1 I was born on my mother's 23rd birthday.
2 But I was 2 weeks late.
3 And arrived by emergency c-section.
4 I was clinically dead when I was born.
5 They found out I had a congenital heart defect known as ASD (Atrial Septal Defect) but couldn't figure out where I got it from at the time.
6 They figured out where I got the ASD from when my dad, who had never had so much as a cavity in his life, was rushed into open heart surgery when I was 17 to repair a tiny ASD that got aggravated from a still unknown cause.
7 My ASD was treated as an infant.
8 My first memory is of dumping hot chicken soup on my head.
9 My mom says I was about 18 months old at the time.
10 I got a cock-a-poo puppy for my 3rd birthday.
11We named her Sparky.
12 My sister Sharon was born when I was 4.
13 I remember sitting in the waiting room on the sticky plastic chairs in my sun dress while she was delivered by c-section.
14 Then I started pre-school.
15 And I hated the fact the teachers wouldn't let me play trucks with the boys.
16 I then went to a Catholic school for kindergarten through second grade.
17 There was a kid in my 2nd grade class who I now understand was probably mentally ill.
18 He jumped out the classroom window one day.
19 We were on the 3rd floor.
20 He was uninjured, but didn't come back to school after that.
21 We moved into the house my parents still live in when I was in 3rd grade.
22 I started going to public school at this point.
23 At this point I started getting bored in school.
24 My mom bought me a set of encyclopedias piece by piece at the grocery store each week.
25 I read them all by the end of the school year.
26 In 4th grade they tested me for the gifted program.
27 I scored exceptionally high in everything but math so they didn't let me in.
28 I would continue to be bored throughout elementary school and beyond.
29 I also continued to stink at math.
30 I got my period the summer between 4th and 5th grade.
31 We were on vacation at the time.
32 They didn't even teach us about getting our period in sex ed until the next year.
33 5th & 6th grade were nothing great & nothing terrible.
34 I was put in the "excelerated" class when I went to junior high.
35 I tied for the highest score on the state wide geography test.
36 But I missed representing our state at the National Geographic Geography Bee by 1 question.
37 I was in the school play when I was in 7th grade.
38 I started questioning my sexuality then.
39 Now, I don't feel the need to label myself in such a way.
40 I learned how to play the flute in junior high.
41 I still have the flute but I don't really play it much.
42 I became a vegetarian when I turned 14.
43 I picked up bassoon & upright bass in high school.
44 I also joined the speech & debate club.
45 That's where I met my best friend.
46He's married with 1 child & another on the way.
47 We don't get together much since he lives 1 1/2 hours away but we talk on the phone or IM all the time.
48He keeps me sane to this day.
49 I went to the national speech & debate tournament my sophomore, junior & senior years of high school.
50 I lost my virginity along the way.
51 I wasn't super popular but I also wasn't the butt of everyone's jokes.
52I was, however, fat.
53 And I started binging & purging for a few months.
54 My mom took me to a therapist who referred me to a nutritionist.
55 The nutritionist didn't get that I wouldn't eat meat.
56 So I stopped going.
57 And I'm still fat, but don't binge & purge.
58 I was in some plays in high school too.
59 I was also an extra in "The Amistad".
60 I decided I wanted to go to college far away.
61 I went to school in Montana for a year.
62 It got too expensive.
63 And I took Japanese.
64 That was a mistake.
65 I sucked it up & came back to RI.
66 I worked at JC Penney full time for a year.
67 I hated every minute of it.
68 Sparky died at this time
69 It was the first time I saw my dad cry.
70 I was 20.
71 I went back to the state college.
72 I found 2 profs who mentored me.
73 We are friends now.
74 They encouraged me to study abroad.
75 I wrote for a grant & won.
76 I spent a semester in Ghana.
77 I traveled around West Africa on my own.
78 I got malaria.
79 That's when 9/11 happened.
80 It was both scary & weird to come back to the US & see all the hatred & fear after 6 months.
81 I went to grad school in Indiana.
82 I went back to Africa a few times.
83 Once I roomed with a fellow grad student from Michigan.
84 We became very close.
85 She died in a car accident in Nigeria while on a Fullbright 2 years later.
86 That was also the year my uncle was killed by the cops.
87 We're still waiting for it to go to trial.
88 I have memorial tattoos for both of them.
89 I have 7 tattoos so far.
90 I plan on getting more.
91 I slowly got sick of being a poor grad student.
92 I slowly grew sick of grad school politics.
93 I decided to Masters out.
94 Little did I know a Masters in my field means nothing.
95 I got married around this time to the gentlest man I know
96 We've got a Pekingese dog named Romeo
96 Now we're trying to start a family
97 I am both excited & scared to have such responsibility
98. I'm also still figuring out what I want to do with my life
99. Nursing school?
100. My husband has the patience of a saint.
101. That's a good thing; I'm still not fully grown up.