My name is Jaclyn. I was born in a swamp in 1983, which is murder for thick, Italian hair. My Mother named me after an original Charlie’s Angels actress, Jaclyn Smith; she was the smart one, I think. I’ve never really tried to watch the show–seems weird and sexist. That wasn’t actually the real spelling of her name, so it’s all kind of a lie. No one ever knows how to spell my name, or how to pronounce it for that matter. My Mother was nineteen when she became pregnant with me–I was originally thought to be an ulcer. Gramma took her baby shopping after the appointment to show that she wasn’t mad. I’d be the second grand-daughter. The first would go on to reject the family, allowing me my birth-right, of sorts. I was always close to the matriarch of the family, like a second mother. She was there when I was born, not my father, but that’s a story for a different day. He had given my Mother money for an abortion, which she spent on baby clothes, telling him I was an ectopic pregnancy and couldn’t be aborted, because men are dumb and we didn’t have the internet in the early 80’s. He’d be gone in two years anyway.
I was born at 10:42pm on the 2nd of September in Orlando. I’m a Virgo and an ISFJ, if you believe in those sorts of things. I have the same birthday as Keanu Reeves and for this reason, I’d like to assume that we’re similar people. I think being born at night has had an effect on me–the melancholy, the night-owlishness, the overall darkness. Being born and raised in a huge tourist destination is a strange feeling as well. It changes so much and people come and go and it never truly feels like home. Things are always being built for people who don’t live there. I was born in Florida because Grampie got stationed here when my Mother was eight years old. Gramma and her three daughters had had a broken life in Rhode Island prior to meeting a twenty-something sailor who’d be more of a father than the fisherman they left behind. Daddy issues should be on our family crest.
My Mom met another man who became my father. I never questioned why I had a different last name until Mom told me and showed me a picture of a man I’d track down in my 20’s, a man who never tried to find me, but threatened to take me as an infant, hence why the “Father” line on my birth certificate is blank. I’d learn later that I wasn’t the only one.
I am the oldest of four who had to grow up fast. Mom treated me like a friend when I was little; I heard things and saw things and listened to her cry. My parents were young and drunk. When they’d have to work, we’d be babysat by our grandparents, who were also drunk. I learned how to shield my brother to the point that he remembers nothing. I also have two younger sisters who weren’t alive when things were bad, though they’re getting a taste of round two.
Mom and Dad sent my brother and I to private, Catholic school from kindergarten through the twelfth grade, most of the time, in lieu of paying bills. I was shy and often the butt of bullying and jokes, mostly from people who were my friends. I wouldn’t fight back, I’d forgive and forget, and still be their best friend. The first feeling I can remember feeling is anxiety, even in what should have been safe spaces. I lost my shit in high school and rebelled my ass off while maintaining a 3.75 GPA without trying. My sisters got to go to public school and then were home-schooled. They didn’t have to go through the bullying or the cliques and the bullshit–the things that really fucked me up.
I am now a staunch atheist who doesn’t want children. I have a husband who I love and who is good to me. I have two dogs and three cats–I’ve always had pets and am very good with animals. I have a Master’s degree and plan on getting my Doctorate in School Psychology. Currently, I’m waiting on my teaching certification so I can be a middle school English teacher–kids love me. I want to be able to be a presence for kids who were in my position growing up, kids who feel lonely surrounded by people, kids who are told their depression is a phase, kids who don’t know who to trust.
But to the point of this blog–since the sixth grade, I wanted to be a poet. The English teacher I had that year, who died young of cancer, believed in me and I appreciated the hell out of her for it. I’ve always had romantic dreams of living in a loft with flowing curtains and stacks of books, making a living off my writing. I’ve always felt more comfortable and have been able to more accurately communicate through writing. As the years went on, I entered poetry contests and paid my fees, but after receiving several rejection letters, my Mom smacked me in the face (for the third time in my life) with, “Let’s stop wasting all this money, obviously you’re just not good.” Thanks, Mom, but I minored in Creative Writing at UCF and my professors would disagree. I’ll pretend they’re my parents who believe in me.
So, this is where I’m going to write now. Maybe I’ll make it all into a book one day. Maybe I won’t. Either way, it’ll all be right here, organized to perfection. I have too many stories to tell–all true. Stay tuned.
It all won’t be poetry, but it never is.
8th grade ELA teacher getting PsyD in School Psychology
In my free time, I enjoy painting screenshots of The Simpsons, maintaining my writing blog, restoring furniture, playing with my animals, photographing famous graves, and constructing terrarium hellscapes of my lucid dreams.
Music: 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, punk, & metal. I also love songs with horns.
Movies: Spider Baby, Daisies, May, Jug Face, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Drop Dead Fred, The Neverending Story 1 & 2, The Similars, The Fall, Lo, Legend, Dark Crystal, Empire Records, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, Possession (’81), Synecdoche NY, Madhouse, Heavenly Creatures, Hardware, all Hellraiser, Mel Brooks, Christopher Guest, Wes Anderson, and James Wan
TV: all Williams Street, true crime, classic MTV/MTV2 programming, anything w/David Mitchell & Robert Webb, 6ft Under, Will & Grace, Animaniacs, Freakazoid, The Simpsons, Star Trek: TNG, Battlestar Galactica (’04), Becker, Friends, Frasier, Married With Children, It’s Always Sunny…, South Park, Those Who Can’t, David the Gnome, The Twilight Zone (and same vein), Flight of the Conchords, My So-Called Life, marine/nature documentaries, sketch comedy (KITH!), all Seth MacFarlane (and his face)
Artists: Egon Schiele, Luis Royo, Marianne Stokes, Oswaldo Guayasamin, David Ho, Gregory Crewdson, John William Waterhouse, Don Hertzfeldt, Sarah Moon, Salvadore Dali, HR Giger, Vincent Van Gogh, Ralph Steadman, Edvard Munch, Gustav Klimt, Dorothea Tanning, Henri Matisse, Hieronymus Bosch, Parke Harrison, Alex Grey, Luke Chueh, Jim Henson, Christian Schloe, Peter Nevins, Federico Beltrán-Masses, AJ Frena, Sonja Barbaric, Remedios Varo
Food: jelly toast, soup, cheese, stuffed shells, black olives
Misc. loves: rocks, the possibility of ghosts, psychology, psychedelics
When I was little, I wanted to grow up to be Janeane Garofalo or Lisa Loeb. For a short time in my twenties, I was Natalie Imbruglia.
I hate magic and birds.
I’ll always regret not going into neuroscience or marine biology.
My first concert was to New Kids on the Block when I was 7 (1990). My first real concert was to Green Day when I was 13 (1996).