My whole life has been sort of messed up, to be honest with you. When I think back on my unpleasurable childhood, I can't pick out one good memory. I just comb through years of confusion and misery.
My name's Izzy.
You should know right up front that I'm no stranger to heartbreak. I guess that's why when someone leaves me, someone dear, I just sit there numbly. I guess that's why I save the tears for later, when I lock myself in my room and cry myself to sleep.
When good things turn bad, I don't scream and think, "Why me?" I've asked that question too many times. It just seems useless now. "Why me?" I already know the answer. Because it's always me. It just is.
I guess I should talk about my childhood first. Although I'm warning you, it's no fairytale.
My first memory was, well, being created. I remember staring down at my little blue Zafara hands, amazed and amused at my fingers. What a ridiculous thing to find funny, my own fingers. But there they were. One, two, three, four, five of them on each hand. The same hands I now use to wave goodbye with.
My owner's name was Amanda, if I remember correctly. Maybe it was Amy... or Anabelle? No, I'm pretty sure it was Amanda.
She had very long, black hair and a serious face. Her eyes were a deep brown, with pitch black irises that pierced into your mind. Although she was considered beautiful, she was terrifying. She was cold and bitter, and should have given me away long before she actually did.
Anyways, I grew up there, basically being ignored. I hated it. I had no siblings, no friends, I didn't even go to school. I remember digging through a huge blue duffel bag I found in my closet. I found a book. A book that taught you how to read. Every night, I'd sit under the covers with the tiny pocket flashlight I stole from under the couch. I'd open up the book, and I eventually taught myself how to read. It took me over a year, but eventually I could say the alphabet proudly.
Amanda didn't care. She didn't even question how I learned to read or write.
My owner continued to ignore me. She never really took the initiative to take care of me. I learned basic survival and grooming skills on my own. I was sick of her tossing a plop of jelly my way when I cried. So I set out for better food.
I came across this huge, white box. I pulled on the handle, and low and behold, I found food. Pickled Olives, lollipops, everything a little Blue Zafara could want.
Somehow, she managed to keep a steady supply of food in the fridge at all times. Which I found rather amazing, since she barely kept up with the house.
Amanda took me outside once in a while. She'd go off, doing whatever it was she did around Neopia, and I'd wander around Neopia Central, my eyes wide.
I discovered the Money Tree. There were bulging bags of money, shiny toys, and exotic foods I'd never heard of--all for free! That place excited me, and to be honest, it still does. I would sit there, and watch as a kind Neopian placed some Neopoints under the tree. Then, I'd get up to go grab it, but a flurry of people would shove me out of the way, fighting and clawing for those twelve little coins.
I became more aggressive. I'd push my way to the front, kicking and shoving anyone else away until my paws grasped the prize I sought.
I was still ignored by Amanda, and my once a week trips into the outside world were the only thing that kept my spirits up. She didn't speak to me, never wished me good night, never brought a steaming plate of food to the table and told me about her day.
Nope. I was just ignored.
Did I exist to her? Did I matter? No. This destroyed my self esteem.
I wasn't a Royal Acara or Maraquan Aisha. I would never excite Amanda. I wasn't important. I just. Didn't. Matter.
And that hurt. Badly.
It still does.
But one day, she came home screaming at the top of her lungs at me. She yelled and yelled and I sat there and cried into my blue paws, confused and scared. What had I done wrong? What did I do to deserve this? Why me?
Amanda blamed me for everything. If she spilled a cup of coffee, she'd yell at the top of her lungs at me. I didn't know why.
I soon missed the long days of being ignored. In fact, those were fun compared to being the target of a screaming banshee.
Fun. Isn't that sad? Being alone or being abused. Neither were what anyone would choose, but I became accustomed to both.
Although I constantly got yelled at, verbally beat down, and mocked, I grew a thick skin. Her horrible names stopped hurting.
I guess that's why every time I'm called Hasty Hooves, I just smirk and think, "I've been called so much worse."
One day Amanda came home with a White Grundo. He was big and strong for his age, but he was gentle and caring.
The minute this sweetheart walked through the door, I was tempted to scream at him to run away and never look back.
But I kept my mouth shut.
And I regret that.
His name was Tom, and he was funny and sweet--the brother I'd always dreamed of.
Amanda stopped yelling at me as often and went back to ignoring us. To this day, I still wonder why she brought Tom into our messed up household. If he was going to be ignored, a toy left on the shelf, why did she take the time to create him?
Things got a little better, surprisingly. Amanda turned a little less cold, ignored us a little less, and actually took the time to clean up around the house. I don't know what changed... I still don't, to this day.
All I knew was that this Amanda wasn't perfect, but she was the best she'd ever been.
One day, it was a snow storm. It was icy cold out, and we'd had the heat shut off in our house the day before for not paying the bills.
Tom and I sat snuggled up in a blanket on the couch, taking turns reading aloud from a tattered red book.
Amanda burst through the door, pulling her fluffy white hood away from her face. "I have a surprise." Every time she spoke, the hair on the back of my neck would stand straight up. I couldn't help it. For the past year, she'd yell at me and scream and shriek. That was all I knew.
"We're going to play a little game," she said, and I couldn't help but notice the dark edge laced in her gentle voice. She held up two paper bags. "In one of these bags, there's a great prize. In the other, there is nothing. That pet will be taking a trip to the pound."
My blood ran cold, making the freezing house seem warm.
Tom and I exchanged a nervous glance, but we didn't ask questions and we didn't dare stand our ground. I grasped my bag with shaking hands and opened it slowly.
My stomach dropped as my fingers wrapped around the handle of a paintbrush. I lifted it out, and my jaw dropped. I was going to be painted Christmas.
Tom sat there, and for a moment he stood still, hand reaching uselessly around in his empty bag. Then, he opened his mouth and started to cry loudly.
Amanda smiled at me, and shot a glare at Tom. "We're leaving." She grabbed his hand, flipped her hood back over her long black hair, and left.
Tom was the lucky one, though. That's what I thought as I sat on the couch holding the paintbrush. He would get to go to a loving owner.
Me? I'd be painted Christmas, but I'd be living with a nightmare. Amanda was sicker and more twisted than I'd imagined before. Why were we her targets? Because we were easy. We were vulnerable.
I vowed never to be that vulnerable to anyone else again.
Soon, I was painted Christmas, and things returned back to normal. I was ignored.
I had nothing to hold on to anymore. Tom was gone. All my faith that Amanda was good has vanished. I was empty and lost.
Finally, one day in early March, Amanda shook me awake, grabbed my hand, and literally dragged me down to the pound.
I look back and almost laugh at that moment, because she didn't need to drag me. She could've said, "I'm taking you to the pound," and I would've sprung out of bed and led the way to that promising building.
Amanda ushered me in, and with a sharp nod that was her version of a goodbye, she left.
Suddenly, I felt even more lost than before.
Amanda and the way she treated me was all that I'd known all my life. I didn't know how to cope with the real world. I didn't know how to trust anyone.
And yet, I sat in a little cage and watched in awe as people ran back and forth between the cages.
I did this for about thirty seconds before a girl smiled and crouched down next to my cage. She had layered brown hair, welcoming brown eyes, and was more beautiful than Amanda. Sure, Amanda had an attractive face, but she had no kindness. And kindness was truly beautiful.
"I'm Natalie," the girl said sweetly. "What's your name?"
"I-izhika," I stuttered feebly.
"Do you want to live with me and my three pets in Meridell?" She spoke slowly and gently.
I nodded, not sure what else to do. This new life sounded amazing, but I felt so ratty and meek compared to this beautiful girl and the strong, proud Christmas Wocky she had with her.
After my cage had been unlocked and forms had been filled out, Natalie squealed and held my hand. "This is Lil, she's your sister."
Lil smiled, her perfect white teeth gleaming in the Neopia Central sunlight. "Nice to meet you." She spoke in her sure, confident voice.
I made a promise to myself in that exact moment that someday I'd walk with that same proud strut, talk in that same sure tone, smile in that genuinely happy way.
Natalie, who asked me to call her Nat, was an amazing owner. But I was still scared. Scared that every time I made a mistake, I'd be screamed at.
I remember I was sitting in our Meridell house, which looked more like a castle, staring out the window. There was a shiny, clear glass vase on the sill, and I knocked it accidentally. I watched it sail through the air and then shatter on the cobblestone path.
I thought I'd start crying. But I didn't. With courage, I walked right down the stairs and told her what happened. I half expected her to scream at me. She just smiled, ruffled the fur on my head and said, "Yes! Now I'm not the only klutz in the house!"
Although Nat treated me well, I felt that she valued her other pets a little more than me. Johnny, Lil, and Lindahna. Johnny was a Green Cybunny, Lil was the Christmas Wocky, and Lindahna was a Red Tonu.
One day, we took a trip to Faerieland. It was amazing, looking down and seeing all of Neopia below me. She spun the Wheel of Excitement, and won a Green Uni Morphing Potion.
She looked at me, then back at the potion. "How would you like to be a Uni?"
Right then and there, I drank the potion, and was turned into a Uni.
That moment right there was very important. It changed who I was, not just literally, but emotionally.
I felt so beautiful for the first time in my entire life. When we went to the store and tried on clothes, I was comfortable with my body and I felt good about who I was. That feeling was foreign to me, and as sweet as a child tasting chocolate for the first time.
I craved more.
Nat soon thought of me more highly, and it wasn't because of my makeover. I acted like a different person. Soon, she painted me Starry.
Life went on. Nat swapped Lindahna for a Kiko, and then the Kiko for a Green Lutari. My sister, Lena.
The family was complete, Nat had stated. Lil was now Baby, Johnny was Magma, and Lena stayed Green. "We'll paint her when better color choices come out," she explained.
I was happy being Starry. But then, something amazing happened. I was introduced to the Lab Ray.
Most pets shuddered at the sight of the creepy scientist, the unnerving lab, and of course, the ray.
I stepped under happily.
For the first few weeks, nothing really changed. My stats went up and down, but my appearance was the same.
I had a fear in the back of my mind that I'd turn into a Yellow Moehog, but thankfully that never happened.
One lucky day, I stepped under the ray. I turned Faerie.
I was a Faerie Uni! The excitement I felt. The confidence. The beauty. I'd finally found myself. This was the me that had been locked up all along.
I felt like an incredible journey had finally ended, and from then on it would be easy coasting.
That little Zafara who stayed up late at night learning to read with a flashlight was now a beautiful, strong Faerie Uni.
Want to know something that stinks? The pain in my life wasn't over yet. Oh no. My color change marked the beginning.
That exact night, I was introduced to this group of pets. They were all very welcoming, all but one. I don't want to mention his name. He knows who he is.
The Darigan Bori just glared from a distance, calling me Drama Pony. I ignored it. I was a beautiful Faerie Uni.
As time went on, I began to develop a very strong friendship with one of the pets. A Green Xweetok. She claimed to have her troubles, but she was incredibly beautiful and strong. I admire her for that.
Anyways, what happened next hurt more than anything. More than being screamed at for something that wasn't my fault. More than being ignored.
I had my heart broken. For some sick reason, I learned to trust the Bori. I trusted him.
There are many, many more details that I'm choosing to leave out. Details that would make you cry for me.
But they are, in the end, irrelevant. What it came down to was this: I trusted someone, and they betrayed me, left me alone.
I was suddenly that little Blue Zafara crying into her hands, backed against the wall being shouted at.
But I couldn't let myself be.
The Green Xweetok helped me. Without her, I would be lost. She helped me find strength again when all I wanted to do was cry.
I owe my sanity to her, actually.
But I also have to thank Miss Amanda. Thank her. Yes. You heard me right. Without her, I wouldn't have become the person I am today. I would never have a thick skin, be used to being left alone.
I was lied to.
By the Bori and by Amanda. Both for very different reasons, one hurt more. I was so innocent and unharmed back when Amanda tore me apart. But I'd already been permanently broken by the time the Darigan Bori tried to hurt me.
Why am I writing this? Because I want everyone to know who I am. I'm not just the pretty face. I don't try and start drama on purpose. And if it seems like I don't care, trust me, I do. I just have a messed up way of showing it. It's not my fault. You can blame Amanda for that.
But you can't blame me.
I try each day to become a better person. I smile a little more, learn to trust a little more, take down the walls that have been up for so long. I can't do it alone.
I've been through a lot, that much is true. Everything that's happened made me who I am today.
I'd be lost without my best friend, my family, and of course, Nat.
There are a lot of other friends I didn't mention, and it's not because I don't like you. I only mentioned the figures who, in my life, truly made or broke me.
Thank you to everyone who stands by me, puts up with me, listens to me, and cares about me. Because without you, I'd be lost.
Thanks to everyone who enjoys my work!! Neomail me with any comments! :)