Sunday, September 4, 2016


When I was five years old, I started making picture books. I made pop-up books, books with flaps that opened up, and books where you could move the pictures around. I loved reading books like that, and I told my mom that I wanted to make my own, so she showed me how. My mom and I even made a few books together, which was really special. Some of my favorite childhood memories are reading with my mom, and telling stories, and those times that we made books together. Sometimes I cut pieces of cardboard from shoe boxes and taped them to the back and front of the books, to make hardcovers, just like real books.

When I was six, I began making up a musical. I made up some of my own songs, and also included some songs that already existed. The musical was about a scientist who studied rainbows and the magical powers that they could have, and a conflict with her next-door neighbor who kept trying to shut down what she was trying to do. I never wrote this play down, but I went over it in my mind multiple times a day for years, so I had it memorized.

By the time I was seven, I had planned an entire book series based on the Babysitter's Little Sister books. Those were my favorites, so I invented a very similar series with a girl the same age and similar kinds of adventures. Whenever we went to a restaurant and I got a kids' menu, I would flip it upside down to the blank side and use the crayons to draw pictures that represented each of the stories, and then I would walk my parents through the list for the millionth time.

I can't believe how close the reality is now. I'm going to get a publisher. This is it. I have a publishable-quality book and I'm actually going to get published.

I don't think I could have chosen anything better to be my first book. Like, anything. At all.

After the breakup, I finally told everyone about the kind of person I really wanted to be. That I never wanted to be a good student and be in National Honor Society and be a good productive citizen. I said that I wanted to be completely lazy and entitled and just do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I wanted to undo the effects of schooling and discipline on myself and behave as if I had never been punished or set foot in a classroom. I wanted to stay young forever and never grow up or accept adult responsibilities. I wanted to get revenge and tell people off and never be a person who took the high road and let things go. I wanted to demand validation and not be self-sufficient or in any way okay without warm fuzzy cuddles and lots of coddling. And above all, I wanted to be untamable.

I never knew quite how to achieve any of these things. I knew the person I wanted to be, but I had no idea how to actually get there other than just informing everyone of who I was. And now that the book is done, I feel different. Everything feels different. I feel like all those things I just mentioned, all the things that I've been screaming about on Facebook and on this blog in the past two years about who I want to be...I am all of those things through this book. Really. I think I am everything that I ever wanted to be in this book. Everything. In this book, I'm going 110 miles per hour with no regard to the speed limit. I'm breaking windows. I'm giving people the tools to dismantle infrastructures that they don't like and watch those things fall to pieces. And no system kid could have written this book. No one who got brainwashed by the school system and ended up internalizing values that weren't their own could have done this. No one who got "scared straight" would ever have the guts to do what I'm doing now. I am untamable. This book could not have been written by someone who got tamed. I am my radical unschooling self. I talk like the person I know I'd be if I were a radical unschooler because that's who I am on the inside. An untamable spirit. That's who I'll always be from now on. I did it. I achieved my goals. I made it.

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