Startin’ fresh y’all.
I’d like to introduce myself by saying “Greetings, loved ones” like then-Snoop Dogg (is he still referred to as Snoop Lion these days?) does at the beginning of “California Girls”, because for some God-awful reason that goes through my mind multiple times a day. On a somewhat related note, please go watch Snoop Dogg/Lion narrate Planet Earth, and thank me later.
My name is Laura Eileen Peña. For unknown reasons, I’ve never really liked my first name. I like my middle name now because it’s my grandma’s name and – equally as important – that song “Come On Eileen” really gets me goin’. I’ve always liked my last name because it’s usually the only proof I need to convince people that this pelirroja is, in fact, Mexican.
A little backstory if you’re into that sorta thing…
I was born and raised in a small town about 10 miles east of the Pacific Ocean on the Central Coast of California. After graduating high school in the Spring of 2012, I went to a tiny little Catholic college about 30 miles west of Pittsburgh, PA. The one and only Franciscan University of Steubenville sits atop a hill just west of the Ohio River, a stone’s throw from West Virginia. I didn’t realize it at the time, but choosing that school was choosing the rest of my life – and holy _____ if I ain’t tearing up just thinking about it now. I spent two wild, magical, achy summers in the mountains of North Georgia – mostly sweaty, absolutely alive – making an excessive amount of mac and cheese in the camp kitchen. I dropped out of college after my junior year, and spent a whole two weeks back home in California before taking a job on the South Shore of Boston, nannying full-time for a family I’d never met in a town I’d never been to. The Lord’s been way too good to me, his fickle and bratty kid. I’ve been back home for about a year now, and my soul has been nothing but fragile… and that’s okay.
So, that’s Where I’ve Been. I guess Who I Am is a lot less straightforward.