While away, I'll be posting old content.
I originally wrote the following when I was studying abroad the Spring Semester of 2005. (Actually, the intro I wrote in the Fall of my senior year. Don't think too hard, it'll make sense once you start reading.) I traveled to Brazil, South Africa and France. By the time I got to France, I was homesick, had gained 30 pounds and had no other desire than to hole up in my room when I wasn't in classes. I became a hermit and turned inwards, and spent my time reading as well as writing what I thought to be profound things. Note the precocious vocabulary, run on senteces, and my self-doubting take-it-or-leave-it defense mechanism. God, I'm glad no one stays the same.
I just discovered a bundle of writings I saved from my time in France when life in the French-speaking world sucked and I read more books (in English) in five weeks than I've ever read in five weeks before and I decided to start contemplating my life in the quiet boundary of my English-only room. Enjoy the following or don't-here's the first installment of what I wrote during that time, unrevised:
I am my mother’s third child and my father’s first, but since my older sister is eight years my senior and my older brother is eight years older than that, leaving barely a memory of a shared household, I’m more like an eldest child in terms of my personality. Though, I believe that those first sixteen months of my life before my baby brother was born, during which I lived life as my mother’s youngest child and my father’s only child, had a profound impact on my life. Unfortunately, I don’t remember those cherished sixteen months of selfish crying and un-denied attention.
My parents don’t tell many stories about my childhood days of cuteness, of accidents, comic mispronunciations or unimaginably wise outpourings of philosophical thoughts.
There’s a photo of me on my first birthday sitting naked and bald (I didn’t grow a full head of hair until I was at least seventeen), spread eagle on a rocking chair my paternal grandfather, Grenville, crafted for me. Then there are a few Halloween photos in which I am wearing not only the same costume as my little brother but also a resentful face to go along with it. My favorite photo by far is the one of my mom holding my newborn brother on the day of his arrival into my life, the day he took away my coveted role as the baby of the family and the day I fed him raisins when no one was looking. In the photo my young mother sits in a rocking chair, beaming. The creature lies in her arms like the worthless bundle of projective vomit he was and I stand to the side, lurking in the shadow of a beautiful moment wearing a striped turtleneck that is totally unflattering, still without a single hair on my head, my hand poised just above the fragile skull that was covered in an enviable carpet of black hair. I might add that a smirk inches across my face as I monitor my mother out of the corner of my eye. I obviously wasn’t the smartest criminal in the world, allowing a fleeting moment of my early ambitions to torture my brother to be shown to the world, documented for all to see. I’m certain my parents just laughed it off when they developed the film, lost in the elation of being new parents… again.
written in Paris, France May 2005