I was born in early March at a reasonable time in the morning, arriving exactly on my due date. Being the first and only girl in my family and not crying too much in the night as an infant, my mom said I was the perfect child. Maybe that was true while I was an infant. My parents were wonderful and my three brothers were my friends. Our vacations were mostly going to reunions and visiting relatives, but I enjoyed them. I loved belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, going to church on Sundays and participating in the youth programs when I got to the appropriate age. Taking on assignments in my church starting from a young age helped build my confidence.
These included dusting and organizing objects for a big yard sale (which I doubt ever occurred) and providing a listening ear to a kindly woman who happened to be a hoarder; packing tea and other random products such as nail cuticle remover at a center that employed adults with learning disabilities, where I fought ennui with endless streaming through my earbuds; making sub sandwiches and running to the bathroom 10 times a shift due to continual SoBe refills, and ignoring the glances of the male friends of my coworker who lived in a halfway house, the ones who always wandered in when it was just us two ladies in the evenings; giving customer service at a department store where my main assignment was in lingerie and I studied Spanish for my college class on breaks and then practiced with my Spanish-speaking customers, and where nothing was too eventful except on Black Fridays or the day a man called in and asked a barrage of questions about saucy items on sale and made me go pink when he started to describe unnecessarily what he’d like to use them for with his girlfriend and asked for advice on what was best for that, at which point I told him I had to return to my other customers (there were none at the time) and hung up, not bothering to tell him he could look at options online or come into the store to find what he needed (as if I wanted to see him in person); and helping Medco by Mail customers at a call center, where I was when I learned that Michael Jackson died, and I pondered things in between calls like what it’d be like to live with an arm that ended before the elbow, like my manager had, and the only calls that stick out now were when a man told me to tell Obama to “stick it where the sun don’t shine”, the woman who went quiet when I asked for the customer and told me haltingly it was her husband but he’d died a few weeks before, and the man who was happiest to refill his Rx, but gave enough clues for me to figure out he had major memory loss and lived in a nursing home, so I couldn’t process his request.
After high school, I attended Arizona State University and earned a bachelor’s in English (Creative Writing). They didn’t offer a full Creative Writing program until the year after I graduated. Some highlights during this time include my internship with the Boys and Girls Club where I mostly tutored kindergartners and first graders, and singing with the ASU Women’s Chorus. I loved being able to read and write for my classes but I did feel like something was missing.
After adventures like walking barefoot after my slippers fell apart on the steaming, dirty streets of Beijing, getting lost in the Xi’an Muslim quarter, getting robbed, nearly run over by buses or other vehicles a few times, almost poisoning myself by eating bitter almonds (I didn’t know at the time they were different from their sweet cousins), eating things like donkey and frog, going out on “dates” with one of the single teachers, getting my citizenship changed to Canadian, and many, many more, I was ready to come home.
I found a day job and began spending a lot of time writing on my time off, and eventually recovered from reverse homesickness, continued to grow, build friendships and figure out what adult life should be like after college and my “gap year”. When I started writing poetry regularly in 2015 I was a bit surprised at how much I enjoyed it. When I joined the American Night Writer’s Association over time I felt the push to pursue my dream of sharing my writing with a wider audience. A bit of what was missing is starting to appear.