I always knew I had the short end of the stick being that I had two older brothers. I wanted to be with them for every hour of every day. I wanted to do everything they did and sometimes they let me and sometimes they didn’t. My parents obliged my fantasies of playing flag football, baseball, soccer and every sport my brothers played, but I knew I wasn’t going to go anywhere with football and baseball at least. As for football, I wanted to keep my brains intact and honestly, not get tackled all the time. I wanted to live the longest life I could. As we grew older, I spent more of my time concentrating on becoming a star in my own right in soccer. I woke up early to go running. I practiced my juggling skills in my bedroom after my family went to bed and found as many pickup games as I could on the weekends.
My parents, already having two boys, oscillated between wanting me to be girly and wear bows and dresses and finding it easy to pair me up with the boys and let me run wild. Soccer allowed me the freedom and the excuses to spend my time playing outside and away from the television. I always felt attacked by the amount of news and information being hurled at me on a regular basis. But I also knew soccer gave me the chance to go to college on scholarship if I worked hard enough. I knew soccer was my ticket out of town and my ticket to freedom. I spent as much time honing my skills on the field and with pen and paper with the full knowledge my parents couldn’t pay for all three of us with the education they thought we deserved. They were hard-working middle-class parents who wanted the best for us, but didn’t have the financial means to send us to the Ivy League colleges they wanted us to attend. Soccer and writing were my future, just as Micah had engineering and Jacob had dentistry.
The day I applied for Brown for Creative Writing was the day I knew I was going places. High school had left me frazzled and I was ready for a new start. A new start where I could be anyone I wanted to be. Anyone I needed to be. And to do that, I needed to get away from everything and everyone I knew. Brown was the first opportunity I had to get out from under my family’s wing and my brothers’ shadows and finally be myself. I knew I needed room to breathe and getting away was the only way to go. Writing about it was the only way to go. I had too many secrets shoved away to leave them there. Everything needed to come out and my entire town was about to explode. Which was exactly what I wanted to happen.