Hello, and welcome back to the blog.
So in my last post, I promised a new series. I’m delivering. Welcome to the Birthday Interviews.
The concept is simple: I ask my immediate family members and a few very close extended family members or friends a series of questions. The timing of the interview is near or around their birthday— hence the name. None of the questions are particularly intrusive. Some are designed to be easy questions, something that helps a reader get to know the interviewee; some are questions that will make the interviewee think a little bit, and hopefully help the reader to better understand the mind of the interviewee.
I’m beginning the Birthday Interviews series with my younger teenage brother, James. You may be surprised at this. How, might you ask, did I get a teenage boy to agree to be interviewed?
Well, it honestly wasn’t that hard. The title of this Birthday Interview comes from one of his Top Catchphrases Of All Time. The kid is constantly bored because he’s a smart cookie. Consenting to be interviewed is probably a way to amuse himself for ten minutes.
But in all seriousness, I can interview James because I have a really good relationship with him. We have a lot in common. We’re both intelligent and mature for our age; we’re gifted musicians; we both like Pokémon, Zelda, and Minecraft; and we share a certain belief in our own intelligence, as compared to the rest of the world. I say this sort of self-depreciatingly, because I have this tendency to think I’m better or smarter than other people and it is a Bad Habit and I Should Not Do That. It’s actually something I admire in James because he is smarter than most people his age. He doesn’t get mean about it; to him, it’s just A Thing That Is and he lives life accordingly.
Here’s the thing: this is my blog. It’s meant to be about me. And for the most part, it is. I have like, ten posts on this blog so far, and many more in the future, that are/will be all about me. I am my own person, and I like being my own person. But there are parts of me that are somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister, somebody’s granddaughter, niece, cousin, or friend. I don’t want to be defined only by these labels, because the people I love do not consume me— but they do play an important role in understanding me and how I relate to the few people I do, in fact, relate to.
I believe that like a Russian nesting doll, I have layers. The outermost layer is, Sarah the stranger. I’m a person who exists in this world and you may never meet me, but if you do, it’s the layer you interact with first. The next layer is Sarah the professional— Sarah the writer, Sarah the student, Sarah the musician, Sarah the worker. If I ever work with you on something, you know this Sarah already. The layer beneath that is Sarah the friend. If I am your friend, you have a friend for life. (Unless for whatever reason you abuse my trust and I choose to completely excise your presence from my life on a permanent basis; but I have only ever had to do that to one person and odds are that you’re a decent enough human being that I won’t feel like I have to do that.) The layer beneath that is Sarah the grandaughter, niece, or cousin— Sarah the extended family member. I value family, which is why I burrow that a little deeper than friendship in theory— but I do have some friends who are closer to me than some of my extended family, and they fall more into this category. I think everyone has friends like that. And below that is Sarah the daughter and sister— my immediate family are, in all truth, my best friends. They belong in that spot. Someday, I hope for another layer beneath this one, the layer of Sarah the wife and mother; but as I am currently single I am content to keep on hoping. And finally, the innermost layer is me: Sarah, the person I see when I look in the mirror. Sarah, the person whose thoughts keep me company when I cannot sleep. Sarah, the person who dreams big and grieves deeply and loves faithfully. Sarah, the person who can’t figure out how to do things by halves.
I picture myself in these layers, a Matryoshka Identity if you will, and I think everyone else is the same. We all have these nesting identities and we are different people, to different people. It’s not acting or lying; it’s just living.
I hope that this interview with my little brother will tell you more about me, through the relationship I have with him. My questions, in italics, were formulated beforehand, but I’ve tried to include James’s answers exactly as he said them, in bold, and have provided some of my own notes (in parentheticals). Any irregularities in grammar or phrasing have more to do with him than with me, and some of them are on purpose because he’s a little troll. Please enjoy.
S: Are you here because you have willingly consented to this journalistic piece, or because you are being bribed?
S: What day is your birthday?
J: The eleventh of March.
S: How old are you turning?
J: I am turning fourteen years old.
S: What did you get/want for your birthday?
J: Okay, I got four Rubik’s Cubes— one being a MoYu Aoshi; another being a mirror cube; a four by four, and a five by five. I also got a fun sound machine that plays sixteen different sounds, and a “Yes” button, which makes yes sounds and one of them is rather suggestive, unfortunately. I also got a few pairs of shorts, two shirts, a pair of running shoes, and a bag for track practice. And I also got a whole bag of Chewy Sprees, all of which I ate yesterday. (Author’s note: if I had gotten a whole bag of Chewy Sprees, I probably would have done the same thing. Neither James nor I is particularly skilled at practicing self-restraint.)
S: What are your hobbies?
J: My hobbies include doing my Rubik’s cubes, doing track now that I’m doing it, making loud noises, and overall just having fun with my life. And music, of course— which instruments are trumpet, piano, and possibly cello, because I want to learn it. (Author’s note: James just began track like, a week ago. He wants to do shotput and other field activities. I offer props to him for being currently more athletic than I have been in my entire life.)
S: Would you say you’re more of a dreamer or a doer?
J: A doer. (Author’s note: No hesitation here.)
S: What’s your favorite period of history?
J: Ancient times nobody remembers what the heck was going on and we all have to guess about what happened then. (Author’s note: When I asked James this question, he kind of made a face and I qualified the question with, “I know you’re not really a history kind of guy, but what do you think?” I got this answer. I’m fairly certain he’s trolling because he would probably not like Ancient Mesopotamian culture, it was very weird.)
S: What’s your favorite place?
J: My house, of course. (Author’s note: SAME.)
S: What’s your favorite season?
J: Winter, most definitely. The snow is pretty. Also, possibilities of getting off school. (Author’s note: Winter is also my favorite season; another thing we have in common.)
S: What’s your favorite smell?
J: Not the one I’m smelling right now, which is someone who farted. Um, I’d have to say that my favorite smell… is probably that of brownies. (Author’s note: I don’t know if anyone actually farted or not. The only people in the room were me, James, and our sister. I certainly didn’t hear anything, and as the saying goes: “He who smelt it, dealt it.”)
S: What’s your favorite memory?
J: … I’d probably have to say the time in fourth grade when the guys all got an hour-long recess because the ladies were having talks about nasty stuff. (Author’s note: He means the puberty chat. He’s not that mature.)
S: Who is your best friend or friends?
J: I’d have to say that my best three friends are, at this moment, all people that I know from school or church. Namely, Luke from school, Harrison from church, and Zane from church.
S: Who is the funniest person you know?
J: No contest: a kid from school named Jaden. He constantly makes funnies about memes and is an overall slapstick prankster, which is my kind of humor. (Author’s note: He did mention he was fourteen. You shouldn’t be surprised.)
S: Who is the kindest person you know?
J: My mother. (Author’s note: Here, we are in absolute agreement.)
S: Do you believe in magic, or do you believe in miracles?
J: I’d say that I believe in miracles, because when Jesus walked the earth, he performed many miracles, and miracles are still performed today through priesthood holders. And regular people. (Author’s note: we are a religious family. I’ll make a post about my beliefs at some point, but today is not that day.)
S: What was your favorite part of this last year of your life?
J: I’d probably have to say meeting all of my new teachers and friends at school, figuring out who I liked and didn’t like so I could figure out where to be most of the time.
S: What are you looking forward to in this next year?
J: Definitely the change from middle school to high school, because high school is a bit more about where you’re going and your future, whereas middle school is more about your reputation and drama and stuff, which is really just stupid. (Author’s note: Having had a similarly vile junior high school experience, I am quite in agreement with my brother here.)
And that concludes this part of the Birthday Interviews. We (James and I) thank you for joining us today. Until next time, friends.
If you’re looking forward to seeing this blog in the future, consider following. If you want to see Occasional Pictures of My Face and Food I Have Made, you can follow me on Instagram at hypotheticalelephants. If you want to see me being a Whiny, Immature Human, you can follow me on Twitter at sadINFJwriter.