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When I tell people that I’m weirder than they think, I don’t mean that I eat pizza for breakfast (which is a common misconception; it literally has all the five main food groups, if you eat it right) or that I’m obsessed with llamas, or that I think teenage boy bands are overrated (seriously, ladies?). I mean I’m the type of person who 1) loves puzzles, 2) listens to orchestral movie soundtracks (it’s a violin-player thing) and 3) is completely, undeniably in love with 80’s romance/comedy movies.

For example: I can quote “The Breakfast Club” beginning essay in precisely twenty-one-point-two seconds - memorized. Where teenagers nowadays associate themselves with Emma Stone or Jesse Eisenberg, I revolve around Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall. I think designing my own prom dress would be the cherry on top of a pie - that is, if I could actually sew. Dancing - for me, anyways - is not a seductive festivity that inhabits the lives of the rebellious and ahead-of-their-time females today; it is rocking out my moves to those old video tapes that no one owns anymore, like “Dancing Kim” doing the robot and the cabbage patch.

That is the type of person I am.

Weird, right?

Wrong.

See, I believed I was weird and wrong and overall the most imperfect person on the face of the planet for, well, all of my life. I blame it mostly on my infatuation with John Hughes movies.

Until, that is, my Snapshot.

I call them Snapshots because Memories is not quite accurate enough. Think about it: it’s utterly impossible to remember a memory exactly how it went, to the setting, the mood, the dialogue, the action. But a Snapshot is a moment in time that is exactly that - embodied in a single picture that is accurate to the tee. Snapshots are rare and easily mistaken for Memories, but it’s only a Snapshot when the past time is exact.

My Snapshot happened to occur just as I was about to throw myself over a cliff.

I mean this in the most metaphorical way possible; really, I’d actually failed a paper in Advanced Placement World History - on purpose.

Why? Well, I was sick of being weird. And the “cool” people at my school were all F, D, and low C students. So, automatically, I “threw myself over a cliff”, doing something I would never normally do that should be social suicide to my current status, as I’m a straight A student, even in AP classes. But, I decided that being made fun of for my innocence and goody-two-shoeness was getting a bit overwhelming, and something needed to be done about it.

So, here I am. My paper even looks like crap. Disorganized, not even printed, sloppy handwriting, smudges. There would be no way I could pass with this. My ideas were understated and so boring I almost fell asleep just writing it. My analysis of the fall of Confucianism in relativity to the rise of Buddhism was, at best, lacking concrete evidence and, at worst, lacking everything else (that includes the thesis - an easy point that’s actually quite difficult to get wrong). This would be an eye opener for my classmates, something for them to think, “Wow, this girl’s a badass - we should really stop making fun of her”.

It is in my hand. My teacher’s hand is six inches away, palm open with a messy stack of already-handed-in essays. I am the last one standing.

And yet, I can’t bring myself to do it.

I hold my paper tight, gripping it so that my knuckles are literally white with tension. My teacher glances to the paper, and back at me, beckoning with her eyes to “hurry up, I don’t got all day”.

“The Breakfast Club” pops into my head, the entire movie, all at once. The theme slaps me so strongly across the face that I nearly shout it; enough of this petty, I-don’t-fit-in s***. We all don’t fit in, and we all do fit in. We’re all ourselves, and that’s all we’ll ever be.

Square pegs don’t fit into round holes. I am the square peg; my classmates, the round holes.

All this races through my head so quickly that if hair grew on my brain, it would be getting whiplash right now.

“Well?” My teacher asks, rather impatiently. “Hellooo, anyone there?” She drawls out the “o”, sounding exponentially annoying (it’s probably not the wisest idea to punch a teacher in the throat).

This is the Snapshot: I take my paper, fold it twice into a thin, neat square, and rip it to shreds. And then, I drop the pieces so they scatter all over the floor.

All my classmates stop to look at me, and when I say all, I mean everybody. It is dead silent. Not a sound.

What happens next is, simply, what happens next. It is another moment and another slice of time that is done and over with and disappears, just like ninety-nine percent of all memories that aren’t really memories. What I mean is, it just doesn’t matter. I could have turned that paper in, but was it really me? No. It was a me I didn’t like turning that paper in, a me I didn’t trust. But this me, right here and right now, is the me that deserves to stay. This me is the one I think I’ll keep.

So, thank you, John Hughes, for your inspirational, slap-in-the-face movie, “The Breakfast Club”. And even though I “under[stood] the fact that [I] had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was [I] did wrong, but [I] think you’re crazy to make [me] write an essay telling [everybody] who [I] think [I] am. You see [me] as you want to see [me], in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions” (The Breakfast Club).

But what I found out is that I am me.

Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours, the-person-that-I-am.




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