Hi. I'm Marco's sister. Those of you who don't know me can call me Pearl. When I was nineteen, I bit into a pearl in a fried oyster in some linoleum-floored crab shack on Cape Cod.
I'm a recovering graduate student, high school Spanish teacher, unrepentant history geek, and budding mystic. I've traveled to four of the seven continents. I always love to discuss politics, religion, history, and philosophy. In my other life, I'm also a wife with really poor housekeeping skills. But I can cook.
Each time I’m asked to tell about myself, I find myself starting the same way: “My name is Kelsey and I’m nineteen..”
but what I’d really like to say is:
“My name means island of the ships but once
I found a translation that said I’m a burning shipwreck-
not a burning ship but a ship that has caught fire
after the wreckage and well, I’d say that’s more fitting.”
I’ve learned that people don’t have time for about me’s.
They need two things: a name and an indication you’re someone special.
The doctors, they want facts not details.
“I broke my leg when I was three, it’s a funny story actually-“
The right or the left?
The teachers, they want interests, hobbies.
You’re sad, yes, but what do you like to do?
The adults are a spew of questions.
What school do you go to? What classes are you taking?
What do you plan on becoming? Got a boyfriend?
People my own age are the worst.
“I’m planning on an English degree with a concentration in creative writing.”
Yeah, aren’t we all. So how many times have you, you know,
I’m pulled apart, my interests travelling highway 2
my goals at a stop light at traffic hour,
my medical history on a billboard for the world to see.
But what about me?
Where’s the chance to say,
“I hang on to fistfuls of poetry like loose change in my pockets,
and I keep waiting for the day that the world turns upside down
so I can swim with the stars.
I’m not afraid of darkness, it’s a loneliness I can empathize with it.
It’s the blackholes like cigarette burns inside of me that get troublesome.
I walk through graveyards and read the dashes between years,
each a story I’ll never know. Sometimes I create my own.”
No wonder none of us know who we are anymore.
This accurately sums up my approach to my faith-in-action, and my feelings on an afterlife-focused spirituality.
When was the last time you cried in class?
When Charlotte died in “Charlotte’s Web”. We are rehearsing the play version right now, and EVERY TIME she dies the entire class looks at me to see if I’m going to shed a tear.
I usually do.
When this year’s students asked me what it was like during the lockdown in 2009 when a gunman shot to death 14 people across the street from the school. :(
Mine would say “She’s crazy, but she really loves us and she loves Jesus.”
“She dances and sings when she thinks we aren’t looking, and she talks about dogs a lot.”
Most of my kids would say something like, “A headscarf-wearing Muslim woman who listens to house music and thinks Nacho Libre is one of the funniest movies ever — and she actually talks to us like we are human beings and will say things and explain things that most grown-ups ignore.”
But my ‘angelitos’ would probably say something like, “I fucking hate that dumb bitch, she makes me come on time and participate in activities and she expects me to bring my own pencil and my workbook and she won’t let me shout at my friends across the room or talk back to her, fucking dumb bitch!”
Awkwardly watching my friends’ divorce play out in Facebook status updates.
I love them both so much. This sucks on so many levels.
Yet another reason why I so prefer young adult fiction over the adult genre.