Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Year (A birthday's lament)

year - noun

1. a period of 365 or 366 days, in the Gregorian calendar, divided into 12 calendar months, now reckoned as beginning Jan. 1 and ending Dec. 31
2. a period of approximately the same length in other calendars.
3. a space of 12 calendar months calculated from any point

Happy Birthday to me! To celebrate my 27th year, I've picked out 27 moments in my life that have been significant. The first ones are in a somewhat chronologically but around #12 I was getting bored, so I mixed them from there.  They're not the most significant moments by any measure. Some are funny, some are sad, some are strange, some are boring.

#1 My first memory
The very first thing I can remember is peeking out under a white plastic bucket and seeing the tips of my father's going-out-into-the-muddy-field-or-wild-forest-to-fix-something-wellies. I remember being aware of something weird floating in front of me. I now realise it was my nose. This has not shaped my relationship to wellies, buckets or noses, but it does seem like an awfully early time to start contemplating vision. Guessing I was around 1.

#2. Learning to read
I remember very clearly the first time I ever read a word. I remember the light bulb flicking on in my head as I discovered that the sounds matched up, and created a recognizable word. A word I could understand. I was about 3 1/2 years old, and the first word I read was HURRA (Norwegian for Hurray!). It was in a book about the body, and on a drawing of a woman giving birth with a guy (the father, I hope) holding a poster saying "Hurra!". My husband will not like having to hold a poster like that, but I feel it's necessary to keep my perception of how life works intact. Also because maybe, just maybe, we can teach our kids how to read while traumatising them at the same time.

#3 I remember hugging my grandparent's dog, thinking he could read my mind if I didn't breathe.
Why I couldn't breathe I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it worked.

#4 Talking teddy bear
I've addressed this before. I had a purple teddy bear. One day it talked to me. I could hear it clearly and I saw it move. Although I was just four years old, I had sense enough do doubt my experience, so I ran to my mum. When I got there, I was afraid it was an "only children can hear it" type thing. I ran back into my room... only to discover she had fallen silent forever. I somehow felt guilty for doubting her in the first place, and it's only a few years (don't judge, it's my birthday) since the last time I tried to quietly ask if she had forgiven me yet.

#5 I made all the kids in my kindergarten who weren't baptised play separated from us baptised kids once.
This still haunts me as the beginnings of a psychopathic serial killer.

#6 First piano lesson
I remember being about 6 years old and super nervous, and so surprised at how easy it was when someone just explained what all the black dots meant.

#7 First real text
I remember the first time I wrote something that had my teachers and my parents stop and listen to me, That's when I realised words were my preferred tools for taking over the world, and that I wanted to take over the world. One of them is still true.

#8 I chose my middle name (Amelia) because I thought I was an elf/fairy (Norwegian alv) and if I found my elven name "they" would come find me. I was a strange child. I was also obsessed with Amelia Earhart, the ideas must have been linked.

#9 Got a painting nominated in a national art competition for youth. It gave me a confidence I quickly lost, but it was nice at the time.

#10 First time I had a leading role in a play/musical, I was 12 years old and sure I would be on stage forever.

#11 First time I saw a big stage production of a musical abroad I couldn't sleep the following night because I was shivering with the excitement.

#12 The last night of the show my class put up when I was 15, they gave me flowers. I still have them. 

#13 My very first pay check 
I started working in a hairdresser's when I was 13. The very first pay check I got, that wasn't limited in any way I got when I was about 15. I spent it all on buying about 8 kg of mixed wrapped candy, a whole lot of fabric and had my mum make me a clown costume. It was a clown costume for a white faced but happy clown. I clearly didn't understand clowning rules. I went to Oslo and handed out candy as if there was no tomorrow. This was 2001, there was Anthrax scares going on, but I still managed to hand out my 8 kg of candy in about 4 hours. I have a picture from that day, I look insanely happy and terrifying.

#14 First time I calmed myself down from an anxiety attack I knew I would be all right in the future 

#15 Getting a computer with internet in my room changed my life, literally, over night.
Seriously. It took one night. Friendships, new geeky hobbies, music, dreams, plans - they were all there. I had a long period where I practically didn't sleep, but lived my "real life" at night.

#16 Dropping out of High School and moving across the country to a new town is the scariest, most idiotic and best thing I've ever done.

#17 The first time I looked at the night sky in 5 years (!), was the most horrible and wonderful feeling. I hadn't looked up in 5 years because my first anxiety attack was triggered by an asteroid film, but at that moment, when the stars were all "welcome back, dude!" and I was all "Thanks, stars!," on my knees in amazement, I decided never to let fear stop me from doing something again. Which has gotten me in all sorts of trouble since.

#18 The first time I was attempted mugged, I gave the thief a lecture that was so harsh and cold he ran away. 

#19 When my sister, my mum and I went to Prague for our first "girls' trip", it was the beginning of a love affair with Prague that I hope never will pass. Oh Prague, I want to be in you.

#20 Snorkeling on Iceland, in a dry-suit that was too small, with two left gloves and one boot that didn't fit, is the only time I've thought I was going to die. The pride I felt in keeping my head clear, holding the panic away, focusing on one thing at a time, being all "you're not gonna kill me ice cold water!" and "shut up Mr. Panic, you're not being helpful!", is unmatched by any other pride I've felt. And I've been proud.

#21 For my grandfather's 95th birthday I wrote a poem, and I read aloud. My father's face when I was done  is something I will never forget.

#22 My trip to Italy. 
a) I had never done yoga
b) I was extremely scared of flying
c) I had never gone anywhere alone
d) I didn't speak Italian
I cried and clung to my father at the airport, much like a child but larger and louder. When I got to Casperia, the tiny place where I ended up staying at a yoga retreat, I was so overwhelmed I could hardly speak. It is one of the best things I've ever done, but in retrospect I have no idea how it happened. My father and I agree that it's perhaps unnecessary to break quite as many barriers at the same time. And if one does, one should perhaps wait to tell ones father until one gets back...

#23 My trip to Morocco was awesome. Enough said.

#24 Getting married
It shouldn't have changed anything, it really shouldn't. We had already lived together for years, and I had known for a long time that he was the one. But getting married changed everything.

Somehow, knowing that the person you're married to chose to marry you, even though you're horrible at taking the trash out, your body isn't perfect, your voice gets super squeaky when you're annoyed, and you tend to hide in weird placed to scare your better half, then forget what you're doing and get super annoyed when he scares you by accident, it really takes some of the pressure of. It just does.

#25 Going back to school 
I love being a student. I take a perverse pleasure in grammar, linguistics, reading, writing, learning, getting up early and being under constant stress. Smart move!

#26 Going abroad to study
Hard. Wonderful. Brilliant. Social. Scary. Angsty. Lonely. Lovely. There aren't enough adjectives in the world.

#27 Finishing my first novel
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) changed everything. Inside and outside. I've finished my first novel, I'm editing my first novel, I love my first novel, I laugh when I read my first novel. This is good. This is really good.

So! People in the blogosphere. I can see you stopping by. Leave a comment and tell me about one of your moments?

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