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August 14, 2010
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the day i was born was not a day of sparkling stars and soft-spoken lullabies, of rose-colored memories and warm autumn hearts. time did not stand still, but instead slipped between shrill cries and bitter words. but i would not know; i was not there. i cannot remember my first breath, and i cannot remember what i saw the first time i opened my eyes. but perhaps i never really learned to breathe – perhaps my eyes never opened after all.

when i turned five, i discovered the art of being alone.
i learned that there is no celebration song when you are twenty-three hundred miles from where you belong and your family has fluttered off into the sky. i was trapped at the foot of a stranger's bed, a salty ocean tide dripping down my face. though i had no candles to put out, i figured memories of a thirteen-year-old's cigarette smoke were substitute enough – i wished california would fall into the sea so this desert would feel more home.

when i turned six, i discovered the art of finding peace.
i had left the choking dust storms for the place i had lived all along; this time, when the clock struck another year since my birth, i found myself carried away into some strange new innocence. i saw missing-tooth smiles through the eyes of rubbery blue balloons and crawled through tunnels much more beautiful than the claustrophobia i had fallen through all my sweet short life. and although my thoughts were still covered by the silver silk of childhood, i considered that the years to come may feel the same as this day. (but i also considered that i may be very wrong.)

when i turned eight, i discovered the art of dreaming.
i wished that i could see the future, because i did not know if my mind and body would ever fuse back together, if i would ever fall back into the now-foreign world from which i came. so, under banners of purple and green, i pretended to take my place at the table of supposedly familiar faces, and together we swore on half-eaten cake and melting ice cream that someday we would be beautiful. (it occurred to me that i was the only one who might be lying.)

when i turned ten, i discovered the art of breaking down.
they told me i did not deserve the gifts they had given, for i had turned their home into a battlefield – i told them there was never any peace to begin with. and between the thoughts that i was yet another year farther from living and another year closer to dying, i let myself be shattered and broken. i hid from the clowns and thunderclouds and let the day pass me by, hoping this was how i would spend the rest of my life.

when i turned eleven, i discovered the art of giving up.
i spent the night seeking my purpose in the fallout of late-night radio – i never found it. my mind was hazy with the knowledge that love does not exist – i had watched it fall apart yet again today. the only gift i wanted to ask for was some sugar-coated serenity, but i figured that would not fit in a box and could not be tied down with the superficial bows i had thrown away years ago. so i covered my eyes with the thickest of blindfolds and sought to pin the tail on whatever i had left hanging upon the white-washed walls.

when i turned twelve, i discovered the art of being torn apart.
sardonic laughter filled hallways and school bells, lockers and classrooms, and waited for just a single tear of surrender and heartache. i was not celebrating another day since my birth, but rather the simplicity of hating and being hated. that night, i scribed a list of all the people i refused to love and tore it apart, then placed it in the smallest shoebox and wrapped it in golden ribbons. i wished i could be half as pretty – i wished i could make myself something more than the tiny pieces i had made them.

when i turned fifteen, i discovered the art of losing control.
i watched the rain pour and the wind rush in haphazard circles until the light around me was overcome by black. i found myself lying on the hardwood floor, petrified by the dark, slowly peeling myself away and searching for something beneath the shell of my skin. i was alone and abandoned, a shivering five-year-old all over again. when the candles came, there were too many to extinguish with my own breath. i let it go and waited for the ticking of moments and years to pull me back together – fifteen years of my life had passed; would finding my place in this world take fifteen more?

when i turned sixteen, i discovered the art of waking up.
i received a puzzle wrapped in scarlet lace that i still have not put together. it was a puzzle of ages and incidents, of the births and deaths before me, of disassembled bones and uneven heartbeats. i rode a roller coaster toward the sky and watched myself crash down to earth like a silver meteorite, like some kind of biological warfare that tipped the scales of my mind. i curled into songs of supernovas and satellites that brought me to life, and though the bitter taste of loss was coloring the days ahead, i swore i would do whatever it took to shatter the chaos and breathe again, because somewhere between disaster and disease, i had found God.

the day i turn seventeen will be the day i finally sew together the light and darkness i have known with the stitches of sunrise and twilight – and maybe that will be the day that i am finally alive, that i am finally born.
true stuff. it might not be good enough, but it's all i've got.

"at the bottom of everything,
then i finally start to believe.
this is the story of my life,
and these are the lies i have created.
and i swear to God i'll find myself in the end."

(also, when ~NonMiPiaceEnzo turned eight, he did not discover the art of being shot with a knife at chuck-e-cheese.)


lame feedback questions:
is it too wordy? does it fit well with the contest? do i describe my birthdays well enough or are they too general?
Add a Comment:
jessicaconk May 5, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
You've been featured here! [link]

Make sure to fav the article!
theresambraun May 5, 2011  Student Writer
Thank you! :]
neonsquiggle Oct 3, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
One of your best. (: I like the wordy-ness.
A-Rose-In-Misery Sep 4, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Beautiful, truly beautiful.~ :rose:
I was very interested in everything you had to say and I loved the way you layed it out with each paragraph a different stage in your life. No, it's not too wordy and I think the imagery and language you used really fits with the mood of the piece. I'm not really sure what you mean by the last question... But it was all very well-written. Sounds like it was tough for you.~
theresambraun Sep 26, 2010  Student Writer
Thank you. :hug:
Starry-Owl Aug 20, 2010   Writer
wow, this is wonderful... Amazing writing... That is all I can say, really, :)
theresambraun Aug 21, 2010  Student Writer
Thank you! :]
Starry-Owl Aug 22, 2010   Writer
no problem, :)
FallenUmbrella Aug 18, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist

is it too wordy? does it fit well with the contest? do i describe my birthdays well enough or are they too general?
I think it has just the right amount of description, so your birthdays are described well enough for us to relate to them. I don't think they are too general at all...I mean, I think I was different in those birthdays ^^;

So like I said, this is very descriptive. You have written very vivid descriptions of your birthdays that made it very interesting to read. Of course, I think your grammatical errors were intentional...your descriptions and those intentions sort of make it feel very nostalgic. It's a memoir, after all, so it should focus on you and what you have learned in these experiences.

I also loved the form of this memoir. It shows me in a creative and moving way how you aged and learned from life. Every time you had a birthday, you learned an art. Also, it kept me very interested in how this would turn out.

Overall, I love it. I'm glad you learned something about life.
theresambraun Aug 21, 2010  Student Writer
Thank you so much for your feedback! :]
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