When I initially decided to start this blog, I made a promise to myself that I would keep it semi-general at least for a little while. You’ve probably noticed by now that I have a strong love for poetry, and I keep mentioning my love for writing short fiction stories (Coming soon I promise).
There are other types of writing I hope to explore with this blog though. I love everything I’ve done including filming a short video and writing articles on technical advice for other writers out there. I plan to upload more of that content. A video will be posted to this blog by the end of the week!
However, I don’t want to neglect the other styles of writing that are out there. I think I learn so much every time I try something new. So today I’m going to be writing a childhood/personal essay. It’s been in the works for a couple weeks now and I’ve been having so much fun with it, so I hope you enjoy!
Dear Hannah Grace,
It was early September in our first-grade classroom, I remember it vividly. I was so excited to reunite with my childhood best friend, Brittany. Brittany’s dad was in the Army just like mine, and we played all the same games on the Disney Channel website in our free time. We obviously formed an immediate bond. Brittany and I gained reputations for being the quietest kids in the classroom, maybe even the whole school. Our energetic bubbly assistant teacher Mrs. Jordan would hold a green plastic microphone to our lips whenever we raised our hands, in a desperate attempt to get us to speak louder. We never did.
Today though, excitement was coursing through our veins. Not only had school started back up so we could showcase our tackily bright, neon-colored T-shirts and our new glitter pens we had pleaded with our parents to buy us, but it was time for the first Friday birthday shout out of the year. You knew that was a big deal Hannah Grace.
As someone who has a birthday on the very last day of August, even to this day, I get full of excitement when professors, friends, or employers remember to offer me a small shout out. Those of us with end of August birthdays had it rough growing up in school, sometimes never getting the honor of being tortured with the entire cafeteria erupting into a God awful, pitchy attempt at the standard “Happy Birthday” melody.
On this day though, Mrs. Bumgardener did not forget. She rarely forgot anything. With her short white hair and piercing glance that could silence even the rowdiest room of six-year-olds, she was the real deal. I had faith that she would not forget. Hannah Grace, you know how the birthday Friday shout out worked.
Mrs. Bumgardener would stand on the colorful rug in the front of the classroom with her hands on her hips and speak in an enchantingly excited voice. All of us would look to her eagerly, awaiting what would happen next, although we knew what would happen next. Those of us who had a birthday in the month she was announcing would get to walk to the front of the classroom and dig our hands into the brown, plastic treasure chest that stayed at the front of the classroom like the sacred artifact we all knew it was.
Hannah Grace, your Birthday is in August just like mine. I took a loss that day when she let you be the first one to sit on the small wooden stool, also known as the “Birthday Throne.” You announced to the class during the “birthday girl Q&A” that your favorite color was purple. Even though that was also my favorite, I didn’t want the utter humiliation of being a copycat. Out of sheer panic I blurted out that my favorite color was pink attempting to save some dignity that day. You didn’t believe me, but that didn’t matter because the rest of the class did.
Yet, I bravely persevered through that element of the day, fixated on the possibilities that laid ahead in the treasure chest. When we were finally granted access to the sacred chest, both of us stood over that chest at the same exact time. I saw it first. You know I saw it first, that magical, hypnotizing baby blue McDonald’s toy in the shape of Kim Possible’s Kimmunicator. I knew every line of that show. I had spent endless afternoons fantasizing about what it would be like to hold one in my hand. I was practically hypnotized by the possibilities of finally owning one, but you did something unthinkable Hannah Grace. You broke one of the most important, sacred, valued rules of childhood. “Finders keepers, losers weepers.”
You followed my eyesight and screamed with an inappropriate amount of rage for a liar, “I saw it first! Let go!”
My hand was gripped tighter around that blue plastic toy than I knew was possible at six-years-old. I knew I deserved it. I knew you were a liar, but I had been taught from the adults in my life that it’s important to be the bigger person and forgive people even if they don’t necessarily deserve it. So, I let go. Especially since the whole entire classroom was staring at us and even to this day, I hate to cause a scene.
I will never forget the smirk on your face and your group of mindless minions that flocked to your side. My blood was boiling with an uncharacteristic amount of anger. My fists were trembling and before I could stop it, I yelled,
“Your hairbow is ugly!”
Oh my god, did you absolutely commit yourself to the theatrics of it all that day. You opened your mouth and gasped, screaming for the teacher at such a volume only you could achieve. You threatened my reputation that day Hannah Grace. I was the good girl, the well-behaved girl, the always polite girl. I didn’t necessarily ask to be that girl but people, especially adults and teachers, liked when I was that girl, so I committed to the role. I knew how to put on a good show from a very early age.
Mrs. Bumgardener was shocked at my words. She couldn’t believe it. Her instinct was to demand an apology and so I apologized to the ever-so undeserving, filthily arrogant Hannah Grace.
I have to tell you something though. I believe that you hold on to memories for a reason, even if they don’t quite make sense yet. That memory is an important milestone for me. As the years went on, I learned a lot of people wanted me to find my value in being a well behaved, quiet, evenly tempered, conforming young woman.
Most of the women who raised me did not share this sentiment in the slightest, so it was a shock to me when I came to this realization in my teenage years. You taught me something though Hannah Grace that remains true to this day. I am a quiet, loving individual who prefers to steer clear of confrontation. But when I am staring in the face of a blatant wrongdoing, when I feel that same anger boiling in my blood, I am just fine indulging in it.
I am just fine with screaming in the face of injustice and fighting fire with fire, even if my lifelong reputation as a kind, well-behaving young woman is at stake. You see, I enjoy being a nice girl, but I enjoy being a strong-minded, independent woman who knows when to choose her battles even more.
So, it is after a significant amount of time Hannah Grace that I inform you, I stand by my reaction to your incomprehensible cruel act. Also, I admit my favorite color was not pink, it was always purple. I want to thank you though for the lesson I learned some years after this traumatic incident, and I can only hope you were able to learn something as well.
And P.S. Hannah Grace. I still don’t like your hairbow.