For one of my classes I was asked to write an Autobiography. I though it was going to be hard, that I would be sitting at my desk for hours. But, it was surprisingly easy. All the time I spend in my head finally paying off.
I was born late May, on what I’ve told was a sunny morning. These two things could be considered significant due to the fact, I’m a sunshine fanatic, often considered a better person during the warmer months. I’m also a Gemini. This could be deemed irrelevant to non-astrological people – but I’ve found many of my signs astrological habits to match my own. Often, I wonder if I would be the same person if I was born in the winter.
My life started around 8 a.m. in a hospital about 20 miles from St. Pete Beach, Florida. I was my mom’s second child, approximately 2 and a half years to my brother’s senior. My mom claimed I came out nose squished with dark hair and grey eyes. It is a lot different from my current green eyes and blond hair, a change that even baffles my mom. I was wrapped in a pink blanket, made by Nana, and shuffled out a day later.
By 9 months, I had made my first steps. I don’t remember them but was told they were in Ft. Lauderdale FL on my grandparents’ boat. I have a special relationship with these grandparents. They are the types of people who are everywhere that’s nowhere close. I grew up asking my mom what country there were currently in. Going to school telling stories of them riding horses on South African beach’s and drinking with locals in the Bahamas. It could be the mystery of them that stems my fondness or the fact they kickstarted my desire to travel.
They took me to places most people only dream of at a young age. I spent a lot of time on the 5-mile island of Turtle Kay, swimming with the sharks and learning of extreme shellfish allergy. In 5th grade, I went to South Africa for the first time and met the giraffes named after me. I made faces at guards in London and spent warmer months visiting family in Canada. At a young age, I understood the importance of experiencing other cultures and obsessed with learning their stories ever since.
I grew up in the same house. Stacked at the end of the neighborhood, painted in green with the ocean soundtrack playing behind it. I’s easy for me to understand that I was born into a privileged life. But I’m so beyond grateful. My home and the people I associate with have made me into the person I am today.
My childhood home leads straight to the beach. After a mile bike ride and a very illegal J walk through Corry Avenue, you could find me from ages 11-18 sitting right on 8th Ave on Pasa Grille Beach.
My best friends lived in the same town. We met at swim team when I was 12 years old, and they have been a solid fixture in my life ever since. Growing up as the youngest child, I’ve had this intense sense of freedom or lack of rules. My friends were the same as me in the sense of madness and easy-going parents.
Our parents would drop us off at swim practice at 5:30 a.m. and not see use until after our second practice that ended at 9 p.m. We ran the beach with no sense of responsibility or consequences. Looking back, I don’t know how we made it out alive. My summers were full of the swim team, sandy pizza, and biking miles to different beaches around town. Often, we would take the beach bus to destinations hours away. No phones, flipflops and a terrible sunburn was the only thing carried.
My dad would get mad after finding out we only wore bikinis while ridding our bikes down major beach highway’s. But we never cared. At the time, things like child abduction and creeps seemed impossible and unreasonable.
We never had money. Often searching under my friend Shays couch cushions to scrape enough to split a medium pizza between 5 girls. I lived off of ‘Circle K’ hotdogs and beach market fries.
Up to the moment I, the oldest of my friends, could drive, we biked everywhere. Often escaping death by milliseconds due to never using crosswalks or having any respect for the tourists driving crazy down Golf Boulevard.
These people were my family. I don’t think it’s possible for me to put in words what those times meant to me and my development. I hope everyone can experience this freedom one day—one without reason, avidly avoiding consequences and accountability.
I went to a local elementary school but was forced to switch schools when the local middle school I was supposed to close down. This action, I believe, changed the course of my life completely. This change made me meet the girl who convinced me to go to a specific high school, which in turn led me to go to college in Auburn, Alabama.
I don’t remember a lot of middle school, besides jumping off bridges and attending an overwhelming amount of swim practices. However, the one thing that stands out was 8th grade. During this year, my friend Kylie asked what high school I was going to. She assumed I was going into an advanced education program, called the International Baccalaureate program. A school that I did not think I was smart enough to be in. But she thought I was, and I never corrected her. Through applying, getting in, and actually attending, I never thoroughly thought through my actions, only following them because I was nervous to admit I didn’t think I could hack it.
I ended up graduating from the program in 2017. It wasn’t without struggle, but I am proud of those 4 years. They are what lead me to Auburn. In turn, lead me to study abroad, introducing me to new people and expanding my horizons. It’s why I am sitting here, writing an autobiography of my life.
My life is not as seamless as it may seem here. But I choose to look at the bright spots and the people it’s allowed me to meet.
I still wonder what I would be like If I were my mom’s first child. Born on a rainy December instead of a sunny May. But I can’t change my past, only react to the situations it’s created for me and be grateful that I had the opportunities to live them.