The beginning seems to be the appropriate place to start with this tale.
I was raised in rural Nova Scotia, Canada. I was surrounded by farms and apple trees. I had a poor upbringing but all my basic needs were covered. My parents did the best they could with what they had. My grandparents helped out when things got really tough. I went to church but never liked it. I did well in school but was rarely pressured to do better. I was socially awkward and lonely as a youngster. I was always more drawn to adults/teachers than to my peers. I was bullied or ignored by kids my own age. I never felt like I belonged there. When I grew up I wanted to be an accomplished actress or singer…but I never wanted to be so famous that I would appear in tabloids or be recognized when in public.
I competed in public speaking and usually won. I took every opportunity to be in school plays or anything just to get up in front of a crowd of people. My cousins & I used to put together little performances for our families. I’ve always been an exhibitionist and performer.
I was always good at making and saving money. I created or found small jobs around the community to get paid for, I babysat, worked on farms, house sat, cleaned people’s houses, etc. When I was 15 I rolled and sold single cigarettes to other students at school. I never smoked myself. Jobs fell in my lap as well. At 15/16 I was offered a job in an optical store where my Mother was buying glasses. I worked there on and off for a year making a few dollars more than minimum wage. It was a grown up job and I was proud to have it.
When I was in my early teens my stable and fairly normal family life started to change. With my older brother and I becoming old enough to be more independent my Mother started to live her life again and she was not happy with my Father. It took a few years of drama but they finally divorced when I was 16. I was closest with my Mother so I moved to Halifax with her which was a significant event in my life. I became a city girl and was introduced to all kinds of new people and experiences.
I did not fit in at my new school and I spent most of grade 11 going to bars and partying with girls from another school. My Mother and I were more like friends and I had all the freedom of an adult. No discipline or pressure to do well in school. I was friendly with my teachers and worked in the cafeteria at school. I received very high grades in English and even tutored ESL students in Shakespeare. English wasn’t their first language so Shakespeare seemed impossible to them but I would act out all the roles for them until they understood and at least brought their grades up from failing to passing.
In my final year, grade 12, I hated going to school. I had no friends my age in the school I went to. I still partied a lot but I also had two other part time jobs outside of my cafeteria job. I worked at a coffee shop and at a fancy ladies shop in the most posh hotel in town. I missed a lot of classes for work and at the end of the year found myself dangerously close to not graduating. It was all reliant on one class: computer science. I had failed everything in that class all year. I had been attracted to the teacher from that class and had had an awkward experience with him months earlier. He had been tutoring me in math and I started sweating so much I was leaving wet finger marks on the paper. The sweat was just pouring off of me. I thought it was because of hormones…I’m not sure what he thought but he gave me one of his clean t-shirts to wear instead of my knit sweater. It was thrilling wearing his shirt. It felt naughty. That night I became very ill and realized I had been sweating because I had a fever! After a couple of days home sick I returned his t-shirt, clean & folded.
The night before the exam I was at the bar with my girlfriend. There was no point in studying, I was going to fail and probably go to summer school. I felt a hand on my shoulder and my last name in my ear followed by “studying hard for that exam tomorrow I see!”. I turned to see that teacher smiling as he walked away. I nearly threw up. My heart was pounding. I was drinking underage in a bar and I had screwed up. I went after him, found him and offered to buy him a drink (cheeky, hm?). He put his arm around me and said to his friend: “This is my favorite student.” I was shocked as I figured he thought I was a stupid dork. I then explained that there was no point in me studying as we both knew I didn’t have a hope of passing the exam…and it would mean summer school for me. He then advised me to write the exam as if I knew every answer. To hold my head up and look confident. He didn’t need anybody asking him any questions when I passed.
I learned a valuable lesson that night.
Not my official school uniform