My final interview process was fairly unorthodox in comparison to the others. As I took to the chat rooms to find my last stranger, I may or may not have developed PTSD. I always start with high expectations, assuming that the first person I engage with will spill their guts to me just because I ask them to. However, I’m quickly proven wrong when my first interactions started with “hey sexy” and “sexy cam?”
I was under the impression that people would open up more over the internet, as they are able to hide their identity and type away any sorrows they have - but most people are just horny, to be honest. It took me several chatrooms, an abundance of unwanted penis pictures and too many clichéd people to finally find one competent person. But I survived, and luckily, in a philosophy chatroom, I found 30-year-old Erin (aka InkBlot).
We discovered we are both celiac when small talk began over an open room, so naturally we became soul sisters. When I asked her what one thing she wished she’d known when she was younger, she replied, “I wish I’d known how to speak for myself.”
Erin continued to share that when she was seven, she was hit by a car. This left her with a deformed face. She said: “I was cute. Many people had sympathy for me, but mean girls in my class would pick on me whenever they could.”
Growing up with a mom she refers to as “sociopathic,” Erin never learned to stand up for herself. She was either walked on or pushed to the side. Her mother spoke for her, and she never had a chance to speak for herself.
Fate is a funny thing. As time moves forward, you only grow accustomed to the things that have been done beyond your control. As Erin grew older, she got used to her deformation as if it were they way she was born, as if she was always supposed to look that way. However, as time moves forward, the things you can control become more obvious; you’re able to call bullshit when you see it, and suddenly, you’re an adult. I couldn't help but think about the video "Dear 16-year-old Me," after interviewing everyone, and wondering what I'll be telling myself one day.
Olivia Vanderwal is a wanderlust enthusiast, a writer of delicate words, a player of all things acoustic, and a singer in and out of the shower, determined to follow a career in the writing industry. She hopes to dive into scriptwriting for television, while dipping her toes in the songwriting business and also juggling a novel of her own one day. Keep her in your prayers.