Name: Lydia Katherine Robbins
School: Aurora High School
Hobbies and Interests: Knitting, television, Sudoku, school choir (alto), horseback riding
Appearance: Lydia is a heavyset girl, standing at 5'6" and weighing 168 pounds. Most of extra weight falls around her waist, hips, and legs, giving her something of a pear shape. She has curly, shoulder-length dark brown hair, which she usually lets fall loose, and hazel eyes. Lydia is not considered particularly attractive, in part due to her weight and in part due to her face; her facial features seem almost mismatched, as her large nose sits over a pair of very thin lips. Her ears stand out rather prominently from her head. Lydia's ears were pierced early in her childhood, though these days she rarely wears any earrings except on special occasions. Her skin is generally pretty clear, though she sometimes breaks out, especially if she's had too many oily foods recently. Lydia's skin tone is fairly dark, due to her heritage; her father (who she resembles more) is African-American, while her mother is of Spanish descent.
Lydia does put some effort into her appearance, plucking and shaping her eyebrows and applying light makeup when the mood strikes her. She puts similar thought into her outfits, favoring flowing peasant skirts and loose blouses in understated colors, particularly browns and beiges. She tends towards flat shoes, preferring to stand at her natural slightly-above-average height rather than suffer the discomfort of high heels for a boost. Lydia rarely wears jewelry, with the exception of necklaces, which she is quite fond of.
Lydia has acceptable posture while standing, though she often hunches slightly when she walks or sits. She tends to move a little uncertainly, making sure not to infringe upon others' personal space. Her voice is fairly deep, and she has good control of it, singing alto in the school choir.
Biography: Lydia is the older of two daughters of two middle class parents, Carl and Amy Robbins, both of whom grew up in Seattle and have lived there for their entire lives. Carl's Seattle lineage goes even further backboth of his parents also grew up the area, and still live nearby. Amy's family, on the other hand, immigrated from Spain shortly prior to her birth. Since then, Amy's parents divorced, her father returning to Spain and her mother becoming a US citizen. Thus, Lydia has grown up close to all her grandparents except her maternal grandfather, who she has met only a few times in her life.
Lydia has spent her entire life in Seattle, bar a family vacation here and there, and she has always loved the city, enjoying its climate and lively atmosphere. As a child, she was bright and social, enjoying playing with friends and being active. She got along very well with her younger sister, Alison, despite the two of them being very close in age. Lydia did well in preschool and elementary school, especially since her parents sent her to very liberal schools. Lydia flourished with the relative freedom allowed by her early education, and loved school.
Unfortunately, that all changed in middle school. Lydia had grown quickly as a child, but as her upwards growth began to slow, her weight kept increasing. Her parents, both on the heavier end themselves, worried little about this, but Lydia found herself feeling like an outsider compared to the other, typically skinnier kids at school. Worse still, Lydia went to a much more traditional, rigorous middle school, and, for the first time in her life, was faced with high pressure tests and assessments. She quickly discovered that she did not do well at all when forced to make quick decisions and when expected to succeed in a structured fashion. Lydia nearly failed seventh grade, which placed great strain on her relationship with her parents, both of whom graduated college and were highly successful in academic arenas. They tried to find Lydia help, sending her to tutoring programs and giving her direction in studying, but the problem was not solely one of understanding. Lydia simply did not do well in high pressure environments.
Lydia's younger sister, Alison, made things worse by being a natural at academic endeavors, despite having been through the exact same series of schools as Lydia. Alison was only fifteen months junior to her sister, meaning that the two were often in school together, and, in fact, its was Alison's attachment to the school combined with the convenience of having both daughters at one school that prevented Lydia's parents from trying to transfer her.
Despite sharing a school, the sisters rarely interacted, since they fit into very different crowds. Alison was much more popular than her older sister, easily able to make friends. She was also more athletic and fit than Lydia. All of this caused Lydia to feel jealous and inadequate, and, while her parents carefully avoided favoring Alison, Lydia was left feeling like the inferior sibling. Her self-esteem plummeted, and she gained even more weight as she occasionally turned to comfort eating.
At this point in time, Lydia withdrew from most of what social contact she did enjoy, turning to more solitary pursuits where she could avoid having any cause to compare herself to others. Her mother taught her to knit, and Lydia spent long hours creating hats and sweaters while watching television. While Lydia's later knitting time was primarily solitary, while she was still learning she spent a lot of time with her mother, time often passed in conversation. Lydia found her mother willing to listen to her, and talked with her at length about her troubles, though she tried never to become too upset, not wanting to make hr situation sound overly dramatic or bother her mother. At this time, Lydia felt closer to her mother than her father, who was on the whole less willing to listen and commiserate.
Lydia also picked up Sudoku puzzles at this point in her life, initially just as a way to kill time when she was on her own. Soon, however, Lydia found that she could be quite successful at the puzzles, which encouraged her to spend more time on them; in this one arena, at least, she could feel smart. It helped that Alison viewed crafts and puzzles as a waste of time, keeping the two sisters from ever finding themselves in competition.
Lydia's parents initially assumed that she was simply going through a phase, and thus left her to her own devices. As the end of eighth grade neared with very little change, though, they became worried. Finally, in the summer before high school, they insisted that Lydia see a therapist. At first, she was very resistant, unwilling to open up to a stranger. Over time, however, she began to confide her feelings, and, with the help and support of her therapist and family, was able to slowly regain some of her self-confidence. In part, she did this by divorcing her sense of self worth from her academics. Lydia learned not to take tests too seriously, especially as her family began to support her more, successful or not. This resulted in a marked improvement in her grades across the board in high school. She's still an average student, but now she is rarely in danger of actually failing a class. Her parents, for their part, came to understand that Lydia had a harder time with certain facets of life than they did, and now go out of their way to show their support and appreciation for the effort she puts into her work. Her father, specifically, tried his best to be more connected, something Lydia quite appreciated and which has maintained until present. The two now spend at least an hour or two every week alone, just talking or watching television.
Lydia also began branching out once again, reconnecting with some of her older friends and trying to make new ones. She never became popular, but did manage to bond with others who were slightly shier or more awkward. She also began attempting to take better control of her health, eating less and exercising, albeit rather sporadically. Lydia has lost some weight over the past three years or so, though she's still out of shape and overall rather unfit, and still feels quite self-conscious about her appearance.
In the summer before her senior year, Lydia took an interest in horseback riding, in part due to discussions with friends who'd had some experience with the sport, and in part due to affection for animals. Lydia's family has never had pets (neither parent enjoys animals, and Lydia's father is allergic to both dogs and cats), but she has always liked animals, and enjoyed spending time with friends' pets. Lydia has been working on her riding in structured group lessons twice per week for about eight months, and, during this time, has become much more confident. She is still very much a beginner, however, and needs some supervision when working with the horses. Her parents both support her new hobby, helping to transport her to and from the farm where she practices (Brokentree Stables, located in Bellvue, about twenty minutes outside of Seattle proper). They also help out financially, though Lydia pays a good portion of her tuition herself.
A final hobby of Lydia's is the school choir, where she has been singing alto since her freshman year. Lydia is a solid performer, and has made friends with some of the other choir kids. She has also participated in choir at the church her family frequents a few times over the years, though she's strayed from religious singing in the past few years, finding it a little bit repetitive. Lydia really enjoys learning new songs, and practicing her singing on her own fairly frequently, even with songs that she is not assigned for choir. As with her riding, Lydia's success in choir has helped her self esteem and has given her a broader social group.
The one area of Lydia's life that has not improved much is her relationship with Alison. The sisters are not much alike, and argue frequently over petty matters. Alison is jealous in her own right of the attention Lydia received from their parents during her times of difficulty; in fact, she sees Lydia as rather weak and pathetic, unwilling to even put in effort. Alison sometimes feels that the considerable effort she puts into her own accomplishments is not noticed, since she receives less active encouragement. Lydia is loosely aware of this resentment, but has been unable to address it, and is not overly concerned about doing so anyways, as she still feels lingering jealousy of her own towards her sister.
While the sisters both attend Aurora High School (Alison is a Junior), they avoid each other whenever possiblenot a tricky feat, given that they share no classes and Alison is in with the popular crowd while Lydia spends more of her time with a more diverse group of friends.
Lydia is a friendly girl, one who is always willing to talk with people and offer her thoughts on matters. While she can be outspoken, she rapidly backs down if challenged, and geos to great lengths to avoid hurting other people's feelings, since she knows how horrible feeling bad about oneself is. Improving her self esteem is an ongoing project for her, but she has made great strides towards a healthy view of herself, and is happy with herself more often than not. She still copes very poorly under pressure, but has become better at relaxing and figuring out which situations are worth worrying over and which can safely be viewed as unimportant. She still meets with a therapist, though her visits have become less frequent over time.
Her relationship with her parents is very positive, as both are always willing to support her and listen to her. On the other hand, due to her struggles, they tend to have a hard time drawing boundaries and actually embodying the disciplinarian side of parenting when dealing with Lydia. In most cases, this doesn't cause much trouble, as she tends to be fairly well behaved, but on those occasions when Lydia does become upset or behave irrationally towards her family, she tends to get away with it, something she is aware of and feels rather guilty about but has no idea how to address. Lydia does her best to be a good daughter, but she is quite cognizant of the fact that she will never live the sort of life her parents probably wanted for her when she was younger, and that is sometimes a source of distress for her. On the whole, though, she is quite open towards her parents, though she still makes some effort to downplay troubles that she has. It's not that she feels uncomfortable with them; in fact, she is very willing to share just about anything with them. She just does not want to make their lives harder or cause them any more stress. Unfortunately, this does sometimes lead to her feeling a little alone, and when she does have bad moods or pick unnecessary arguments, it is almost always with her parents, as she knows that they will not hold it against her in the long term. This has intensified in the last year, though Lydia has mentioned it to her therapist and is making efforts to change her behavioral patterns in this area. Still, no matter how bad the week, Lydia makes sure to spend some quality time with each of her parents.
A part of Lydia's stress comes from her position as a senior, which means that, positive or not, her way of life is soon going to dramatically change. At the moment, all Lydia knows is that she plans to take a year after to high school to work full time (at the moment, she has a part time job at a local coffee house) before even considering college. Her grades make anything other than starting at community college unlikely. Lydia, however, is fine with this; Alison is looking likely to get into a state university, and Lydia is looking forward to not being in the same school as her sister for a change.
Advantages: Lydia is kind, courteous, and viewed as generally harmless. She has no real enemies, and can likely fall back on at least a few friends for support in the game. She has some practice in coping with tough emotional situations, and knows some techniques to help herself not worry as much.
Disadvantages: Lydia is pretty out of shape, and, despite her recent forays into greater physical activity, is still notably lacking in strength and endurance. She functions very poorly under pressure, often becoming highly indecisive, which could easily be fatal at a key moment. While her self esteem is much better than it was a few years ago, she can still fall into bad emotional places fairly easily, something that could be very dangerous on the island.
Well, I scoured the profile looking for something that I could pick on. It seems like you've got the bases pretty damn-well covered: Lydia's appearance is fine and covered things I've never even considered (a character's voice? This is something I should look into), her upbringing and life at home is fine, her life in school both socially and academically is a large part of who she is, and the hobbies tie to her character well.
So, it's probably just as a testament of who I am that I'm mildly curious as to where she goes to do the horseback riding. Yes, I know there's stables in and around Seattle; it has an equestrian scene, after all. If I have to see anything, though, I want to see just where she goes, how much her parents support her in this endeavor, etc. Did Lydia's mother teaching her to knit help them bond in a way, by the way? How's the relationship with her and her father? Both parents seem to be supportive of her in times of trouble but I want to see what else is there.
So... yeah, this is really just a last call. Lydia's basically all but accepted, but I'm doing my best to play hardball. That's not very easy against you. ;D