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NONFICTION Learning


Curve by Michelle Cabral


I was thin. People, in their attempt to compliment me, usually focused on my sense of humor.


I I had no misconstrued notions of my self-worth. I had


no major daddy issues. I had decent skin. I could survive in a lot of social situations, as long as


there was either beer or a secluded corner. I was average, and I did not mind it. I finished a


seven-year run at an all girls private school. I got into college, two colleges to be exact.


I went away to the fancy communications college.


And it was there that I got scared: I was average. My communications college was for people that


really knew what they wanted. That excelled at what they did. That were ready to compete for some big prize. That wanted to network and gain their life’s meaning through how many social contacts they had in publishing or theater.


I went to the Subway a block away from my dorm


room. I bought a foot long Italian BMT with extra pickles and two bags of Baked Lays. I wanted to be a writer, but I did not know what that meant.


At my fancy communications college, to be a


writer meant to be published. It meant to be famous and maybe have your books turned into movies and then other promotional items.


The one girl in my Public Speaking class wanted to be


just like J.K. Rowling. She had a Harry Potter broomstick. She established the school’s Quidditch team. They now play in the Intercollegiate Quidditch Association (IQA) World Cup.


Sometimes I would wake up at four a.m. and sit


at my desk and write on my laptop. By five, I would delete everything on the Word document, close my computer and remind myself that I was average. Average people don’t get published.


I skipped the meetings with my advisor where we


were supposed to plan my major. I did not want to talk about my goals. I wanted to leave. I did not want to go to college, anyway. I wanted to become a comedian.


36 In high school they told me how funny I was, not how did not think that I was pretty. I did not think that


smart. I was not smart. I came to class and I did my work, most of the time. But there were girls that were just better than me, way better. It was not their fault that they had been having private lessons in math since they were old enough to count.


In kindergarten, we would count off by a different


number to practice counting skills. I tried to sit towards the front so I could have an easy number. I could not count by fives. Or tens. I cried. My kindergarten teacher thought I had a learning disability. It was written on my report card along with a note about how I asked for help with spelling. That was a bad thing.


I was not good at math. I was not good at science. My


fifth grade art teacher made fun of my fire safety poster, so art was also out of the question. In sixth grade they told me how my sentences would be better with verbs and nouns. So in seventh I got called the Queen of the Run-on.


I guess I was below average then. In second grade, at the urging of my kindergarten


teacher, I had special classes in reading. I had special one- on-one time with the school psychologist as they attempted to diagnose me with a mental disability. I got to play with shaving cream and a Lite Brite. I thought that I was special until Jenny Lewis told me that I got to do all those things because I was stupid.


She was right. Jenny still sucks her thumb though. All through high


school and college. I don’t blame Jenny for still doing that, her father cheated on her mother and the whole town knew.


At the end of my undergraduate career I thought I


was heading towards something. I pushed myself. I finished four years of classes in three. I should have taken more time with it.


I deal better with getting bad reviews than good


ones. I respond better when I am told how terrible everything I do is, rather than hearing that I may be good at something. It lessens the blows of defeat to go into something knowing failure is inevitable.


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