Write about something you desperately wanted as a kid.
This is my first post to write for reals on my writing website. The others were from 2009 and 2010. I started doing the 100 Journal Entries on Livejournal, as a way to get back into writing after my years at the newspaper. My baby was about to turn two when I started.
Then my sister, Marissa, died in November 2009. That was a serious life-changer for me. I went through a long time of depression and I didn’t do much of anything. I tried to pick up the 100 Journal Entries again in late 2010, but I only did a couple before letting it go again.
So here we are. I wrote my first young adult novel last year, and I’ve followed it with more. The experts advise having a website to make it easy for publishing people to find you, so here this is. Of course, it’s supposed to be professional, and instead finances dictated that I do it myself with my limited knowledge, so we’ll see how that goes.
But what I desperately wanted. That’s what I’m supposed to be focusing on.
When I first started thinking about this, my mind went to material things. Then I started thinking about how I always wanted to be a writer.
But you know what I desperately, desperately wanted? I wanted friends.
My best friend as a little girl was Becky. She was marvelous, and I loved her very much. Only having one friend was great, except for when she had to miss school or something, and then I was lonely at recess and lunchtime.
That was okay with me, but I don’t think it was good for her. Of course, I’m only seeing it from my point of view, but she decided she wanted to be part of a group of girls, and they didn’t want me, so she left me for them. I thought I was welcome to come along, but I learned that wasn’t true at lunch one day. She and the group of girls were sitting together, and I went and sat with them. They got up and moved to a new spot. I was confused, and thought maybe they just wanted us all to move, so I followed them.
And then they moved again.
When I realized what was happening, I was heartbroken. I sat there and ate my lunch as best I could, then escaped to the bathroom to cry. It was one of the most tragic moments of my young life, and I still feel pain when I think about it now.
That painful day paved a path to several unhappy years in my life. I went through junior high without one friend. I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but it was true. It’s not to say everyone was mean to me – some were and some weren’t. But I had no friend. Every day I ate lunch alone. I started to bring a book so at least I looked like I was doing something. When we paired off in classrooms, no one paired with me. When the gym teacher had two people pick teams, I was always picked last. I’m not trying to make people feel sorry for me. It’s just the way it was. Someone had to be picked last. It was always me.
Sometimes my mom would come and pick me up for lunch. What a delight it was to see the station wagon with her inside and know that I didn’t have to be alone at lunchtime! She would ask me sometimes if I wanted to transfer – to a church school in the city, maybe – but I said no. Part of my perfectionism, I guess. I wanted to stay at the same school until graduation.
Things got better in high school. My sister was a senior when I was a freshman, and she welcomed me to her nerdy little group. Don’t get me wrong. I liked them all and they were very much preferred to being alone. I’m pretty sure they knew they were nerdy. It’s cool. Marissa taking me under her wing gave me what I needed to get back into the swing of things. After that year, I was able to connect with some people who were in band with me. Not people in my grade though. I never was able to really fit in there.
So that’s what I wanted as a kid – at least after Becky and before high school. I wanted a friend. I wanted a friend so badly.
I sometimes wonder if that experience was what led me primarily to homeschool. It seems like there are many factors, but surely that is a big one. And how would I be different if I hadn’t spent those years alone? Looking back now, I wouldn’t change it. I like myself too much now to change something that had such an effect on my life.
Not wanting to change it doesn’t make it right, though. It’s not right that any kid should have to be without a single friend.