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Who Am I?
That’s a rather complex question, don’t you think?
I suppose I could always take the cliché route and tell you that I’m a sixteen year old girl, almost done with my junior year in high school, living the New American dream, what with my divorced parents and my laptop, my slowly expanding waistline and stagnant love life…
But I’m not really one for clichés.
In truth, you don’t want to know who I am. You open this book, looking for a good read. Maybe you’re bored, maybe there’s nothing else to do, maybe you just want to see how screwed up my mother’s and my lives are in comparison to yours, but I doubt wholly that you really want to know who I am.
Why, you may ask?
You don’t want to know who I am because you tell me so. You tell me every time I get a nasty look, a sideways glance, a whispered giggle behind a hand. You tell me with every upturned nose, every snort of disgust, every rolling of your eyes. You’ve all seen me, whether you realize it or not, and you’ve all given me your own little two cents about “who I am”.
I’m that girl in the back of your English class, glancing up at the teacher every now and again, but mostly keeping to myself, scribbling something down in my notebook with a frightening fervor. I’m that girl in the mall, walking out of Hot Topic with chains on my pants, eight ounces of eyeliner surrounding each eye, and chipped back nail polish shining dully on my bitten nails. I’m that girl who sits down in a restaurant with her friends, not saying much, but gladly looking around to receive all the hate that the others seem to want to dole out.
Am I sounding familiar yet?
I am the quintessential gothic daughter. You see characters like me in cartoons, on sitcoms, in books…dark and deluded, with a greater appetite for blood than for love. Hating everyone and hated by everyone.
Allow me to quell some misconceptions, though. Allow me to further explain myself.
I am not a goth. I am not an emo. I am not a nerd, punk, prep, straightedge, popular, hippie, freak…I am Rachel.
When you look at me, you see the dark eye make up and the black clothes. You see the bitten lips and thick-rimmed glasses. What you don’t see, though, is what’s under all of those.
Our society is so obsessed with looks and aesthetics, that we sometimes forget that there even is something under the skin.
I can wholeheartedly assure all of you lovely people, though, that there is something much deeper and much more profound to me than just thick-soled combat boots, black hoodies, and My Chemical Romance. So much more. You just have to be willing to look for it.
Just like all of you were (or are), I’m a teenager. A normal kid, attending the local high school, going through the same Hell that all of you have. I love sleeping in on weekends, complaining about what my mom’s making for dinner, watching trashy tv shows like Springer and Maury, sitting on my butt for hours at a time, Iming my friends, stuffing my face full of high-calorie, grease-laden foods…I’m really a regular kid. I have my favorite classes (English and French), my most hated classes (Biology and Algebra), teachers who love me (Ms. Cross and Mrs. Fitz), and the teachers whose lives would…probably be better without me in them (Mr. Brashear and Mrs. Riggins), I have some amazing friends, and some less-than-savory friends, I’ve had good times, I’ve had bad times.
I have brothers who annoy the living hell out of me, I have parents who couldn’t understand me if they tried. I have relatives who dislike the way that I live my life, and grandparents always willing to hand out money. I have pet goldfish who, heck, I never feed, a tv in my room with the power button bashed in beyond all repair, an army of Beanie Baby squirrels on my desk, and an alarm clock that, despite my best efforts, is always just a tad too loud in the morning.
I giggle at naughty jokes, I even crack one every now and again, I swoon over cute boys, and I’ve gotten into a catfight or two.
I AM NORMAL!!!
Well…maybe not entirely.
See, while I do my best to act my age and mesh myself into my peer group, I was really a very, very early bloomer.
By the time I was in the fourth grade, I was reading at a college level…thinking at it, too. I was always (still am, unfortunately) the Brain of the class, the one that everyone else swarmed around for homework help. The one, who, when put into a group project, found herself doing it all, seeing as how all of her teammates mysteriously forget exactly how it was that they were supposed to make the diorama.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, my brain wasn’t the only thing to bloom early. In one year, I managed to go from a svelte little girl of eleven, to a chubby, pimply preteen, sporting frighteningly gargantuan double d’s. Lovely. Oh so very lovely. And then, to add on to the insanity, I had a lovely little cystic tumor pop up onto my face that very same year.
Periods and pimples and tumors, OH MY!
Of course, kids are horrible, horrible people (myself included, of course), and I was given complete and utter hell for my little growth. I had the resident jocks, Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum, and Tweedle Jacka**, all on me for the duration of that school year, always spurting out some acidic commentary about just what I could do about my pretty little face.
When you’re twelve, you just want to fit in. And when you’re as awkward as I was, being five foot tall, with a Pam Anderson bust line, and roughly the vision of an octogenarian, it’s hard! You just want to believe that there’s some good in people, and maybe they’ll let you sit at their lunch table with them every now and again.
Unfortunately for me, I had to find out at this young age how stupid and amoral most people are.
After that year, things started to change drastically.
My tumor was benign, thank God, but even its removal couldn’t get rid of the emotional scarring that I had been put through.
Needless to say, I wasn’t quite as docile anymore. I got bitter in big way. Fast. I didn’t deserve what they had put me through, and I intended to get my own pound of flesh in return.
Don’t worry, though, this story doesn’t end with me mercilessly killing anyone (although it would be an interesting plot twist, don’t you think?), just with me donning the black nail polish and eyeliner.
If there was one thing I was never, never going to do, it was give those vultures the joy of knowing that I, too, had gone over to the dark side. I wasn’t going to be their sort of girl, with the Uggs and miniskirts, halter tops and cute little hair dos. Oooooh no.
So instead, I became what I am now.
And I apologize for my little tangent there, but please; let me answer your original question.
Who am I?
I am a forty year old stuck in the body of a seventeen year old. I’m an insult comic who isn’t allowed to swear in the house. A writer, without the characters or the words, but not without the drive. I am a teenager who loves herself more than anyone else in the world. I am a completely confident realist with a taste for sarcasm and nacho cheese. I am my mother’s daughter.
I am Rachel.
Hear me roar.