Friday, February 03, 2006

101 things 'bout me

1. I was born on September 21, in the seventies, in eastern PA.

2. The name of my hometown was made famous by Billy Joel.

3. I started reading just before I turned two.

4. My earliest memory is waving good-bye to the apartment building that my family was moving out of. I was two.

5. Apparently, I was waving from the back seat of my mother's Chevy Nova, sitting in a cardboard box.

6. My brother was born less than a year after that move.

7. A year after he was born, I read that part of the embilical cord stays in the baby's belly button, and eventually shrivels up and falls out. I looked for it in our living room carpet for days.

8. Most of my father's family is in New York City. We used to go up there all the time.

9. We moved to Pittsburgh when I was 6 1/2. When I found out we were leaving, I cried.

10. My favorite part of our house in Pittsburgh was our huge yard - it was a corner lot.

11. It used to look huge. Now it looks so small.

12. My friend and I used to play World Series in the backyard. I was always the Pirates or the Yankees.

13. My first crush was the little girl across the street. She moved to Georgia a couple of years after we got there. Never saw her again.

14. I used to have a love/hate relationship with my little brother. He always wanted to tag along and do everything that my friends and I did.

15. Now I just love him.

16. I got straight A's all through elementary school.

17. The kids used to make fun of me because of that.

18. Sometimes I wished that I didn't get good grades so I could fit in better. I never wished that I was white, though - I always liked being Black.

19. When, in 5th grade, I was put into 6th grade math, I kind of stopped trying, because I felt dumb working on different stuff than everyone else in math class.

20. My best friend Bill and I got into all sorts of scrapes. I wrote about one of them here.

21. He moved away when I was 14. We're still friends, though.

22. I played sports all through childhood.

23. I was terrible through age 12. Then, when I turned 13, the light went on, and I figured out that I was a good athlete.

24. It didn't help that most of the kids in school were a year older than me - probably one of the reason I couldn't keep up athletically.

25. Growing up, I always wanted to be (a) the starting QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers, (b) a point guard in the NBA, or (c) an actor.

26. But when I was 15, I decided I wanted to be a doctor.

27. And when I was 16, I went to Boys' State and Boys' Nation, met President Clinton, and decided I wanted to work in politics.

28. I never really wanted to run for office. I always thought I would make a good press secretary.

29. Politically, I'm left of center - sometimes I call myself a New Democrat, sometimes a Clinton Democrat.

30. I only registered as a Democrat because I felt (and still do) that you have to be part of one of the two parties in order to make an impact in politics.

31. I hate partisan politics with a passion. I just want competant government.

32. Even though I looked for poly-sci programs when I looked at colleges, I refused to go to a school that didn't have a theater program.

33. Of course, I also said that my school needed to be within 2 hours of a major sports franchise.

34. I had a great resume coming out of high school.

35. I was reminded several times during my high school experience, however, that some people in town/school viewed me as "just another nigger".

36. My school was 98% white; I was probably one of 15 Black kids in a school of 1600.

37. And, because of where we lived, I often felt isolated from the Black community.

38. I didn't encounter too much out-and-out racism; it would usually pop up just when I was beginning to feel comfortable.

39. For example, I had to ask three different girls to prom, because their parents didn't want them to go to a dance with a Black kid, despite my impressive resume.

40. The racism stuff affected my brother much more than me. A couple of his real friends would tell him, "Once you leave here, you won't come back." And, except for a couple of days here and there, he hasn't.

41. So, you can understand that I was quite anxious to go away to college.

42. Don't get me wrong...I love Pittsburgh, and I enjoyed high school, for the most part. But it wasn't easy.

43. My father was really worried about money for college, so he had me start looking for schools and scholarships my freshman year.

44. He also took me on a college tour the summer before my senior year, and drove me to my two top-choice schools - and stayed in a hotel overnight while I made my visits.

45. I went to Alma Mater, on a full academic scholarship.

46. To this day, when my father tells people I went there on a scholarship, they ask, "What sport did he play?"

47. I went there because I liked the school, but also because it had a strong Minority Affairs office, with a strong director that I felt would take care of me.

48. He left the school in a dispute one month before I got to campus.

49. Had he been there, I'm convinced that I would have been very involved with the black community on campus. As it was, I ended up on the fringe.

50. Before I went to college, I used to tell people, "I tried really hard to get good grades in HS. I'm going to college for the experience."

51. I really enjoyed my college experience.

52. My grades suffered for it, though. I had a 1.6 GPA at midterms of my freshman year. I thought I was going to flunk out, or, worse yet, lose my scholarship, which meant I would have had to leave.

53. I pulled it together, though - I graduated in 4 years, with a B average, I think.

54. I told myself that I wasn't going to act in college. This was the third time I had tried to walk away.

55. Of course, I ended up being heavily involved in the theater department.

56. When I decided to major in politics, however, I figured that acting would just be a hobby.

57. I thought that, after graduation, I'd try to get a job with Hillary Clinton, since she was running for Senate.

58. I'm hoping that you don't hate me because of my political ideology. I'm always nervous about mentioning it.

59. The turning point of my life was having to read the Starr Report for a Political Ethics seminar.

60. After reading that, I knew that I could never participate in politics - it's too dirty for one person to clean up.

61. I think that I might like to be involved on a local level one day, but that's it.

62. So I had no idea what to do with my life.

63. My girlfriend at the time suggested grad school. So I decided to go for it.

64. I thought I'd just apply to a couple of schools to get a feel for the process, and then really attack it hard the next year.

65. But I got into Grad School, one of my dream schools. So I went the fall after graduating from Alma Mater.

66. I started working professionally during my summers.

67. So that's how I became an actor.

68. During my second summer working in Colorado, I met a girl and fell in love.

69. We dated long distance for two years.

70. I've always been in and out of LDRs my whole life. I don't know why.

71. She moved to Sleepy Hamlet with me after she graduated. Things were perfect.

72. We lived together for five months before things went bad.

73. She needed to figure out what she wanted to do with her life.

74. I was completely crushed.

75. We were off for a few months, but then got back together. The relationship wasn't the same. And then broke up when she moved to NYC, and I stayed in Sleepy Hamlet.

76. We still talk frequently, although we're taking a break from each other right now.

77. I'm still hopeful of things working out, but I'm extremely pessimistic.

78. But I still love her.

79. As a result, I don't want to date anyone long distance for a LOOOOONG time.

80. So now I'm a serial dater.

81. And I like it. For the first time, I realized that girls like me. That's pretty cool.

82. I feel like this should be less of "my life story" and more "fun stuff about me". So I will make the necessary adjustments.

83. I love music. Hip hop is my favorite. You know that if you've seen my hip hop classes. But I like other kinds, too.

84. I played the violin for ten years. But music runs in my family. My father always wanted to be a conductor, and my brother is a musician.

85. My most prized possession is my iPod.

86. I love reading, but I don't get to do it as often as I want.

87. I'm a speed reader. Instead of reading line by line, I read in chunks. It's kind of hard to explain.

88. I'm not embarassed by the fact that I'm pushing thirty and I still watch MTV and play video games.

89. I collect friends.

90. My closest friends tend to be females.

91. I have lots of crushes on lots of women (many of them my friends), and I don't think most of them knew it. Or know it.

92. I have a man-crush on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then again, so do most of the residents of the Steel City.

93. I am a Virgo, so I'm kind of anal.

94. For example, when I write in my journal, I always read past entries before I write, and I always put the time from my cell phone at the end. And I note if I've changed time zones.

95. I don't like to talk in the mornings.

96. In fact, I really don't like mornings. They're pretty and all, but I'm totally a "night owl", according to my grandmother. Look at the times I post.

97. I love my grandmother more than anyone, except perhaps my mother. But I don't know how to express that to her.

98. In fact, I've only recently started saying "I love you" to my close friends. It's not an easy thing for me to say.

99. As I finish this, my iTunes is playing Musiq's "You Be Alright", which I feel is entirely appropriate.

100. I think, in the end, I will be all right.

101. Thanks for reading this. I hope we can do this again next year.

4 comments:

Melissa said...

I have 2 things to say:

1) I've known you for so long and that was like a refresher course on your life. I really. enjoyed that. Thank you.

2) Your friends love you, too.

April said...

nice list...it was great learning more about you.

Ms. World said...

I ENJOYED THAT!

Ginger said...

So, I can't believe I am just reading this now. Comments:

1. I'm sorry, but as someone who is unaffiliated, I completely disagree that I can't make a difference in politics. I do it every day. And I am unaffiliated because I care that much.

2. How did I not know you played violin?

3. And thank you so much for finally teaching me "hip hop" like you promised.