The Autobiography of Tara Higgins
A Girl of Many Names
On an average day after school my brother, Steve was running abound while my parents were trying to pick out baby names. Steve, as always, needed to be a part of it so he pulled out the Media Elementary Phone Book and skimmed the pages for names. Out of nowhere his erupted throughout the house. “Tara!” He screamed at the top of his lungs over and over again. Immediately, my parents loved the name and had no doubt in their mind that wit was the one. My name is Tara Higgins and I wear it proudly because my older brother Steve named me it.
Tara is Gallic for goddess from the sea and Higgins is Gallic for Viking. I have a very Irish name along with my three older brothers because I am half Chinese and half Irish. What most people don’t know is that I have a Chinese name as well as my Legal name. When I was born and my grandfather first held me in his hands, he thought of a Chinese name, 小华
(Xiǎohuā). This means “little flower” and I am proud of my name because it shows my different side, my chinese side.
I respond to all different nicknames like T-dog, T-money, and Tear. My new soccer team calls me T for short too. I feel like it's special for someone to have their own nickname for me because it’s a little more special. Nicknames aren’t as formal and they can be fun when used appropriately. Weather its T-HIggy, T, or just Tara I’ll respond.
I am a girl of many names.
My family stores objects that are we are proud of, in a big curio cabinet. The cabinet contains objects from world travels and artwork that our family has created. An item that interests me is a sculpture from Haiti. My mom and brother, Sean, went to Haiti after the earthquake to help out. My mom is a pediatrician and was doing an organization similar to Doctors Beyond Borders. Sean tagged along because he wanted to help the people in Haiti. People used to stand in the streets and sell works of art made by the local artists. My mom bought a bunch of the artwork to serve as a memento of her work in Haiti and as a way to help out the woman who was working hard to feed her children. The artwork is a sculpture of a woman holding a bucket of water on her head with her left hand while holding her baby on her hip with her right hand. I always catch my mom and Sean looking at all the things they got and remembering the journey they embarked in Haiti. When my mom and Sean came back from the trip and told us stories about everything they did, it was when I realized that I want to be a doctor when I’m older so I can help people like my parents do everyday.In my basement, we have boxes full of old things that we don't use anymore or have forgotten about. There is a box full of old chinese artwork and sculptures that my grandma, Pawpaw, stores down there. I went searching through everything and decided to take a large statue of the moon goddess and Buddah out. I took these things to my grandmas and she told me who they represent and why she has them. Pawpaw is buddhist and prays to the statues and leaves food in front of them sometimes. These statues were in the basement because she got newer ones from relatives in China. she keeps them out of respect and takes them out every so often. On Chinese New Year, she decorates the house and puts the statues out as well as many other things. l like how we always do things like this because I'm proud of my Chinese side and its culture. I also think that is it very important that we keep things like this because one day I will look back and remember my Grandmother and everything she did to keep the Chinese culture alive in my house.
A is for athletic. Being outside with a ball and net makes me feel content.
B is for baller. I play sports and “break ankles” on the field.
C is for competitive. I hate losing to people on and off the field.
D is for diligent. During sports and school I work hard and do my best.
E is for eager. I am interested and desire learning new things.
F is for ferocious. When I step on the field there's no turning back.
G is for girly. I love relaxing on spa days with my mom.
H is for hungry. Stuffing food in my mouth is my favorite pass time.
I is for impatient. It’s hard for me to wait for things and sit through things that don’t interest me.
J is for Jokey. I like cracking jokes to lighten the mood.
K is for knowledgeable. I like to read and gain knowledge as I do.
L is for lively. I am full energy all the times.
M is for mindful. I try to stay attentive and aware of everything.
N is for nerdy. Learning new things is fun and entertaining to me.
O is for offense. I play striker in soccer and it is my favorite thing to do.
P is for punctual. I hate being late from to everything from school to soccer.
Q is for quick. Speed is one of my strengths on the field.
R is for radiant. I try to put a smile on the face of others and brighten a room.
S is for savvy. I am a know it all and understand a lot of things.
T is for trunique. trustworthy. I am trusted by friends to keep secrets.
U is for unique. I am weird and can do weird things like juggle.
V is for visionary. I see big thing in my future and the world's future.
W is for wacky. I can be weird and crazy.
X is for xenodochial. I try to always be polite and kind to strangers.
Y is for yearner. I have a desire to learn and do great things.Z is for zappy. I am energetic and lively at all times
1) Cuddling with Luna while watching Revenge
2)Books with romance and supernatural beings
3)Tall Caramel Frappuccinos from Starbucks
4)Laying on the beach with the hot sun beating down on me
5)Riding my bike on the boardwalk with the wind in my hair
6)The ocean city sand on my toes
7)Long car rides that I can take a nap during and listen to music
8)Shopping in KOP with my mom while she buys me all the clothes I wants
9)Watching a marathon of Revenge on Netflix for hours on end
10)Sleeping in on the weekends until 12
1)When people crack their knuckles
2)When people chew gum with their mouths open
3)People who talk with their mouth full of mashed potatoes
4)Coffee mugs that leak and spill
5)Waking up early for school and hitting snooze over and over again
6)Homework that takes longer than fifteen minutes
7)Sitting through Latin class and having no idea whats going on
8)Stake that is cooked rare
9)When Tommy is watching his TV shows so I can’t watch mine
10)Waiting for my Science teacher to grade my test because waiting feels like I am being eaten alive
Best things about me
1)I am a free spirit
2)I am intelligent
3)I am very passionate
4)I am an honest person
5)I am athletic
6)I am selfless
7)I can show great discipline
8)I am loyal
9)I can Juggle
10)I am motivated
11)I have big plans for my future
12)I believe that I can do anything with hard workMy greatest faults
1)I criticize people for a problem I have
2)I almost always watch netflix or TV while doing homework
3)I can be rather insensitive without meaning to be
4)I would say my biggest flaw is my insecurity
6)I am blunt
7)I can get a little bossy
8)I am very lazy
9)I'm way too hard on myself.
10) I am overly caring and I can very passionate
11)I get defensive way too easily
12)I really am not the best at taking criticism
Chapter 11: Lessons I leaned after it was too late
-Not to make a wax tablet for Latin and accidentally spill some melted wax into my kitchen sink.
-Not to wear black and navy together.
-To walk a puppy right after taking her out of the crate before playing with her.
- Not to put Aluminum into the microwave.
- To wear under armour during soccer when it is below freezing outside.
- Not to pull a dogs tail.
- To always wear shin guards when playing soccer.
- Not to eat fast food before a big meet.
-Not to stick things up my nose.
When I was around five years old, I stuck a pea up my nose after dinner and it got stuck really far up there. I ket trying to get it out so I would put my finger up again but I was only pushing it up farther. I started balling and told my parents what happen. They tried to get it out themselves and it just caused me to cry even. My parents ended up taking me to the hospital to get it out. Apparently I don't learn from the experience and I did the same thing a week later. After that I finally learned the hard way not to stick things up my nose.
My Year in Reading
When I was younger, I would be told to read and I would just kick and scream. I hated to read and at the time, I was convinced that it was one of the worst pastimes in the world. I hated reading until I opened up “The Lightning Thief.” That was about the summer of sixth grade and ever since then, I have loved reading. I just need to find books that I enjoyed. However, I still dread reading the assigned books for school because I usually don't have an interest in them. Even if I do, I hate having to read them in the pace that my teachers tell me to. I think reading should be at it’s own pace so that you can fully enjoy and understand the book. This year, I have read a lot of book and I have picked out some that I really liked and had to read in school.
One of the books I really enjoyed was “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes. It is science fiction book about a 32-year-old developmentally disabled man named Charlie,who had a surgical procedure to increase his intelligence. This procedure originally done on a lab mouse named Algernon and the procedure worked on him. The book is written in a series of progress reports, where Charlie has to record everything that happens to him for the experiment. As Charlie starts to get smarter, his writing in the progress reports gets better as well. This jump in intelligence is not necessarily a good thing, however. Charlie starts to realize that people used to make fun of him for being disabled. He finds out who his true friends were and starts to grow farther from them as he continues to get smarter because the surgery didn’t help him grow socially. Because of his increased intelligence, Charlie finds out the experiment's "fatal flaw” from studying Algernon’s new actions
Another book that I read was “The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle” by L.J. Smith. It is about a girl named Elena Gilbert who is the popular girl in her high school and she is used to getting everything she wants. A new boy, Stefan, shows up at school and she wants him right away so she makes it her mission to be with him. They soon fall in love but one day she finds out that he is a vampire and gets scared and freaked out. She finds that her love for him is so strong that it doesn’t matter if he is a vampire or not. A girl named Caroline is jealous of Elena and wants to take her down so she can be the new queen bee so she steals elena’s diary. Elena’s diary has things written about Stephan and his vampirism so Elena and her friends work together to get it back.
One of my favorite books that I read this year was “Truly, Madly, Deadly.” It is a mystery, tragedy/suspense book. I was never interested in this genre of book until I read this amazing book. It is about Sawyer is a regular high school girl whose ex-boyfriend, Kevin, was murdered after they had a fight on the night of a party. The police start to expect that she did it because someone is framing her. She starts getting notes from a secret admirer and it becomes clear that the secret admirer is the person who killing everyone that does something bad to Sawyer. One night she thinks she puts it all together but she comes home to find her step-mom dead in the bathroom. He friend Chloe who is always there for her comes to the rescue but Sawyer soon realizes that Chloe is obsessed with her and it has been Chloe the whole time. Chloe attacks Sawyer when she finds out but Sawyer's new boyfriend, who was attacked by Chloe hours before because she didn’t what Sawyer with anyone, comes and fights of Chloe. He saves Sawyer and Chloe is put away for her actions.
“Perfect” by Natasha Friend is another book that I really enjoyed from this year. It is about a Isabelle, a middle school girl who has been struggling with an eating disorder since her father’s death. She is caught by her little sister one day and has to start going to ‘group’ to help her get over her mental illness. Isabelle find that the most popular girl in school goes to group and they begin to bond and vomit together. Soon Isabelle gets better and realizes that she is perfect the way she it. I found this book really interesting because I hear about eating disorders all the time but I never truly understood them until I read this book.
My favorite series that I read this year is the “The Program” series. It consists of two books, “The Program” and “The Treatment.” It is about a couple named James and Sloane are now on the run, unwilling to let The Program find them and take away their memories. They trust Realm and the rebels he leads them to, to keep them safe and to keep them out of The Program. The Treatment, a pill that can bring back the memories The Program took away is wanted by the Program because it could take the Programs root out of the government. Sloane and some of the other rebels get taken by the program but James and Realm rescue them. They bring down the program by getting the media into the program to show the world how awful the program really is.
“Stiff” is another book that I read this year. It is about a woman named Mary Roach, who visits many different universities and places to learn about what happens to cadavers. She learns and observes car simulation with cadaver, practice procedures, and many more things. Roach questions whether or not these things should be done to the cadavers and also decides what she wants to be done with her body when she dies. I didn’t enjoy reading this book because it was very educational and harder to read. I found some of the information interesting but it was really hard to get through.
In school, we read “To Kill a MockingBird”, “Of mice and Men”, and “Night”. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a story about innocence, knowledge, prejudice and courage. In the beginning the main character, Scout, starts out to be a very immature child not knowing the prejudice times around her, as the story goes on she gains knowledge of these times by fellow kids around her accusing her dad of being a "Niger-lover" which then, it was an insult. Her dad was being courageous of a black man being falsely accused of raping a white girl. Her dad, Atticus, is a defense attorney only doing his job and not discriminating against this man. The trial was unfair and they lose but the Jury took a long time to decide to it meant that there were people fighting for Tom. I really enjoyed reading this book because it was thought provoking and well written.
“Night” was written by Elie Wiesel. It is based off of his life and experiences. In it, Ellie and his family are sent to Auschwitz, the concentration camp, because they are jewish. In the camp Elie and his father never see his sisters and mother forever because they were separated by gender. Ellie and his father try to stay together and make it to the labor camps by lying about their age and having good health. Ellie’s father dies of a sickness so Ellie is upset but it also means that Ellie doesn't have the burden of taking care of his father when he should be taking care of himself and trying to survive. In the camps Ellie is tortured, worked to the bone, and tested to great lengths but he survives until liberation.
“Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck was another thought provoking story that I read in school and really enjoyed. It is about two men named Lennie and George that are working on a farm so they can save up for a dream to own their own ranch. Lennie has a mental disability so George takes care of him. Lennie likes to touch soft things and he doesn't understand how strong he is so he gets into a lot of trouble. He kills a man's wife on the farm because he was feeling her hair. George decides to kill him so that other people that don’t understand his mental disability won’t torture him. This story caused me to really think about people with mental disabilities and how they should still be treated well and with patience.
My journey through this year and reading these books has changed me in a way. I have learned and thought a lot about human rights and fight for what’s right this year through “Of Mice and Men”, “Night” , “To Kill a MockingBird”,”Stiff”,“Flowers for Algernon”, “Perfect”, “The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle”, and “The Program”. Books aren’t just for a good story to read on a rainy day, they are full of deeper meanings and thought provoking scenes that can change your life as your eyes run over the pages. Words are powerful and the right writer can imprint words in your brain for the rest of your life. The right books aren’t just pages bound together. This year I think I’ve found some of the books that are going to stay with me for the rest of my life. I will never be the same now because of my year of reading.