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Eliza Reed; probably not a good idea
Topic Started: May 25 2015, 09:21 AM (495 Views)
Cicada Days
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Name: Eliza Reed
Gender: Female
Age: 18
Grade: Senior
School: Cochise High School
Hobbies and Interests: Classic board games- especially chess, playing bass, mixing and producing, 80s music, classical music, history, soldering, gossip, hiking, counterculture and radical movements.

Appearance: Eliza is 5'2" and roughly 110 pounds; she's a Caucasian girl with a skinny and underdeveloped profile, balanced bust and hips and scrawny shoulders along with a wide-set waist that downplays her curves. She has a notable hunch to her posture. Her facial structure is oval, with a long and chiseled chin and a lack of cheek definition. Her wavy blonde hair is grown out to shoulder length which loosely curls out as it grows further out and is cut into thick bangs laid over her forehead. It's somewhat unkempt and thus frequently tangles at the ends. Her eyes are hazel, dull due to heavy dark circles. Her nose is average sized, and hosts a few prominent blackheads along the bridges between her eyes. Her lips are thin and dry, prone to cracking and naturally set into a frowning expression. She wears no makeup and suffers from strong acne breakouts and scarring around her temples and the side of her face, though she usually wears her hair thickly forward to cover the problem spots.

Eliza wears poor quality clothing, a wardrobe built of hand-me-downs and bargain-bin-at-the-thrift-store pieces. Her few good quality pieces are those she quietly 'borrowed' from friends or ex-friends. She's one of those sorts who prefers freezing to wearing layers, she'll wear short sleeves in winter and prefers to wears clothes that would violate school dress codes in her free time, like strapless tubes, off-shoulders, and short shorts. In school proper she wears the exact same thing, just with battered jeans instead along with throwing one of several poor quality sweaters on top to avoid drawing the ire of teachers. She wears little to no jewelry, she has yet to have her ears pierced. She likes band graphics when she can afford them. She's also notably particular to sandals, and doesn't own enough socks to pair them consistently when she does choose to well them. In general her fashion sense sits firmly in 'IDGAF' territory, she's the sort who'll wear bright colored underwear with sheer white clothes.

Biography: Eliza was born several seconds ahead of twin Victoria in late '97, the second and third girls of low class 20-something couple Daniel Reed and Haley Bonham. Daniel was a dropout of the local community collage, unfortunately not blessed with much intelligence or verve and only capable of providing for the family he'd essentially stumbled into through odd-jobs as a welder. His contracts were inconsistent and always low paying due to a lack of experience in more refined forms of welding, Daniel was always assigned to assembly belts and pulled low hourly wages when he could actually manage to get hired. Daniel's parents were locals, but were also financially weak and subsisting on low-skill blue collar labor; Haley had no contact with her family as she'd run away from home at 18 to try and make it to Hollywood and become big in the music industry, having become a transient who eventually found her way by bus into Kingman. Thus the family was from inception financially unstable and subsisted in large part on government aid.

Haley had had no intention of becoming pregnant but wasn't especially willing to undergo abortion. She wasn't emotionally ready to become a mother, and combined with her frustrated ambitions which she perceived as the fault of her falling into a backwater town and family she was a questionable parental figure as early as Eliza's formative years. She had little patience for her children, easily driven into a temper whenever they were even slightly rambunctious. By the time Eliza and Victoria were three, her elder sister Lucille was seven and already prone to shouting matches with her mother, arguing everything from chores and housework to who would get to watch the TV. Eliza found chores delegated to her, by both Lucille and Haley, but she was already learning to raise her own voice in defiance, full of rebellious energy and not content to simply sit quiet when yelled at.

The three eldest girls of the Reed household were all very argumentative, dinners were protracted affairs where the three would argue over who would do the dishes and who was the laziest and most useless while an exhausted Daniel would only speak up if Haley demanded he did on her behalf. Eliza's defiant attitude was enforced by the general mood of the house, nobody really wanted to take responsibility for anything besides Daniel struggling to be the breadwinner, and there was little respect for Daniel due to his quietness and tendency towards being a pushover. Victoria did not adopt a similar methodology as her twin had, she seemed to be muted and quieted by conflict instead of rising against it like Eliza did, she often melted into the background in these years.

None of the Reed girls attended preschool due to their parent's misinformation on existing government aid for payment, so Eliza's first year of school wasn't until she was almost six. She was a problem child from the get-go, a fair learner but prone to tantrums and even occasional physical violence, shoving kids and yelling indiscriminately when she perceived offense or they didn't do what she wanted from them. She demanded teacher intervention early and she demanded it often, almost all of her first two years of school were marred by plentiful time outs and parental calls and conferences, which only further upped the tension at home because Haley felt Eliza's troubles were a waste of time and reflected badly on her. Eliza briefly became something of a scapegoat in the house, as Lucille had better temper management in public comparatively so she avoided drawing the same amount of parental ire. Under additional pressure she began to reflect as well as any young child can on their woes. Independence, she firmly decided from such a young age, was her best bet of eventually finding something better than her impoverished and toxic home.

By age eight Eliza was largely a social outcast, her peers in class afraid of her temper or only repaying it in kind. She had, through significant negative reinforcement from all involved authority figures, been worn down into restraining somewhat, but she was still extremely aggressive for a girl her age. Regular sessions with the school counselor produced little, Eliza wasn't especially predisposed to explaining herself. She was far too used at that point to people not really listening when she had something to say. She had little respect for authority, was difficult to cow no matter what school authorized consequence or punishment was enforced, detention was a routine occupation for her and she seemed perfectly content with sitting around and doing nothing for a few hours- it was quieter and more peaceful than whatever she could be doing at home. Because she was never particularly physically violent there was only so much the school could do against her, and it wasn't until midway through her third grade year that she finally gave in.

Eventually with the counselor's help and advice she was able to adopt anger-management and restraint, at least at school and mostly just to silence the constant stream of criticism that her behavior produced that she had found annoying and preachy. At home she remained explosive and feisty, giving as good as she continued to get. She also became slightly abusive of Victoria, since her quietness made her someone Eliza could rant to and lay chores and blame off on. In school she remained somewhat infamous among her class peers and even somewhat beyond due to schoolyard gossip, a reputation only time would diffuse, as Eliza herself seemed mostly content having no close friends and only dealing with others in group projects, where she mostly just ignored the others who quietly just did her share of the work due to the menace she carried relative to them. She was socially isolated and it did hurt her more than she'd ever admit, she simply didn't have the self-awareness and personality to understand what she had to do about it, socially frozen due to an unspoken lack of confidence and unable to approach kids outside of her class.

Thus her major forms of self-entertainment were all lonely hobbies, that she took to strongly as they were in many ways all she had between a socially dead school life and infuriating home life. One of the few things Eliza has ever felt her mother was good for was the stuff she owned. Haley's old collections of vinyls, bass guitar, and effects deck had been toted with her back when she had struck out for Hollywood. All poor quality, and a fair number of them didn't even work as Haley had stopped practicing and maintaining her collection when her dreams had supposedly died. Eliza rediscovered the equipment around this age, and began tentatively studying and practicing her bass, between dubious self-help books she'd scrounge up in the local library and a naturally musically inclined ear. Haley mostly disparaged her daughter for trying to take up the guitar, assured Eliza she'd be just as much of a failure and nobody as Haley herself had been. Haley's jealousy as Eliza reached heights of talent she never could have hoped to touch further soured the relationship between the two as time went on, giving a certain real element of hatred to what had originally been arguments mostly born of mutual irritation.

In addition to playing she also studied her mother's record collection extensively, often going into the closest of Kingman's music stores and playing the records there as the Reeds couldn't afford to keep their own player, having sold it a while back during a tough month. Eliza disparaged the trends of mainstream rap and hip-hop infused pop that were popular on the radio during these years, influenced by the xenophobic leanings of her family in her younger years she was somewhat racist before mellowing out i her future years into general apathy. In general she was turned away from pop music as a personal rule, especially since Lucille loved blasting it on the TV when she managed to wrestle control of the remote from the other girls.

She turned to the music of old, falling in love with the sounds of bands like New Order, Depeche Mode, Yaz, Human League, China Crisis, The Psychedelic Furs, and so on. Her tastes found genius in the style of synthpop and New Wave, and she was considerably crushed when she learned that most of the sound she loved was found in hardware synthesizers that lay far beyond her budget considerations. She was undaunted, stubborn, however, and she was in the record store almost every day after class. She ignored peers who happened to stumble in after her and hogged the store's record player as much as she could without getting herself kicked out of the store, studying and memorizing the bass rifts of songs so she could practice them when she got home. She developed a love for strong and prominent bass guitar lines, since they were the ones she could most easily replicate with her means at the time, and Peter Hook of New Order became her veritable hero. His melodic and effects-saturated basslines are her preferred method of playing to this day.

Another refuge Eliza found during this phase of her life was with her father's parents, whose house was across the city. Daniel's parents were kindly, spending what little money they could spare to treat Eliza well whenever she found her way over. Haley had little love for her in-laws, Lucille was extremely socially active and found little time for her grandparents, so it was mostly Eliza and Victoria along with Daniel when he was off work- depressingly often. Visits to them were such a highlight of Eliza's life at the time that she'd shamelessly slip money from the family's pitiful savings drawer- and take the subsequent heat from her mother when she inevitably noticed- or even take the full three something hour hike to make sure she could visit them at least once a week. Her grandparents allowed her to watch TV as she pleased without having to argue incessantly over the channel, gave her better food than either of her parents could manage to cook, and were perfectly happy talking to her and engaging her in all manner of games. Through them Eliza developed a strong skill with classic games like chess, go, and backgammon. Her grandfather had been a former chess master in his glory days, and under his tutelage her average mind developed an inroads for strategic board games, memorizing the tricks Pappy taught her for reading opponents and predicting moves and developments on the board. She was by no means ever especially talented, but she would stand out as an especially difficult opponent for those not expecting her to be in her future engagements with board games.

Eliza found a certain peace with her grandparents, a mellowing of her spirit that put her at her best when she could remember the good times she shared with them. Over time these trips enforced a stronger bond with her partners in crime in Victoria and her father, she developed a tolerance for them that made them mutual confidantes, Victoria and Eliza especially becoming close and helping one another out. Eliza no longer threw her sister under the bus, and came to often protect Victoria in family arguments. She didn't become quiet, she actually became louder for Victoria's sake, and when she was unable to drown out the other girls she often shared punishment, duty, and blame with Victoria instead of dumping it all on her. By the time Eliza was about to enter middle school Victoria was essentially her only close friend, and Eliza had done her best to treat her twin well and re-win her trust, finding her social voice by talking with her sister and her friends, playing chess with her when they were able to borrow a board from one of Victoria's other friends in school, one that Eliza would quietly sequester and never return since all involved except her eventually forgot about it's actual origins.

In her middle school years Eliza decided she'd had enough of being mostly alone, and decided to benefit from the years passed from her trouble years. The people she'd alienated were only vaguely able to remember why they disliked or were afraid of her now, and her classes shifted significantly. She was far from socially brilliant, and most of her tactics boiled down to shared interests, sometimes forced as she tried to impress her peers with her precociously developed guitar skills and shoehorn herself into conversations. Her tactics were met with mixed results and she made a few friends, but she was never quite able to develop a strong group to associate with and she was mostly relegated to a fringe role in most groups she was in, struggling with the sense that she and her opinions were being marginalized. In some cases her old temper reignited when she felt wronged and slighted by the people she thought were friends, she burned bridges with some by creating beef and drama with particular people. In other cases the habits she'd learned at home of being argumentative and taking what she wanted won her few favors, she'd get called out for 'borrowing' things for too long and was ousted from more groups. In general she built a fairly negative outstanding reputation in the grape vine as a fairly negative person, a mooch and overly aggressive girl by rumor that led to her falling into a fairly bad place in the overall social picture.

Her musical skills, at least, continued to develop. Without a job and with her home situation remaining rather weak her gear remained low-tech, so she compensated with sheer skill, being able to play back almost any song by ear with only one or two listens, and having mastered most bass techniques and being able to fluidly improvise with them them without second thought. Her father taught her some of the soldering basics she knew and she was able to repair and jury-rig upgrade some of her equipment, basic amp mods and the like that she'd pull off from borrowing tools from a set her father had 'acquired' over time with careful lifting from his various temp jobs and contracts. She learned these skills early on in her middle school career, used them as leverage to gain access to some of the better equipment the more musically inclined of her middle school possessed. She first discovered the mixing process of making music through programs like Audacity and Cubase through these friends, while she originally disparaged the idea of 'programming' music she found it reminded her of the synths of synthpop she had grown to respect as a young girl, and she quickly learned to translate her hearing skills into the world of music production, as much as she could given her limited access.

Eliza's middle school career passed uneventfully for the most part, she maintained tenuous connections with various peers that could be ended by any sort of morally dubious action on her part as she was hardly endearing enough to be forgiven for slights. Academically she benefited from the intelligence of Victoria, who was kind enough to share notes and tutor her in the quiet hours of the night at home- rare as Lucille was still in the home- and help Eliza with the subjects she struggled in like Math and English. She had a taste for History, because as a subject it overlapped enough with her love of music to where she could study things like the history of music. She developed a taste for classic music in concert with Victoria, in particular she developed a respect for the raw power of Romantic era compositions. By no means did she have the ability to afford learning a more classically oriented instrument like she wanted to, but she would do things like translating the phrases from Chopin and Mussorgsky into compositions for her bass, which she'd play to whoever she could convince to listen, Victoria being the only really consistent admirer. Eliza's talent did win her at least some respect where her personality fell short, and some of the musicians in her peer group at least learned to stomach her for what she brought to the table, a trend that would continue into high school and Cochise's music scene.

In her high school years Eliza began to really develop a strong identity for herself as a talented musician. She had some affiliations with Chess Club, made some acquaintances in classes where she wasn't intimate enough to potentially alienate them with her more despicable social habits and practices, but it was in Cochise's burgeoning music scene where she really revealed the full spectrum of her character. Her talent and passion attracted all manner of friends and collaborators, those who only knew her in passing due to having seen her in the town record stores and not having shared a school life with her. She had some genunine admirers now, and had a broad enough pool of diverse friends to where even she couldn't drive all of them off. She continued to not learn from the lessons of the past and continued to passively be a toxic and drama-inducing influence as her home situation had taught her to be. Her reputation never really improved, but at least more people were willing to stomach and tolerate her, and some people who got to see her good side.

She also fell in with the counterculture crowd in Cochise, as Eliza's natural disrespect for authority and strong self-identity and independence lent her towards that crowd. Her temper and poor attitude remain, but in some cases she's leniently considered as an ally. She doesn't have the intelligence to really be a thinker, and she's too rambunctious to be a good follower, but she's a strong personality and thus a figurehead in her own right. She's eaten up libratarian rhetoric, and though her social leanings make her theoretically strongly right-wing her adopted anti-government thoughts allow her to usually fly smoothly under the radar. She's a mixed bag when it comes to her beliefs systems, on the one hand she sometimes can't be assed to talk shop, but if she ever is one can expect she's incredibly insistent and aggressive about what she thinks is 'right'.

In her Sophomore year her home saw a significant shift, when Lucille married a military man she'd been smitten with for most of her high school years and was able to move away with him to a base in the Pacific Northwest. The loss of her primary sparring partner meant a now years-embittered Haley could turn her full attention to Eliza and Victoria. At this point she couldn't logically deny that Eliza had massively surpassed her in skill and had a real shot of making it in the music industry, so she did exactly that. She grew incredibly critical, passive-aggressive, and spiteful, and threatened to take away and sell the guitar, among other far less savory threats. Eliza was used to holding her own and calling her mother's bluffs, and this time she actually had a clear upper hand. Daniel himself had also had enough of the mistake he felt he'd made in ever falling for Haley, and the house became an all out war between Daniel and Haley as he fought for his daughters, threatened separation and she fought back desperately tooth-and-nail. The focus pretty quickly shifted away from Victoria and Eliza, they were smart enough to avoid the home when their father was at work so that they could avoid their mother's impotent but still annoying fury.

Eliza has thus largely been ousted from her own home, she's moved most of the important stuff she can to a friend's and she can often be found in one of Kingman's few music stores or trying to steal playtime from a friend. She'll take long walks around Kingman without purpose if she has nowhere to crash for a few hours, and she's come to enjoy the time to herself. She mostly reserves visits to the grandparents for when Victoria is free, since Victoria is also far more involved academically than herself. She's tried to grab herself some jobs to try and build capital for the vague plans she has to make a name for herself in music, but she's been fired from the two jobs- throwaway retail part time- she managed to land for poor work ethic and 'non-work conducive behavior'. That is to say, she's aggressively lazy and difficult to treat like a normal employee. She's not as worried about a rather poor resume and the blacklisting already against her, in general she is overconfident that everything will work out for her in the end. Her only cash flow is from the occasional music equipment soldering job one of the other kids can draft her to do for cheap.

Her peers find that she is now a rather relaxed girl if not provoked, but that it is best to keep her at a distance as Eliza is very easily tempted into 'borrowing' things and never finding the impetus to return them, and throwing temper tantrums and finding excuses to blame others for whatever whenever she has a reason to. She's also extremely gossipy and has developed a love for bad-mouthing people to others, simply because it amuses her greatly. She still mostly hooks up with others through shared interests, and has also taken to using her home situation to win pity points. Her social sphere is never particularly consistent, she mostly gravitates towards those who are a bit more forgiving and passive and thus easy to make friends out of and otherwise is in and out of friends groups depending on how willing they are to tolerate her at that particular time. Eliza is a girl who doesn't really seem to care much anymore, or at least in theory doesn't, she has her own understanding of the world and her place in it and she only has nasty words for anyone who dares to disagree. She's also had no inroads into the world of romance, here for a lack of trying. She doesn't realize that she's asexual, never bothered to assign such a label to herself, as it simply has no factor on her life as a whole.

She still is far more lonely than she'd ever care to admit to herself, paranoid about how others think about her while pretending not to be, and she still struggles with a lack of understanding as to why she's socially where she is. She's not used to reflecting on her own flaws, since her inflated and toxic ego and need to always be right and loud about it was all she ever learned from home, and she's never been really trained to think too hard on things outside of specifics like her board gaming or the like. She's insecure and all the more socially uncomfortable for it, often her mentality nowadays is a tenuous combination of desperate self-justifications for herself and mental sneering at others- that often leaks out into actual dialog.

Her Senior year is one she's only passing to the extent that she needs to graduate, in most classes she dials it in and often doesn't turn in homework, sans history as she still enjoys the subject and often likes to discuss trivia with the teacher. She has no intentions of going on to collage, but is happy for Victoria's own intentions to go through Mojave on aid and try to impress a four year collage into a full ride scholarship with hard work. She mostly doesn't care about her home situation anymore unless she wants to goad her mother or her father needs reassurance that he'll come out the winner in the brewing divorce war.

Advantages: Eliza is self-assured and has a naturally strong rebellious spirit that will likely keep her mentally strong and capable of fighting when she needs to, she's naturally good at inherently dominating arguments and verbally overpowering others due to how loud and brash she's been raised to be when trying to get her own way.
Disadvantages: She has a very poor sense of self-awareness and will likely especially struggle with ironing out the shortcomings that threaten her survival chances, she has a poor reputation at Cochise and a lot of people will naturally be suspicious of her due to her known attitudes, she's still got a temper and a tendency towards losing her cool that can be exploited, she's also overconfident by nature and this may hinder her if she cannot temper the tendency on island, she's not the most socially aware and does not read people well which may be a detriment to forming alliances.
Edited by Cicada Days, May 27 2015, 11:35 PM.
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