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Old 04-30-2012, 04:47 PM
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Default Hailey's Comet (A Memoir)

December 1st
I've always been the type to want to write things down; especially my thoughts and feelings and what is going on in life.
Well, I'm fourteen now and I'm taking on the world; or so it seems to me.
My name is Hailey Rives, I have one sister, Emma, and four brothers; Matthew, Damien, Brett, and Josh. I'm the youngest, save Josh, but even so, I still feel like the baby of the family a lot of the time.
Matthew is not well. He's in Hospital now. Mum and Dad had to bring him back home from University to look over him. We've been told he has an illness called lymphoma. It's a Cancer.
Everyone is putting on a brave face but if anyone else feels like I do, we are crying inside.
Mum and Dad are at Hospital most the time. Emma has taken charge even though Brett is older, and Damien is alone at University now, trying to finish his courses.
Everyone says our family would be lost without Emma. She apparently holds our family together. Emma gets a lot of attention. Especially since last summer when she lost almost 32 kilos. She and Mum diet together all the time. Everyone says Emma is like Second Mum. Like she can substitute. But she's not Mum.

I don't like life right now, if I'm to be honest. I'm scared and lonely and sad. I love Matthew. He's the oldest and he's always understood me better than anyone else in the world. I want him to get better, and with him in Hospital, my fears and thoughts feel like they are drowning me sometimes. I spend a lot of time in my room, alone. I don't always want to play like everything's alright. Because it isn't, is it? The whole world's been turned upside down but no one wants to talk about it.
I've been taking to writing stories and chatting with other people on the internet. I think it helps to be able to share fictional realities with strangers and escape the real world for a little while. I've gotten a lot of positive comments on my writings, and I'm making friends. That's where I can talk about things, in chat rooms and forums. That's where I can say what's really happening in life and not pretend to be strong. I wish I could do something to make everything better. I feel so powerless.

Mum and Dad pulled us out of school a few years ago so that Mum could take over our studies at home. She's a good instructor but I miss my friends and getting away from home so often. I liked being able to spend more time with Matt when he was home but now that he's back in Hospital I hardly see him at all. I did get to visit him once; it was terrifying. He didn't look well at all. The treatment he's being given for his illness is killing his liver as well. I pray all the time that God would heal my big brother, make him well again. I spend a lot of time reading my Bible by the window in my room. I like to see the moon and the stars at night, but I also spend a lot of time watching the rain. It's been a very cold and wet autumn and winter this year.
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:51 PM
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Default December 15th

My Parents took Matthew, Josh and me to see a movie today. Walking back to the car, Matt asked what we just saw. He couldn't remember a thing. I'm scared. But at least Matt's home from Hospital.
Brett and Emma have sort of taken over our studies. Brett made a home video for Mum to show her that we're all taken care of and still on proper course. The film made me uncomfortable. Especially when played back. I hate seeing myself on film. My friends are right, I am fat. When I first heard it from a friend I didn't know that well I blew it off as her being a right jerk; ... but, some of my church friends have even implied it. I can't fit into their clothes, I'm not tall and slender like they are, my stomach isn't straight, flat, tight... I used to be the small one in the family. But then Emma lost all of her extra weight, with Mum as her buddy. Now I'm the family cow.
I don't know how it happened exactly. I remember when I was eleven I had a flat body. How did I become so curvy, and lumpy? It's disgusting, not to mention embarrassing.
My dad laid out Tea the other day and practically told me off for trying to pass. I wasn't hungry and somehow that's unacceptable. Does he want me to be a pig all my life?
Maybe he's just strung tight with Matt's illness and everything feeling all turned around. I love my Dad, he's the sweetest man in the world.

Emma planned a supper and shopping night a few weeks ago while Mum and Dad were with Matthew at Hospital. Emma get's on so well with everyone. Brett loves her... they are like best mates, and Josh admires her. The three of them get on so well. I don't. Not with Brett at the least. I feel I've always repulsed him. I guess I was a brat when we were younger. But I'd like to think I've grown out of that and deserve a second chance. He plays sports and video games with Josh, and he talks for hours with Emma. The three of them even get together in Brett's room to hang out, have a laugh... without me. I assume it's more fun that way.
I'm not sure if I'd rather be left out, or apart of the conversation as the butt of a joke or the topic of ridicule. I love them all, and I know they love me in that "have to love her she's my sister" kind of way. I get on alright with Emma and Josh most of the time.
Emma and I used to share a room but now that we have our own we don't argue as much. But we still have our moments. And Josh and I share some friends and get on well in our own social groups. But the social groups at home... well, Dad get's me, and Matt understands me, and I know they will both always look out for me. And I have fond memories of hanging with Damien, i just don't see him now that he's off at University. We used to sit and write things together. Songs and poetry. He is a talented musician and we have some dreams in common. I like it when he comes home most of the time... but today it was bad. I was watching a movie or TV or something and he wanted me to turn it down and then he wanted to watch something else. I was there first and felt like I shouldn't have to give him whatever he wants and one thing led to another and we were yelling at each other and then he chased me up to my room and had me pinned up against my closet yelling at me.
"Do you have any idea what's really going on?!" He told me. I was shocked into silence.
"Matt is dying! Mum and Dad are at their wits end with it all and everyone is trying to help or do something useful but you! What are you doing for this family?!" I started to cry, and he left mumbling "Do better to go for a walk than sit on the couch anyway." My own brother thinks I'm fat! it's horrible! I want to do everything but apparently I'm doing nothing and I don't even know what I can do! How can I help? Why can't I be Emma? All anyone ever tells her is how beautiful she is and what a great help she is and everyone always wants to be around her! And I literally repel people... my own family!

I wish God would just make Matthew better and make everyone happy again. I miss my parents. I miss Matt. No one in the house gets me. I know I need to be better, more likeable but how?
I guess I can start with losing a few Kilos. Maybe I should go for a walk. I really long one.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:37 PM
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Default January 1st

Matthew is getting better and hasn't been in Hospital since his last stay. Damien is still home from University but we've moved on from our last fall out. The whole family has really come together and we had a pretty good Christmas all things considered. I know we all love each other and we are all putting our differences aside but everyone has their own way of dealing with such stressful circumstances. And it's been a pretty stressful year. Matt being sick, and his emergency appendectomy on top of that. Brett had kidney stones, Damien struggling to keep focused at Uni, Emma trying to play Mum and pretend like everything's okay, Brett and Matt flipped Matt's jeep into the creek a couple days before Christmas which was a whole fiasco by itself. And Mom and Dad are trying to keep everything running while Me and Josh just try to survive and figure out what we're supposed to do in all of this.
I have to give everyone credit, we are doing all that we know to do and we are a pretty close family and have grown a lot closer through all of this.

Now if only I could say the same about my so called friends. This girl at church, Rae, one of the ones who pretty much told me I'm fat. She's basically turned against me. I don't know what happened but now all the other girls at church are hanging out with her and avoiding me. Who ever said being a kid was easy?

But it's a new year, a new start, a new me. I get to start voice lessons this year, I'm gonna focus more on music and some of the things I want to do, some of the goals I want to achieve. I'm gonna write a novel and songs and poetry. I'm gonna lose some weight, I'm gonna be more confident.
I want so much for my future and I dream big! I just want to see what I can make happen!
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:03 PM
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Default November 28th

I'm sixteen now, nearly seventeen and I am in love with music! I've been writing songs like crazy and I love my voice coach and the best bit of news... I've been accepted to a prestigious fine arts camp for this upcoming summer holiday!
There is a lot to catch up on. I've been writing so much in the way of songs and stories I haven't been keeping up with documenting my own life.
Matthew is officially in Remission and finishing up University. Family life is pretty much normal and church friends are over rated, especially since we are in a whole different church now, where dad happens to be the pastor. I love my dad and he is wonderful at what he does but being a ministers daughter makes life difficult. Too many expectations to live up to! It's stressful to say the least, but then I understand ... partially, I mean i don't want to let anyone dawn and I want to be the best that I can be! The best daughter, the best Christian, the best singer, writer, volleyball player! That's right, I'm into sports now too, and finally shedding some kilos! And it feels so good! No matter how crazy it gets. Like this one practice before our first game...

Emma took me out all morning to get some sports gear and it wasn't as easy to find. I've been struggling with knowing what to eat and what to stay away from to get fit so I didn't eat anything that morning. We shared a small sandwich and my favorite zero calorie drink while we were out but had to head straight to practice after shopping into the afternoon.
practice was great! I was all over the place and finally succeeding at something. I was a little dizzy but was able to shake it off until we started training for basketball as well and then the running was a bit much... I sort of collapsed. Well, I mean I got dizzy and light headed and my knees just didn't hold up. I didn't black out or anything serious like that.
"Hailey, are you alright" Coach asked me. I nodded and tried to get up but that didn't work out so well. I felt funny, my face went numb, my hands cramped up, I couldn't catch my breath and it became more and more constricted in my chest. My vision blurred and I heard people speaking to me but had to work hard just to focus on what they were saying.
"My mom's a nurse" Heather told me. Someone was checking my pulse.
"You need to try to drink some water dear." Heather's mom sounded concerned but I was so out of it.
My parents picked me up and took me to Hospital. I was on an IV drip for over an hour. They checked my heart and my blood pressure, and worst of all, my weight.
After what seemed like an incredibly long time I got to go home with giant pills for a potassium deficiency that, coupled with severe dehydration caused a panic attack of some sort.
Of course I was monitored over dinner but my parents ordered take away and I was okay with a salad, without the dressing.

Life went on pretty normal after that. I found a new forum to share my writings on and am getting some lovely critique and making new friends. I get to talk about my favorite films, entertainers, my music and stories, play games, it's wonderful! And no one judges me on the forum. I get to be me; Not Emma's sister, Non the minister's imperfect daughter, (who happens to be trying ever so hard!) Just Hailey! Acceptance, at last.

And I do have real friends. My friends in town. I'm getting really close with my childhood friend Michelle. She was accepted to the fine arts school this Holiday as well. We are traveling together and she has joined my forum and become a part of a new community with me. Life is good.
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:51 PM
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Default December 18th

Emma just got the go ahead from Mum and Dad to spend the whole summer in Africa. I was so excited about my trip to Fine Arts School and now, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal because Emma's gone and done something even bigger. I'll never get out of her shadow, will I?

I came home from Michelle's the other night and at Dinner I found out that Brett is joining the British Army. And instead of starting boot camp in several months, he's leaving just after Christmas!
Brett and I have never had a close relationship and now I haven't got the chance.

He's always gotten along so well with Emma and Josh, and now he's leaving and I don't have the time to get closer to him before he leaves. Mum and Dad are concerned about Josh as Brett was really his main mate. She he got a puppy today. Emma was told that she could turn Brett's room into a design studio... So out of the four of us living at home, Brett is leaving for training and will be traveling all over, Emma get's a second room, and Josh get's a puppy! Not to sound selfish, but, does anyone care about Hailey? Have I got anything important to offer?

Winter holidays are supposed to be full of joy but it's just gotten more stressful. Matt and Damien are coming home this afternoon and we will all be together but right after Christmas Brett will be gone with no contacts for months! And if Christmas is anything like other holidays or special Tea or Dinner, I'm gonna be lost. Every time I ask Mum or Emma about what's in what they're trying to feed me I get told off. Now they won't tell me anything! How am I supposed to keep track of fat and calories and kilos if they won't even tell me what's in the dishes they make?
I've started to go on regular walks. At least once a day, and I've added fifty crunches after Dinner before I bathe; and me and my mate, Jaymie have been taking bike rides every week. It's an eight mile round trip.

Michelle and I have decided to work on a duet for our music program. There are auditions for the end of the program talent show. There is this perfect dress that Mum borrowed from someone for me but it's a smaller size that what I'm used to wearing and I was shocked when I tried it on and it fit! It's tight and not as flattering as I want it to be but I have time. The music program isn't until July. I'm hoping to lose several more kilos by then. Without the help of Emma and Mum. Why they see fit to help each other and not me, I don't understand but I will be thin. I have control. Not over everything, obviously but at least over myself. I have grown up in a family that loves food but nothing tastes as good as thin feels, nothing tastes as good as thin will feel.
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Old 05-04-2012, 01:35 AM
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Great job Kate! I read the whole thing and I have to say that I liked it a lot. It's nice how you show the family dynamics from Hailey's point of view. I am a little disappointed that the story jumped so quickly from Hailey's being fourteen to "sixteen, almost seventeen" but as I think you'd managed that huge transition well. However, more detail could be added in that gap.

You use the words "kilos" and "mate" so are you Brit or is it only Hailey's character who is British?
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by BarbarianKing View Post
Great job Kate! I read the whole thing and I have to say that I liked it a lot. It's nice how you show the family dynamics from Hailey's point of view. I am a little disappointed that the story jumped so quickly from Hailey's being fourteen to "sixteen, almost seventeen" but as I think you'd managed that huge transition well. However, more detail could be added in that gap.

You use the words "kilos" and "mate" so are you Brit or is it only Hailey's character who is British?
Thank you for your comments! I'm not Brit (I always wished I was, though, growing up.) Hailey is though, I like to make things different from what I know.
You are right, there is a huge gap between 14 and 16 nearly 17... I can't say that there is anything interesting that is of note during those years. So the best I could hope for is to try to bridge that gap as best I can.

Your compliments/comments mean a lot to me. It's taken me several years to venture out to write this story.
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:33 AM
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Default January 30th

My birthday was just five days ago. I'm seventeen now. Mum had a few of my closest mates over, it was a simple thing really... but she took photos of me and I saw them on the counter in the kitchen downstairs. I thought I was doing so well... mt stomach sticks out in rolls and I have a fat face. What am I doing wrong? I'm such a slob! It has to be the food... Mum and Emma keep telling me not to worry about it that everything we eat is fine. Maybe I've begun to trust them too much. Maybe they want to be the only ones looking fit.
I'm devastated. I don't know what to do! I can exercise, I do that on my own and with mates and tag along with Emma and Mum to the Women's gym. But I'm at a loss with food because Mum cooks everything from scratch and there's no way for me to count calories or fat or anything and she won't tell me what's in it!

I just need to calm down. Everything is going to be alright, I still have months to get fit before the music program... I'll figure it out...
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:50 AM
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My wonderful real-world sister Randi was in _agony_ over her weight as a teenager; and she was NEVER able to become thin. But guess what? In time, she reached an absolutely Jane Austen-ish happy ending: she is now married to a man who is both loving in character, AND financially successful. They are bringing up two daughters. So, if anyone with body-image issues is reading this, I can testify that it IS possible for a girl with an obesity problem to win the love of a man who is an absolute prince like my brother-in-law.

As for your plotline here, we need to hear more about the _particular_ African country Emma goes to. People in the United States are often guilty of assuming that every part of Africa (at least, if you leave out Egypt) is the same as every other part, and a similar assumption about South America. You have a chance to remedy that a bit.
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:55 AM
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Default March 16th

Mum's given us a break from studies... I'm enjoying it but I wish I was in school with Michelle. I have no privacy unless I lock myself up in my room. And it's not as though I hate my family, I just don't feel like I belong. And I've always kind of felt like that. Brett and Damien convinced me I was adopted when I was four... Brett's gone away now. Been in training for a few months, completely out of contact. Mum gets choked up about it now and again but Emma's always there to cheer her up.

We all went up the Manchester to help Damien and Matt move into a flat together to cut back on their expenses at University. Mum and Dad are skeptical and think they'll not get on once they're used to the arrangement. I think it's sweet. Matt was attentive to me as always; asking me how I am and about things that are important to me. i wish we could spend more time with each other. I remember the night before he moved out for Uni: I cried for hours. No one has understood me like Matthew.
I think he and Damien will do just fine. Damien and I have had good moments too. A few weeks before he left, he had me come sit in his room. We wrote together. His songs and lyrics much better than my own but it's something we share; our love for music and writing. He has a little band up in Manchester. They play at pubs and cafes, and they are really good! Our relationship has grown, I'm his biggest fan.

Again, pictures were taken as we moved Damien and Matt... and yet again I was devastated with the images of myself. I hate my body! I hate me! Why couldn't I have been someone else? Matt is the great strong leader who has faced so much pain and darkness at a young age. He looks out for everyone and is kind and thoughtful. Damien and Josh are like music prodigies who taught themselves how to play several instruments. Damien has a band and is doing well at Uni, Josh is extremely talented and is Mum's baby. Brett is making everyone proud by serving in the army, and Emma, well where would we be without Emma, Mum's right hand man, the perfect child... and then there's me... Hailey... What am I? What have I got? Nothing. Mum's even embarrassed by me, I can tell. I haven't much to offer either. I'm not as intelligent as the rest of my siblings, not as talented or perfect... Where's my place in the world? In the family?

With Dad and Matt mostly but Matt isn't here often and Dad's at work mostly and now that Brett's gone it's just Emma, Josh and me with Mom most the time. And since Josh is the Baby and Emma's so perfect... I feel ... Well, especially with Emma's new design studio and Josh's new puppy... and my... nothing... I just... I spend a lot of time on my own I guess.
Who ever said life was fair?
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