for my true, perfect self, but that one moment in time I can return to at any point is my safe haven, my “home” to go back to when I feel lost in my searching…

 

Then you’re reading too much into this. I just really like pizza.

 

“Did she really ramble on for fifteen paragraphs and 2242 words just to tell us that she likes pizza?”

Well, yea. I guess I did.

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In honor of the 100th anniversary on February 1 of New York City’s famed Grand Central Station, write an essay about a time in your life when you travelled—it could be daily travel, such as the commute to and from a job; seasonal travel, such as heading to a beach community every summer; or a vacation, such as a trip to a foreign country. Focus on what compelled you to go and the transition of leaving one place and arriving in another.

“Come on, where the hell is this bus? You know, years ago, the bus would come a few minutes early and they’d let you sit inside with the air conditioner on if it was hot out like this, not make you wait in the heat like animals.” The blazing sun beat down upon my small face as my grandmother and I waited for the #26 Beeline to take us home. Every day after school an executive decision had to be made: walk 10 minutes and wait in the heat for the bus or walk 10 minutes and wait in the heat for the train? On this day, we opted for the bus. By the time we reached the bus stop, we realized it probably would have been cooler to wait for the train.

With my mother now working a 9-5 job, my grandma and I were left to our own devices to get home. If the weather was nice enough, we’d walk. The walk through the quaint town my grammar school was located in usually stopped being so wonderful when my heavy, rolly backpack started to weigh us down and we’d spend the rest of the trip irritated and praying that someone, anyone, would spot us alongside the road and give us a lift. Sometimes we were just lucky enough for that to happen, but not very often. Our other option was the train. We’d hop on and ride it the one stop home, hopping off right as the ticket-taker got to our car. I never realized that riding one stop rarely required a ticket, so I felt as if we were doing something wrong and dangerous. My grandmother noticed the look of amazement on my face the first time it happened, so she made a game out of it from that point on. “Quick, he’s in the next car; let’s stand by the door so he won’t notice us!” She’d whisper to me. It made the humdrum trip exhilarating, and then quickly back to mundane once we’d leave the magical Grand Central-bound train and get off at the Fleetwood stop, walking through the pigeon-shit piss-scented tunnel into the outside world. Then I’d get a bagel sandwich at Dunkin’ Donuts, which was pretty nice.

It was the last week of fourth grade and it was unseasonably warm for late June. Fortunately, the last week of school also meant it was dress down week, so I had the option of wearing something cooler than the stuffy white collared cotton top and navy blue cotton/polyester blend shorts, cuffed ankle socks and loafers uniform I’d wear any other day. (Most girls opted for the much more flattering light blue skirt, but I found the awkward boy-tailored shorts to be more my style. And in 8th grade when I would ruin them and many a classroom chair with period blood I’ll look back and be content with my clothing decision.) However, my forest green coolots were still not cutting it in the unbearable heat. I closed my eyes and dreamed of going home, changing into my swimsuit, diving into my pool in our backyard, and swimming, the cool, chlorine water covering my entire body.

Then I remembered that I didn’t have a pool. Or a backyard. And that my best option would be to turn on my old, cumbersome AC in my room and take a cold shower or bath—which was never fulfilling NOR did it ever really do the trick of cooling me down. But it was my only option, and so I embraced it, and thinking about it at least helped me cope with our wait. My grandmother was still cursing the bus driver when the bus crawled up to the bus stop, #52: Destination Secor Housing, Bronx, NY. Damn!

The bus was an adventure in and of itself as well. The yellow cord was like a lifeline, forget to pull it and you’re done for, doomed to circle around your town on the bus forever. Or you could pull it at the next stop and have to trek your way back to where you’re supposed to be in the snow, scuffing up the brand new glasses you just got from the eye doctor. Another bus creeped up to the stop, #26: Bronxville RR Station. Score!

The bus driver scurried off the bus frantically with a phone in his hand. “Just one moment, everyone, I need to handle a situation at the bus depot. We’ll be leaving shortly,” he said with a think Island accent as he rushed off into the shade. The bus was parked. And locked. And air conditioned. And we, all of my elderly homeward-bound comrades and myself, were on the outside looking in. I’ll spare you the swears that flew out from my grandmother’s mouth, as this is a family publication.

The daily commute is a thing that brings people together. Office workers who hate each other 90% of the time can commiserate if the ride to work was hellish. No one argues whether or not traffic is bad. But even when gas prices soar and roadwork and rubbernecking gets the best of you, pretty much everyone agrees that public transportation is about as bad as it can get. I’m not one of those people. Getting to zone out in my own world for 45 minutes to an hour, doing nothing but watching the world pass quickly by while simultaneously getting in some of the best people watching ever is one of my favorite things. Getting to see familiar faces everyday and piece together life stories based on where they got on and off provides wonderful material for writing. The only thing I really dislike about it is the waiting. The knowing you’ll have to brave the weather but not knowing HOW long you’ll have to brave it for can be a killer. Despite that, I’m thankful for those public transportation trips of my youth. The years of travelling with my grandmother built up my knowledge and resilience in my later, license-less years. But, I mean, if you’re offering me a ride, sure I’ll take it …

The bus driver returned a few minutes later and let us all onto the comfortable, non-sweltering bus. We were able to finally breathe and enjoy the cool air for the five-minute ride home. Our journey was coming to a close. At my grandma’s signal, I reached my small hand up and yanked the yellow-cord. I beamed when the bell gave out a little “ding” and the stop sign at the front of the bus flashed. As the bus approached the stop I could see our apartment, where my bed and my TV and, most of all, my air conditioner were. Repeats of Arthur called my name. The heat wouldn’t bother me anymore, and victory was so close I could taste it. We exited the bus and slugged our way over to our side of the apartment complex and made our way to the front door. The sun was bearing down on us, my skin felt clammy and I could feel the beads of sweat forming after only being outside again for a few minutes. But we made it, we were there. Home was where my heart and sweaty body longed to be. My grandmother placed the key in the keyhole and … nothing happened. It was the wrong key. She had the wrong keys. We had the wrong keys. There was no getting inside until someone either came out and let us in, or we maneuvered our way in through the basement on the opposite side of the building. Even then, we’d still be stuck in the hallway of our apartment until either my mother or grandfather got home hours later.

Another thing I’ve learned from the travels of my youth is to always remember to bring your keys. Do not lose them, and don’t forget them at home. This is something I’m still working on.

In the end, the summer had its victory over us. And I did the only thing I could to accept our crippling defeat: “Maybe we could go and play in the park?”

The slide never burned more than it did on that day, but dammit, it still felt good.

Blast from the Past

November 28, 2012

Hello, people of the internet! It’s been a while, but I’m here for your blog-viewing pleasure once again. Crazy weather out there, amiright? Fortunately, I’ve been spared any bad damage from both the hurricane and the Nor’easter (I live on the East Coast). Unfortunately, I can’t use either of those as an excuse for why I haven’t been writing as much as I should have been. Ok, wait, I can come up with an excuse, here it goes: I wanted to write a lot this past month, but because of the storms I got super lethargic and decided to just be immobile in my bed, eating leftover Halloween candy and watching marathons of 30 Rock and Law & Order: SVU on Netflix. Ok, that’s not really an excuse, that’s just the God’s honest truth. But, I will say that I’ve learned something from this: leftover Twizzlers really aren’t all that bad. Sure, they’re stale and tougher to eat, but they still taste pretty damn good.
Anyway, I hope everyone out there, especially on the East Coast, has been staying safe, warm, and dry. And if you are, I hope that you’re doing everything within your means to help out with those who aren’t as lucky. It’s tough out there for a lot of people, but if you have even any inkling of ability to help in any capacity, it doesn’t hurt. We’re all here for each other, and as long as we remember that, we can make it easier to weather any storm–figuratively and literally.
Ok, so I got a little mushy there, but the message still rings true. And now to the point of this entry: this year I’ve finally decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. (So the procrastinating on writing has hit me even harder than usual–woowee!) But it’s a really interesting venture and I hope to at very least make some progress in my work. I usually stick to writing short stories and non-fiction, so this is a challenge for me. I’ve decided to amp up the challenge aspect a bit even more by writing a YA novel. I have a ton of ideas, it’s just now down to the point of getting them all out eloquently and really visualizing how I imagine it all playing out. I’ve been reading through on all of the amazingly helpful and handy info and hints on the NaNoWriMo website and a few have really helped me flesh out my main character and her life.
Basically, it’s through the eyes/mind of a socially awkward high school Freshman, who has difficulty making friends. One of the writing exercises I came across was to have a journal in which you write in the voice of your character. I decided that was perfect, and resurrected my old Xanga for just that purpose. Then I realized, while I’m there, maybe I should go back years and years ago and take a look at what I was writing when I was a socially awkward 15-16 year old, to get an even firmer grasp on how my character views the world.
Oh, boy, did I find a treasure chest of awkward embarrassing gold. Allow me, in one of possibly many posts, to introduce you to 15 year old, high school sophomore Jamie. I briefly have alluded to her in a prior post, but in this you’ll get to the heart of the seedy world that was my online journal and all of the deep, dark, personal secrets kept there for random online people to see.
So, without further ado……
saturday, august 16, 2003
anywho, thursday night was the big blackout–that wasn’t fun. but yesterday was pretty cool. first, the power came back on at our house at 7:45 am–so i was extremely happy lol. then i went 2 cc w/ my mommy. we went at 11:30 and there was like, no one there lol. and i bought the movie “the ref” which made me very happy. i’m sorry but i think denis leary is sexy . there’s something about the whole attitude/leather jacket thing that attracts me to him lol. plus he’s really funny.anywho, i’ll write more later. now i hafta tape denis leary’s roast, and go in the other room and try 2 see some of the beginning of snl, since it’s the one w/ brittany murphey and adam sandler sings the chanukah song part 3 in the beginning–ahh adam sandler, my love . oh well even if i can’t see it i taped it the last time it was on anyway lol. well, that’s all for now–buh bye.
What 15 year old girl in the year 2003 DIDN’T have crushes on either Denis Leary or Adam Sandler? Oh, all the 15 year old girls, you say? Oh. Anywho…. Oh, I should also mention that “cc” = “Cross County,” a local outdoor mall. At this same exact time countless other teenagers, most of which were my peers and the like, were at the same mall–except hanging out behind the movie theater drinking, smoking weed and doing ecstasy  I took pleasure in going out with my “mommy” to Sam Goody. I felt bad ass roaming the aisles, looking for  the new Las Ketchup CD. Then I’d go over to Suncoast and stare at the VHS section for what seemed like hours, before finally ending up in the YA section of Waldenbooks. How I miss those rebellious years.
friday, august 22, 2003ehh…today was pretty boring. i slept like, almost the whole day lol. oooh but i asked larry to be my fake fiance!!! we’re gonna get married in vegas in one of those elvis chapels on april 5th!! lol and katie’s gonna be my maid of honor. i always wanted to pretend i had a fiance lol. i’m such a dork. ttyl. ~jamie
Larry & I stopped talking not long after this took place. Not for any reason other than we weren’t actually friends to begin with. He was the friend of my friend’s boyfriend at the time. They also broke up not long after this, putting the nail in our fake-engagement coffin. I think I was supposed to be “set up” with this Larry fellow, but I didn’t actually know much about him or what he looked like, and I never really left my house outside on my own anyway.  I’ve seen him a few times working in the grooming station at PetSmart. He has no clue who I am, which is probably for the best so he can judge me just as a stranger staring through the glass pane at all of the cute puppies who are not mine since I don’t even have a pet, as opposed to judging me as the girl who lost all of her faculties after her fake fiance stopped talking to her (I think there’s a series of ABC Family movies on that topic.)
tuesday, august 19, 2003omg today i bought the ice age dvd…dude i thought that movie was gonna be really funny…it made me cry!!! the baby’s mom and the mammoth’s family, and diego , dude that was not cool!! i was sitting there bawling. i hate crying during movies lol. and i bought the dvd to see the behind the scenes stuff, so i could see denis leary–and they only showed him for like 1 minute!!!!! loland i looked all over sam goody again for the comedy section, and they definitley got rid of it. where the comedy cds were is all techno crap now. techno????? who the hell buys techno cds??? lol. anyway i hope fye still has their comedy section. even though it’s kinda expensive there i don’t care lol.what’s up with that ataris song? “boys of summer” or whatever. am i the only person who doesn’t like it?? lol they play it everywhere and it really annoys me. oooh i wanna try to make a cool neopets guild layout. hehe neopets…i’m such a dork lol. well, that’s all for now. i’m out.ok i just re-read this and i really have to stop saying “dude” before i annoy myself lol.~jamie

I still don’t like that Ataris cover. And I still say “dude” too much.

friday, august 29, 2003 
i’ve got bangs again! well sort of, they’re kinda half bangs, lol. anyway, when they’re not fixed up and stuff they get kinda weird but that’s ok b/c i can just clip them back. yah. well…that’s my big update for today lol. now i’m going to eat my hot apple pie, listen to the radio, and wait for someone to come on lol. oooh yay the colin quinn forum is back up–woop woop!!! ttyl  ~jamie

“yay the Colin Quinn forum is back up.” Also, I still have messed up bangs. Except now they’re messed up cuz I clumsily took a kitchen scissor to them on Halloween. Which sounds more like something that should have happened then, not now.

saturday, august 30, 2003
I got “two if by sea” on dvd today!!! woop woop!! lol despite what people have said, i liked it. i dunno i’mweird. i think denis looked soo hot in it lol. and sandra bullock is my favorite actress. oooh speaking of him, i mentioned about his celebrity hat trick event thing to my grandma…and she was like, seriously considering ways for me to go. i love my grammy!! but i’ll probably end up not going though . but if i did that would be so freakin cool.yah i didn’t see the whole vmas yet. but i saw the ending twice, which is ok since that was when sandler was on (hysterical) and the metallica performance when they played all the classic mtv songs. that was really cool. that whole britney/madonna/christina thing was soooo nasty. i didn’t even see it but the pictures alone are just….ugh. and she’s like, old enough to be their mom. sick.but it’s not even “shocking” anymore. they’re just doing anything to get attention. they’ve gone so over the line, what’s left? the only way what britney and christina do could be considered “shocking” is if they did just the opposite. and actually stayed fully clothed through a whole performance. or be really shocking and like, i dunno, have a duet and wear amish type clothes and sing air supply or something.now that would be good quality entertainment. i’d watch that lol.or the most shocking thing of all: stay fully clothed and actually show talent. that would be very jaw-dropping.well, that’s all for now. ttyl~jamie.
I can’t believe there was ever a time in my life where I said that something Metallica did was “cool,” but here it is–and in writing, nonetheless. Then again, this was from the same girl who searched tirelessly for one of the worst movies ever made, and then actually “enjoyed” it. Also my little cultural rant at the end is pretty intense. Kind of wrong on a lot of levels, but you still have to love the veracity of it! (I was very passionate about keeping things child-friendly. I once told a classmate that he must not love Jesus if he likes Marilyn Manson. At the same time I was also actively participating on the Cringe Humor forums. I was a girl of complex standards and ideologies, something I still pride myself on to this day.
time jump!
saturday, february 14, 2004

lets see, nuthin too interesting has been happening today. umm i attempted to make a valentine cake for my family. that failed miserably. it was fine until i had to put the eggs in. i put one egg in, and everything was fine. then when i tried to crack open the other egg, it wasn’t like, opening lol. then it cracked open a little bit, and it like oozed out (from the top i might add) all black and blue and bubbly. i almost vomited it was so nasty. and the smell was soooo horrible. luckily, it didn’t get in the batter, however some of it may have dripped in. the batter didn’t smell that good, so i wasn’t sure if any of that satanic egg got in, or the batter itself was just bad. anywho, my grandpa flushed the batter down the toilet and threw the garbage with the evil egg in it in the incinerator,so no one got any cake, obviously lol, and all of my mixing went to waste. oh well, maybe some other time. it was gonna have pink icing and i had that stuff where you can write stuff and make designs too . whatever maybe i’ll make it tomorrow, as long as i buy eggs that aren’t spawns of hell and batter that’s not possibly rotten. ooh, and on another note: i have no school next week!!!!! yayness!!!!!!!!! k, that’s it for now. buh bye. jamie

This is what happens when you’re 16 and you  have no Valentines nor any prospect of a Valentine. You make cakes for your family that are really just for yourself, then end up sacrificing a tiny baby chicken in the process. Oh, I remember this event clearly, and that’s something I didn’t include in the entry: when I initially saw that blue bubbly stuff, I immediately thought it was a baby bird’s brains and freaked out as well as almost started crying. I guess I didn’t want anyone who read my Xanga (two of my friends) to think I was that uncool. This was when I started transitioning into being a bit more witty and funny in my journal, but I’ll spare you those entries. Mainly so you don’t see how much more interesting I was then than I am now.
But basically, I could go back and comment on my old journal entries forever. So, I’m probably not going to base my character off myself entirely (are teenage girls into Colin Quinn? Do you think they’d relate?) but at least I know where I’m going with my character now. And no, she won’t be saying “dude” all that much…

Edit: Ok, so I had the idea brewing for this post for a while now, if you couldn’t tell. I started writing it about 3 or 4 weeks ago, but a couple of events stopped me from writing altogether for a short while. I recently had some self-reflection kinda thing going on and reading through all of this made me aware of some things about myself.

Despite all the awkwardness, childishness, silliness, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I remember at the time wishing I were “edgier” had more guys around and did cooler stuff. I remember being 16 and reading other girls’  livejournals, deadjournals, and xangas and just envying how much more interesting their lives were. Drugs, sex, alcohol, parties, mischief… it all intrigued me though I knew I myself would never be that girl. I’d lament then, and again later, at how little life experiences I had and then eventually wonder–how could I possibly be a writer while I never myself tried anything that most “writers” had tried and experienced? It took a while before I realized that I’d be fine doing what I’d been doing all along, writing a mix of what I know as well as what I’ve learned and picked up from others. Remembering every story told to me, every journal surreptitiously read, every AIM away message, every overheard school locker conversation. I keep all of that in mind, and keep my in-brain knowledge base forever expanding with every new person I meet and story I read.

I’m glad I didn’t have a lot of those experiences because if I did… I don’t know where I’d be right now. I’ m by no means trying to paint myself as a perfect person here, and more so than that I’m not trying to make villains out of anyone based on the choices they’ve made. But I am happy with the choices I have made, even if I thought I’d never say that. When you look around you and realize that you’re in the middle of a waste(d)land, with so few people boasting any sort of promising futures because of decisions they made in high school, it hurts. To see people who you knew could have been great if maybe they just never gave up the fight. And, the worst, people whose past choices and actions have contributed in taking their lives from them years down the line, when they were just starting to figure things out.

This isn’t an anti-drugs PSA. Nor an anti-alcohol PSA. Hell, it’s not even an anti-bad decisions PSA. Screw it, we all make ’em. It’s not a PSA for anything–I’m no good at telling others what to do. But I do believe that there’s merit in revisiting the past from time to time, even if it’s only to mock it. Retracing your steps and seeing what led you to where you are today; whether it’s for a do-over, or to be grateful.  And there’s nothing wrong with taking in the experiences of all those around you. When their stories are ended, someone’s gotta be there to put all the pages together.

Sometimes the people who made the hairiest choices and decisions will create the most beautiful words and images ever known. Sometimes it’s that girl who sat at her computer, trolling comedy message boards and eating one too many McDonald’s Hot Apple Pies (that’s a story for another time). Who knows? But if there’s a story you want to tell, yours or someone else’s, don’t be afraid to go for it; sometimes it’s all we have.

And if anyone else’s looking for good material to write about an awkward, goofy teenage girl, I’m more than willing to share embarrassing journal entries from yesteryear at any given time. Maybe I can even dig up some pictures to accompany them…

PS: If you are participating in NaNoWriMo–friend me! I know there’s only like, 3 days left in the month but there’s always enough time for friendship! Also, with that last tiny bit of rainbowponymush you’re completely allowed to strangle me 🙂