I’ve been reading back through all of my old livejournal posts, the oldest of which are from my senior year of high school, and far from being embarrassed and mortified as I usually am upon reading things I wrote when I was an adolescent, I am actually relishing every line. Last night I was in stitches from laughing so hard, tears streaming down my face both from the hilarity and also, eventually, from the nostalgia that hit me like an ether and knocked me on my ass (you know how you’ll be laughing so hard you’re crying and then all of a sudden you’re just crying? Yeah, like that).
I read this article about livejournal the other day, which is why I even went back to reread my archived entries, and it’s true: the writing there is raw, it’s bare, it’s totally unedited and somehow, for a 17-year-old, totally un-self-conscious (which is like, I’m like, “HOW” because ALL I WAS back then was self-conscious). And what’s more, after an hour of reading ridiculous hyperbole after ridiculous hyperbole, I found myself wanting desperately to get that back.
These days it feels as though writing is some kind of production. It’s not spontaneous and brutally honest in that way where everything just becomes AGONIZING to read because there’s so much blood and guts on the page. And I actually miss that. There is something refreshing about the fact that I made blatant typos and had absolutely no desire to go back and correct them, though I easily could have, and it points to this total lack of interest in proofreading AT ALL, and I just can’t imagine that now – being so bold and unapologetic about the weird shit that goes on in my own head when I’m all alone.
Which is not to say that I’m not honest when I write now, but the honesty is different. It’s measured. I don’t want it to sound like I’m calculating about anything, but there isn’t that boundless freedom with which I wrote then, run-on sentence after run-on sentence and curse after curse after curse.
For instance, take this gem:
oh god. shit shit shit. shit shit and loads more of shit. what a fucking bad week to end school with. being fucked over by bronx science and sciencites. maybe thats the way it should end…four year of shit with an icing of shit.
Like: what? Who writes that?
Or this excerpt from a paragraph-long post entitled, “i’m in chemistry.”
ok so i’m in chem and trying not to let me teacher see that i’m online so bear with me if i misspell thinga bwecause i cant look at the keybboard. anyway, i’m sleepi and i dont know what to do to not fall asleep/ i think i’m dyslexic.
i’, really unmcomfprtable too and i really want to fucking go home right now.ee gads/ i am, foing to go//
i want to die. i feel like a sticky hand you buy for a quarter/
Um. There are no words. I feel like a sticky hand you buy for a quarter? It’s brilliant, but it’s insane. (You know those things, right? If not, here:
I still feel like one of these sticky hands sometimes, truth be told.) Also, I totally recognize that I sound like a stoner or something – which, for a girl who was pointedly anti-smoking and drinking (because “it makes you totally stupid”) is a little hilarious to me in retrospect.
Is this what high school was like for anyone other than me?
what the fuck is going on? i’m being phased out of every goddamn relationship i have ever been in. i’m losing my mind. i dont understand how all of a sudden people dont like you and arent your friends anymore and act like nothing happened.
Total drama overload, folks.
But really, honestly, truly, that’s what high school felt like so often. And I was just being honest – albeit, a little histrionically.
where did all my friends go? everyone whi was ever close with, who ever knew me…is gone. <name redacted> for one. i still think she knew me better than anyone could ever. we could and did talk about everything. and now, i dont even remember the last time we spoke to each other. the summer before senior year. i remember now. we were talking about college and where we were going to go, and what our plans were for the rest of the summer,and how boys were and whatnot. sometimes i sit down and lose myself and think nothing has ever happened. i forget i’m not supposed to anymore, and think “oh, i should call <name redacted> because i didnt call her last night” and i think we’re still best friends. sometimes i think i should call <name redacted> too, but what willhappen? will we talk about elvis costello, our surviving link, or what? and it’s like i feel like i have to prove something to someone, that i’m an ok person and that not every friendship that goes away is my fault. but i mean, it is, isnt it? because i’ve lostall my friends. it must be my fault. and promises, so manyfucking pomises and they’re all meaninglss now. because in the end no one remembers.
so where am i now? talkin to myself throughmy keyboard, trying to pretend that yeah, i’m fine. everything is ok. but it’s not. i’m worried about not having done anything right in my entire life. my father hates me. i’m not his daugter, he says. i’m not muslim. what do i do? and when i getolder, what do i do? how do get married, how do i have a boyfriend? how do i have a boyfriend now? things are falling through my hands and i dont remember where i left my sanity.
i dont even think i can keep writing because everythng is too much right now and i cant answer any of the questions i’m asking and i’m going to cry and i dont want to and i cant fucking cry.
Something about that feels so real to me, still. I know that girl. I know what she was going through. I mean, duh, yes, of course, Saadia, she was you – but I think she still is me sometimes, is what I guess I’m trying to say. All of the wondering and second-guessing your relationships and if you measure up: I still do that, don’t I? Granted, the “so manyfucking promises” that “in the end no one remembers” seems a little overblown for a 17-year old, or even for me now, but I understand that. Looking back I understand that that Saadia meant the way that my best friend and I would talk about senior year when we were just freshman, or the way that we would make pacts over iced coffee after school – promises that to us felt saturated in gravitas, beyond any “BFF” and “KIT” cliches scrawled in the back of a yearbook. But that’s what we became, in the end.
There are less overtly dramatic moments hidden in these crazy entries, too, but still so heavy. Like these few sentences on my somewhat-forced decision to stay in the city for college rather than go to Grinnell in Iowa:
it’s like i’m waiting for this freedom but it’s never going to come. i drove by my dorm tonight with my parents and tahira and it was funny. my mom was talking about how great it was that i was going to be in the city because of all my access to everything, and tahira was talking about all th clubs we passed and my dad was talking about money…and i cant help but feel as though somehow, in all of this “good” stuff, i’m missing out on corn.
That decision became perhaps the biggest regret of my life, one that I still think about, despite my having made peace with it and the place it has brought me. (P. and I often talk about the parallels in our adolescent lives that led us to one another; he made a similar decision regarding college and without those paired “mistakes,” we might never have met.)
And then there are funny little snippets of my family that make me chuckle because there is such an indelible us-ness that never changes. From later in the same entry:
then i went to the ballet at the metropolitan opera house andfelt like a grand beautiful lady coming down the red velvet staircase. my mother said that people should stop throwing flowers at her and get the spotlight out of her eyes. my family is on crack– but good crack. then tahira and i sang songs from musicals (and did a medly of disney songs from every disney cartoon ever) all the way home. and straight to my door.i like being a dork with my dorky family. except i couldnt sing as well as i wanted to.
In a later entry I talk about how I wish my family was always like this, but how we are too fractured to really enjoy each other consistently.
It’s so interesting to walk back in the past through these captured moments. It’s like I’m going through this museum of myself and staring at all of these vignettes frozen forever in amber. I should be ashamed, really I should. I was a ridiculous human (probably still am), but I just can’t help pausing at each one and lingering for a moment, unblinking, taking in everything that I thought my life was when I was still just a girl.