As far back as I can remember, I saw my life from afar, as if it were a movie that I was watching. I could even hear the music as the camera faded in on my life.
As a young child, I was telling stories, writing them down, and illustrating them.
And I was reading—book after book after book.
And I was learning new words. I loved words.
And I was setting up a little table and sitting behind it and pretending to be a newscaster on television.
But I didn’t want to be a writer of books or movies or of the daily news. No, I wanted to be either a brain surgeon or President of the United States because those pursuits would impress my mother and make her love me more than my brothers. Note: This quest—to get my mother to love me more than she loved my brothers–was a competition created by my own warped mind. My parents always, without fail, said they loved us equally. I choose not to believe them.
This brings me to a huge segue because, to understand why I had a warped mind, you must know a bit about the line of people who came before me.
You see, I inherited this little gene that makes me special. It’s a gene that seemingly makes people brilliant and creative, but also somewhat neurotic, in a very endearing way, of course. This little gene has been passed down from one generation to another. Among other things, it seems to cause the following:
- Insomnia: I get all sorts of important things done at 3 and 4 a.m., whether it’s updating my status on Facebook or cleaning out the junk drawer in the kitchen.
- Catastrophic worry: I have a headache; It might be a brain tumor! What’s the noise? There must be a serial killer hiding in the closet!
- Delusions of Grandeur: I won’t just become a writer; I’ll become a writer who wins a Pulitzer. I won’t just write a book; I’ll write a NY Times bestseller. I won’t just get on TV to promote my book; I’ll get on Oprah. I won’t just go into politics. I’ll become President of the United States.
- Highs and lows: During a high phase I can get 59 things done in a day because I am the super mother who does not sleep! During a low phase I get little done because I suck, I’m fat, I’m washed up, I’m past my prime, and I’m worthless. Oh and nobody loves me.
- Fear of heights.
As a result of this gene, I’ve been a professional consumer of various forms of therapy, self-help and all good things that are thought to help people like me ever since my early 20s.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s back up to 4th grade, when I still wanted to be President. As I said, I wanted to be this because it was untrumpable. With the possible exceptions of being the first human to walk on Mars or winning a Nobel, there was nothing my brothers could accomplish that was more Parent Attention Deserving than me becoming President.
And even though all of my 4th grade classmates laughed at me when I mentioned this career aspiration, I never doubted myself because my grandmother and great Aunt (who both hail from the Delusions of Grandeur side of the family) always told me that I was brilliant and that I could accomplish anything. For a brilliant and beautiful girl like me? Life had no limits.
My great aunt and grandmother told me that I was brilliant so often and so earnestly that I completely believed them, despite lots of evidence to the contrary. When I was not accepted into my school’s gifted and talented program? The other kids must have all cheated on the test. When my repeated attempts at the PSAT and SAT produced appallingly average scores? The test had a religious and sexist bias.
I thought I could do anything. I thought I could be anything. I thought nothing was outside of the realm of possibilities.
So, of course, I would become the first woman President.
That is, until I decided to become something else.