Tag Archives: personal

An Ode To Hadley

I put every dent in that car.

Hadley arrived two weeks after my 19th birthday after a desperate plea to my father about escaping my current living situation. It wasn’t outright, my mother taught me well how to manipulate. Instead, I called him up and said, “I’m working two jobs so I can save up for a car. Once I get a car, I’m going to move out of B’s house.” And my father, never too excited that my boyfriend and I lived together, was right on board with me getting away from that house.

Hadley already had over 150,000 miles. Her paint was peeling slightly, but when we pulled into that parking lot and I saw her for the first time with that “Happy Birthday” banner taped over her bumper, it was love. She was escape. She was freedom.

And I drove her like we were free, like we were above the laws of man and nature. There were never any serious accidents, but we squealed tires and skidded to stops and hydroplaned and slid and a few times, I thought the car was going to flip on turns I took too sharply. Once, someone ran into the side, and another time, I ran into the guardrail on a turn I took too early. There were the occasional “hitting things against the bumper”. There was no air conditioning. When it rained, I would have to drive with the windows down. The heater would have to be kicked at from the passenger’s side up until I got the actual fan fixed. I worked on the engine more times than I can count. Christmas presents were parts for the car, something else that needed fixed.

But through all that, she persevered. We persevered. In 2012, someone said she wouldn’t last the year. She could’ve gone another five, I’m sure of it. She was magic.

And there were the memories we shared. Cigarette burns trailed up the driver side near the window. I was learning how to smoke and drive, and A sat next to me and my hands would shake, I was so nervous around him. I would watch him drive my car, gripping the “oh shit” handle but still having faith in him that he’d get us back to his house.

There was Jay in the passenger seat and Ida in the back as we blasted Beyonce out of the one good speaker and danced at stoplights.

There was driving home from the Gogol Bordello concert, falling asleep in the backseat at a rest area cause I couldn’t make it all the way home.

There were those months where I was homeless and slept in the car in a Walmart parking lot.

There was my father and I fixing the spark plugs.

There was my mother helping me filled up my oils and liquids before heading back to Maryland. We both agreed that car never should’ve made it there with how low everything was, but it had.

There was this last time, where the radiator hose split and I knew I could fix it, I knew. And so Beatrice and I stayed up all night, trying to find that stupid part that no place open had carried.

Hadley was more than a car; she was my best friend. And I wish I could’ve passed her on to someone else, for someone to appreciate her as much as I had. But with over 250,000 miles and a back door that won’t open, dents and scrapes and no a/c, no one would buy her and it broke my heart, but I took her to the junkyard. I got $270, but she was worth so much more than that. She wasn’t broken. She could still travel.

Is it ridiculous that I’m this upset about a car? It was just a car, right? Just five years of my life.

When I worked at the restaurant, my friends painted my car for my birthday (back when my name was Jessica). That's Kelsey with her handywork on my car.

When I worked at the restaurant, my friends painted my car for my birthday (back when my name was Jessica). That’s Kelsey with her handywork on my car.

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The Five Year Flashback

In honor of my birthday passing, it’s time to look back to how far I’ve come from that tender age of eighteen. Eighteen was exactly when my life just, as the Fresh Prince himself puts it, “twist-turned upside down”. Let’s do a then and now comparison, shall we?

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Eighteen: Living with Brandon’s aunt, then living with Brandon and his family. No license, no car. No job. Going to community college for unknown reason. Head over heels with Brandon. Best friend is Nikki. Still using Myspace. Long hair. 180 pounds. Carefree. Irresponsible. Naïve. Angry. Dependent. Heavy into writing and Deviantart.

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Reading this, I can’t help but feel as though everything has changed. At 23, I live with actual roommates, but I’m signing on an apartment to live alone again soon. I have my license and a car and a job, one with benefits. I stopped going to college. I’m not in love or like with anyone. My best friend is still Nikki, but I added on Jay and Raquel and House. Myspace was traded for Facebook. I’m trying to regrow out my hair, but it’s still pretty short. My weight is definitely not 180 pounds anymore. I’m responsible…ish. I’m still naïve in some things, but not the way I was at 18. I’m still angry, but it’s not as raw. I’m independent. I haven’t written anything in a long time.

But what about what has stayed the same? I’m still adventurous and spontaneous. I still like the same music. I play the same video games, though they aren’t as important as they once were. I still have the same sense of humor. I believe that’s where the similarities stop though, though I did ask Nikki what stayed the same. Her answer? “Your height.”

Thanks a lot.

25 Things Most People Don’t Know About Me

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  1. I grew up In West Virginia. This came up the other night, and my friend said, “I never knew that.” So here it is. I was there from age 7 to 13 or 14, what I have dubbed the “formative years”. The only reason I came back to Maryland is because my mother couldn’t handle me anymore.
  2. I used to be Christian. A lot of people assume that because I’m atheist, I’ve just never been introduced to religion. Wrong. I was not only Christian, but I was one of the hardcore Christians, preaching and condemning people to hell. As my life got worse though, my faith dried up and died. I still love the people I went to church with, and sometimes, I still get impulses to say things such as “Send your prayers” or “Praise Jesus!”
  3. In fifth grade, I read every book for my age group in the school library. We took tests after every book to kind of keep a written record of how many books we were reading (I think this was voluntary?). I won an award for most books read and got a medal that I still have. I tried to duplicate it the next year, but because I had read all the mature books, there wasn’t much left for me to read and I would test on the smaller books without having read them. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to duplicate my efforts.
  4. I used to be a girl scout, and you know what? I loved it. I started as a brownie in West Virginia and made it to a junior. The only reason I quit was because when we moved from White Sulphur to Lewisburg, I had to change troops and those girls were straight up bitches.
  5. I hated wearing jeans and refused to wear them. I used to just live off of sweatpants and any other non-jean material I could find. I think it’s because I associated jeans with overalls.
  6. My front two teeth are fake. When I was younger, my mom asked me to check the time. I ran into the kitchen in socked feet, slid and hit my face on the counter. When I came back to tell my mom, she asked what had happened to my teeth. Weird thing is, her front two teeth were replaced, too. I think M2’s was as well. I have rebroken only one tooth, but it has been several times. Once was opening applesauce. Another time was eating pizza crust.
  7. My grandma and I used to sew hanging calendars together. And by sew, I mean put sequins on it.
  8. I took two years of Spanish. I retained about one sentence.
  9. M2 and I hated each other growing up. My mother had turned me against her as the “woman who had broken up our family” and though I knew that wasn’t true, it didn’t change my feelings toward her. We fought almost constantly until I moved there at 13/14, and we slowly reached a better relationship, but it didn’t get to the one we have now until after she moved out of the house.
  10. I never got to believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, but for some reason, my parents let me believe in the tooth fairy.
  11. I actually used to like cats. I think that changed when I heard my father say that he hated them, and I adapted that from him.
  12. I’m actually not a big sweets fan. People think that because of my size, I love things like cupcakes and pastries, but it’s not true. Most of this weight is from soda. For some reason, pastries are just never appealing to me, maybe because I know homemade is always better and I’ve grown up in a homemade food kind of life.
  13. I have this really intense theory on déjà vu and how it ties in with how our dreams predict the future. I firmly believe that I have psychic powers because of this theory.
  14. I hate romantic movies because I secretly love them and know that life is not like that. Rather than setting myself up for disappointment, I just don’t watch them.
  15. I secretly want to marry into the Russian mob so that I can be a mob wife. That’s one of my top dreams.
  16. I had the same hole in my ear repierced 3 times. I kept letting the hole close up because my ears are super sensitive and would get infected. This past time, my grandmother and I got our ears repierced together. She let hers grow back but I never did.
  17. I would have my eyebrows and lip pierced if I wasn’t scared of it getting infected, as I know my history with piercings is not good.
  18. My first cigarette was when I was nine. My best friend at the time, Dana, had stolen my cousin’s pack and we went for a walk and she lit one up. I took a hit and was disgusted, swearing I would never smoke again. That held me until I had a dream about smoking a cigarette. I woke up craving the taste, and have been smoking since.
  19. I still miss working in a restaurant, though I’d never do it again, not for tips.
  20. I’m extremely shallow. No one ever assumes this of me, but it’s true.
  21. I hate compliments. I never know what to do with them, and I always want to refute them.
  22. My friends, Dana and Desiree, and I use to sing at the Gospel Warehouse. They’d have famous people sing (I guess famous?) and then we’d sing, too.
  23. I laugh when I’m nervous. I read this guy’s palm that I liked and it said he would have a horrible accident, and I couldn’t stop laughing while I was telling him, I liked him so much.
  24. I give REALLY great massages. If I didn’t have carpal tunnel in my wrists, I might think about it as a career.
  25. I’m a hypochondriac. I recognize this and manage to keep it under control, but I’m constantly assigning symptoms and diseases to myself. Like I don’t actually know that I have carpal tunnel. I just feel like I might cause my wrists ache sometimes. It helps that I pretty much refuse to go to the doctor’s office.

10 Reasons My Dog and I Are Actually The Same Person

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  1. We both are very territorial. This is the primary reason as to why I can’t live with people. This is his primary reason for trying to attack some of my male friends when they playfully shove me.
  2. In tenth grade, we rocked the same amount of eyeliner.

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3. We both don’t like people.
4. We know who our family is.
5. When we see people we haven’t seen in a while, we don’t need their attention; they just need to recognize that we’re in the room.
6. We open things with our teeth.

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7. We both fear drains.
8. We get excited when someone says the word, “Lizard”.
9. We don’t like other dogs. Or really any other animals. Or small children.
10. We both always know who to go to for food.

Letter To Younger Self

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On Yes And Yes, Sarah started a chain of people writing letters to their 22 year old selves. Unfortunately, I am 22, but I still wanted to participate, so I wrote to my 12 year old self, so here it goes.

[Disclaimer: When I was 9, I began calling myself Joey, though I don’t know that I ever told anyone I wanted to be called that. Joey was short for Josephina. This lasted for a very long time, and I’m not entirely sure when this stopped.]

To Joey:

Right now, you are in the rock bottom of your life. I’m serious. This is as bad as things get. The good news is, things will get better. I’m not saying that things won’t get bad again, but things will never get this bad again.

I wish I could tell you all about your future, but we both know that if I gave you dates and times, I wouldn’t exist because you’d ruin the fabric of time and space. Instead, I will impart some of the wisdom I have gathered in our ten year difference, and hopefully that won’t ruin things too much.

For starters, you are scared of your body, and you have every right to be. Your body is fucking terrifying and no one gave you an instruction manual on it. You have no idea what changes are happening and no one is talking to you about it and school health classes are a joke. I still don’t know what happens to my body sometimes. We lack that body education all other women somehow magically receive. So unfortunately, that means I can’t tell you anything that’s really new to you, but I will say that if you can convince someone to let you get your legs waxed, do that. It’s expensive and you’re going to do it in the future, so it’s best to start on someone else’s dime. You can’t keep pretending you’re a boy forever.

Next, and this might be the most important thing this letter will ever say, embrace your weirdness. I’m not talking about your baldness, but like what you like and stop caring what people think. You’re weird. It’s awesome. Don’t be afraid to wear what you want to wear. If someone asks about your eyebrows, lie and tell them you’re in a gang and you have to shave your eyebrows. Be cool to yourself, cause right now, I think I’m the coolest person alive, and that’s a feeling I should’ve had much earlier in life.

Appreciate the people in your life more. Your mother has done some serious damage to your head, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is out to get you. Give your stepmother a chance. Stop taking out your disappointment about your new life out on her. Love your grandmother more than ever and make as many memories as you can with her. Keep the people important to you close, and let them know that you love them. Love while you can.

That being said, you need to stop loving some people so much. You need to learn to let go of the people who continually disappoint you, the people who have manipulated you, the people who are poisoning your thoughts against others. While you can love both parents at the same time, an argument that everyone in your life seems to think you’re incapable of, I think you should just love neither. Cut those ties now and your life will be a lot less stressful.

STOP DESTROYING THINGS WHEN YOU’RE ANGRY. Seriously, I want to wring your little neck for this. This is why we can’t have nice things. When you’re angry, go take your new puppy for a walk or write, but STOP destroying your own stuff! I mean, come on, at least destroy someone else’s stuff.

Get over your fear of PDA. You’re not supposed to take the whole “Cover your eyes, there are people kissing” thing so seriously. This will help tremendously, so please stop being awkward.

Start making a serious attempt at therapy. Enjoy it while it’s free. You might actually be able to work through some of your issues, and yes, you have many issues. I’m not saying that you’re super flawed, but everyone has issues, and you could improve yourself tremendously if you stop lying to yourself. You need this.

I want you to know that I’m proud of how far you’ve come, and how far you’ll go. This is the year you’ll get into photography. Take more pictures! Keep more of your pictures and don’t destroy them! Another side bit, but this one for 17 year old Jessica, please keep raw copies of your photos! I mean, you can do that, too, but remember that. And while journaling is not a good idea until you are probably out of the house, maybe keep an art journal or start scrapbooking? Just a suggestion.

Anyway, try to stay out of trouble! I know how hard that is for you!

Jaye