Chances are, if you’ve wondered around my page at all, you’ve seen my bio on my About page. You may have also read about my Year on the Road, and how much it influenced me as a person. But today, I’m going to go way back, and add a bunch more to the beginnings mentioned in my bio.
Today is S, for My Story.
I was born in a deep, swampy suburb of New Orleans, across Lake Pontchartrain, the fifth child and first daughter of my biological mother. My father was the creative in the house, with a unique, ‘old-world’ view on how art should be, and because of it, there was meaning in everything––from the clothes we wore, to the things on the wall, the books on the shelves.
I grew up in a home with high, cathedral windows that overlooked an old-growth pine forest, next to a golden river bordered in by white sand banks and magnolia trees. Thunder storms ravaged the property at least once a year, striking old timber dead and uprooting mammoths, until they would collapse with cracks in the night––only to become jungle gyms in the morning. I think I am one of the few people in the U.S. who can fully claim to have swung from three-inch thick vines on trees like Tarzan, hollering before a plummet into a deep umber pool of river water. Shoes were a hindrance to my dress code.
When I was three, the woman who birthed me and my father grew distant and separate––and his new love, my mother-in-heart, had my baby sister. A year later, my baby brother. Then, my youngest. In this way, I have became the middle child of eight children, though I’ve never met my oldest brother, and the second in line died of a brain tumor when I was only six or seven. So, really, in my head, it’s always been six. Four, on days where I prefer to not think of harder times.
We were the tribe, the country mice, my sister and younger brothers and I, and we ruled the forest. Lego parties of pirates and castles, explorers and astronauts were built up from single bricks every day in our outdoor screen room. My favorite memory of the place was finding a hummingbird inside the room one day.
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Have you ever held a hummingbird? It was so small, so frail, glistening in emerald and ruby as its small chest thrummed against the pad of my fingers. A little pink tongue, like a lily’s stamen, licked at my hand as it got over its shock. And then the birdly-bee took off, and you could say I’ve been obsessed with animals ever since. I’ve held wild bats, snakes, turtles, perch, and songbirds in my hands, and owned a wide spectrum of pets, as well.
But our lives in Louisiana were not meant to last, like the flicker of a candle on its last vestiges of wick, and eventually, the magic of the forest faded to the mundanity of small town existence. It wasn’t enough. Not for any of us. And so we packed up our things, through a few I Ching coins, and decided California was our next destination. This portion of the story I’ve already covered in my Year on the Road, but something else happened in California that altered, and continues to alter, my life profoundly. I met N J.
In one more month, we will have been together for five years. I’ve also mentioned how we met in another post, so I’ll keep it short here. Against remarkable odds, I met my Canadian girlfriend online, on a fiction site where basically everyone pretended to be men, because we were teenagers, and OMG, web predators are everywhere! (Not really, but that was what was on the news all the time back then.)
Against all odds of crossing paths, we did, and it changed both of us in irrevocable ways––meeting N J was the first step towards leaving America, for me. Coming to Japan. Living in the heart of Kyoto. We are as close now as we were when I first started staying up until 4 a.m. to get one more line of text in before bedtime ten years ago. It is hard to know one of us without knowing the other. We are always together, and we love it that way. We work together, read the same books, write in the same genres. We write together, even. It is a wonderful existence and not one I am ever going to get tired of. She’s my rock, my light, my inspiration, and everything that makes me happy all balled up into one super intelligent, witty, and (admittedly) weird ball of kick-ass woman.
So, yeah… a bit mushy. But, that’s part of how I got to Japan, and how I’m still here. My story isn’t over yet. I’m only twenty eight years old––and I’ve got a million other things that I want to be able to add to my stories when I’m old and too brittle to write or read anymore, but so far?
Yeah, it’s been a great ride.
What’s your story? Share your links! I don’t mind!