There are few things more woeful than a chubby middle school student with a bad haircut and an over active imagination. My desire to stand out and be popular made me into a child liar. I took my tales directly from books and movies that I loved because even as a 13 year old I knew that my mundane life wouldn’t sell. That isn’t totally true as my second grade teacher told my mother that I was sneaky and full of lies. Which, isn’t nice, but also may have been a little true. So, today I would like to apologize and admit to some of my more insane lies.
You may be shocked by this, but a serial killer never roamed Farley and attacked me in my sleep. He never burned me or left scratches on my arm. This lie was directly related to my wanting to be Patricia Arquette in A Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors. I considered this to be the Citizen Kane of the Freddy movies. The lie started off as a story that I told my friend to entertain her on the phone one night. The “King Street Killer” was haunting my dreams and causing me physical harm. The killer could only torture me if I was in a dream so the burn and scratch marks were from where he would try to pull me deeper into the sleep world. He wanted me to live in the sleep world with him so he would not be lonely. I originally tried to actually burn myself with a pack of matches I had found in our kitchen cabinet, but here is the thing: fire hurts. I would wait for the bus, strike each match, and wait for the tip to glow. I would then blow out the match and hold it to my skin. Never, not one time, did it ever leave a mark. So I decided that it would be a much better plan to scratch myself. I would drag my finger nails down my arm leaving white lines on my plump skin. I scratched myself over and over hoping to gain the interest of anyone. I wanted and needed their attention to fill up something that I felt I lacked. Scratching myself wasn’t leaving deep enough welts so I decided to get into my mother’s makeup. One morning I grabbed her lipstick and drew four scratch marks on my arm. I rubbed them in and thought they looked realistic enough. I went to school and the story of the “King Street Killer” spread. I acted sleepy and scared when I told the story, apparently the story made its way to a teacher because later that day I was asked down to the office to explain myself to an adult. They looked at my lipstick-stained arm and knew that it was a lie. They suggested that the King Street Killer needed to go away and he did that day. Although the King Street Killer never reappeared, other lies did.
I never went deaf because of spinal meningitis. That lie was because the book club I belonged to sent me a book about a young girl who loses her hearing and has to learn sign language. One classmate believed me and added me to her church’s prayer list. I had to then tell another lie saying that I was misdiagnosed and grateful for the prayers.
I never had a relationship with a young man I met while walking on my grandmother’s farm. First because I would have never went walking and second because there were no young men in West Plains, Missouri. That lie had everything to do with Patrick Swayze being shirtless on a log in Dirty Dancing.
I never fronted a rock band and spent the summer in New Jersey. That was Justine Bateman in Satisfaction.
I was never a French foreign exchange student named Simone who lived in fear of her strict foster family. This lie was told at Kingsway Skateland and became difficult to keep up with when we started receiving phone calls for Simone at the house.
I never took or taught dirty dancing lessons; that was again Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray.
I never had the nickname “Gordie,” that was Wil Wheaton in Stand by Me.
I was a middle school liar and now I admit it.
See, my dream was always to be a writer or a storyteller. However, my life was never interesting enough to write about, so I stole the lives of other people. It would only be a few years later that my life took a turn and became much too interesting for a fifteen year old. On that day I left the mall with my boyfriend. We went and parked at Noble Park. We sat in his broken down, matte-finished black truck and held hands. He quizzed me about music and quoted Lynard Skynard to me. I felt grown up and in love. Some of his friends pulled up and we talked though the open windows of our car. They asked me if I wanted to smoke with them and tried to pass the joint through the window. They asked if I wanted a drink and they tried to pass a glass bottle of dark alcohol through the window. I immediately knew that I was in over my head. These kids were older and wild, and I wanted the security of my friends and the mall. I wanted the blandness of nights with Kristi, my best friend, safe with our parents. I asked if we could leave and he took me back to the mall with no questions asked. I went home with Kristi that night and ended up grounded from her, because I was supposed to go back to my Mother’s work with my date. Of course my parents had no way of knowing that I had been offered drugs for the first time, and I never would have told them because I was in love and it felt dangerous and exciting. Just a few weeks later I would watch the same group of kids, adults really, smoke pot while a baby with blonde hair and a dirty face played with a lighter on the floor. I took him outside to swing on the front porch and drug the tips of my Mother’s white Sunday shoes across the blue slats of the front porch. His hair was thick with the smell of beer and weed. It was days like this that my childhood was eaten away, little by little. I wanted a life that was absorbing and charismatic. I wanted a life that people would find exceptional. Now I attempt to write about myself as honestly as I can and I have to embrace my lies to be truthful. I was a childhood liar who desperately wanted to be an adult. Now I am an honest adult who wants to write about her past as honestly as possible.