Introduction: Part one
As a child I was a gypsy of sorts. I travelled the country, all fifty states, within the confines of a Wineebego. My parents had never been the conventional sort and they homeschooled me nearly to graduation and then settled down with the intention of allowing me to experience all of the things I had missed out on in high school. Being the new kid isn't easy when you're trying to find a date for the senior prom in a town with a population under 5,000. I didn't know that I'd never actually get the chance to enroll in college but I did get the chance to do other things I'd never been able to do. Things that were normal for most people my age. I got a pet dog and I decorated my own room. I began to collect all sorts of oddities. Something my minimalist parents thought was silly but encouraged my interest in anyway. I strung up Christmas lights light to my ceiling and installed wind chimes in front of the large bay window in my room. When it was too cold to lay in the grass and watch the stars I'd spend hours laying on my back in my bed staring at my celling which was fluid and always in motion just like the universe. I made paper lanterns and plastered my own art on the walls until none of the paint was visible. It became my haven-the Pinterest boards of my youth come to fruition.
I began to collect books of all shapes and sizes and languages. The powdery smell of the old and fragile papers was intoxicating to me. My father installed shelf after shelf until my walls where consumed. This was my sanctuary- a world away from my former gypsy life. Things where solid and reliable here. I could possess the things I loved and rely on them to be there each day when I returned. This is how a small farming town became paradise on earth. While I became a hoarder of all things beautiful and artistic my parents gardened. They grew thousands of pounds of organic vegetables and drove twenty or thirty miles away to sell them in the center of the nearest city. They built looms and wove cloth and instilled me with all of these earthly skills. We sculpted dishes out of clay and my father fired them in the brick kiln that I spent many hours helping him build.
I was even more in love with life than I had ever been before. I had been a transient for so long that I had never known what it meant to stay. To become a facet of something. To feel as if you belonged. My parents blended into the community effortlessly. They took jokes about being liberal with an open and loving heart. For me it was more difficult. My social life was not the same- I was confounded at its existence. By 16 I had been so many places and spoke with so many people that I could easily talk to just about anyone. Yet at 18 and newly settled down I wasn't sure how to start a lasting friendship. My life had been a string of quick made friends who I'd never see again and one night stands in fields and caves and in the sanctuary of near strangers with who I'd had Ferris wheel romances before invading their permanent abode. I had forever been a visitor and never a permanent fixture of another person's life.
Perhaps in New York or Portland I would have been a social butterfly. Those where the places where I'd make fast friends and short romances. However in this old fashioned town I was a radical, an element too dangerous to stand by. My peers for the most part where clones of their conservative and religious parents- spouting mindless opinion without an idea that spoke of more than regurgitated 'fact'. I made more enemies then friends. My parents tried to comfort me at first. However as their own social lives grew they nagged at me to make friends. I tried and I tried to no avail. So I did what I'd like to think any other awkward and independent 18 year old would do- I faked it. I spent afternoons 'at the mall' while hidden away in the library. Eventually, I stumbled upon someone like me totally by accident. As part of my feigned social life I had decided to audition for a play. A Midsummer Night's Dream had always held a special place in my heart and I was willing to put myself out in front of the small community theatre for a chance to be in it. It was a risk well worth it, and I transformed myself into Hippolyta. I totally immersed myself in it. I became the queen of the Amazons and loved every moment of it. Though Theseus had such terribly bad breath I began carrying gum and mints like tiny social currency. The small troupe of outcast became my friends and although we were never as the types of friendships I had seen portrayed in movies and television we stood up for each other. Helena (Her real name was Rachel) became my confidant and my first ever best friend.