Dear Diary

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Life updates from Minna, Dylan, Naomi, and Katherine.

Naomi

The last time I went to school full-time was early 2008. Right now I am home-schooled. And also self-schooled. I get sent materials and I teach myself.

I have a complicated relationship with my old school. In my last three years before I was legally allowed to leave (16 in England), I had what’s called a “reduced timetable”—I would go to school very sporadically, because, to be honest, 80 percent of the time I hated school. It didn’t help that I had been diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis, aka chronic fatigue syndrome, with the bonus add-ons of anxiety and depression.

When I get anxiety it’s like the world becomes warped. I feel detached from everything. When I was in a regular school, I had panic attacks, so frequently that I couldn’t concentrate on my work. I would call my mum and ask her to bring me home. I felt guilty and ashamed, but I didn’t care. All I cared about in the throes of a panic attack was the quickest way out of there. Sometimes waiting for Mum was agony. I can’t explain to you the relief I would feel when I got home. I would change straightaway out of my uniform to get all traces of it far away from me. Then I’d feel exhausted, because of all the tension I’d been holding in all day at school. Then as night fell I’d start thinking about the next day and experience a new round of headaches, tummy aches, and insomnia.

In case I haven’t made it clear by now: school was very hard for me. It was a reasonably large all-girls school, and I felt very insignificant there. I wasn’t the cleverest in my class; I wasn’t at the bottom; I wasn’t the loudest; I wasn’t the quietest; I wasn’t popular; I wasn’t bullied. I didn’t stand out in any way. A lot of teachers couldn’t remember my name. I found the atmosphere stifling. I’m sure a lot of people feel like this and are still somehow able to finish regular high school. But my physical and mental problems compounded everything in the worst way. Besides, I felt I was learning more outside of school, off my own back. I did a lot of reading alone and found that just as effective as reading in a formal setting. I shall quote a Bruce song here (as I am sure I will often): “We learned more from a three-minute record, baby, than we ever learned in school.”

I don’t think I remember ever being encouraged to be an individual at school, or to have an opinion. Apart from in two lessons, my saviors: English and art. Special mention to my year 11 English and art teachers for making me actually feel like a person rather than a grade. I love knowledge. I love learning. But I think the saddest thing about the school I went to is that it was more about passing an exam than actually absorbing anything important.

I did, by the way, pass my exams. I passed all the ones I took with good grades (apart from my C in maths, but talent in maths does not run in the family). But I didn’t feel any satisfaction at all. I didn’t celebrate them. In hindsight and with a therapist’s insight, I realize I was probably depressed during this period. At the leavers’ assembly* a lot of my classmates were crying. I looked around and my only thought was—why? Why was I even there? That’s when I realized I’d never felt part of that school. All of those other people seemingly felt like they were leaving something that had shaped them, that had given them deep friendships and a huge amount of memories. I personally couldn’t wait to get the fuck out of there. (Side note: I did also realize that I would miss seeing my closest friends so often.)

My original plan was to go to college after year 11, and I actually did start at one, but I was still depressed and having panic attacks, so I didn’t go very often, and eventually they kicked me out. So I didn’t have much choice but to look for a distance-learning situation, so that I could complete my AS Levels and hopefully my A Levels.** My parents agreed that studying at home, independently, was the best option for me at the time. (Distance learning is this whole service in England. A lot of adults use it if they want to change careers, or if they want to redo their exams, or even just for fun. I use it to complete high school.)

Like I said, I get sent materials, and I have a lot of assignments that I send to tutors, and they send me their feedback. I don’t get to study any old thing I want (right now, for instance, the service has dictated that I learn about the Unification of Germany, 1848-1890). And I still have to take exams, but I don’t feel pressured about them, because they’re not the be-all, end-all. I am much happier not having to worry about school anymore. Right, back to the Unification of Germany 1848-1890… ♦

* In England, after year 11, you either leave school to work or whatever, or you go to college, which is two years long and different from university. (In the UK, college is basically what Americans call junior and senior years.) So at the end of year 11 there’s a big assembly where everyone comes together one last time to say goodbye. That is called, appropriately enough, the leavers’ assembly.

** AS Levels are “advanced subsidiary levels,” which are what you get when you pass the first year of college (basically American 11th grade). A Levels are what you get when you complete high school. You can get A Levels in a variety of subjects (English, maths, music, etc.). You need three A Levels to get into university.

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55 Comments

  • Hazel September 14th, 2011 7:25 PM

    Noami, I can relate to your diary entry SO MUCH. American schools are just like what you said your school was like. Creativity is frowned upon and passing exams with good grades is applauded. Not to mention math and science, at least in my experience, are the most valued subjects in school. English and the arts are snubbed (again, in my experience) and so I’ve felt rejected by my school system. Needless to say, I feel no connection. I can not wait to get to university!

    • Naomi September 14th, 2011 7:40 PM

      same! that is what is giving me the motivation to work really hard at my exams so i can get into a great university (fingers crossed). i am reallly looking forward to more freedom and more huge discussions because that was the time when i think the classroom felt most alive – when we were allowed to bounce ideas around the room, which i think it more what uni is like.

    • Dylan September 14th, 2011 7:56 PM

      omg all Rookie diarists went to Catholic high schools!

  • Sunshine September 14th, 2011 7:26 PM

    LOVE how honest these journals are.

    Just a note on Katherine’s thoughts – You can’t prove God’s existence period. I cannot prove God’s existence to another human and another human cannot prove God’s existence to me or anyone else for that matter. That defeats the purpose of faith. Only God can prove himself. I’m not saying God doesn’t exist. (I’m a very Christian kid) I do believe that God exists. But humans can’t “prove” God. Only God can prove God and sometimes he does! But it’s important to remember that you can’t always find the answer to the holes in your heart in a textbook.

  • Jamie September 14th, 2011 7:26 PM

    i’m an atheist too. i was raised jewish. i don’t think prayer is a bad thing, even if you aren’t praying to anyone but yourself. sometimes it is just nice to centralize/vocalize your thoughts, even if it just for your own sake.

    the ground between believing in god and being spiritual is vast and makes room for a lot of personal rituals, at least i think so. nothing that you are doing is “wrong” unless it doesn’t feel right to you.

  • Sarah September 14th, 2011 7:30 PM

    Katherine,

    I’m a Junior in high school and last year I was almost in the same situation as you. But I wouldn’t confess it to anyone. This summer however I went on an extensive mission trip to Nepal where God really verified himself to me. Logically, Christianity doesn’t make sense, but it really doesn’t have to, that’s kind of the point of it. I’ve personally been able to meld my scientific beliefs with my beliefs in God. God inspired science is how I would put it. God had a hand in creating the world and the universe, even the multiverse. He set it into motion to change and evolve with time.

    In Nepal, I really saw God in the beautiful surroundings and people I had the fortune of meeting. There’s no way such wonder could exist without God.

    On the same note, rookiemag readers, (and by the way I am in love with this site) it is totally possible to be a cool, hip, chic, fashionable and thinking person while still being a Christian. To me this mostly affects my moral and self respect. Morals meaning things like I don’t swear and would never consider sex before marriage. Self respect meaning I know I am a special child of God, beautifully made. Even on the worst days I will have someone who loves me so much that he laid down his life for me. I don’t pray near as often as I do, but when I do it’s almost always a prayer of thanksgiving because my life is so amazingly blessed. And when I do pray, I KNOW someone is listening to me. Someone who loves me so much.

    • AmandaLouiseHobba September 14th, 2011 10:37 PM

      Well said!

    • Sunshine September 15th, 2011 6:24 PM

      I agree completely. People of all faiths/belief systems are fabulous!

  • darksideoftherainbow September 14th, 2011 7:49 PM

    i love these diaries. today i especially loved yours, katherine. i can kind of relate in that i stopped going to church many years ago. a lot of people would criticize me for this because i still consider myself a Catholic. the thing for me is, the church IS the people, so if the people are phony Catholics, or religious people, like BJ, it affects the church. the church without the people is just a beautiful and ornate building. i still believe in God with all my heart, but not because i was raised to, but because my religion works for me. no one should ever feel pressured to believe in God or anything else. i also know people who think that they know who will go to hell and who will not but i personally think that they’re crazy. different strokes for different folks. we should all just try to live our lives the best we can; we don’t need religion or faith in God to be good and moral people

  • Chimdi September 14th, 2011 7:57 PM

    Sarah – I TOTALLY agree! I believe in abstinence, and don’t swear. Also, I go out of my way to make sure I don’t act like those famously petty/terrible historical “Christians” (crusades, inquisition.)

    I believe that being a Christian is NOT synonymous with being boring, or not creative and such. I can listen to indie music AND Christian music. It’s nice to know there are others who feel the same :)

  • Kathryn September 14th, 2011 8:23 PM

    Sarah and Chimdi- I agree! I think faith is more of a personal thing than a public thing. I’m not the type to shove my faith down anyone else’s throat. I don’t normally feel close to God in church. I feel closest to God when I’m outside or by myself or just certain times when you can feel His presence.
    I’m 15 and was raised Catholic, but I don’t agree with all of the Catholic beliefs, and I consider myself more as just a general Christian.
    As for that girl in class who was saying that that Atheist was going to Hell: I think she probably said that because she may have been referring to the bible verse that talks about if you believe, you are saved. She was probably taught that if you don’t believe, you go to Hell. For me, I think that God is fair, and can’t imagine anyone who is a good person going to Hell. However, I think that this is where some of that obnoxious judgey behavior some Christians have may sprout from- they are taught that if you don’t believe, you go to Hell, so many of them probably have good intentions that may come off as preachy.

  • unicorn September 14th, 2011 8:27 PM

    i was raised in a loose sort of christian way, but a i don’t agree with everything so i just go with the philosophy that i don’t need religion to be a decent person.
    i wouldnt consider myself athiest. personally, i dont know what i am.

  • Cerise September 14th, 2011 8:31 PM

    I really needed this today–it made me think.

    Dylan, I really needed to hear something like that today. It’s just so easy to blow things out of proportion and stress our own problems, and I think sometimes it’s just good to hear about the people who do a lot and are cheerful anyway. It kind of puts things back in perspective.
    Katherine, I’ve had a lot of the same frustrations. I’m actually Christian, but some of the experiences I had growing up weren’t the greatest. At the church I went to, there were people who looked down on me because of my family, and then I got tired of having to sit around and confess things to total strangers when I would rather just talk to people I knew and trusted. Things are a lot better now–I go to a church where people aren’t opposed to discussion of what’s true and what isn’t, and we actually feel like a family. It’s nice.

  • Pashupati September 14th, 2011 9:01 PM

    Dylan, thanks for avoiding me thinking again about walking dogs for money!
    Naomi, thanks for motivating me. I’m in a similar situation, although I did get bullied and it was part of what made me leave school (although I think I’d still left hadn’t that been the case). I just need to read about motivated persons to get motivated.
    Katherine’s writing was really interesting. Weirdly, in France, at least where I live, a majority of persons are atheists, or non-praticing christians/muslims but still a majority of atheists.

  • rebecca September 14th, 2011 9:02 PM

    Katherine, I can totally relate to your diary entry. I have attended Orthodox Jewish day school since I was three years old and discovered a couple years ago I was an atheist. I used to start debates with my teachers in class when I disagreed with the things they said regarding both religion and social matters. But I soon realized it was pointless and sort of disrespectful, plus I think my classmates started to think I was looking for attention.
    I never pray at school during the mandatory twice-a-day services but sometimes I, too, find myself praying when I’m upset and don’t know where to turn.
    It sort of reminds me of the Hole lyric, “I don’t really miss God, but I sure miss Santa Clause.” It’s not like I feel that God is missing from my life now, but I do really miss the magic in the notion that there is a power out there protecting us. I miss believing that events in our lives that seem random or arbitrary or just plain cruel are part of some perfectly worked-out plan that will benefit us all in the long-run. Knowing better sucks.

  • Mustachefan September 14th, 2011 9:11 PM

    I don’t believe in god. At least I don’t think I do.

  • Vikki September 14th, 2011 9:16 PM

    I agree with Kathryn, Sarah, and Chimdi. Then again, I’m a Jesus Freak so… yeah.

  • AmandaLouiseHobba September 14th, 2011 9:46 PM

    Dylan – love the cupcake photo – i literally laughed out loud.
    I can relate to the gluten-free vegan thing too – lucky for me though I can still eat soy – i dont know what i would do without tofu/soy milk/soy yogurt/soy cream cheese – yeah I’m a soy freak.
    Awesome work with the dog walking too, I once walked a very energetic German Shepard once a week – well actually she walked – or should I say ran – me. I thought one dog was more than enough, I cant imagine walking 7 dogs 3 times a day, your boss must be super fit!
    Thanks for another entertaining read!

  • junebuglove September 14th, 2011 10:06 PM

    Naomi, I can relate so much!I’ve always been the odd one out, and never had real friends at my school. I’m going to graduate early, and go to college during ,y senior year!

  • AmandaLouiseHobba September 14th, 2011 10:08 PM

    Naomi – I hear you girl!
    I experienced a lot of grief in my childhood – my mum died when I was four years old, and 5 years after going to live with my nanna and poppa, my nanna died too. It was like losing two mothers.
    Not only had the two most important people in my life died, but I had to go through puberty without much (decent) female guidance. On top of this not many people cared or understood just how much grief and pain I was experiencing. I felt completely alone.
    I didnt realise at the time that I was actually going through quite severe depression, it was until 2 years ago that I actually started to realise what the real problem was.
    The thing is my depression not only caused me to quit highschool before finishing grade 12, but it also prevented me from doing any other study or getting a decent job – even the dead end jobs I couldnt hold onto, and they actually made my depression even worse.
    The amount of times I have been on Welfare payments is ridiculous – especially since I had always planned on going to Uni and having a decent career.
    Recently I have began to be really honest about my condition, and it has actually really helped me to overcome the problem. I am now studying Business through a government funded training organisation and I have also started a blog. I am an aspiring writer and have dreams of owning my own business. Being able to finally make positive progress toward my goals is making such an enormous difference on how I feel about life. The depression is no longer a major problem, it is finally losing its power over me.
    I wish you all the best for your future. I encourage you to focus on the things that bring you joy and meaning to your life. You may find that you can use your experiences for the greater good of others – which in turn will make you feel really amazing about yourself. Sow positive seeds in the lives of others, and you will find that your situation will soon turn around.
    Thankyou so much for sharing your story on ROOKIE!

    • Naomi September 15th, 2011 5:38 AM

      thank you so much amanda. i am so glad your depression doesn’t have as much of a hold over you. i think it does take a while after something like that to realise what you want and what actually makes you happy, instead of just snapping back into a ‘normal’ life.

  • AmandaLouiseHobba September 14th, 2011 10:31 PM

    Katherine – I would just like to share some personal insights into my own experiences with God.
    If you read my previous comment to Naomi you will understand the kind of pain I was going through in my teens.
    I had a bit of an ‘encounter’ with God when I was 14 years old. This wasnt in a church or anything, and it wasnt facilitated by any other person – it was just me in my room alone.
    Without going into details, that night changed my life. It was God’s love i had experienced, and it is God’s love that helped me get through the following years and eventually heal from all my pain.
    Nothing that i have ever experienced at the hands of another christian or a church could ever compare with experiencing God’s love. I am also quite sure I would have given up the battle of life a long time ago if God had not been in my life.

  • Toshellwithit September 14th, 2011 10:49 PM

    Katherine, your post really got me thinking. I am that girl who is devoutly agnostic (oxymoron, much?). Unlike you, I was that girl who would snidely ask my mom “to who?” when she would suggest I say a prayer for our problems. But I have found myself praying a few times in my life – times when all my hesitations don’t matter and all my debates go out the window. I think regardless of faith, regardless of “who” you are talking to, you need to sometimes ask for help. And if it’s to God or yourself or something vague you can’t define, just getting it out helps. Like a burp.

  • Star September 14th, 2011 10:53 PM

    Katherine
    I loved how honest you were with this diary entry. I had a very bad experience with an alcoholic pastor and i lost faith. I’m not really sure what i believe now. It’s a really confusing topic with a lot of things that seem reasonable and believable. I think where I got into trouble was that I was looking for God in people. To me this person was like a manifestation of God, but people aren’t God and because I expected this person to be God I was let down really badly.

  • bumblebee September 14th, 2011 11:35 PM

    Katherine–there is one thing in your entry that confused me. You thought Coach Perry was being a jerk and didn’t believe you were an atheist but from the interaction I read it differently. So you wrote about being an atheist and then he said that he appreciated that you wrote about that “unless it was a lie” meaning unless you lied about being an atheist, right? That’s how I read it. Like maybe he’s had students write about being atheists just to piss people off…

  • Angie Bitchface September 15th, 2011 12:14 AM

    Naomi, I’m in college (American college that is) right now and I’m having similar problems like what you had — I’m so nervous on a daily basis that my stomach hurts all the time, and whenever I eat I feel like I’m going to throw up. even when I’m hungry I have trouble getting and keeping food down. I’ve even had an endoscopy so I know it’s not a physical issue, and it has gone away for short periods of time until something happens to really stress me out again. I’m starting to worry about my health because I’m losing weight from not eating enough and I’m having trouble concentrating. also I’m so nervous about school that I’m often too afraid to start my schoolwork because I think I’ll fail at it, and then I actually don’t do as well as I should have at it because I don’t have as much time to devote to it. I wish distance learning were an option for me, or even just transferring to a college in NYC where I’m from, but I go to a “good” college and my mom threatened to disown me if I transferred.

    • Naomi September 15th, 2011 5:47 AM

      I am sorry that you having a crappy time Angie. That definitely sounds like you are having some anxiety problems there, especially the feeling unable to eat etc.
      Well, first of all, you are not going to fail at your work. You got into college didn’t you? That means you are naturally intelligent, you just need to take some pressure off of yourself otherwise you’ll just wear yourself down.
      Secondly, is there anyone you can talk to? I know it is cliche but it might help to get this all off your chest and maybe get some good advice.
      I think college can sometimes be a huge adjustment and it is natural to feel nervous and homesick. Just give it a bit more time, your instincts are probably telling you to run away from it all (the flight or fight instinct), you need to tell yourself that you need to give it a bit more time to settle in. Then if it is still affecting you in a few months time, then re-evaluate the situation.

  • kookaburra September 15th, 2011 12:28 AM

    Katherine, I really appreciated your entry…I think the church has not represented God well in some ways, and for that I am deeply sorry.

  • Madeleine September 15th, 2011 1:49 AM

    Once in Sunday School I asked what would happen to a good person who had never heard of Jesus and thus had never been ‘saved.’ When I was told that they would go to hell I started having doubts about the whole system.

    My boyfriend is an atheist, which is pretty funny because his father is a minister. It doesn’t seem to bother either of them, so I guess my boyfriend’s dad doesn’t think that he will be condemned to eternal suffering.

    Mostly I am confused. I want to believe, but I just don’t. I believe in evolution, that the earth is billions of years old, and that life could arise without the intervention of a higher being.

    But then again I also believe that each person has a soul, and that their soul continues to exist after death. So where does that leave me?

  • littleDani September 15th, 2011 2:37 AM

    Katherine, I really can relate to your diary entry.
    I was raised Catholic and went to sunday school. Even though I went to these classes every week and went to retreats, I just really had a hard time believing and getting into the religion. By the time I was 14, I started classes for my Confirmation. It was around then I had decided that I was an atheist and there was no way of convincing me otherwise. I continued with the classes until I was confirmed, but I lied throughout the whole experience about my “relationship” with God. I may or may not go to Hell for this(assuming there is a Hell.) But I feel comfortable with my decision and I hope

    Thanks for sharing your experience without bashing any religion, I feel like people dislike atheists for this reason. So thanks for being mature about it :]

  • Illusen September 15th, 2011 4:19 AM

    These are all great but i apreciated Katherine’s entry the most.
    I also have a complicated relationship with god, i find it very hard to believe in god and have faith with all the information about science and about the poverty and suffering of others we get these days. But sometimes, i don’t know, just to make me feel better i imagine some outside force with no prejudice, no hate and no religion. I do it since i was a little girl and really makes me feel better, i really feel like there’s something there. Maybe it’s all in my head but i don’t care because either way i know as long as i have that inside me i will never be alone.

  • natalia September 15th, 2011 4:58 AM

    NAOMI! YOU ARE MY FUCKING GURU my whole life is more about “passing an exam than actually absorbing anything important.”
    I can’t wait to get out of school, not because I get bad grade (because I actually go really well) **did anyone else just notice how I had to justify myself through marks? Because that’s how freaking instilled these beliefs are** but I’m just so tired of studying and cramming for exams and then being told to forget all this content a term later because it’s really not that important and don’t get me started on MATHS seriously what is the point in learning how to draw a parabola or trigonometry?! I DO NOT WANT TO BE SOME CRAZY MATHAMETICIAN WHEN I GROW UP!
    p.s. I apologise for my rant and I realise this isn’t exactly what you were talking about.
    p.p.s I hope your anxiety and depression have improved xx

    • Naomi September 15th, 2011 8:58 AM

      hhaha, your ‘rant’ made me smile

  • Anne September 15th, 2011 7:27 AM

    I would just like to say I really love these entries!

    And also; reading Naomi’s entry was very comforting.

    I share some of these feelings, which I think mostly started at around age 8/9. I was mostly okay before then, had friends I could get along with, but then there was a moment, or maybe a period in time in which I changed to someone who suddenly felt very alone, different, out of place.. A combination of not being able to stand up for myself, also standing out because schoolwork was very easy for me (along with a couple others I got best grades and usually won these writing/spelling ‘contests’), insecure, which resulted in anxiety, not wanting to go to school. And then when my mum let me stay at home, anxiety because of guilt and fear my parents would be mad at me or annoyed, especially my dad who thought I was being difficult. I never talked about it either, I couldn’t explain it anyway, it was just a bunch of feelings I couldn’t get away from. My parents never really talked about it either, my mum thought it was something of a phase, that I just needed to get out of myself. I think it was mostly that anxiety of being vulnerable, feeling all possible ways people can hurt you and hurtful situations, so you already get anxious beforehand, or even in unconsciously imagining it?

    I was really happy when I could go to middle school, which has a very different system here in the Netherlands than America or Great Britain.. Here the schoolsystem is divided into levels of difficulty, we have 3 levels, and I went to the highest one (which is also a classical study, we got Latin in the first junior school year, and Greek added to it the next). I thought, fresh start, maybe become friends with people that are more like me, and so it went better, even though I still had anxiety and felt out of place, had problems trusting people would really care about me, afraid I would be left alone again. Like you, I never felt satisfaction from getting my diploma, instead did feel relaxed from the fear of having to disappoint my parents and everyone else. I also sort of regret not doing some of the stuff you’re ‘supposed’ to be doing during these years (experiencing love and all, was too insecure to even think about it, though it is true dating and all is very different here).

    I had serious trouble thinking of which way to take next by the way, was considering everything and ended up doing a year of Graphic design (instead of psychology which was my other ‘end’ choice at the moment), this sort of collapsed though, when I finally got really bad critics on some stuff and I realized I again wasn’t doing stuff for me but because I was supposed to succeed. I couldn’t focus on working and found out I didn’t care enough either, so I quit after some really depressing weeks.

    At the moment I’m doing nothing for a year, or taking a break from moving forward (trying to get a job for the year which also proves to be very stressing and scary), having a year in which I decided for me I have to somehow deal with all this stuff, and figure out what to do next (go for something ‘safe’ aka university, or trying for the dream, directing and writing..? for which I first need to get over fear of failure). I found out about “high sensitivity” a couple of months ago, and figured out this is probably what made me so anxious, feeling responsible all the time and out of place.. and kind of happy I’m not just a complete misfit, but there are a lot of others that feel like this as well :).

    Anyway, hope it all works out for you and everyone else! Sorry for the long comment :(!

    • Naomi September 15th, 2011 9:02 AM

      don’t apologise! i like that people feel comfortable enough to share their stories too.

  • rosesandrocketships September 15th, 2011 8:11 AM

    Naomi, I can relate to your diary a lot, I went to a really pants comprehensive and used to spend as much time as I could in the medical room at school getting sent home everyday – other people would try to bunk – but I had worked out the foolproof official way ha!

    I don’t think school really taught in the way that I learn, I did well in the creative subjects (long live art teachers!) I was always incredibly anxious and was diagnosed at one point with chronic fatigue too! But anyhow After A levels I escaped and took a year out to work before Uni, I made new friends and had a little work family and became so much less anxious outside of the school system, I loved it and really thrived without school – so long suckas! :D
    Its great that you can get on with your studies in peace, I think I would have liked that. Good luck with your exams!

    • Naomi September 15th, 2011 9:00 AM

      thank you! i think i thrive outside of a school environment too. but schools in general don’t seem to accept that while some people do thrive in school, other people don’t.

  • puffytoad September 15th, 2011 12:54 PM

    Sometimes I find myself pleading in my head to “let” or “not let” something happen. Then I wonder who I’m talking to.

  • aliceee September 15th, 2011 2:45 PM

    Naomi-thanks so much for writing about your school experience! I thankfully haven’t been bullied at school & I don’t have trouble with grades or anything, but I still couldn’t stand it. I felt like I wasn’t learning anything. Now I’m studying abroad, but I have another year of high school when I get back to the US, so I’m looking into home-schooling. It makes me really happy to read that studying at home has helped you!

  • posie.rose September 15th, 2011 5:23 PM

    Naomi, I’m homeschooled, too! My name is also Naomi. :) Your journal entry was really inspiring, and I loved reading it. Keep doing what you love.

  • posie.rose September 15th, 2011 5:31 PM

    Hazel, this was hilarious. Although I’m really sorry that you had suck a sucky weekend, your entry was extremely entertaining. Your dog is adorable!

  • posie.rose September 15th, 2011 5:32 PM

    Oh! Wait sorry, my earlier comment was directed towards DYLAN. I was a little confused because I read all the entries one after another. :P

  • sheasparkle September 15th, 2011 5:45 PM

    Love this site

  • Claudia September 15th, 2011 6:00 PM

    As an English atheist, Katherine’s diary really opened my eyes to the influence of religion “Bible Belt”. I really hope that you aren’t discouraged by people like Coach Perry- make the moral choices you believe in and never be afraid to challenge your ideas and beliefs!

  • erin September 15th, 2011 6:15 PM

    my school, to put it simply, sucks. I belong to a group of kids, who I’m loosely associated with, that have the best grades. I’m only fifteenth in my class (out of a hundred), yet somehow I feel like I’m smarter than them because I appreciate more than just good grades. I like learning.
    Also my town and school are home to a massive amounts of devout/hypocritical mormons. My family has never been religious, and I don’t even know if I ever did believe in god because my parents never attempted to make up my mind for me, like many of my friends’ parents. I’m a closet atheist for the most part though, because my classmates would probably make my life miserable, and as I’m not good at defending my opinions verbally, it would suck. For example, a lady rammed my mom with her cart when she saw us purchasing green tea from wal-mart one day. because most people around here believe tea is of the devil. no joke. That’s why I try hard at school, so I can get the hell out of here.

    • Dylan September 15th, 2011 6:50 PM

      Your tea example brings tears to my eyes, as I am looking at my two quart iced tea container reflecting on how dependent I am on this beverage to get me through my day of classes. Keep doing your thing and get outtt of there!!

  • Sunshine September 15th, 2011 6:35 PM

    Katherine – I don’t wanna sound preachy and you have every right to your beliefs. I respect that completely. However, as a former (two-times, actually) atheist, I wanna say don’t give up on Jesus Himself… Don’t let a crappy minister change your opinion of him. According to history, he’s a pretty nice guy who spent time around and counseled prostitutes, helped a Roman Centurion and others with family tragedies, spent time among and helped the sorely diseased, sick and disabled, he argued with and wowed Priests with his sense and knowledge, he became angry with money changers in the temples, he called to accounts those who applied the laws too harshly to others and he challenged those who held themselves in too of esteem, he partied at a wedding and supplied more wine when it ran low, His followers called Him Teacher, and he greatly loved having children around…he fed the poor and did not condemn the spiritually poor, he praised a samaritan, he spoke in the daily language of the ordinary people….. He was a pretty amazing guy. Just saying. He wasn’t the “holier-than-thou” dude that everyone makes him out to be. ;] Even if you don’t believe that he’s God, he’s still a pretty good role model who actually existed in history. =D BEST OF LUCK WITH EVERYTHING IN YOUR LIFE.

  • Jenny September 15th, 2011 6:58 PM

    Wow, you girls are amazing writers & amazing beings!

    @Naomi, your description of anxiety and depression really cuts to the heart of it, especially that period before you’ve been diagnosed, and it just feels like everything is shitty but you don’t know why and then like a light in a dark room, you realize that it’s depression and you are NOT to blame. You are going to have a much, much better time in university for sure. I felt so stifled and bored and uninspired in high school. I wished wished wished that I could have been around people who were excited to learn and only have teachers who were excited to teach us something. I still shudder when I think about the five-paragraph essay and how little purpose it’s served me in my life (as a writer!)

    @Katherine, your writing is blowing me away. That last metaphor is pitch perfect.

  • rrp61493 September 15th, 2011 7:27 PM

    Wow this article is exactly what I needed today. I too go to a small Christian school in Nashville and my bible class sounds just like yours. I don’t know anyone in the same place as me spiritually and it is so nice to hear that someone feels like I do, and even in the same city as me! Some of the experiences you’ve described sound exactly like some of the ones I’ve encountered. I could go on and on about how thankful I am to have stumbled across this article. Its nice to know theres someone out there like me. Not to sound creepy but hit me up for coffee some time I’d love to meet you!

  • roses September 15th, 2011 10:49 PM

    I really enjoyed these posts, relate to Naomi about feeling like you learn more out of school…oh and to Katherine…that guy BJ really sounds terrible…I wanna just urge you though, not to let the flawed belief/actions of the people around you or their ignorance totally alter your belief in God…let it be your decision.
    @Sunshine it’s true that you can’t absolutely prove God created the universe as humans can prove very little when you think about it, but here’s an argument to consider…
    1) Every design has a designer.
    2) The Universe contains design.
    3) The Universe has a designer.
    what do you think?

  • thumb biter September 16th, 2011 1:13 AM

    Just saying, I go to church, and regardless of your personal experiences with religion you shouldn’t generalize or propagate the stereotypes of Christians as crazy hypocrites going around trying to convert everyone, or as the good little church girl.

  • blue September 16th, 2011 5:18 PM

    @Naomi, this is pretty spooky, I commented before about the whole birmingham accent thing, but I also dropped out of my fairly large all-girls comp. when I was diagnosed with m.e. when I was 13. I had home tutoring for a bit, but I never felt like I could go back to school even if I got well, I was so distanced by the school/ exam system. I went back part-time last year to try and complete some gcse’s and I made it through the year, (despite that they kept entering me for the wrong exams and complaining that i wasn’t on their register/ i was only one person so how were they supposed to remember about me. but i was pretty down after getting my report, were the teachers described me as apathetic and not interested, i obviously didn’t care about being in school/ paying attention in lessons. They asked why was I always skiving off school ‘pretending to be ill’. Luckily I don’t have those teachers anymore.
    Anyway, rant over. Its nice to know someone else out there has been through similar things, and you’re not that far away :D

    • Naomi September 18th, 2011 7:42 AM

      wow, i was 13 when i was diagnosed too! weird…
      :)

  • Nomi September 18th, 2011 11:11 AM

    This comment is for Naomi: I read your diary entry first because of an obvious reason: we have the same name. I was surprised to find that you have depression and anxiety disorder, as I have the same things! I don’t have chronic fatigue disorder, and I’ve never needed to be pulled out of school, I can only imagine how awful that must be. I do have OCD, however, which makes things difficult for me, as does my social anxiety disorder, which causes me to feel left out a lot of the time and have little to no self-confidence. I was diagnosed with these things in fifth grade, (I think that’s year 6 in england?) which I’ve since learned is kind of an early age.
    Anyway, enough about me: I’m so sorry that you had so many difficulties in school and I feel for you. It’s lucky that home schooling is such an easy option in England. My eighth grade year (year 9 in England?) was absolutely awful, and if I had had to go to the same school the next year, I would have found a way to transfer or be homeschooled. But luckily enough after that came high school, and everyone split. I had the EXACT SAME FEELING as you on the last day of school, however. Everyone was crying and hugging each other and promising to visit. I was unhappy too, but only because I felt I had to pretend to be upset about leaving school and also because I had to be with these people for three more hour before I never had to see them again. I visited the school recently with some other people that had gone, thinking it would be different now that we were all in high school, but it wasn’t. It was just awkward. I don’t know why I’ve said all this, but it’s really good to hear from someone who not only has the same name as me, but has gone through similar things. I look forward to reading more of your entries.
    -Naomi, age 14

    • Naomi September 19th, 2011 3:47 PM

      thank you for writing that. you sound like a sweet girl, i hope you get on better with high school xxx