The following stories are true. Any resemblance to real people is not at all coincidental. It’s definitely about exactly who you think it’s about. Names have been changed to code names that are not subtle.
I get writer’s block a lot. Mostly, I think because I haven’t ever taken writing “seriously.” I have always done it to make people laugh or to gather my thoughts in a way that actually makes sense. “Seriously,” it was always something I did when I had a paper due
that morning the next morning. I wasn’t the best of students. Not that I wasn’t smart. I wasn’t lazy either. I was bored.
I went to Catholic high school. We wore kilts made of Teflon and rolled the waist hems to make them shorter. I stopped rolling mine around the time I realized that if I didn’t, I only had to shave my legs up to my knees. We went to mass once a month in our gym, and as a member of concert choir, I was frequently tasked with set up. No one can set up a row of folding chairs as quickly and neatly as I can. It’s a life skill.
- Getting a part in the musical. I played Liesl in the Sound of Music before my dreams of being on Broadway were crushed forever by a certain university in New York — LOOK AT ME NOW, BITCHES!…. wait….
- Boys. A constant source of anxiety. As if any of them were even remotely acceptable dating material.
- Physics class. Totally got an A.
- Everything. Still an issue.
- Not getting into a good college. I did. I graduated, too.
- My dog getting old. He died… as dogs are wont to do.
- Web MD. Also still an issue.
- Being in the same grade as my big brother…
I once had a teacher say to me, “if you were more like your brother, you’d have done better in this class.” I’m serious. I am very close with my siblings. You have never met three more different people. The people who loved us never made us feel like we were being compared. But complete strangers did. I cried about it in the car ride home that day. My brother said that it was the stupidest thing he’d ever heard and reminded me why I really didn’t do well in the class. I didn’t do well because it was religion class and the teacher and I disagreed on some fundamental issues, like how not to be a horrible person.
Religion teachers and I have a history. My freshman year, a different teacher, Mr. Matrix, threw a coffee mug at my head. Let me take you back with me a bit:
Mr. Matrix: If I wasn’t Catholic, I would be Atheist.
Baby Aislinn (thinking): Extremism. Love it.
Mr. Matrix: Kissing before marriage is wrong.
Baby Aislinn (thinking): Oh. My. God. Yessss. This will be hilarious.
Mr. Matrix: Women are the cause of original sin. There is a long, intricate ‘thread’ about this in the Catholic Latin Chat room that I met my teenage girlfriend on. I wear her hair-elastic around my wrist. We’re getting married in the fall.
Baby Aislinn (thinking): Do you make it rub the lotion on its skin whenever it’s told, too?
Mr. Matrix: When a woman sits on a man’s lap, she is emulating the devil putting man through temptation.
Baby Aislinn (mutters aloud): Well, no.
Mr. Matrix: Excuse me?
Baby Aislinn (realizing I said this out loud, figuring there was no going back): That is the most misogynistic comment. And you said it in a classroom made up almost entirely of teenage girls.
Mr. Matrix: Go to the office.
Classroom immediately descends into chaos. Classmates begin yelling at Mr. Matrix.
Mr. Matrix: NYAAHHHHH
Mr. Matrix throws mug. Mug misses my head and the girl behind me, shatters on blackboard. Silence.
He didn’t get fired. I got detention for a week.
Besides getting detention a few times, high school was fairly uneventful for me. I never got asked on a date; wasn’t a star athlete, the valedictorian, or the prom queen; I didn’t even get a superlative! I’m sure those things upset me then, but I don’t even remember now. It didn’t really matter to me. I had friends who loved me. In the grand scheme of things, high school is purgatory (oh my! religious references galore!) It is where you wait.