How easy it to become a completely different person? All you need is a sheet of paper, a pen, a pair of scissors, and a hat.
When the yelling gets to be too loud, or objects start to fly, nine-year-old Carly Greene likes to retreat to her bedroom and play a game she invented all by herself, one she calls This Is Who I’m Really Supposed To Be. The more times the police come to break up the fights between her mom and dad, the more she plays it.
The first thing she does is write down all the names she likes more than Carly, such as Robin, Rachel, Simone, and Lily. Then she writes down all the pretty streets in town she feels would be better places to live than the two-bedroom apartment she shares with her parents and younger sister in a rundown neighbourhood. Tennessee Avenue, Sugarloaf Street, Ridgewood Drive, and Hollywood Place are her favourites. Next up are the jobs her imaginary dad might have: teacher, doctor, secret superhero. Nowhere on that list is nighttime janitor. There’s a name as well to choose for the puppy she wants for her birthday. Buddy, Buster, Finnigan, and Harley are on today’s list. She even includes the mundane details, such as the type of toothpaste, shampoo and spaghetti sauce she feels a perfect family would buy.
After she’s written all of her options down, she then cuts them into individual strips and puts them in a hat. Category by category, she goes on to create a new life for herself. One that will be quiet, happy, and normal.
“My name is Simone. We live on Sugarloaf Street, which is only a few blocks away from my daddy’s hospital. We use Crest toothpaste, Pantene Shampoo, and tonight for dinner we will have spaghetti made with Catelli sauce. I’ll share some with Finnigan when no one is looking,” she says once she has made all of her selections.
Carly will go on to play this game many more times before she is old enough to leave home. Statistics say that there is a very good chance she’ll repeat the same pattern as her parents when she has a family of her own, but Carly likes to think she knows what goes in to creating the perfect family, and domestic brawls will never be on her list of options.