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I shop at the local thrift store often. I know its six sections of racks and shelves as if they were in my own closet. I don’t shop there for financial reasons, nor do I shop there for trendy fashion finds. I shop there for the stories the t-shirts whisper to anyone who listens. With a little luck, each piece of clothing sees years of a person’s life. The words “Sandy Plains Softball League,” or “Harrison High School Class of 1999” screen-printed on the front are the only look you get into the former owner’s life. The fun lies in the inference. Just as it is impossible to learn everything about someone from a t-shirt they wear, it will be impossible to learn everything you need to know about me from one essay. These are only the words screen-printed on the front of my t-shirt.
I am —–, and my name has too much thought behind it for a girl who likes to live life as it happens. You may call me Oxymoron. I am chaotic, as my curly hair suggests, but I have a near-obsessive need for organization of any kind. I am an optimistic skeptic. I am horribly opinionated and usually shy. I am recognized by both my all-capital-letter print and my elaborate script. I am the rock my friends rely on for support, but I am still a teenage girl, vulnerable behind any façade I choose for the day.
I love how music lets me let go of my worries and how it sometimes moves me so much I feel like someone punched me in the chest. I love all languages, mathematics included. I love knowing that neither the right nor the left side of my brain is controlling the other; I don’t stand for tyranny of the cerebral sort. I love the mountain towns of Sicily that let me know I belong somewhere. I love the city that lets everyone know they belong somewhere. I love my Irish mother’s Italian cooking. I love anything that is almost tangibly continuous, but I get bored sleeping in the same place for two nights in a row.
I believe that there is much to be said about socialism, and I believe in the democracy that our nation was founded on. I believe that employing someone because she is a woman or any other minority is just as bad as not employing her because she is; affirmative action has created a new kind of discrimination. I believe that when isolated, all things, including people, lack meaning. I believe in the importance of the individual. I believe in the necessity of attention to the Golden Rule, and I believe that at the heart of the same philosophy is selfishness. I believe in gay marriage, stem cell research, and a pregnant woman’s right to privacy. I believe that beyond the corruption of the Catholic Church, there is a set of standards that are worth believing in. I believe in the beauty of the written word, and I believe in both the destructive and the constructive influences of it.
I hate people who can’t remember my name, and I hate people who use it excessively. My name invokes a seriousness I don’t often like to know. I hate reality, and I hate fantasy worlds created by people who live their lives in fluffy white nothingness. Reality disappoints me too often, and fantasy worlds are for the naïve. I hate people who are different for the sake of being different. They are hypocrites that let society affect them as much as it does anyone else. I hate conformists who devour any sense of originality. I hate heights, bridges, and fire, although I do love candles. I hate people with irrational phobias. I hate commercials, flashing red signs, or people ringing your doorbell advertising their faith. People have a right to believe what they want to believe without being told that they will spend eternity rotting in Hell.
Finally, this metaphorical t-shirt is undoubtedly red; red is my favorite color.
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