Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rewind ten years.

Wow, I just realized how close we are to September. August has flown by, and I'm happy to say that blogging every day hasn't even begun to feel like a chore yet. But we have three days left here together in August, so let's make them count.

Speaking of chores, though, I decided to start cleaning out my room yesterday. I grew up as a complete packrat, saving any little thing that had even the most remote significance simply because I couldn't bare to throw it out. I've been teaching myself not to do that, but old habits die hard. Especially when it comes to books. I have a large bookshelf in my room that is positively overflowing with novels; stacked on top of each other, squeezed in open crevices; some old favorites and other still waiting to be read. Yesterday I forced myself to make a stack of about 20 books I either don't feel any real attachment to, or have had for over a year and know I will probably never actually read. It was difficult, man. And my shelves are still full, even without them.

My closet is a whole different story. I have a bookcase in there as well but it was mostly stuffed full of old school things. Notebooks, binders, textbooks - I can't even begin to explain how amazing it felt to throw that stuff out. The only things that are left now are my books on fiction writing, an atlas, and a few choice reads on the entertainment industry and communication.

Back when I asked for blogging topics on twitter, @aidanthejones wanted to know what I was like at 13. I'm turning 23 in a few months, so let's flash back about 10 years, shall we?

When I was 13, I was in 8th grade. I was still in middle school. I mean, I'm the same Kristina I've always been, but my hobbies and interests were a lot different than they are now, even though it kind of explains how I came to be who I am today. In some ways. Other parts are just confusing.

When I was 13, I was in track. I was never big on sports (especially team sports) but I liked track because it was something social (I thought track meets especially were really fun) but the actual competition was pretty individualized. You competed against other people, yes, but the real competition was with yourself. Improving your time, learning how to make yourself run faster. And as much as I suck at distance running, I was a pretty good sprinter. I was among the best in my grade for girls at the 200m, the 400m, and I was always on the top team for the relays. I don't even really remember what compelled me to do track in middle school (I only did it for 2 years), since it's so out of character for me, but it was a fun and different hobby while it lasted.

Also, I only read the Harry Potter books for the first time when I was 13, so a good portion of this year was spent in other ways. Before I read these books and got into the online fandom, I was much, much more into anime. I was an avid follower of Sailor Moon, Tenchi Muyo, Cardcaptor Sakura, Ah! My Goddess, Rayearth, and I spent a lot of my money trying to afford to buy the DVDs at Suncoast. I also was really into the Japanese style stationary and pens and erasers and things they sold at Morning Glory and Sanrio.

I also, surprisingly, liked to draw when I was about that age, because I loved the anime style so much. I was never very great at it. I usually ended up just drawing copies of pictures that already existed, of Sailor Scouts and of Sakura, mostly. I had a whole notebook of these drawings. My early fanfiction username had the word "Sakura" in it, actually. I'd forgotten that.

Age 13 is also when I first started taking Japanese in school. A bunch of my friends and I were all in it together and honestly, some of my best school memories were in that class. I was a wiz at the Japanese language too, and I wonder sometimes if Harry Potter hadn't taken over my life, if I would have headed in a much different direction, the one I seemed to be going in with my fascination with Japan and its culture.

My best friends at the time were a girl named Heather (also in Japanese with me and part of the group of friends that really liked anime) and a girl named Stephanie. Stephanie was super into the Beatles, and I spent a lot of that year listening to their music and learning all sorts of stuff about them that I'd never known before. I might even equate this to be when I actually started really getting into music, because it was at 13 that I started asking my parents if I could maybe get a guitar. I also still played flute in school; this was before I dropped out.

One of the most cohesive aspects of my friendships in middle school was that all of my friends were writers. I remember a group of four of us creating these characters and roleplaying with them online in a forum I made, until we had enough character development and plot to start writing stories around the characters. We bought four notebooks and each started with a chapter about our own character and then we'd switch, rotating in the same direction so we all were working on each others' stories.

What's funny is that while all my other friends forgot about those characters and that world, I actually used it to write my first NaNoWriMo novel back in 2006. And I am still thankful I had so many friends who were excited about writing in middle school, because I think it played a huge role in my thinking of writing as a fun activity, rather than a chore or something that's boring or solitary.

One thing I am not so proud of, though, is that I don't think I was always a very nice person when I was younger. I cared a lot about what people thought of me. I never had any desire to be popular per se, but I always wanted to at least make sure people didn't think I was a nerd (which is funny, because I clearly was a huge nerd). I liked to be in charge of things. I think I stepped on a lot of people when I was younger to make that happen.

It's interesting, being this far removed from my 13 year old self, to differentiate between how you want to remember yourself (obviously at 13 I thought I was always right) and how you realize now things actually were. I mean, I was a good kid. I didn't really get in any huge trouble when I was younger, at least not with my parents/principal/teachers. But I was a kid who had very specific ideas about how her world worked, what she wanted, and who was cool enough to share those things. I had a really hard time finding friends that thought enough like me, and found myself cycling through new people to hang out with nearly every year (with the exception of Heather, who stuck by my side through nearly everything).

I was definitely a girl who went through a lot of friend problems, and it took me until 11th grade (about age 16) to really find a group of people I melded well with (in drama club, which is why I became a theatre kid [though I did become drama club president so I guess I never stopped needing to be in charge of things]).

So to sum everything up, when I was 13 and in my pre-Harry Potter life, my time was spent mostly in concert band at school, in Japanese class, running track, writing stories with my friends, listening to the Beatles, or watching anime. I wasn't always courteous of other people's feelings. But I put myself on a track to find out who I was and where I belonged, and though it took awhile, I made it there eventually. I have always been a really driven person, but over the years I've learned how to use it for good and to help other people, rather than to just help myself. And reading Harry Potter (later on in the year) really helped me get there.

Last google search: "vindictus"
Chipotle burritos: 18


elfarmy17 said...

And so is the story of Kristina: the Good Slytherin. At least according to the ALL CAPS myspace.
Are you really a Slytherin?

kira902k said...

It was really interesting reading this. I'm thinking about writing a blog post now about how I remember my 12 year old self. I think it'd be cool, because I was already writing in my journal at that age, so I can really compare the truth to my memory.

But yeah, I can't imagine you being mean, but I get what you mean about being a bossy/controlling kid. I was (kind of still am) like that. I do still know what I think is right, and I get frustrated when people disagree. :P

Aoife said...

I love Japanese Culture and Japanese! I take Japanese in school, it's so cool :)

I've even tried my hand at orgami (I'm terrible, my sister has a natural flare for it though)and i started watching alot more anime :)

Paloma said...

I have two best friends that are really into the beatles and Japanese culture respectively.

I've never had a friend who likes writing, though. I find that a little sad, but it also makes the action of writing feel kind of unique.

Michael said...

I was the same way at 13. I wasn't really nice to the other kids. In fact, I was kind of a giant douchebag back then.

nova said...

It was really weird reading this, because just 22 days ago I was 13.
I did get into Japanese culture for bit, but that quickly changed to German and Latin, which I have found much more interest in, but it's still fun to go back to. It's horrible being this age, but wonderful at the same time. You don't have to choose a specific thing you like. You get tons of choices to find what fits your own personality, and it's a great age to explore what kind of person you want to be. But it's terrible because it IS hard making friends. I don't think I was ever mean, but I moved so many times and lost so many friends that I became alone and afraid to be attached to anybody for so long. I've now lived in the same house for 3 years, and haven't had any best friends. They all love Twilight and Justin Beiber, which I don't care for much, and because of that, I end up being the third wheel. It's difficult, but I know I'll get somewhere one day.

I love your posts. They help me think to find myself.
Thank you.

Random Accounts said...

What I find interesting about this post is that I just turned thirteen. I'm going to into 7th grade (should be in eighth, long story) and I guess I can sort of look at this and make sure I don't make those mistakes. I'm not that into Japanese stuff (except the cuisine, which is AMAZING)but I really like to write. Nice post.

Kai said...

I took Japanese from 2nd grade to 5th, lol, it was required at my elementary school!
And I was SO obsessed with stationary, I have piles and piles of it in my closet that I spent so much money on.
At 13 I was not the smartest person ever, and I was pretty obsessive. Not my favorite year of life!

apples_and_pancakes said...

I'm jealous of those of you who got to take foreign language classes at such a young age. My schools didn't offer me the opportunity till I was too old to learn it well.

jukebox108 said...

Well, I'm happy to say that reading this blog has never felt like a chore this month, especially since I've been in Mongolia all this time. It's nice to listen what someone from the real world has something funny to say everyday when you're so far from home.

I like your memory of 13 year-old Kristina being always right. I distinctly remember being in 5th grade and imagining myself as knowing everything there is to know about life. Which obviously isn't true, but I've always been envious of how sure I was at that time. In a way, I did know everything when I was 10, and I've always wanted to recapture that assurance.

(And I just started reading oh my god what have you gotten me into kristina, I blame you and your draco/ginny passion for getting me to read this story called the code, which seems to me something you'd read and now I'm just rambling with these parenthesis as an excuse this is just way too long but I will continue to enjoy reading your blogs for the rest of this month.)

currysparadox said...

YAY for the Beatles, making impact on the Parselmouths and ALL CAPS, in some way :)