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Story from Middle School: Finding Myself
I have little good memories from middle school. The nastiness and neglect of elementary had begun to catch up to my psyche by the time I’d end 6th grade. I guess my problem was that I was an over-analyzer and a 30 year old trapped in a 13 year-old’s body due to mainly talking to adults and that drove my peers away. Before that I was a kid with an overload of quirks with an older one-on-one aid that was a little up-tight, so nobody really liked me. And since nobody at the school knew how to help me, middle school was a miserable time.
But every cloud has a silver lining, so let’s find it.
6th grade was fine. My grades were okay, people kind of talked to me, and of course they didn’t annoy me then. My aid, Annie, spoiled me, which probably wasn’t that good, but I at least got free supplies. Things got funny at 7th grade when my mom and I left my dad and moved to Georgia for half a year. I don’t have time to get into that, but I’ll summarize it: I hated those schools. I came back mid school year, they forced Annie back on me, and I became an official pessimist.
Wait, I’m supposed to be focusing on positives. Hmm, I guess I should talk about how I found myself during that time.
Let’s start at with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. I signed up for this back in 6th grade. Basically they assign you after asking you personality questions a buddy from the high school to talk to and hang out with in the library. My first girl was Lauren, who must have been the shortest student of the class of 2011. I liked her, but I never really opened up to her a lot. She was a senior though, so in 7th grade I got a new girl named Amber, who must have been the shortest student of the class of 2013. I liked her, but I’m pretty sure she thought I was a psychopath. I mainly only talked about my crazy stories with her and her friends and that just made them really uncomfortable. Don’t even get me started on the Shane Dawson videos I’d go on about to them.
Oh yeah, I forgot about him. Well, I started watching him in middle school, so he’s relevant.
When I was 12 and over my uncle’s house one day, my dad and him were watching baseball and I had nothing to do. So my uncle let me play on his computer. Yes! I thought. I can finally go on YouTube and watch Fred videos like a normal 12 year old! I wouldn’t have my first computer until a few months from then.
So I went on YouTube and watched a few Fred videos.
But didn’t get into him.
Then I remembered a video on YouTube my former best friend told me about. It was titled “Fred is Dead” and featured a guy pretending to be Fred making fun of him in the raunchiest ways possible. So I searched it and I watched it.
I couldn’t stop laughing.
From then on I watched more videos from the tall man with the Ellen DeGeneres haircut known as Shane Dawson and fed on the toilet humor like a lion feeds on a zebra. Whenever I had access to YouTube, I’d watch him. And when I got a computer I was addicted. I had always had a wild imagination, but I never really used it for anything other than drawing pictures of my pets and I torturing Dr. Phil. Shane sort of made me want to write dirty skits and stories. So while playing a game called L.A. Noire, where you play as a cop and not allowed to kill random people, I would go on free-roam and run people over in my car. My partner would yell at me for driving and acting erratically so to screw around I would reply to his comments in a high pitched voice. Later I turned this high pitched voice into a character named Edward Rhino. Today he’s an inventor and deep optimist, but then he was a crack-addicted raging homosexual who was r**ed by Michael Jackson as a child. I could go on.
As time went on I matured (as well as getting chewed out for my stories by school and parents) my stories matured too. I even find myself slowly less hyped up about Shane. But I owe it to him for inspiring me to purse filmmaking, screenwriting, and even acting (I always was dramatic though). Not to mention the countless times he touched me beyond the camera and computer screen.
So he’s definitely an idol of mine. Although he’s only one of two I have and found in middle school. Every time I talk of the other one I feel silly though.
Let’s start from the beginning. Now, I never thought I’d ever be on a bandwagon, get hyped about a big A-Lister, or participate in a popular fandom. I liked Shane, but I wouldn’t cry at the sight of him. I read these books about feral but organized cats in the forest called Warriors, but they weren’t really popular.
I believe it started in late 7th grade. I had heard of The Hunger Games before. I saw movie trailers, an awkward three minute interview on the home screen of On Demand with Jennifer Lawrence (who I had never heard of then), and EVEYONE walking around the school with a new book of the trilogy every day. They were plowing through them in days. DAYS! We were really into teens played by fully developed 20 year olds killing each other in some sick pageant. There was a poster in the library of the three lead actors, and I only recognized Josh Hutcherson.
Huh, I thought, the kid from Firehouse Dog is all grown up. Well, almost because that girl is taller than him. Tee hee.
At one after school book fair, my mom bought me a package of the whole trilogy. I remember because only one other family was there and they were arguing in the parking lot about a relative’s ECT. When I got home I started reading the first book.
I couldn’t put it down.
I wound up plowing through all three in a month, rereading all of them three times before buying the first movie on DVD at Sam’s Club. It was $9.98, but there was a typo and the tag read $998.
“I heard it was good,” my mom said to the cashier, “but not that good.”
I watched it in my room on my PS3, and at first I loved it. There’s a certain kind of excitement and joy to see something you had pictured in your head for a while come to visual life on a TV screen, or even better, a movie theatre (which I experienced later with Catching Fire which was also a better movie). I remember having butterflies in my stomach from beginning to end, even during the annoying shaky-cam parts, cinematic (and lazy) alterations, and low budget effects. I know it’s not the greatest movie on its own, but sure is a great movie for book fans. So well, non-book fans didn’t understand most parts (which is why it isn't a good movie on its own).
The experience overall is just magical.
I don’t remember much of how I became a full out Tribute, obsessed with everyone who had anything to do with making The Hunger Games, and mainly the cast members. I don’t know if it just happened because she's heavy in the media or what. But I truly believe that my fascination with Jennifer Lawrence should be studied by psychologists and sociologists.
I refer to her as my “Southern Sister” because I have more similarities with her then my actual sister and she’s from Kentucky so I thought it sounded cool. When I was younger, Britney Spears was my Southern Sister but I eventually realized that her music is the epitome of the annoying side of Western culture. So Jen became my new SS, and the spot of crazy blonde pop star was taken by Ke$ha, who at least writes her own music and is an expert at surrealism (who could’ve actually taken the SS spot herself, being from Nashville). I like to think that I see her differently than all those ordinary Tributes that just want to get pizza with her before they die. I really saw this when that iCloud photo hack happened. When I saw it on the news I almost cried because I really felt like this happened to a close friend. I wanted to send her an Edible Arrangement with a funny and heartfelt letter with some pictures in it that I made. But I didn’t want to explain to my parents that I wanted to send those things to a celebrity who earns a quarter every time somebody says, “May the odds be ever in your favor.” Speaking of which, I just earned her one. My feelings are just really to the heart with Jen, more than Britney or Ke$ha could ever wish.
Now, like I said before, I feel silly talking about Jennifer Lawrence. I can’t explain why, I just do. Maybe because she’s very famous or she just seems like a silly topic. Anyway, as far as inspiration in life goes she and Shane are similar, mostly because they’re similar. Shane is hyper, Jen is hyper. Jen loves food, Shane gets aroused by the stuff (he used to be 500 pounds). Jen is confident and just doesn’t care, Shane can act confident and be confident when he stops caring. Shane cares about his fans, Jen cares about her fans and the influence she has on them. I think you get it (by the way, that song “Suddenly I See” sums up to a T how I feel about Jen, and even Shane because he does drag). And as I begin to think about it, I’ve always been like Jen and Shane. I used to be very hyper and when I come out of my shell I can’t get put back in, I enjoy junk on occasions, and I can be confident when I stop caring. I should stop caring, but to this day I still struggle to get a hold of my anxiety. I’m getting better, and if I do become a big filmmaker/screenwriter/actress I hope to inspire and influence fans in life and what they want to do with it.
One last thing before I’m done. Sometime in the future I want Shane or I to make a food haul with Jen where all three of us just eat. Shane makes those type of videos with his equally quirky friends who like to pig out as much as him, and since Jen and I like to eat too we should do it. All three of us on camera with food and no script?
I don’t think the world is ready.