Moving Memories

I don’t know if there’s anything more reminiscent of my childhood than wrapping plates and glasses in newspaper and stacking them neatly in cardboard boxes.  We moved around a lot (I went to three different schools in two different states in fourth grade alone), and I’m totally in my element right now.  It’s the eleventh hour of my tenure as an Arizona resident, and it’s not a bittersweet moment by any stretch of the imagination.  Listening to my Passion Pit station on Pandora, drinking an ice cold 8th Street Ale, prepping for the interstate transplant that’s just a week away?  I’m savoring the shit out of this night!

I remember our first move from California to Arizona (and yes, there was more than one.  THANKS, PARENTS.).  We left Chino Hills and headed out to Flagstaff, stopping in Barstow.  I bought Pogs and rock candy at the Choo Choo Train McDonald’s, and we listened to the Time-Life Christmas Treasury collection in the tape deck of our Maxima the whole way, although I’m fairly certain we moved in the summer.  No wonder I listen to Christmas music year round to de-stress even to this day.

When we moved home (funny that years and years later, California still gets referred to as “home”), it was two months into fourth grade.  I got to go back to the school I’d left in Chino Hills, and reuniting with my friends was the highlight of my young life!  There was much rejoicing!  Cut to a few months later that school year, just after I had to finish a huge project on Greek mythology and just before our class trip to New York (great timing), and I was yanked ever so cruelly from those friends and transferred to a non-magnet school in Phoenix.  I was in for the rudest of rude awakenings.

Phoenix was not kind to me at first.  Why the fuck was the temperature in the triple digits?!  Inconceivable!  Why are all the kids white and Mormon?!  The horror!  The library is only one story?!  SAY IT AIN’T SOOOOOOOO!

Not.  Happy.

The gleaming, glittery silver lining was that I somehow fell in with two girls who had the same quirky ass sense of humor and bizarre interests as I did.  Chelsey, Ashley and I spent every day together, watching Kids in the Hall and listening to the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack on a loop, obsessing over boys who had no idea we were alive and writing really really bad fanfic.  Okay, that last one was pretty much just me, but the girls definitely supported my habit.  Enablers!  I don’t know if they ever really knew how grateful I was to them for accepting me exactly as I was, and for being eccentric hilarious misfits themselves.

People meet me now, and I’m this wild confidant thing with a nice rack and a wicked sense of humor, and they have no idea what humble beginnings I had.  I was chunky and shy, with bad teeth and worse hair.  And a unibrow.  Aaaaand a mustache.  And since we’re being honest, I didn’t smell that great, either.  What a winner.  It took me years to polish up my exterior…I mean, years and years.  And then a couple more years.  Plus another month.  I was decent in high school for a while (at least the unibrow got divided into two separate entities), but then I put on fifty pounds of college boozing and Pizookies.  It wasn’t until super recently that I became someone to notice.

Which leads me to another point: I’ve become the archenemy of the girl I once was, and it’s bizarre.  Back in the day, I was really smart and really funny and really unattractive, so I was incredibly nonthreatening.  I had plenty of male friends (I was one of the two girls in Academic Decathlon, for Christ’s sake), but didn’t show up on anyone’s radar as a girl, and I utterly loathed girls who managed to be funny and smart and socially gifted.Now, I’m completely blindsided every time someone takes an interest.  Inside, I’m still that funny awkward fat chick, and to be treated as anything different feels like I’m being squeezed into a two sizes too small magical ballgown when all I want is to run around in a potato sack terrorizing the villagers.

So here we are, about to kick off a brand new chapter of my life.  I’m still figuring out where I stand and what I want.  Careerwise, everything is up in the air, and I’m totally in love with that.  I can produce, I can write, I can act, I can do whatever the eff I want, and that liberation is so fucking glorious!  And my best friend in the whole wide world lives less than 4 miles from the new house in Pasadena?!  How did I swing that one?  I’m super pumped about my life right now, and it’s the most exhilarating feeling ever.  It’s like getting my O-Face on a rollercoaster while hearing a hilarious joke, drinking a mojito and watching fireworks go off.  BOOM!  That’s how we do.

Whoops.  This was another one of those introspective late night entries.  Bear with me, guys, I promise to be funnier in the next blog post. Which I’ll be writing as a California resident.  Insert huge grin here.  Oh, the antici……pation!

Tune du Jour: Little Secrets by Passion Pit


8 thoughts on “Moving Memories

  1. This is one of the greatest blog posts I have ever read. Your writing skills make me green with envy.

    So yeah… It’s kind of neat that no matter how much we change as we grow older, we still have that core personality that stays the same.

    Also… what was the fanfic regarding and is it posted online? 😉

    1. bigenglish

      Wow, that’s a huuuuge compliment, I totally don’t deserve it but I’ll take it! 😀 Thanks, Adam, that means way more to me than you can know.

      As for the fanfic, I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but it started with Lord of the Rings fanfic, then moved into the Backstreet Boys era, and there may or may not have been some really bizarre Monty Python stuff along the way. Some of it used to be online, but all those sites are gone now and I’m both giddily relieved and crushingly disappointed that I can’t read that stuff again. Boy, am I letting my freak flag fly today or what?!

        1. bigenglish

          I wish I still had it! Maybe I’ll spend some time next week recreating something for you. One of my stories actually won a web award! God, I was such a freak. You know what, I’m gonna start e-mailing my old editors and seeing if anyone has copies. That would be so EPIC.

  2. Kim Puleo

    Hey! I actually got teary-eyed. You are a talented young woman. I am so glad we have met, look forward to you living in the area, and glad you took a chance on meeting up with the unknown that is the group of nerds in West LA. Fun. Fun. Fun. Chances are meant to be taken, not to pass us by. Luck on your move and see you soon!

    1. bigenglish

      Kim, thank you so much! I thought about what you’d said about writing simply and I’ve been experimenting with incorporating that into my own writing, and it’s been a really interesting exercise. 🙂

      I’m so excited to move “home” and get to spend some time with the Impossible Reflections team again, I miss all of you! Hope you’re doing well, can’t wait to be out in your corner of the world again!

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