Archive for the ‘Personal History’ Category

Identity

Filed under: Confessions,High School,Memories,Personal History — Amy @ 10:55 pm

Every once in a while…probably once every year or two… I go through this “nostalgic” phase. It makes me want to get in touch with all the people I knew in high school and see where various people have ended up and who has changed a lot, and who is exactly the same. So I create and update my profiles on places like Facebook and MySpace and Friendster. And they probably all think one of two things:

  • “Who is that?”
  • “What kind of stalker starts adding people to their ‘friends’ list they haven’t talked to in 8 years?”

Generally, these periods are little more than the result of having too much time on my hands. That is certainly the case now, but the reason for that is material for another post.

Regardless, every time it happens, it floods my mind with memories that I’d long forgotten and confirms for me what a pivotal time high school is as far as childhood development.

I think I was a few years behind most in the “coming of age” saga. For instance, that “finding oneself” phase that most kids seem to go through in the Sophomore year of high school – that didn’t hit me until sometime during college.

My nostalgia also makes me very aware that leaving my family, my friends, my state, and all familiar surroundings to go to college 2500 miles away was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Looking back on the teenager I was, I realize that I found entirely too much of my identity in other people. I think I was aware of that at the time, but didn’t know what to do about it.

Moving away forced me to forge my own identity, pursue what was important to ME, and find a security within myself that didn’t wax and wane with the tides of the people around me. It helped not knowing anyone because I could be the “me” I felt comfortable and happy being, without feeling trapped in the “me” they already expected me to be.

Um…does that make sense?

See, most people around me in high school had already figured out how to do that (see: late bloomer thing previously mentioned). I always envied that, but didn’t know exactly what it was that I was envying. How they could be so admirably unique, when it was all I could do to try to fit in unnoticed – hoping nobody would see and judge the quirks that made me different.

I still display different shades, depending on who I’m around, but I think that’s more of a social preservation tactic than an insecurity problem. For instance, I’m a lot more conservative around my family or people from church. That’s just out of consideration, and I don’t think it’s being “fake.” Fake for me would be intentionally making comments that I knew would make others uncomfortable.

Anyway, this tangent has become significantly longer than anticipated, but the bottom line I suppose is that I’ve grown up a lot. And I’m glad. I just wish I had done it a little sooner.

Yesterday’s Stepchild

Filed under: Confessions,Me,Memories,Personal History,Such is Life — Amy @ 7:33 am

As a kid, I always had an unusual attachment to inanimate objects. When my brother would play “Giant” and stomp around mercilessly on all the stuffed animals, I screamed about the injustice done to those weaker than oneself. BECAUSE WHAT IF THEY HAD FEELINGS??? Perhaps I have missed my calling as a human rights activist.

I was a huge pack-rat. I would rifle through the trash bin at the church supply room, looking for scraps of cardboard or anything that could be salvaged and possibly reused. I filled my closet with such items that were never thrown away because the thought of discarding that plastic cap to I-have-no-clue-what that could be so USEFUL for ..something …someday …was too much to bear.

We had a Dodge Ram Charger for several years that my brother and I would sit on the floor in the back of during long trips across the state. When it came time to trade up for a van that would allow us to sit in actual SEATS, with, like, SEATBELTS and stuff…I was heartbroken. I laid in the back of my treasured Ram and literally cried. I was in mourning for days at the cruel separation. All the memories we had shared…all the experiences that bonded us…

We still have the Chevy Blazer that was my first car in highschool. It rattles like a wooden carriage when you hit a bump and you’re never really sure if you just lost a piece. There’s a chunk ripped out of the ceiling above the passenger side, courtesy of our puppy who COULD NOT BELIEVE THE CAR WAS PARKED OUTSIDE HIS BEST BUDDY’S HOUSE AND HE WAS STUCK INSIDE. He made his feelings clear.

The pinstripes have faded off in places. When you drive over 50 mph, the sidebar rattles incessantly. It no longer turns on a dime (more like a buck-fifty) and roars like a territorial lion when you press the accelerator. It can get from 0-60 in five minutes flat.

But would I give it up? It was my first, and I can still picture how it was as a new ride. Many years ago, it zoomed around town carrying my stuffed animal collection on the dashboard, blaring Alanis Morrisette on the radio. Could I possibly part with that dear, memory-filled vehicle for something shiney and new, just to save a few cents on gas and to hear less rattling?

HELL YEAH. I would ditch that thing like yesterday’s junk mail if given the opportunity. Anybody want a car?

Birds of a Feather

Filed under: College,Memories,Personal History — Amy @ 11:04 am

J and I were walking along the canal behind the campus on a chilly winter evening. We had been “hanging out” for a few weeks and he had just recently discovered that when he swung over to kiss me I didn’t actually knock his block off like I had previously threatened to. I had recently discovered that perhaps this kissing thing wasn’t as bad as past experience had convinced me it was. Perhaps I had just found a guy who was better at it.
But I digress.
The night was clear and crisp, and the old trees branched out over the canal, which glittered with reflections of lights from the other side.
We stopped under a tree. Flirting, laughing, holding hands. He leaned in.
I heard fireworks…No, not fireworks. Little spashing sounds in the canal.

Ploonk. Plunk ploonk. Plink plunk ploonk.

We looked up to discover that we had paused under a patch of trees serving as a resting area for the entire bird population of Seattle.
And they were all relieving themselves at the same time.
“RUN!”
Somehow we managed to escape the (literally!) thousands of tiny bombs that ensued and made our way back to the sidewalk of safety without any battle wounds.
Ah, romance.

Name This

Filed under: Baby Names,Personal History — Amy @ 12:09 pm

The fact that I have the most boring name on earth is not my parents’ fault. Because I was born with a cleft palate, I couldn’t pronounce things like Shakira or Monty Python. Therefore, they were force to give me a simple name that wouldn’t come out of my mouth mangled and limping during the early years.

You can’t get much simpler than Amy.

The downside of course, is the fact that I’ve spent my whole life making people specify whether they were talking to me or one of the other six Amy’s in the room. And though I never had a problem with people mispronouncing my first name, with my maiden name, I was still subject to instructing people how to spell and say my name in public, and therefore can claim no time-saving benefits.

Though I have to admit, my maiden name makes a great call-screening device. You know that someone who completely butchers it probably wants to sell you something.

Anyway, we’re hoping to avoid the common name issues with this child. Our last name, while not a Smith, is easily spelled enough to prevent verbal mangling on first reading. One down, just one name to go. So we put our heads together and came up with a list of names for boys and girls that would be easy enough to pronounce, but would not have six heads turning to answer “what?”

Here’s our list so far, in no particular order, with pronunciation guides attached (insert “oooh-ahhh” here). If you can’t tell, we’re going with the celtic name theme. And yes, we’re aware that they all sound the same. Hey, at least we know what we like.

BOY
Kegan (KEE-gen)
Aedan (A-den)
Toran (TOR-en)
Eghan (EE-gon)
Kieran (KEE-ron)
Teagan (TEE-gen)
Eann (EE-an, like Ian)
Tristan (TRIST-on)
Braydon (BRAY-don)
Arden (AR-den)


GIRL
Keelin (KEE-lin)
Arlyn (AR-lin)
Ceara (kee-AR-ah)
Eavan (EE-van)
Rylee (RI-lee)
Kellen (KELL-en)
Tierney (TEER-nee)
Haley (HAY-lee)
Kailyn (KAY-lin)
Eimile (EM-i-lee)


You should see some of the celtic names we’ve found. I really think somebody dumped over a scrabble board and started picking letters up one-by-one to make some of these names. For instance, who in their right mind would name their kid Eamnonn? Or Eideard? Or Findabhair???

OMG!!!

Filed under: Personal History,Photos,Such is Life — Amy @ 5:24 pm

The day I discovered online shopping.

Abortion Stops a Beating

Filed under: Are You Kidding Me?,Personal History,Politics,Travel — Amy @ 11:11 am

To those who know me, it comes as no surprise that I am pro-life. I was the result of an unplanned pregnancy (which is the PC way to say that my biological mom got knocked up as a teenager). In addition, I had a fairly noticeable physical birth defect that required immediate (and very costly) attention.

That’s two major strikes against me in the matter of deciding whether to go through with a pregnancy, yet my biological mother did so and put me up for adoption at birth. Consequently, I was raised in a stable, loving home by two remarkable people I know as Mom & Dad.

I once asked my parents if they had negotiated a better price for me because I was a “sold as-is” baby. They didn’t appreciate that question. I just think they should have gotten me on sale because they had to pay for repairs.

But I digress.

Anyway, it’s no great mystery that I am a pro-life supporter. Therefore, you can imagine my shock and dismay when we drove past this hand-painted sign in front of a church in Oklahoma:

“Abortion stops a beating”

At the time, I was unfamiliar with the (apparently) common adage and did not know that I was supposed to interpret the itsy-bitsy-almost-invisible drawing of a heart squeezed into the corner of the sign as the last word in the sentence.

So I’m thinking Crimminy, is this the new pro-choice movement? Dead babies are better than abused kids? Somebody shoot me now.

If you’re reading this and belong to a church in Oklahoma that has such a sign in front next to the highway, please – for the love of God and the emotional condition of the highway travelers – change your sign.

About Me

Hi. I'm Amy. I started this website in 2005 as a place to deposit my journal and photos. It has gone through a few incarnations and masquerades as a family site, but since I'm the only one who contributes to it, it's really all about ME, ME, ME.

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