Personal Narrative

        My name is Heather Nicole Jolls, and although its not a very unique name and it has no special meaning I still like it because it is me. It identifies me as a person to other and it helps me define who I am to myself.
        I was born in Panorama City on March 11th 1986.  Although I was born there I didn't live there.  No, my parents choose to raise their children in a small desert town called Palm dale, which at the time was quite peaceful and the new booming town to live in.  Overtime the town has changed, which ultimately affected how I grew up. 
        In the early 90’s our town took a dive and a lot a gang violence started to occur in my town.  A lot of people moved away and at one point 7 houses on my block were empty because the people who had lived in them just left.  They didn't even try selling their homes.  They just moved and claimed bankruptcy.  Because of the violence in my town my parents were also very apprehensive about letting their children stray to far from home. 
        Later my town got better and people started moving there again.  But this time it wasn't the middle white class that had left moving back in, it was the lower to middle African American and Mexican class that moved in from L.A. and Compton trying to raise their children in a safe suburban neighborhood.  Over time my classes in school went from having one African American child to having ten and by the time I hit high school the racial diversity at my school was 1/3 White, 1/3 Black, and 1/3 Mexican.  Although there was a lot of tension at my school between each race I for one never felt it.  I was lucky enough to be raise by parent who aren’t racist and so I embraced my school and had friends of every ethnicity.  So in some ways my parents and my town instilled in me an open mind and heart towards any person regardless if they are different.
        In Palmdale I grew up with my parents Tim and Laura, and my older sister Kelly.  We are a very close family and I know that I  can tell my parents anything and they will understand.  Well to some degree.  Don’t get me wrong I couldn’t tell my parents that I  had stole something or snuck out because although the would understand, they would still punish me and be very disappointed.  Disappointment was a good tool for my Mom to use in punishing my sister and I.  I can remember times when I would get in trouble and she wouldn’t yell at me.  No, she would just give me this sad look and sigh or turn away and tell me to go to my room, and poor me would stand there wanting to be yelled at instead, wanting her to show anger instead of sorrow.  To this day I have to say it was a very effective tool for keeping me on task.  It didn’t work as well on my sister who was more rebellious but I guess since I was the youngest I clung to my mom more and valued her opinions and advice a lot, even to this day.  
        Growing up I was a bright student in school.  I always tried my hardest to achieve the top.  My parents never told my sister or I to get straight A’s or always be on honor roll they would just tell us to try our hardest and we did.  I think growing up not being pressured to achieve high grades made us realize early on that learning and being smart benefited ourselves as an individual more then it did making our parents proud.  If my parents would have pushed me too hard then the grades would have seemed like they were to keep my parents happy not for me to feel good about myself.  In high school though I started realizing more that I wasn’t going to get severely punished if I brought home a “C” and so I stopped trying in some classes.  My mom had stopped asking if I had done my homework and was now working full time so she didn’t have the extra energy to make sure I was at least trying my hardest, which I wasn’t.  It wasn’t her fault though that my grade slipped, it was mine, but thinking back on it now I wonder if I would have slipped had she never started working full time.
        When I was little growing up I was always a healthy child.  I ate my vegetable, by force but I ate them none the less. I didn’t get sick very often and only when a bad flu was going around and even then I would only get sick for like two days while everyone else got sick for a week.  Then in May of  7th grade I got sick with some kind of intestinal virus that changed my life forever.  I went from being a 120 pound 5’3 cubby child to only three months later weighting 86 pounds and looking like I was in the holocaust.  The virus that infected me would not allow my  body to absorb key nutrients such as proteins and calcium.  So even though I would eat my body would not absorb much from it.  I also developed horrible stomachaches and a became lactose intolerant as well as intolerant to anything acidic like orange juice, lemonade and tomato sauce.  When my stomach would hurt, which seemed like all the time, I wouldn’t eat or rather I couldn’t eat.  If I put food in my stomach while it hurt it made it worse and sometimes came right back up.  So because I was eating less my stomach also shrank.  Then when my stomach would stop hurting and I could eat, my stomach could no longer hold very much food so I wasn’t eating the same portion that I had before.  I went through a lot of test trying to figure out what was causing my condition.  I even had to have a colonoscopy and an endoscopy which aren’t much fun.  But the tests taught me to be patient and the doctors and hospital aren’t that scary and that it’s ok to be brave but it’s also ok to cry.
        Since I lost most of the weight during the summer of 7th and 8th  I started the new school year looking very different from when it had ended.  I also started school one week late because I was at a math and science camp, so when I came back I got a lot of stares.  Along with the stares came vicious rumors that only kids who don’t know any better can make up.  Instead of asking me how I had gotten so thin people even teachers started such rumors as I was anorexic, bulimic and some even said I had cancer.  Many times the first few weeks of school I was asked to stay after class so my teacher could prod me with questions of body image and whether or not I was happy inside.  Although I am glad that these teachers were concerned it was still very awkward at the time.  Being talked about behind my back and sometimes teased ultimately made me a very strong person.  I learned to not worry so much about what others think and that I should just be myself and people will like me for that.  Although I am still not fully recovered I have put weight back on but even to this day I still get weird looks sometimes and I know people have their comments that they make when I am not around but I don’t care because if anything they are either concerned or just to scared to ask.