My Own Distinct Voice is more timid than I prefer. I am quiet in a conversation when I should let myself be heard. If I can find the words, there are likes and umms and an undercutting ending of “but…I don’t know.”
As any psychologically stable person would do to cope with such inadequacies, I created an alter ego. Welcome, Miss Early Bird. Her writing voice is so polished and confident, always self-assured. Ah, I envy the hours she spends crafting her response when I have mere seconds to react in real conversation.
MEB is funnier, cooler and more optimistic than me. I am more reasonable and reflective than her. She tends to embellish stories while I treasure tiny moments of truth. She jokes about things that actually hurt. Well, maybe that’s me too.
Today, I am ditching MEB and going solo as ME, if only for a few paragraphs:
When I was growing up, we had Pineapple Upside-Down Cake at most birthdays. I do not remember loving the taste, but I did not protest eating it either. I certainly expected the cake at each celebration. There were Maraschino Cherries on top. I do not like those. I might even hate them.
I do not fully remember Pineapple Upside-Down Cake at my own birthday. My vision is at our family cottage at one of my siblings’ summer birthdays. It was placed on a picnic table with a red-and-white-checkered plastic tablecloth. We were in our swimsuits, with fingers and toes wrinkled from swimming. The wax of the striped candles—lit minutes before while waiting for our cousins to sit down—threatened the sweet pineapple. I picture myself kneeling on the bench for a better view, staring at the candle flames.