Just thought it would be nice to introduce myself at length, so my readers (you!) would have a greater understanding of my writing.
I am, as of the time of this writing, 24 years old. I was brought forth into this world at a hospital in the San Fransisco Bay Area, and I lived with my twin brother and parents at an apartment in Sunnyvale for the first 5 years of my life.
Shortly after turning 5, my family moved to a fixer-upper cabin in Boulder Creek, CA, in the middle of the majestic Coastal Redwood forest. The Santa Cruz Mountains are perhaps one of the most famous for viewing these ancient beauties, as they are the home of a plethora of State Parks created to protect them. Big Basin, Henry Cowell, and Portola Redwoods are the most commonly associated with the redwood trees.
Growing up in this area introduced me to some rather unique play opportunities. We had a half acre that stretched uphill into the woods away from the house. Once on the other side of a stand of redwoods and a large thicket, there was a glorious slope with redwoods, madrone, Douglas fir, oak, and hazelnut. Also, interestingly, lots of open space, perhaps due to lack of sunlight at the ground-level and tons of redwood duff coating the forest floor. This area became a playground for my brother and I, as well as our friends when they came over.
I didn’t have many friends growing up. I was a very intelligent child, always eager to explore, see new things, and learn about everything. I hated “classwork” with a vengeance, as I preferred to learn about things organically and in my own way. Of course, a real education requires buckling down now and then. Still, I wouldn’t trade my time in the forest for a million friends. In many ways, it has defined who I am today.
About the time my brother and I were 6, we started going to a charter school near where we lived. It was organized by local parents, not a corporation, and only lasted a couple years. When it shut down, my mom gave my brother and I two possible options for schooling: the local elementary school homeschool program, or another charter school nearby that was larger and yet more “homeschooly”. We chose the latter, and from that moment on were homeschooled until the day we graduated from highschool.
Homeschooling was a mixed blessing, although overall very positive. I have to debunk a bunch of TV- and Media-hyped myths regarding homeschooling. First of all, homeschoolers are not conspiracy theorists or so-called “preppers”. Rather, they are concerned parents who want more control over what is taught their kids. This is California. If you are a conservative parent, as mine are, then the last thing you want is a bunch of liberal drivel being indoctrinated into your children. There are also parents of special-needs children, that really benefit from the additional attention and support available through homeschooling.
The downside, is that friends were far and few between. My brother and I have always felt… different, from everyone else. When we were 12 and 13, we were bullied a lot at our church, the local ward for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This ended up scarring us, and damaged our ability to socialize properly. Indeed, it became very difficult for me to approach other people after those experiences, which compounded the whole friend thing.
I guess this is a great time to say that I am indeed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’m sure you all will be seeing some articles written about the Church, doctrine, or other “happenings”. I hope you can read with an open mind, as I’m fully aware that religion, like politics, is a “hot” topic.
Throughout my teens I was heavily involved in 4-H, and to a lesser extent Boy Scouts of America. 4-H became my social lifeline, as nobody at church wanted anything to do with me (we were homeschooled, remember? Opinions of us from our age group rotated between dismissive and hostile). I also started experiencing depression for the first time during my teens, as many teenagers are apt to do. 4-H helped with the worst of it for a time. I started making tons of new friends, and rose in the ranks, so to speak.
I became through hard work a 4-H All-Star Ambassador for Santa Cruz County in 2011. The next year I became a member of the California 4-H Technology Leadership Team, a state-wide group that met once a month to discuss the use of technology in the California 4-H program, and administer the California 4-H Computer Lab, a mobile laptop resource that groups around the state could “borrow” for a time for projects and events. My brother and I were very much computer nerds, and loved everything to do with computers, so we became custodians of the Computer Lab for long stretches of time. We hosted projects, events, and classes with it.
At the end of our time at 4-H, there was some dispute between several of the families in our club, including mine. This culminated in the removal of my family from our long-time 4-H club to a different club, and our close friends to an even further away club (even though they live geographically very close to us, they got sent half-a-county away). Even though we felt like we knew why this was done, there was no actual explanation given. Our friends at our old club shunned us, as they didn’t want such a horrific thing to happen to them.
I’m told that the entire county fell into a darkness, as our families were so heavily involved at the county level that there was a void when we were removed. I’m still sad it had to end that way, especially since I hadn’t done anything to deserve it, and neither did the rest of the club. I will always consider this a pivotal moment in my life, a defining turning-point that changed my outlook of Life from optimistic, to cynical.
Just before I turned 18, which was right when all this was going on with 4-H, I completed my Eagle Scout project. The scope of the project was appropriate, and I followed the procedures to the letter, but the Eagle Scout “head honcho” (I forget his acutal title… head of the Eagle Board or something?) had a problem with allowing a Lone Scout to be an Eagle Scout. Something about being homeschooled, not being in a “legitimate” Boy Scout troop… Anyways, this was all compounding my feelings of authority figures in my life that I was getting in 4-H. I pushed through, petitioned at the National BSA level, and just one day before my 18th birthday, met with an Eagle Board from a different BSA district… and became an Eagle Scout!
Well, shortly after this (see a pattern here?) My closest friend (who was a girl…) started going out with a different guy. Big deal? Well I was emotionally extremely fragile at this point. Even if the other guy hadn’t been an objectively scummy person, she decided to start avoiding me. Not sure why. But it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I went spiraling into deep dark depression for a period of about 8 months. During that time… Well let’s just say it was as bad as depression can get. I think you can understand what that means.
We’re finally approaching my near-past! Hooray, we’re in the home stretch!
In the Spring of 2013, I was getting ready to graduate high school. I was still being homeschooled with my brother, through another charter school, one that gave us a bunch of state education funds for things like classes and the like. My brother decided one of his classes these funds would go towards would be the Cabrillo Youth Chorus, taught by Cheryl Anderson and her team of teaching assistants at Cabrillo College. My brother urged me to join for several weeks, but I was still dealing with my crippling depression and playing soccer (remember that girl? She was on my soccer team! Urgh… Still had a crush on her at that point), so I didn’t want to take another bit of time away from home and my precious computer games. I’ll get back to the games in a moment.
I ended up caving in to the pressure, and joined one rehearsal before a concert that was hosted by a nearby highschool. I still remember some of the songs we performed… Homeward Bound, and Wade in the Water, and one called Sakura. I had been playing piano since I was 10, singing in church choirs since I was 11. But it was nothing like this! I was being taught by real live college music majors, singers and pianists who were both skilled and passionate! I have always been passionate about my music, but rarely felt that I could share it with others.
It was shortly after this that I decided to become a music major myself, and started attending Cabrillo College and studying with Cheryl Anderson, beginning in the Fall of 2013.
And here we are! It is Spring of 2019 that I am writing this, and I’ve attended Cabrillo for 6 whole years… and in that time made tons of new great friends, became a fantastic singer (if I say so myself!) and decided to study to become an opera singer someday. Indeed, in August of this year I will be transferring to the Conservatory of Music at University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA, to continue my studies.
I tell you all of this to share with you my life experiences. They’ve made me the person I am today, the bad with the good. I’m really excited to be writing in this blog, and to be sharing myself with you, the world! Please don’t hesitate to drop a comment if you have any questions. Also feel free to subscribe if you would like notifications whenever I post a new article.
Welcome to my Room of Resonance, hopefully I’ll resonate with some of you
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