Posted by: alphafemme | September 28, 2009

honest scrap

Having been tagged last week by Em the Femme, I proceed to offer here ten honest things. They won’t be particularly revealing, because I tend to write pretty candidly as it is, and just about everything I can think of as an honest truth that IS revealing is something that I would rather write a full post about at some point. So, instead, here are ten honest things that will maybe help people get a better image of who I am and what my life is like…

1) I’m the oldest child of my parents; I have a sister who is just over a year younger than me and a brother who is five years younger. One of my favorite photographs is of my dad holding me minutes after I was born. He looks humbled and infatuated and gentle and adoring. He told me a while ago on the phone (context eliminated) that my birth was the first moment when he felt truly human. He’s the one who gave me my name, and he chose it because translated it means “first woman.”

2) I am a pianist. I started my classical piano training at age 5, and in my childhood and adolescence I played quite seriously, practicing hours a day, and competing and performing as well. For most of my young life, I assumed I would be a pianist (as a career). It was my identity, and I didn’t know anything else. I went through a major, major identity shift in my late teens, which included coming out to myself (among other things), and I think the emotional stress of it contributed to the physical injury to my right wrist which completely put a damper on my musical aspirations. For a year and a half, I couldn’t use my right hand at all, and once I could, I had lost much of my agility that made me a technically skilled pianist. I still play, and I have as much musicality as I ever did, but I don’t think I’ll ever be as good again as I was when I was 15. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with that, and sometimes when I hear beautifully played piano music I get so, so sad; I’m still grieving what to me felt like a death of a part of me.

3) When I was in tenth grade, my family spent six months living in London. My siblings and I attended a small private school there, and the experience was partly liberating and partly devastating for me. Liberating: the big city, the starting from scratch with new people, the excitement of London and living something entirely different from the suburban life I was accustomed to. For the first time, I was given much more independence by my family, and would often stay out late even on school nights, hanging out with friends and classmates (and boys I dated…). Devastating: I spread my wings too far and flew too high. I lost track of who I was. I dated irresponsibly and bruised people I should have cared more about. Sometimes, completely randomly, I’ll breathe in and something in the air takes me back to London. Strange how that happens.

4) *Ahem* I need to lighten things up a little bit. A little breather: When I was a little girl, my little sister and I would wake up at the crack of dawn (if not earlier) and rush downstairs, the whole world waiting for US to be AWAKE. And we would run to our play room, grab buckets of crayons and markers and stacks of coloring books and just sit on the floor of our living room and color until the rest of the house woke up. She would grab whichever coloring book appealed to her most, and used whatever creative juices she had flowing that morning to render her own interpretation of the black-and-white picture in colored marker/crayon/pencil on top of the original. She was not one for following the rules. I, on the other hand, would carefully pick the top coloring book from the stack, open to the first un-colored page, and make sure to use only the most realistic colors and color carefully within the lines of the original picture. I also never mixed media — if I started with crayon, I stuck with crayons throughout. My sister and I are two peas from separate pods that grew on vines far, far away from each other.

5) I have low blood pressure, and I faint quite easily. Some places I’ve fainted: on an airplane while reading the in-flight magazine, on the toilet while removing a bandaid from my knee, in church while reciting the Our Father, in an excruciatingly boring Monday morning seminar, in the shower. The list goes on. I hate fainting, but sometimes, when I really, really don’t want to be somewhere or do something, I secretly wish I would faint so that I can get out of it :(

6) I spent my senior year of high school living with a host family in Munich, Germany. (Side note: I never graduated from high school as a result! I love telling folks I’m a high school drop-out.) This year was also part liberating, part devastating. I won’t get into that here, because I think I’m going to write about that at some length in the near future. Suffice it to say I’ve been doing a lot of processing about it in recent weeks.

7) I love books. In fact, I realized during my year in Germany that places with no books make me feel ill at ease. Not in the short-term, but over an extended period of time. My host family there had no books (seriously, none) and it wasn’t until several months into my stay with them that I realized I was homesick for books. (My parents growing up, in contrast, had books lining at least one wall of every room in the house.) So now, I’m a book horder. I love libraries because of all the books in them, but when I read something, I rarely take it out from the library — I buy it. I like to make it mine, mark it up, smell it, drink tea with it, get cozy with it. And I prefer to buy it used (in fact I hardly ever buy new books) because they’re more lived-in, more human. I also prefer to buy them in stores, rather than online. Bookstores are my favorite places to spend time. So quieting.

8) I’m really, really horrible at keeping in touch with people. Instead of posting this right now, I should probably be answering any one of the dozens of emails from old friends and family members that are sitting in my inbox glaring at me. I don’t know why I’m so bad at this, and it’s something I keep trying to change, but somehow it just doesn’t happen. Sigh.

9) I LOVE shoes. Love them. Books and shoes are probably my two greatest frivolous expenditures. Also, contrary to many women, I find heels more comfortable than flats (with the exception of sneakers, but obviously I’m not going to walk around in sneakers all the time). Links to some of the many shoes I own are here, here, here, here, and the classic, which I wear ALL the time (see banner at top of page…).

10) I used to hate to cook, but now I LOVE it. There is something so wonderfully satisfying about putting together a balanced, delicious meal using local ingredients so that it’s all in season and fresh… I’m not vegetarian or vegan, but my roommate is very vegetarian so I never bring meat, fish, or meat/fish products of any kind into the house at all. Which is great, because I end up cooking really healthy stuff. It’s a stress reliever too. Can be stressful at the beginning, trying to think of something to cook, plan for it, et cetera. Especially if I have a time crunch. But I never, never regret it once I’ve done it. In fact, from time to time, I will probably be inspired to post a particularly successful cooking endeavor, more for my own records than for public consumption, so feel free to ignore. My next cooking goal (for this week) is to make fondue! Yummmm. Yesterday, I spent the whole afternoon with my roommate re-organizing our tiny kitchen, and the best thing about it was uncovering all these amazing unperishable pantry items I’d forgotten we had. Also, TEA. We have SO MUCH TEA, of every imaginable kind.

Well, I think that about does it. Phew! That was long. Now you all know a bit more about me than you did before. Any questions? :)

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Responses

  1. EXCELLENT list! There’s so much in there that fascinates me about you. Piano, London, Germany – you’ve lived quite a life and you’re so young. I look forward to reading more about you.

    #8 – that’s me. At 35, that’s still me. I don’t know why.

    Chuck Taylor’s are hot. Wear them well, my girl.


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