I skipped 8th grade and started high school at 12. I went to a "magnet" high school for academically gifted children; you had to take an entrance exam to get in, as well as letters of recommendations from teachers. I took zero period all four years in high school; I took summer school every summer to get ahead. I took AP classes, honor classes, International Baccalaureate classes... you name it. I had blonde hair, big boobs, and bigger brains! My friends and I were not going to flip burgers; we were going to cure cancer, amass millions, and kick ass.
I started my freshman year at UCLA at 16 in 2005. I still haven't gotten my bachelor degree. I still haven't gotten even my associates.
|Miss Mochi, circa 2005|
When I was 12, I packed all my trophies (which decorated my entire room) and hid them away. I didn't want to see them anymore. I didn't want to remind myself of what I could be.
That was my first long lasting depressive episode. I got better. I brought the trophies back out, and added a hell of a lot more.
Sophomore year, I started seeing a therapist for yet another episode. My parents wanted to avoid medication at all cost.
I survived high school, pulling a better GPA than you'd expect for someone who would miss school because she couldn't get out of bed. My application essay for college documented rising up and crushing depression like a bug (in an upbeat yet humble, tasteful essay that appeals to that sort of application). What a bunch of bullshit, in retrospect.
In my first semester at UCLA, I stopped going to class. I stopped showering, stopped eating regularly, managed to gain a miraculous 40 pounds in less than 10 weeks, and stopped leaving my dorm room. For a person who only got one C in her entire life, I had a full semester of F's. *Actually not true, I got one B, which flabbergasted the faculty. If I was withdrawing from UCLA for depression, how could I pass that class? I explained I never bought the book, never went to class, but showed up for the first day, midterm, and final. It was a pure lecture class, and someone on my dorm floor dragged me to those days.
I was now the black sheep of my high school; the black sheep of my family. Everyone I talked to, would shake their head and say, "But you're so smart? Why are you sad?" I was ashamed to talk about my depression; people would tell me to just cheer up.
I was started on medication. And a higher dose. And a higher dose. And a higher dose. My weight went up as well.
I eventually went back to UCLA, got a 4.0 GPA for a couple, then left. Another depressive episode. My parents forbade me from going back.
I developed anxiety about school. I would drive up to the local community college... park... then sit there until I drove away.
|Quite a difference between this and before|
But I have a supportive boyfriend, an amazing dog, and I am still alive. We are so poor I turned in the cans and bottle from work for the puff pastry for this entry, but we have our own place and it is a safe haven I've never had with my parents, full of unconditional love. I weigh 100lbs more than I did in high school. I never wear makeup, I never do my hair anymore. I have also been sufficiently humbled by my experience. Kids that I thought were so "dumb" and "not serious academically" have their bachelors. I've never told anyone about all of this, just hints of what goes on here and there. I might never graduate, but I've come to terms with that. I'm still going to try.
No one on their deathbed worries that they should have worked more, should have achieved more. That's not happiness. Happiness is accepting that life is more than a resume; life is more than a list of achievements. And for a girl that has trouble remembering anything happy about her childhood that doesn't involve crushing the competition, life has certainly been a lesson in humility.
Miss Mochi's Humble Pie
1 sheet of puff pastry
1 jar of Rhubarb Strawberry Pie Filling or other canned filling
one egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Defrost the puff pastry, and lay out flat. Cut into quarters and place approximately 2 heaping tablespoons in the middle of each quarter. Bring the corners of each quarter together to form a purse. Roll the edges a little to seal, and brush the entire thing with egg. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the pastry has puffed up and turned a nice golden brown.
Hapa Farm Girl: Rhubarb Strawberry Pie Filling