In our new web-series, "Everyday People," the Ashwick Times will chronicle the daily lives of Ashwick Valley's natives, newcomers, and everyone in between. Recently we met up with Josie and today we're meeting with her friend and roommate, Camryn, a young woman with a serious reputation around town.
"I'm a bitch, I know but I had no idea what I was doing or how I was feeling."
Camryn wants to meet at the beach. It's not the nicest day, it's a little overcast, but she says she doesn't care for the mall that much and when it's overcast the beach is empty. She's right. There's only two other people around and it's quiet.
"I don't really like swimming that much, at least not in the ocean, and I don't really care for sand but I like the beach a lot." she explains as she places down a towel. She's dressed simply enough, a pair of shorts and a cami with a swimsuit under it. Camryn is known for being a fashionista, she said her closet is huge and she has no idea how many clothes she has. This simple took her an hour to decide on and it looks effortless and flawless, along with the rest of her. I think she has make up on but I can't really tell, if she does it's just concealer or foundation because she looks bare. Her dark hair is wild and loose, big curls sticking out in every direction. She says she doesn't spend much time on her hair or make up, her clothes are much more important. "I think I like looking at the water."
We settle onto the towel and she takes off her shirt to apply sunscreen. She says she uses a low PF because while she's not scared of skin cancer she doesn't want more wrinkles when she's old. Wearing a bikini top and shorts makes it more obvious just how tall and lanky she is. "I'm built like a broom. I barely have hips and I had a baby. I thought they were supposed to widen or something after you have a baby." she says absentmindedly.
Camryn is the mother to a three year old boy named Jordyn, everyone calls him Joey. He's with her mom for the afternoon so they're free. "I had him when I was eighteen, I was a senior in high school. I had him on prom night. Everyone makes it out to be more scandalous than it was. It's not like I had him at prom or anything ridiculous. I just felt bad at prom and we left early, me and Ju, because we didn't really want to be there and then later that night his mom made me go to the hospital and there he was. Apparently I had been in labor for hours so it wasn't long or that bad. I mean it was bad but it wasn't as bad as people say." she shrugs casually. I've heard things about her, about her temper and how big of a personality she has but more than anything so far she's been incredibly casual and candid. "The most interested thing of the whole event was that Joey was born without one of his hands. It's just some freak thing that happened and no one knows why but he's fine, whatever."
Ju is short for Judah, the father of her son and a big part of her life but she's hesitate about calling him an ex. "He's been one of my best friends since I was a little kid. I love him so much but I'm not like in love with him, I don't think, I don't feel the same way about Ju that I do about my exes. But we never really dated and I'm not sure if either of us ever want to. But maybe, who knows, we're still really young." She's turning 21 this year and he's turning 20, they have plenty of time to figure it out she muses. If they're meant to date then they're date one day, until then their current relationship is more than fine with her. "We weren't dating when I got pregnant. I was actually dating someone else at the time. I'm a bitch, I know but I had no idea what I was doing or how I was feeling."
"That's in the past. I'm so far away from that now."
The relationship is long since over, they haven't spoken or seen each other in a year or so, but her first relationship was with a girl. Cam won't say her name but she's sure plenty of people know. This girl was her first everything, they dated for two years and it was just as full of tears as fucking. "I think we were just both really emotional and in need of something, we were just so broken, and desperate for love that we gravitated to each other. I mean, yeah, I loved her a lot but also I didn't really know any better." She wants to be clear that she's not the only one who was unfaithful and hurtful but she doesn't care to go into details. "That's in the past. I'm so far away from that now. I think I'm different from before."
She says she's changed from high school. Back then she was larger than life without a big loud personality and everyone knew her. She wasn't popular necessarily, she had a bad attitude and was incredibly self absorbed and she can't even list half the people in her class. She had a reputation of getting in trouble, making scenes and skipping class and starting arguments. "I don't think I was bad or anything but I just never wanted to be there, you know? I didn't want to be here in general, like Ashwick, I hated being here and I just couldn't wait to graduate so I could leave. I always wanted to be a fashion designer and I had planned to go to FiT, in New York. I got in and everything." But then she had a baby and you guessed it, she didn't go.
"I was diagnosed with depression when I was 12," she starts, being painfully honest while casually unwrapping a sandwich, "so when I got pregnant and decided against going to school it just hit me even worse. I sleep a lot anyway but I was just like asleep all the time for like a year. So many depression naps, I didn't want to do anything. I did the bare minimum and I only did that for Joey because his dad wasn't around." Camryn explains that Judah joined the Marines after their son's birth, it was short lived before he was discharged for medical reasons but for a few months she was a single parent. She credits a boyfriend with helping to get her out of her funk, just barely she makes clear, but she doesn't want to talk about him much because he broke up with her a few months ago.
While we eat we chat about normal things. TV, music, some really good food she had, a horrible driver she saw on the way over. She's sort of spacey but not in the bad way, nothing she's saying is dumb but she comes off almost vacant, like she's not too concerned with what we're talking about. She's friendly enough, more than willing to talk about any subject; I get the feeling she'd answer almost any question because she doesn't care. Her phone is never far from her hand and she checks it almost every minute, just in case her mom texts her she says. She laughs easily and rolls her eyes even easier.
"I don't think my mental illness is the most interesting thing about me...I swear I'm boring, I sleep most of the time."
"My dad is making me go to school."
Her father is a successful doctor while her mother is owns her own real estate agency. She grew up with money, having everything she ever could have wanted. She's the youngest with four older brothers and her parents spoiled their little princess. Although she's not a princess, she's clear about that, she always considered herself a queen. She's never worked, not for real. She drove her father's 'old' Audi here. "He'll continue to pay my rent as long as I'm doing something. I wasn't doing anything for a while, like at all, so he's been adding all these rules to make me be a person. First it was I had to go to my therapist and now it's I have to go to school. He's probably going to make me get a job next."
She started seeing a therapist when she was 10 and she admits she doesn't always go and she doesn't always take her medication. Her anti depressants make her too wild, they give her too much energy and she blames them for some of her bad decision making. "My new guy things I got misdiagnosed but he also doesn't want to give me meds so I'm trying some other stuff." Bipolar disorder normally doesn't manifest until you're twenty five, she explains, she's still twenty, and in children it's normally misdiagnosed as depression. She's not sure how this will turn out but she says she's curious, even if her tone is bored and disinterested in the subject matter. "I don't think my mental illness is the most interesting thing about me, even if all my exciting moments are because of it. I swear I'm boring, I sleep most of the time."
She's going to school, part time, taking interior design classes. "When me and Josie moved I did most of the decorating by myself, it was fun." Two years ago she and her best friend Josie Kanutal, we talked to her recently, moved into a condo in Stillcaster. It's a two bedroom on the second floor, her mom has connections to the building and her father pays most of the rent. "I wanted to move because I was living with my brother and it was just too much." Upon finding out she was pregnant her parents kicked her out of the house she says and she went to live with her brother, that's where she and her son spent the first nine months of his life. Her parents came around to their grandson and got her her own place with her friend as company. "They don't have fashion design or anything around here but interior design is cool I guess. If he makes me follow through I'll probably go to Harding for business though." Community college is a step to get her familiar with school again, it's been a few years and while she was a good student she's out of practice.
I ask her what she wants to do, what her plans are since fashion school is apparently out of the question, and she lights up. "So I have this Etsy store, right?" *link to site here* "and I sell jewelry. I haven't been doing it seriously or anything but I've been doing it for a while. Like since high school I've been making jewelry." She takes out her phone and shows me pictures of her work; delicate and thin silver bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings. She practically rambles about her technique and where she gets her supplies and she's the most animated she's been this entire conversation. "I guess I can make a real business of it I just haven't really committed myself to it." She digs through her bag and finds a bracelet, puts in on my wrist, fiddles with it for a minute before saying I could have it. "I should probably stop giving stuff away but whatever." She's not in it for the money because she already has plenty.
We've been talking for a while and her phone buzzes, its Judah, asking if she wants to go get dinner. She says they spend a lot of time together as a family, more so lately. Normally he has Joey full time, "Being a mom all the time sucks the life out of me." but recently they switched off temporarily. She normally sees her son almost every other day and takes him a few days a week but now that he's with her the three of them have been spending more time together. "It's not like Ju had custody or anything, not legally, it's just an arrangement we set up." She could probably take him full time forever if she wanted but she doesn't. Being a parent isn't for everyone she explains and this is a better set up, everyone is happier this way.
We clean up and part ways, she has to go shower and pick up 'her boys' as she calls them, Judah can't drive because he has bad eyesight so she's always the chauffeur. She tells me it was a fun afternoon and she can't wait to read the piece, it made her feel famous or something. The girl who I talked to isn't the same wild girl I've heard about it; instead she's confident, honest, and doing the best she can. She knows she has a long way to go but as she points out, she's only 20, she has plenty of time.