To say she is giggly would simply be an understatement. She laughs. Her smile is infectiously joyous the moment she walks in the door. We don't take much time to get acquainted, as we've been emailing for over two months in preparation for this day! The excitement is high and she is visibly giddy to begin. We take our seats at my kitchen table where she sits with pencil perfect posture, poised for the first question.
Emy: "What is your name?"
Kam: "Kam Anna."
Emy: "Tell us a bit about yourself."
Kam: "Well, I am a twin! I am adopted! Let's see. I really, really like to read. I tend to be shy when I first meet someone, but once I get to know them I am very loud! I'm outgoing and down to earth."
Emy: "Why do you love reading?"
Kam: "I like being able to place myself in a different time period, or just something totally different from the normal world. It also allows me to travel without spending money, besides buying the book!"
Emy: "Which books are your favorites?"
She smiles brightly while considering her answers.
Kam: "A Fault in Our Stars, Shrinking Violet, Bone Mender."
Emy: "What are your hobbies?"
Kam: "I love to sing, I do photography. Umm…I know I do a lot more than that!"
She laughs at herself. Every time she does it is such a treat. As I said, she doesn't giggle, she truly laughs. It’s a loud statement about who she is, and it is lovely.
Kam: "I like to collect buttons! I wish I could get into yoga, but I am just too busy.”
Emy: "What keeps you busy?"
Kam: "Academics! I'm also very active in my church and in Girl Scouts, so I'm always balancing my time."
Emy: "What do you enjoy about those activities?"
Kam: "I like interacting with people and just getting to know people. I also like the whole serving others aspect of it."
Emy: "What do you love about serving others and being involved in those activities?"
Kam: "I just like helping others and just being able to give back in some way."
Emy: "Who are the closest people to you in your life?"
Kam: "My sister. My parents, definitely. My four girlfriends. Most of them I've known since middle school, one of them since 2nd grade. And then, my boyfriend."
Emy: "Why are they the closest to you?"
Kam: "Well, my sister obviously because we're twins, so we've always been together! You know only children always have to go out and find friends, but I can always just say, 'Hey, come and play with me!' And my parents are always there for me and they help me strive harder. I'm extremely hard-working and they just encourage me a lot and back me up. Then, my friends, mainly because we've known each other so long and we really mesh well together. Yeah, we definitely get along! Once we baked one hundred cookies for some reason! It wasn't even just one batch, it was all different kinds of cookies!"
Emy: "That sounds awesome!"
Kam: "Yeah, we all got really hungry, too! So, while we were making cookies I was making eggs for everyone."
The cookies and eggs seem so special, but I know the treasure is not so much in the story she goes on to describe, but in her dear friends who helped make that memory. They all sound like true, loyal, loving girls. Her smile is making more and more sense. There is trust and security there. She is wise for choosing "lifers" like these.
Kam: "And, my boyfriend because he helped me a lot while I was going through a pretty rough time about two years ago. He's helped in a lot of ways."
Emy: "What are your dreams?"
Kam: "I would enjoy to do more traveling. I'm not sure where, but I would like to travel."
Emy: "Beyond the bounds of a book?"
Kam: "Yes! I'd like to be able to take selfies and go, 'Hey, look where I am!' I also love being able to go different places and see the culture. I want to immerse myself in each different culture. I truly want to visit all fifty states! I'll put that on my bucket list! I also want to get a PhD, I haven’t yet narrowed down the topic. Part of that is because I so look up to my father and he got a PhD. I guess I am inspired by him."
Emy: "Any other dreams? Any outlandish dreams?"
Kam: "I definitely want to get a mermaid tail...from MerTailor I think it's called."
Until she mentioned a tailor I thought she meant she had a little girl dream of being a mermaid, just like I still long for fairy wings. However, it sounds like she has an actual plan on getting her tail!
Kam: "He makes these handmade, professionally made mermaid tails and I always think it would be so cool!"
Emy: "That is the coolest thing I've heard anyone say. 'What are your dreams?' 'A mermaid tail, no really I know a guy!’ And you said you spend a lot of time on academics. What do you most love studying?"
Kam: "Business. I would definitely say business. I just love it. I took the class last year about business, structure, and it just felt right. I enjoy working with people, too. I know I'm going to major in some aspect of it!"
Emy: "What is a day in the life of Kameron?"
Kam: "I wake up, then search Tumblr for like an hour! Then I make myself breakfast, but that always varies. Then I do whatever activity I have for that day, I have lunch, then I search Tumblr again and go to bed!"
Emy: "What are the highlights of your day?"
Kam: "Making food, I love to cook! I like being able to create something then give it to someone and hear them say that it's good. I like to make a lot of recipes! I like to look at foodgawker.com, that's my site to go to. Recently I did a Thai dish and that was interesting. I've been doing mostly New Orleans food. I definitely like to cook things that are not your typical family dinners!"
Emy: "Where would you like to see yourself in five years?"
Kam: "In college! Beyond that, I’ll see what life brings. All I can think about is college lately! I'm a rising senior, so it's just college, college, college."
Emy: "Is that intimidating at all?"
Kam: "No, I'm used to going away a lot. I don't really get homesick, so I think I'll be able to handle it."
Emy: "Will it be hard being away from your sister?"
Kam: "I think I've started to accept that fact."
She smiles a bit, but I can see that this is a big consideration and realization when faced with college.
Kam: "I think I'm the more clingy, love-y one out of the relationship. Yeah, definitely."
Emy: "You seem very cool and calculated in your decisions. You have your life very well thought out, yet for your styled shoot today you chose a more Bohemian, free-flowing styling. What was the inspiration behind your style choices?"
Kam: "I like vintage and I like lace. I wanted to do something outside of my norm, not the way that I usually dress. I thought this was a good opportunity! I guess it shows the more artsy side of me. My friend told me once that I look like an artist, but I cannot draw for the life of me. Photography I can do, but keep the pen and paper away from me."
Emy: "Why do you love photography?"
Kam: "When I was little I found my mom's film camera, so I took that and just started taking pictures. Then we got a dog and I started taking lots more pictures of him, and just got totally into it. Then I started looking at other people's photography to try to see how to expand myself more. That's just how I came into photography! I'd like to one day be recognized for my photography. I'm such a little fish in a big sea, so I guess I'd like to be a just a bit bigger than the small fish."
She mimes out little fish with her hands and smiles shyly.
Emy: "What do you love to photograph?"
Kam: "Flowers, definitely flowers because they're always changing and different. You can get all these different angles, and a different time of day makes such a huge difference with them."
Emy: "What is your dream vacation?"
Kam: "I would say up in the mountains. I fell in love with the whole mountain thing at Creation Fest. I would wake up at 7 AM every morning when everyone else was still asleep and just breathe the fresh air. I would sit outside our tent and think, 'Wow I feel so at peace right now.’ "
Emy: "What is your favorite color?"
Kam: "It's between blue and yellow, I'm not sure!"
Emy: "What is your favorite food?"
Kam: "Mmm, truffles. I specifically love dark chocolate raspberry truffles! I don't know, there's just something about them that I love. Hmm, fried rice. I think those would be my two favorites."
Emy: "What are your favorite activities?"
Kam: “I like just staying home and cuddling up, if that makes any sense. Whether it's watching a show, or reading a book, or hanging out with friends I like curling up and relaxing. I like the comfort of home and not having to worry about the outside world, I guess. I like laughing and having giggling fits without having to worry. There's just something about being at home."
Emy: "Come to think of it, you seem to be a very homey person. You give off a very homey and comfortable vibe.”
She nods emphatically in agreement and repeats “Yes, yes” a few more times. Her shining brown eyes invite me in, draw me closer as we talk more and more about this sacred place she calls "home." I'm beginning to think it is less of a place than it is a way of life. She cultivates close relationships and meaningful connection with poise and purpose beyond her years. There is meaning behind her seemingly humble activities. Contributing her time and efforts to other people, or “serving” is what she describes as her hobby. People are an integral part of her life.
Emy: “What brings you the most joy?”
Kam: “I think seeing other people smile. I don’t know if you noticed, but I love smiling a lot, so I love bringing a smile to other people! We don’t always get to talk to everyone and inquire about their day, but just smiling at them can bring them so much joy.”
Emy: “Why do you care about people so much?”
Kam: “Part of it is due to a wonderful good friend of mine. She was a big impact on me. She just had this very natural ability to draw people in. She was musically inclined, an enormous talent, too. But, in 2012 she passed away from a type of cancer. I think it was a month we had together after she got the cancer and before she passed away. My aunt had also passed away not long before. A lot of people passed away during that time who were so dear to me and I guess that brought a certain understanding along with the grief and pain. It made me realize how people can be gone in the blink of an eye. So, I decided I very much wanted to be more impactful and bring happiness to other people’s lives. When my parents first adopted us we were both quite shy, so they took us to this church where that friend was the only one who could get us to talk, so I always had this deep connection with her and spent as much time with her as I could until she passed away.”
Emy: “How have you weathered the storms in your life? You’ve mentioned a lot of trial. What advice would you give to others?”
Kam: “I would say always have a shoulder to lean on. Express your concerns and get support, don’t just hole up, or try to keep things all to yourself because then it gets heavy and it just doesn’t work. I’m speaking from personal experience! Just find someone to talk to, because once you do you’ll feel this weight off your shoulders and it makes things so much easier.”
Emy: “How do you keep close friendships?”
Kam: “I guess just always being there for them, whether that’s talking one on one, or just silly talk, taking selfies, baking, or hanging out at my house. Just being there.”
We are wrapping up, just finishing and looking back over the questions and answers to see that we’ve covered everything, when she adds:
Kam: “Oh, last year I shaved half of my hair! I guess I just wanted to be bold and a little bit daring, so I just thought, ‘Why not?’ and gave it a try.”
There you have it. From the moment she stepped in the door her style (which she describes as “nerdy-chic, with a little bit of skateboarder”), her smiling face, her delightful presence, and her favorite pastimes have all been surprisingly, refreshingly unpredictable. She has warmed my heart and put a smile on my face, so I hope she counts this day a successful one! Her laughter fills my kitchen as we continue to talk and I am once again getting a peek into this thing she calls “home.” She carries it with her, inviting whomever she chooses to participate in this warm extension of sweet friendship. It’s been an honor.
Introducing to you the lovely laughing lady, Kam Anna.