There she is in all her glory--all 356 pages, 218,965 words of depressing teenage angst. Some entries clear as day, some so cryptic even I can't tell what I was talking about almost ten years ago.
Someday I'll Laugh About This is nearly two and a half years worth of journal entries written from May 1998 through August 2000, a time in which I was determined to discover myself while lost in a world I couldn't and wouldn't understand. I was hell bent on writing about everything, not for documentary purposes, but because I saw it as a release, as my only chance of figuring myself out and escaping the deep, dark hole my high school years buried me in. Every entry is full of self-analysis, how I felt, and reasons why I may have I felt that way, and sometimes, even an ill-planned attempt at figuring out how I could stop myself from feeling that way should I have to. They almost never worked.
I chose the title back in 1998 for its irony. I never thought I would actually laugh about any of it, but in reading it for the first time since writing, I'm finding the title is actually quite fitting. I may not be laughing at all of it, some of it still gives me that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach and can bring me to tears, but my cynicism always has me laughing out loud. I grumbled about having to wear a dress for my older sister's wedding. The title for December 31, 1999's entry was "The Last Entry of the Century". I freaked out when it was discovered that Jon had a crush on me. I wrote about everything, including how my parents just didn't understand.
I've spent the last two months re-configuring and editing all of it in a Word document, printing and hole-punching each page, and wrapping it all up in a three-ring binder, and I'm not sure why. I have no intentions of attempting to publish it. Some morbid part of me is tempted to use it as my new coffee table book. I figure maybe that way I can hand it to my family and say "Here is that girl you never understood." The problem is I still don't think they will. I don't even understand her. Instead, the attractive binder will remain on my office shelves as a reminder of who I was and who I am for years to come, although I won't complain should it someday become reference material for the next Reviving Ophelia.
And now, after all that teasing, I leave you with a sample:
I AM A WRITER
Unfortunately, only in my head. I think up some of the most amazing thoughts in my head, ready myself for a journal entry, and in the midst of rewording and twisting everything around so that it makes sense to everyone else, it's too distorted to become anything near what it originally was. It was always the same thing with my poetry. I'd have nearly the entire poem written out in my head, but once I began to place those words on paper or a computer screen, I kept rephrasing and changing it until it was horrible and I couldn't remember the words that kept the poem running beautifully in the first place. If only people could hear my thoughts, then they'd know just what kind of talent I have.
I AM A COWARD
I can't stand my ground when it comes to anything, even the things that I believe in most. If I'm given a problem I'll either continuously tell you that I am undecided until you forget about it, find someone else to take care of it, or cry until everyone takes pity on me. If I'm hurt I won't fess up to it, I'll let it roll around in my head until I'm able to twist and turn you into one of the most insensitive people I've ever met. I don't know how to stand up for myself, explain myself, or come anywhere close to justifying myself. I'm afraid of my own basement because of my silly imagination. I can't sleep without my TV on because my house makes far too much noise in the silence. I can't sit in a dark room while the closet door is open. I can't drive. Heh, I can't even go to school.
I AM A THINKER
My mind loves playing tricks on me. How else would you expect me to live with a job that consists of a bunch of people who hardly even consider me staff because of my position? Where noisy little children are screaming across the room, and where I'm looking at numbers and letters for eight hours a day? I think. I think about all of my problems, about my life, about anything that happens to pop into my head because of some title of a book that I just shelved. I think about how lonely I am, about how weak and tired I am. I think about what I'm going to do when I get home and how I'm going to deal with it when I do. I even analyze poetry sometimes, working the words to fit my own current and personal mood. Yeah, that's my way of analyzing poetry. I think of ways to solve the world's problems, or what I would do in certain, unfortunate situations. I can think about anything if you just let me, but I'm warning you, it's hazardous.
I AM A LOVER
I am convinced that I always give too much of myself. I care too much, I worry too much, I listen too well, and sob over you way too many times. But mostly I don't mind. It's my nature to dive into someone the moment I'm given the okay and soak up all of the warmth I can so that I can return it times ten. I let you become my world as long as you say it's okay because I find pleasure in being able to love you so much. I love to hold and be held, to kiss and be kissed. I thrive on one on one time and feel empty when it's not there. I hurt myself when I hurt you and cry whenever you cry. I'm sensitive to anything you do, but maybe that's because I'm too open to you.
I AM A DREAMER
I hope that someday I'll be able to change. That at one point I'll be able to accept that everything will not work out as I wish, and probably come nowhere near what I would expect it to be. But, until then, I can only dream. I can only wish that I could write things down just as I thought of them so that people would actually find me remotely interesting. I can only hope that I'll learn how to speak up for myself and let everyone else know what is going on in my head before they all give up. I can beg for the chance to have something close to a happy thought or memory that didn't take place over a year ago. And I can lie myself down and give everything I have to imagining a relationship that doesn't feel so one-sided. But, of course I can always dream, it's just that sometimes it causes more pain than it does provide help.