At the end of high school, I led a life that would have related well to Ferris Bueller or Max Fischer, Jason Schwartzman’s character in Rushmore. I didn’t exactly fit in at school, but I did my own thing and wound up pretty pleased. I got away with a lot of stuff. I managed to figure my way around the school’s system well enough to basically get myself whatever I wanted.
I ditched school a lot. My friend Lindsey and I made “Psych Ditch Days” a regular occurrence, where we would bail ourselves out of Psychology class using passes I would write for myself and do something fun like go buy junk food and hang out at a park, or get sandwiches at C’s Deli, our preferred high school hang-out.
Surprisingly and unsurprisingly, I spent my last day of school in the principal’s office, with the principal and both vice principals present. We had printed a really controversial piece in the paper about the pep rally where the school’s administration gave a kid detention for doing a William Hung impression yet turned a blind eye to a group of students wearing t-shirts that spelled “white power,” white being the sophomore class color. I argued that our mock William Hung was being considered an Asian stereotype, while he was really just doing a specific celebrity impersonation, and that “white power” was a lot more blatant. To be sure, I took a picture of the students in their shirts and published it.
I mostly did all of that since they wouldn’t allow Jeremy and I to do a routine we picked up from YouTube called the Yes Dance. We were told that we could, but if we did and a single person was offended, we would be banned from prom. I couldn’t possibly risk doing that to my date, so I backed down and got my revenge in print. As the administration dealt with me, I mostly zoned out, my mind entering summertime mode. Soon enough, the bell rang, and I joined the Class of 2008 in the middle of campus as we lavished each other with chocolate syrup, sparkling cider, confetti, and whipped cream.
Little did my friend know that her question would prompt me to begin ambitiously pining that question. I had been discovering that our lives contain stories, are stories, and are part of a bigger story, and connecting with these stories and their Author results in a life really being life.
Over the course of a month and a week in Argentina, I would spend nights in my homestay without internet just typing furiously away my story. It didn’t feel like work at all, it was as natural as stream of consciousness writing is. When I finished, I wound up with over 200 pages on Microsoft Word. Single spaced.
What I had was my story on paper. It was a story about redefining love, rediscovering faith, and releasing hang-ups. It's a story worth telling, as is anyone's who pays attention to story in their lives.
In a culture so focused on facts and arguments, it's important that we don't lose sight of how humans really experience the world: through story.
This is my story. I'm just putting it out there. There will be some moments I look back on fondly, and there will be some moments where I will be very vulnerable with you.
I will be posting a bit from my story everyday. It's a long read, what I wrote. This will probably be a lot more manageable.
Thanks for following along.
The story begins on 30 January. Subscribe via RSS.