“I’m different like you. We’re going to be best friends”

One of the most defining moments of my life was when I moved to Arizona, when I was 15. I was a total Calie girl, the way I talk, and I said hello all the time, and dope, dude. I went to the school and everybody just looked at me, like who is she? She’s dressed different, I had different colors on, I didn’t match. It really took one person and my best friend back then, her name is Jessica, to pull me aside and said “I’m different like you. We’re going to be best friends”. And we were best friends for 10 years. Moving to Arizona was my biggest culture change as well as realizing that everybody isn’t like California is.
I don’t look at my difference as a negative but as a positive. If someone was going to get that I was different and if they were different like me, we would have a beautiful relationship. And that happened. It really happened.
I had a penguin. My dad got it for me when I was two months old. I had it until I was 14, and his name was Murray. And one of his eyes was missing, his left one was missing. And I held onto that thing as long as I could, then the stuffing started coming out of his back because I split it one time when we were at the beach.
He was my security blanket. When we used to have the earthquakes a lot, I remember one, I was about two years old and my dad had a one bedroom apartment in Downey. I was laying on the couch in the living room and it was about 1 o’clock and I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t know why I couldn’t sleep and I was holding Murray and all of a sudden everything started shaking and I held him tight. He was always there, every time I was scared or nervous about something. He was a calm of relief.