Thursday, January 31, 2013

Seven Years Ago

A few minutes ago, I was reading a book that challenged me to think about who I was exactly seven years ago. “Are you exactly the same person you were then?”

In January of 2006, I was 20, and in a relationship with someone a bit younger than myself. That relationship was emotionally abusive, and would end a few months later. I can't clearly remember the last few months of that relationship, but January might have been the time my boyfriend was growing pot plants, against my strong protests, in the rundown trailer by my mom's house. I think it was around the time we started hanging around my friend Sarah again. It was a couple months before we saw Queen + Paul Rodgers live in Jacksonville, and a couple months before I first met my friend Val. I didn't yet have either of my two current cats, but I had several others, and a dog, and my boyfriend had a dachshund he mostly ignored and a cat named Kasey. I was still chatting regularly with my friend Spiffy and had just recently gotten back in contact with my friend Terry; the two of them weren't dating then, but would be later that year and still are.

I had never heard of unschooling then. I was in community college, working on my AA with an eye toward a BA in special education. I have no clear memory of what classes I took that semester, although a quick glance at my transcript tells me it was a boring term, with history and English and earth science. The only thing that stands out in my memory is that my history teacher was Nigerian, and told American history from a strongly black angle, which I found refreshing.

Mentioning the earth science class brings back a memory of visiting my boyfriend's soon-to-be workplace, trying to study my textbook in a small room with construction going on all around. He was doing electrical apprentice work, and had to be there very early in the morning. He claimed to be unable to rouse himself from sleep unassisted, so I would have to wake up at 4am to see him off to work. I watched a lot of Neon Genesis Evangelion on those mornings, and I think this was around the same time my boyfriend got obsessed with Rammstein, so I was in a weird headspace in those days.

I can't remember if this was before my cat Betty Boop ran away. I think it was. That was one of my favorite pets I've ever had, and it was my boyfriend's fault she got outside. I'm still pissed off about it, but it was because that cat ran away that I got my cat Jake, who I like even better.

I was still living as female, and using my birth name. I had long hair because my boyfriend preferred that, and I wore flare jeans and low-cut shirts. I wasn't a feminist yet, and was proud of being “different” from “other girls”. I hadn't yet considered that feeling so different might be because I wasn't so much of a girl.

Notable events from later in 2006 include breaking up with that boyfriend (who I still have nightmares about, all these years later, and wake up in a panic because there's a man in my bed, and have to remind myself that it's my current partner), coming out as bisexual and then as a lesbian, getting my first job in the biology lab at college, going to my first gay pride, taking ASL II and III, smoking pot for the first time (I never touched the stuff while my boyfriend was growing it), meeting Terry in person for the first time, turning 21, becoming a Unitarian, getting Jake as a kitten and getting a brand new computer around the same time. I got obsessed with the book And the Band Played On and the band Scissor Sisters. My dad showed up in my life, briefly, around Christmas, after not contacting me for something like a year. Overall the second half of the year was a lot better than the first half.

I don't have any clear memories of my mom that I can pin directly to that year, but she was there. I don't think anybody in my life died in 2006.

Who were you seven years ago?