At 2 in the morning of September 17th, 1978, I emerged from the warm, wet confines of my mother’s womb. (For the armithically challenged, that makes me 29 years old today.)
29….I don’t know how I feel about this.
But in honor of the occasion, I shall commemorate my life by noting one major accomplishment for each of those 29 years. Did they have any bearing on who I am today?
- 0-1: So many accomplishments at so young an age! Perhaps the most significant is holding my head up on my own. Once you can hold up your own head, you can begin to do more than just poop and suck. You can actually begin to see and LEARN things!
- 1-2: I learned my first word! This required extensive training on my family’s part, for teaching a deaf toddler to pay attention to sounds she can barely hear is not easy.
- 2-3: Unless I’m mistaken, I started attending the aural-visual oral program at Utah School for the Deaf and Blind. This was done at home, mostly. My teacher was Mrs. Parker. She helped me learn how to use hearing aids, to speak, and to lip read. Once, I was the subject of a lecture at the University. It is the source of my earliest memory: a white classroom, a blue-eyed man, and a red ball.
- 3-4: Lessons in being a “passer” continue. I start attending day school at USDB. I start playing with Fisher Price Little People toys. I remember having to tell stories. There was a barn and a school house, the milieu of my three-year old imagination.
- 4-5: I make a potholder for my mom! On a crayon compatible iron-on transfer, I drew a rainbow, a sun, a house, and me, and wrote my name. I think my mom still has the potholder somewhere.
- 5-6: I develop a passion for books. The Berenstein Bears become a major part of my life.
- 6-7: I win a summer reading competion by reading the most books over anyone else in my age group, by a significant margin. I got a trophy for it.
- 7-8: I am mainstreamed into public school, repeating second grade to make the transition easier.
- 8-9: I skip third grade and jump into fourth. I disobey my mother’s wisdom and wear a short skirt. During square dance at gym, I fall on my face and my skirt flips up to expose my pink flowered undies.
- 9-10: We move to Pasadena, California. I experience fleas. I make a friend and we roller skate and jump on beds all day.
- 10-11: We move to Palmdale, California. I must have done nothing except read books, because all I can remember is that I couldn’t wait for my period to start. I waited two years.
- 11-12: Due to slipping academic performance, my parents enroll me in a program that provided sign language interpretation for classes. I know little to no sign language. I resent the change, because it means I am forced to pay attention to what’s going on, instead of reading Judy
Blume or Sweet Valley High.
- 12-13: Total immersion in sign language finally clicks and my grades improve dramatically. I decide I like sign language and learning, and begin to have some ambitions beyond reading books.
- 13-14: I become environmentally conscious when my sister tells me not to waste water while brushing my teeth. In the coming months, I become an anti-technology, anti-capitialistic idealist.
- 14-15: I develop social phobia, and spend a lot of time puking and claiming illness instead of going to parties.
- 15-16: We move to Pocatello, Idaho. I start my junior year. I punch a guy for throwing a ball at my head, even though it wasn’t intentional. I spend the rest of the day crying hysterically.
- 16-17: My senior year. I help skin and dissect a Mountain Lion and get arm-deep in a massive hemmorage. I develop a compassion for desperate animals: for if that cat hadn’t been starving, she would not have been struck by the car that killed her.
- 17-18: I graduate high school and start University! Idaho State, intended major: Ecology. I flunk out of Calculus in the Spring.
- 18-19: I flunk Inorganic Chemistry. I decide science isn’t the way to go, after all. On a lark, I also take a jewelry and metalsmithing class and make my first ring.
- 19-20: I eventually decide to major in Sociology.
- 20-21: I take a bunch of art classes to fill in credits, and discover something new about myself: that I am creative and I love being creative, no matter how hard it is.
- 21-22: I graduate with a BA in Sociology!
- 22-23: I learn that I hate research and I discover a deep need to be creative, to make jewelry and images for other people to enjoy. I dropout of graduate school to pursue a Fine Arts degree.
- 23-24: I make a lincocut print about 9/11. I feel healed.
- 24-25: I graduate with my BFA degree at last!
- 25-26: I move to Connecticut to find a job. My first real job: Target.
- 26-27: I cure my social phobia at last and meet Brian. We move in together after six months.
- 27-28: I see Boston for first time and fall in love with it.
- 28-29: I start blogging.
Dear readers, you can wake up now.
In reviewing my life, I don’t think any event or series of events actually made me who I am now. I’ve only aged, become richer in awareness and experience and passion, but my core has always remained the same.
It seems that my life thus far has consisted of four major transitions:
- from a world of silence to a world of sound and speech
- from being lost in the world of books to becoming aware of the
reality around me
- from feeling awe for the outside world of science and humanity to
discovering a deep and overriding passion for creation and
- from being scared of people to being brave enough to feel love.
I wonder what this year will bring…and is this what it means to grow old?