What people preach isn't necessarily what they practice. It's a fact of life, and no amount of denying or pretending not to hear will change that. I tell people not to give up. I've spent years spreading my unequaled tale of distress and hence bringing upon them some ridiculous sense of assurance. This doesn't mean that I abide by the same principles that I expel so righteously. It's positively insane, I'm well aware. Just as aware as I am that you have to understand somebody to give them proper advice. At least it is more liable to be efficacious, and even more importantly, appropriate. But how does one know another when they have yet come to know themselves?

The same idea was brought up today. By me, naturally, as all such things seem to be. She'd have done it soon enough, so I suppose that things just are. But neither of us seem to be sure what it is we are to do about this. Or rather that we are too frightened to confess. Confess is the exact word for it. I know what my duty is; as of now, I'm in confession. I'll do my best to lay before you the answer to your question, and pray that my sins might be absolved.

Who am I?

I am the daughter of a woman by the name of Kimberly and a man called Andy. My mother was 19 when I was born. I am the daughter of a good turned evil by the poisons this world has to offer. I am the witness to a flying jewelry box launched by my father at my mother, but he was high and thus his aim was off. He nearly killed my little sister with that throw. He was a handsome man, tall and strong with auburn hair that glistened in the most fantastic way when he was in the right light. I was a daddy's girl, without a doubt. I was a blind child, easily swayed into ignorance of tears spilled at his declarations of my ugliness, worthlessness, lovelessness. And when my mom had decided that she would no longer subject herself to his blows, both physical and mental, I was a hateful child. I conjured the burning black hatred that no three-year-old ought to be able to possess for her mother; for saving me, for tearing me unwillingly away from the father whom I loves so fantastically, whom I couldn't bear to be without. I was an unaware child, an ignorant one. I loved my father despite all of the terrible things that I understood he'd said and done. Perhaps if I'd understood it all, I'd've felt differently. I suppose I'll never know. I was once a kidnapped child. I didn't even know it. My father had taken me away without my mother's approval, and without the intention of bringing me back. I remember having a grand time playing video games. In fact, I was a conspirator in my own kidnapping. I don't remember much. I do remember my mom screaming, and my father yelling right back. I remember being grabbed at. I remember that at one point my father had grabbed me by the leg and my arm scraped against gravel as I was turned upside-down. I remember my face being inches away from the gravel that littered our apartment complex's parking lot. I remember being tossed into the car and my father yelling at me to lock the door. I did, despite my mother's cries.

I am someone who bears many more memories of her first three years than is normal. In fact, for the most part, most people don't remember anything before they're four years old.

I am someone who burnt the carpet trying to light a candle for her mother on Mother's Day. I am someone who sobbed for the sake of sobbing and said it was because I was afraid that my family was going to be killed by a tornado. I am someone who thought about the ways of black widow spiders while my mother did laundry and wondered why all of the washing machines had the word No written on them, only to find out that it was an abbreviation for the word number. I am someone who threw spaghetti on my sister's head and sprayed mustard up my step-father's arm during a food fight that I'm well aware wouldn't have happened if my mother had been home.

I am someone who got a red Power Ranger ice cream cake for her fifth birthday. I received a red V-Tech computer from my Mom-mom that very same birthday. After a bit, I refused to play with it for months. The lady's voice scared me.

I am someone who refused to sleep and was made to stand facing a wall, hands at my sides, unable to lean on the wall. This was my step-dad Joe's idea of punishment. I stood there for what felt like hours on end, although in reality it was probably no longer than a half hour.

I am someone who used to have a best friend Jocelyn. Jocelyn, my sister and I used to always explore the woods by our house. We'd catch crawfish by the apartments' pool. We'd have mud ball wars in the area where dirt bikers had built a succession of dirt hills after a good rain. I am someone who took a refrigerator box out of the dumpster with my friends and decorated it with drawings of salamanders, which we used to catch a lot as well. Big Brian was going to waterproof it, but he didn't get a chance to before the rain ruined it. I am someone who grabbed the metal frame to her old bunk bed out of the trash and set it up against a fallen tree, then had races to see who could climb up it one way and down the other the fastest. I am someone who got grounded for losing a bunch of towels in the woods. We'd brought them so we could dry our feet after crossing the freezing Neshaminy Creek. I am someone who had a juice stand that only sold on it's grand opening. The juice was made of a mixture of Kool-Aid, Sprite, and a touch of milk, which was surprisingly very good. I am someone who scoffed at a group of older boys (perhaps 10) who would ride by our stand on a bike and do various tricks. We called them clowns. Looking back, they were probably flirting with us. I am someone who crashed down the side of Suicide Mountain on my first bike ride down and sprained my ankle. I am someone who nearly dove into a lake teeming with water moccasins. I am someone who nearly got to the boss for the first time on Buzzby before my friend's dog stepped on the console and hit the restart button. I never even got to see what the boss looked like. I am someone who used to know our own dance routine to a Spice Girl song. I can't recall the title, but I believe the chorus went something like, "Stop right now, thank you very much. I need somebody with the human touch. Hey you, always on the run, need to somebody, need to have some fun." I am someone who used to absolutely love Mariah Carey. I am somebody who used to always play pretend. I'd usually play the boy, and I was almost always the one who died or got hurt. I am somebody who used to love watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and would oftentimes be Angle when we played pretend using Buffy characters. I am someone who saw Daisy Duke from the Dukes of Hazzard come onscreen in a bikini and went, "Whoa…"

I am somebody who got their first F in third grade, but it didn't count because I'd just moved and I got an Aa when I retook it. I am somebody who didn't get picked to write for our group because Darrel had cool, slanted handwriting. I tried making my handwriting slanted, and had to retake the next math test because the teacher couldn't read it.

I am someone who had a post-college reading level in fourth grade. I am someone who got a Christmas poem published in the Junior Dispatch. I am someone who had a rival, starting in fourth grade, named Mike. We were rivals well into eighth grade. I am someone who wanted to be a forensic scientist for the longest time due to a project we did in seminar. I am someone who had a pet pillbug named Sparky. It was for a seminar project. Sparky was light on the sides and had a dark grey stripe going down the center of his back. When Sparky died, I found a new one with the same coloration and name it Sparky Jr. I got all the way up to Sparky V before I gave it up.

I am someone who made best friends with the new girl in fifth grade. We'd tell each other everything, and did everything together during school. But we lived pretty far away from each other, and she had figure skating after school like I had karate, so we didn't hang out after school. I am someone who used to play basketball with all the boys before they got pissed that I was better than them and said I couldn't play because it was a boy's sport. I am someone that was feared by everybody in my karate class. I am someone that wrote a longer story than anybody in my class. I am somebody who had a substitute because my teacher's son's class was attacked by a man with a machete. I'm pretty sure his son was in preschool. He called in later that day to let our class know that everything was all right.

I am someone who fell out of touch with Jess, my old best friend, during my sixth grade year. I am someone who spent most of sixth grade with a huge crush on Zach Jackson. I am someone who hated the substitute that filled in for our Geography teacher when she went on maternity leave. I am someone who came in second place at our school's spelling bee. I am someone cheered when Zach Jackson led our team to victory at the lip sync contest. I am someone who won first place at a speech contest in the persuasive division.

I am somebody who had dreams about Jess. More than friendly type of dreams. I started to wonder then, but I dismissed the idea, chalking up the dreams to guilty, since my mind had been on her a lot. The dreams didn't help matters.

I am someone who got in a huge fight with my new best friend of two, Naomi, and chugged cup after cup after cup of pepsi because there was no beer at our school dance. I am somebody who whipped up a story in a night, laminated it, and read it the next night at our school's Story Night. The principal was there and commended me on my good work afterwards. I am somebody who played the most convincing Third Man in the play, Twelve Angry Men.

I am someone who got a GameCube for my 13th birthday and bought the game Animal Crossing for it. I knew what my gift was going to be, so I started going to a message board that talked about it. After the first two days I'd read all of the topics and was bored, so I checked out the Animal Crossing Social Board. I joined my first story-based RPG, and was immediately hooked. I made the ACSB my home.

I am someone who scrambled for New York area codes and plugged them in until I found the right one, and stopped my friend Janelle from committing suicide in the nick of time.

I am someone who dated a guy named Nick in sixth grade and most of seventh grade. I am someone who used to get high on a regular basis. Not just weed, either. I am someone who used to be an alcoholic. I am someone who got arrested for throwing a pumpkin through the window of a screen door. I am someone who used to steal for the thrill.

I am somebody who got a new best friend during the summer before eighth grade, Carolyn. I met her at church; she was my best friend outside of school, and Lauren was my best friend in school. I cleaned up my act because of her. I am someone who spent a week at Carolyn's house that summer. I am someone who started playing DDR because of her. I quit drinking, doing drugs, and smoking for the most part. I was the first person she told she was bi. In fact, she was the first one who knew I was as well. She asked me out, and by doing so dragged me out of my own closet when I said yes. It didn't last too long, though. She broke up with me because she was going to be moving to Ohio soon and didn't want things to get serious, because it'd just hurt more when she left.

I am someone who made fantastic friends with a man I met online. He lives in California, and as of now is 21; his name is Ken. He helped me through 12/11, which is the day I attempted suicide.

I am someone who was dating somebody during the summer before ninth grade. His name was Travis, although some people called him Ishmail. That was his nickname, and yes, that's how he spelled it. I asked him out because I knew he liked me. There wasn't much more to it than that. We made out a lot, and I questioned my sexuality some more. I got more of a rush from a peck with Carolyn than I did from a full on make out session with Travis. I dismissed the thought again, however, and went about my life.

And then I was someone who rode my bike to field hockey every morning and afternoon for 2 ½ hours practices. For the first week of our two weeks of practice during the summer, I sat on the bench and watched, because I didn't have my physical yet. I am someone who observed the crowds, set goals for myself, and learned about each player. Enter Britt. She was a junior, somebody that sent my gaydar beeping. I ignored it for a bit, though, although my suspicions grew. I am someone who sat across from Britt and some of her friends and listened to them talk about coffee and tea, knowing that coffee represented men and tea, women. I am someone who linked arms with her and smiled in response to her, "Shall we?" I am someone who listened to her talk about how she had her eyes on the prize and told her some things she should consider before making a decision. I am someone who slipped a not in her locker wishing her luck and restating the three important questions. I am someone who talked on the phone with her until five in the morning two nights I a row beating around the bush about how we were afraid we weren't on the same page before she got it out. I am someone who spent a month half-dating a closeted bisexual, seeing her on the field without being able to do anything. We cuddled a lot, though. Publicly inconspicuous cuddling, that is, such as sitting close on the bench (there wasn't much room), holding her hands for a bit (her hands were cold), and linking arms as one of us would lean our heads on their shoulder (we were a close field hockey team, and not the only people who did it). I am someone who fell asleep on her shoulder on a bus ride home more than once, to be woken up with a gentle whisper, "Amanda, it's going to get very loud in here soon," before the team broke into a rousing chorus of Bulldogs.

And then I was someone who felt the huge sense that something was wrong. For a week I felt like this, and distanced myself from her. I talked to her less, sat farther away from her when we sat in circles on the ground or on the bench. And then, October 14th rolled around. It was our last field hockey game, and Ellie, Britt's best friend, tore her ACL. I am someone who looked at Britt as she sat next to me and knew that there was bad news coming. I am someone who listened to her tell me that Matt, a guy she worked with and had gone to homecoming with, leaving me to talk to Rob the entire night, had asked her out. I am someone who felt my senses shutting down, my heart numbing immediately out of habit as I asked how she'd responded to him, even though I already knew. She wouldn't have brought it up in the first place if she hadn't said yes, and besides, I could read it in her eyes. She didn't answer me, at least not verbally, but she didn't need to. The look she was giving me said everything. I am someone who nodded and smiled and said that it was all right. I am someone who ignored my broken heart and told her that I only wanted her to do what would make her happy, even though she said that she didn't know what would make her happy, according to her own words. I am someone who listened to her tell me that it didn't change how she felt about me. I am someone who hugged her goodbye that night and saw the tears in her eyes, and told her not to beat herself up.

And then I was someone who waited. I am someone who had been told that she couldn't do it because she wasn't ready to be open. So I waited. I am someone who stood by her side and supported her, even after I found out that she still loved Rob. I am someone who listened to Rob go on about how Britt had told him about how they'd have a future together. I am someone who kept quiet and never let on that I loved Britt, and that every story he told me broke my heart in half all over again. But I am someone who sacrifices myself for those I love all of the time. So I kept up the charade because Britt wasn't ready for him to know. And then when she was ready, guess who was lucky enough to get the job of telling him? I am someone who told her secret and got the brunt of his cursing and damning and blaming, although Britt defused him efficiently enough after a time. I am someone who cried and trembled uncontrollably, not to mention puking twice during the course of the night. I am someone who still stood by him in everything and put my own wants and needs last.

I am somebody who found out from Rob that Britt had kissed Ellie and I had moved to last place. I am somebody who listened to Rob list the percentages that Britt had given everybody she liked, percentages of where they placed. Matt got 20, Rob got 25, Ellie got 75, and I got 2. I don't believe math was so much the point as properly conveying her feelings was. I am someone who gave her chance after chance and always remained neutral with her. I am someone who forgave her time an time again; I am someone who never judged her. I am someone who sacrificed four months of my life waiting for her to get over her fear, only to be forgotten when she had. I am also someone who congratulated her when she finally confessed to me herself. I am someone who was always there for her, always on her side; always last.

I am now someone who is typically quite shy around women. I am someone who needed a woman to tell me that I was bi, but needed a man to tell me that I am a lesbian. I am someone who sleeps as a pastime and is currently fighting a bout of clinical depression. I am an artist, a writer who can occasionally lose herself in her fantasies. I am a chameleon; I have a full set of readily accessible personalities and moods that I can slip into at the drop of a hat. I can change my colors in the blink of an eye. I'm in love with two women and feel as though I'm falling for another. Britt is one of these women, I'll admit. It may take me a bit to fully rewire months' worth of living.

I drink too much caffeine and stay up until 3AM for the hell of it. I have a goal set with one of my friends that by the time I graduate, we'll have stolen at least one of every kind of street sign. I'm an extremely good singer, although I'll never admit it to someone's face. My favorite Subway sub is the chicken bacon ranch on hearty Italian bread, with lettuce and the ranch sauce. My two favorite books are It by Stephen Kind and Sunshine by Robin McKinley. I got really depressed while reading The Catcher in the Rye. My favorite video game is Parasite Eve, for the original Playstation. My longest written piece is a 65 page novel, Pressure Point High, which I wrote two years ago and am currently ashamed at the writing, although I do like the plot. I listen to almost all kinds of music, from rap to rock to emo to techno and back again. I fell in love with the movie Miss Congeniality. If I were to have a celebrity crush, it would either be Kiera Knightley (she's really hot and kickass) or Michelle Rodriguez (she's hot in a really weird way, and doesn't take shit). I actually find shy girls really cute, and typically find my balls when confronted with one. The only thing that breaks my heart more than a crying girl is a girl screaming in pain. I want to die every time some movie has a girl screaming in pain, especially emotional pain.

I flip out on anybody who makes a rape joke; my friends have learned to refrain from that sort of thing,

I'm nothing more than the words that appear on your screen. I am everything you ever wanted to know. I am someone you have never met, and yet I am everyone you've ever known, rolled into one travel-size package. I am the girl in your English class that actually understands Shakespeare, without the use of an abridged version or cliff notes. I'm the one who laughs at funerals and cries at all of your birthday parties. I am the girl who took your hand and looked into your eyes and wanted to tell you that everything would be all right, but just stood there in awe because I couldn't get over how beautiful you were. I am everything this world lacks and has a surplus of. I am positively insane because I am at the same time the definition of sanity.

I am the one who slipped that love note in your locker on Valentine's Day but never owned up to it.

I am a dreamer, a lover, everything you have ever hated and wanted anyway, everything you have ever loved but couldn't have.

Who am I? I am me, whether it is enough or not.