I have no problem writing the middle of the book or the ending, but I’m having trouble with the beginning. I want it to be from her point of view, but I’m not sure if this is the way to do it. Any critique is welcome.
I’m twenty-one years old, in my last year of college, and completely friendless. No one wants to hang out with me. I don’t get invited to parties. I’m not included in any study groups. Thank god for the men who want to screw me or I’d never leave the house.
This is how it’s always been for me. There’s just something about me that turns people off. I have some kind of defect that is patently obvious to everyone else, but I can’t seem to identify. If I could just figure out why people don’t like me, I could change, but I have no idea why I can’t make friends. I just know that I’m all alone and tired of feeling lonely.
The only true friends I’ve had have been boyfriends, but they never stick around. They always leave me. They choose someone else or a different life that doesn’t involve me. Whatever the reason, no matter how much I love them, no matter how hard I cling to them, they leave. It must be that same indefinable reason no one wants to be my friend.
My ostracism began in the seventh grade. That’s when the kids at school began to pick on me and my friends shunned me. Before that, my life was pretty average. I grew up in a small, white-bred town in nowhere Illinois, populated by about 5,000 people. Most people born there died there. They married their high school sweethearts, raised families and never left. Or, they went away to college, returned after graduating, and wasted their educations by getting jobs that didn’t require a college education.
Unlike most, neither of my parents grew up in town. They moved there to be close to my father’s job at the fertilizer plant. It was a job he got after he knocked up my mother, because he needed one and it was the first place that hired him. On the day he got the job, he looked around town until he found the perfect house and signed a contract on it that day.
While my father spoke of these events with pride, my mother talked about how he had ruined her life. She was seventeen when she met him with dreams of pursuing an acting career in Hollywood. She had been forced to give up those dreams when she got pregnant. And so goes the story of my parent’s relationship. It was either a fairy tale or a tragedy depending upon which one of them was telling the story.
I want to blame my mother for my social failings, not because she’s wholly responsible, but because she deserves it. She helped so much in destroying my self-esteem. My mother has never liked me, because I’m nothing like her. I don’t have blond hair and a fair complexion like she does. I have my father’s olive complexion and dark wavy, mostly out of control, hair. I’m not the great beauty she once was. And I’m not outgoing like her. I’ve always been an introvert like my father.
In my mother’s mind, my father and I are the cause of every failure in her life and she loves to tell anyone who’ll listen all about it. Before she met my father and got knocked up, she had been a star drama student and more importantly, at least to my mother, she had been beautiful. My mother believes her beauty guaranteed her a successful career in Hollywood. She had the looks that are prized in small, Midwestern towns: blonde hair, blue eyes, and a big chest. She was on Homecoming court all four years of high school and voted Queen her senior year. She claims that she could date any boy in her class. Sometimes, if she’s drunk enough, she’ll have the audacity to claim she was more attractive than the so-called sex symbols of the day.
When she reaches the end of her tale of woe, she always reminds whoever’s listening that her talents and beauty were wasted through tragic circumstance. She always ends with something like, “And then I met Bill and got pregnant with Lana and there was no more Hollywood.”
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know that I was the reason she got married. And I don’t remember a time when my mother didn’t blame her marriage and family for wasting her life. As a result, I learned to hate her from an early age.
Maybe if, aside from her overwhelming need to tell people about the person she could’ve been, she were a loving mother, I could feel some level of love for her, but her attitude toward my father and me was never loving. My mother lived in a constant state of aggravation. Everything that my father and I did, no matter how mundane the activity, annoyed her. She had a distinctive, over-reactive sigh, almost a growl, that she used to show us that we were doing something so obviously stupid and irritating that she shouldn’t have to tell us why it was stupid and irritating. Then, she’d return to her bottle of Merlot and drink herself into a stupor.
My father chose to ignore her negativity and alcoholism, which frustrated me endlessly. I just wanted him to stand up to her one time. I used to fantasize about him finally putting her in her place. But he never did. To him, she was always the princess he didn’t deserve. He put her on a ridiculously high pedestal and nothing she said or did ever toppled that pedestal.
The love he had for my mother was the only thing I disliked about my father as a child. Otherwise, he was the perfect dad. He provided me with the love my mother withheld. He was the one who spent time with me. Played games with me. Took me camping or to the amusement park. He was the provider of happy memories.
No matter how much I hate my mother, I realize she isn’t the reason no one likes me. She isn’t the reason all the kids in my class decided they hated me when I was twelve years old. She had nothing to do with the abuse they put me through. That’s some default I have. She just makes me feel even worse about myself.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me, so I write. Writing is my therapy. Writing helps me maintain my sanity. It’s something I’ve always done. Except now, I’m writing with a purpose. I’m hoping that recounting my life will help me find that one thing that’s wrong with me. And when I figure out what that one thing is, I’ll be able to change my life and finally find some happiness.