I’ve been implored by several lovely people to post my memoir on here. So here it, or part of it, is. (: Enjoy.
The problem with me is that I have multiple personalities. No, I haven’t been diagnosed by a specialist. It was my sister’s idea. Denya (I will probably always call her Denya, even though she hates it now) and I never agreed with each other. If she likes mayonnaise, I won’t go within ten feet of it. If I like blue, it’s her least favorite color. It was terrible when we were younger. Even though I was a year older, people thought we were twins because my mother sometimes made us wear matching dresses. I liked that, but wouldn’t ever admit to it, because Denya seemed to love it. Now, as for personality disorders, Denya and I constantly switched them. For a while, I was the horrible terror, and she was the sweet angel. We then switched, and I turned sweet, while she turned… shall we say… stubborn (among other things). It was really annoying. For instance, she would never turn off the light when we were going to bed. After a while, I would give up and get up and turn off the light. I always hated her for having that power over me, the final say, that forever-lasting endurance. “I can sleep with the light on. Suit yourself.” she would tell me. But I had the power over her when it came to social situations, and she knows it. Even nowadays, though we rarely wage our wars any more, she’s reluctant to introduce me to her friends because she’s afraid I’ll win them over with a smile and hug. I never wanted to take her friend from her, it just somehow happened. In retaliation, Dad sees her as the artist of the family, a role I used to have. Her paintings are hung up all around the house. In truth, though we are both more mature now, I don’t think we will ever stop competing with each other. Nor will we ever stop switching personalities.
I remember the last time it happened. When I was eleven, I fell into depression. It had to do with many things. I felt like the place we were living was too small, I wanted to go to a public middle school where I would have friends instead of continuing with home school. I felt like running away, made my plans, packed a bag, but I never actually went through with it. There were too many complications. That was a dark period, full of tears and fights with my Dad. It felt to me like Denya was perfectly happy, and they say that the best revenge is happiness. I still don’t remember how I got out of that depression, but I think it happened when Mom and Dad began to make plans for us to move when I was twelve. I got to constantly switch between the place on my uncle’s property to which Mom and Dad moved temporarily and my old house, which my Grandma and Great Grandpa were renting from us until we were able to sell it. That gave me a broader sense of freedom. I also started doing a cyber school, met some great people, went on a field trip or two, developed a crush on a boy. Basically, my life took off again.
I told my siblings stories on the car rides to and from home. I used to always tell stories. I still have many of my paper books from back home in Belleville. I made ten or fifteen little books, most of them filled with stories that I started but never finished. I feel sorry for all that wasted paper. My favorite toys were paper dolls. I somehow convinced my Mom to spend a few busy minutes of her day drawing, cutting and taping out a paper doll for me. I made all of her dresses, taking care with each one. Looking at them now, the outfits are plain and were quite obviously made by a five to nine year old. However, back then, they felt magical, something beautiful I’d made. The clip of scissors was probably my favorite sound. I loved to tell stories, and the paper dolls were often my medium. At night, Denya and I would steal into our closet with the dolls, whispering to each other as we shaped our blanket into little rooms for them. Mom didn’t approve of our staying up late.
My childhood felt very complicated to me at the time, and to cope, I spent lots of time in my backyard. When outside, I preferred to be alone. Sometimes I would sneak out early in the morning before breakfast and go sit on the rock outside of the garage. The robins would sing, and I would attempt to copy their beautiful whistles. Mourning turtledoves inside of our neighbor’s garage would also sing their sad songs. Ants crawled by my ledge, and I would talk to them. I was always talking to myself. Sometimes I did it in a British accent, others mumbling was in Russian, in the few words of Spanish I knew from Dora and Boots, or from the annoying, decidedly New “Yowk” accent of Dorris from Adventures in Odessey, our favorite radio show. If I could get it right, I realized, I could probably do any accent. I realized that the letter that changed the most between the languages was the R. When doing French, you start out with an eh. You then have to make a gurgling sound in the bottom of your throat and roll through it, finishing rather harshly. When doing British, you accent the T’s and D’s and ignore your R, the way my voice teacher told me to. In Russian, you have to roll your tongue in a way few Americans know how. Looking back at my writing, R is still my favorite letter. I always capitalized it unintentionally. I don’t have a favorite number.
In truth, I had always been majorly picky. I hated the feel of sand or anything else gritty; I wouldn’t eat my soup if there were boiled carrots in it. My aunt told me I was too thin because I didn’t eat enough, she had experienced my pickiness. I didn’t like her borsch, nor did I eat her mashed potatoes, they were too runny. Denya loved all foods, therefore gaining more favor with her. That was unusual, because usually I had the grownups attention, loving to sit with them at the table and listen to their conversation and gossip. It made me feel mature. However, spending time with my cousins was the best. They owned a huge trampoline, and their backyard led to beautiful woods and a private park. I hung out in those woods with Mark, younger then me, and a boy. Denya was best friends with Victoria. My aunt warned us to never go out into the woods, because she said we would get lost, but I told her that I could never get lost in the woods, or anywhere. Even when I was four or five, I could tell which church we were going to by which road we took. Halfway to the wrong church (American instead of Russian) had me screaming and running tears all over my favorite, beautiful golden dress. On the way back from vacation in North Carolina when we were nine, I took over for my Mom (helping Dad with directions) whenever she wanted to take a nap.
Long trips were spent miserably. I got headaches and felt like throwing up. I wanted to read (my favorite activity ever since I had learned how) but couldn’t because looking down for too long would trigger it. Benefits of this included getting free ginger ale and stopping whenever I needed fresh air. However, I recall, more often then once, choosing not to tell my parents how badly I felt. Thankfully it never resulted in a mess; there was always a bag ready for my deposits. I was a proud child; I hated to admit my faults, asking for forgiveness rarely, although in my remembrance I think that I always gave it freely. Too freely, it appears, I’m always too trusting of people. It always surprises me when they backstab and spread rumors.
I always felt uncomfortable around others because I knew I was different. In those days, our Dad liked us to wear skirts and dresses, Mom bought us all of our clothes. I usually saved my small allowance for new books (found for 25 cents at Yard Sales) or paper dolls (eight dollars was a lot of money in those days). I felt strange, set apart, having grown up in a very conservative church. My older cousins all looked so beautiful to me, so fashionable, so in. It was a funny feeling, to be envious of anybody. I still envy them, in many ways. However, I feel sometimes that I’ve gotten back at them for those feelings. Many are surprised to see me, me as I am now, at youth conferences whenever we visit each other. They remember me as a shy eleven year old, the gawky girl playing Indians and jumping around in their backyard. I’ve always liked to impress, to outdo, then and now.
On those days when we were especially lonely, Denya and I made ourselves an imaginary friend. She lived on the farm across the valley, a place we could see when we had swung to the highest points of our swing set. I liked to sing hymns on that swing set. I especially remember one spring day, it was around Easter. I sang every song I knew, and some twice. I closed my eyes and listened to the swing set rock up, down, in, out. It was a wonderful sound. Often our friend would ‘wave’ to us from the top of her father’s blue barn. Her brother was cute, older then us, and blonde. Denya and me dreamed about going over to her house and playing in the barn together, or having a tea party in her playhouse. I don’t remember what the girls’ name was. One time, Denya told me that today our family was going over to the girl’s house to play and have tea. Looking at each other, I decided that the lie had gone too far, but she wouldn’t admit to it. Three days later she finally did, and I think I cried. Perhaps both of us did.
One big difference between Denya and I was how we related to certain groups. She had a huge amount of trouble with our brothers, first P and then A, as they were born. If they walked into our room, she would yell at them to go out and slam the door after them. I couldn’t understand that about her. For me, boys were much simpler then girls to be friends with. They were always ready to share a joke or go defend our fort (the three-story tree house I had built out of old boards). Denya was also, unlike me, really good with babies and pets. I professed, and do to this day, to hate cats. They were nasty, selfish creatures, once you looked past that fluffy fur. But Denya didn’t care that it had gotten its foot run over by a car, she would pick up that cat, stroke it, and call it Twinkie Star.
I miss those simple days. They were days when I watched two raindrops racing down the windshield, and bet with my brother on which one would reach the bottom first. I could trust everybody, I was myself with everyone, encouraged to compete up front, instead of backstabbing. Deni and I would outdo each other, jump farther across the hay bales at James and Darla’s farm, and be a meaner Stepsister or a kinder Cinderella in the play we were performing for our parents. It was a good life, and sometimes, on days when there are no new books to read, I wish I could go back to it.
That’s it. (: Comment your thoughts.
-Lonely but Fabulous.