Dear Diary

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crushes and hair dilemmas on the corner of Dream Avenue and Believe Street.


I am now a sophomore at an art and design college and in several ways doing that thing that the lucky ones among us are instructed to do growing up. I’m following my dreams! Go me! High five!

Just a short two years ago I was sitting in a classroom of about 20 girls in a building that was about a hundred years old. A nun had just showed us an absolutely thrilling slideshow about her journey to joining the church, and now she was forcing us into discussion.

“How many of you here are considering joining the order?” she asked. Funny joke, sister! High five!

I was a senior at an all-girls Catholic college preparatory academy full of the ambitious, the bright, the know-it-alls, and the easily stereotyped. And about 95% of the time, I wondered what the hell I was doing there. I mean, the school was challenging and supportive and it made me smarter and stuff, but I knew very, very clearly what I wanted to do and how to do it, and getting through high school seemed like more of an obstacle than a Building Block to a Better Future or what have you. The hope of getting into art school was the light at the end of the tunnel that kept me on top of all my shit. I used my art school dreaminz to get me through the goddamn day!

(If you want to listen to a song while you read the rest of this entry, I would suggest hitting play on the video below right … now.)

Probably most teenagers don’t know exactly what they want to do when they get out of school and suddenly, finally have more choices. But some of us know really early on, and the thing that’s hard for kids like us is that there are all of these hoops you have to jump through regardless. Like, you know, high school. While I wanted to learn how to screen-print posters for my friends’ bands’ shows, I had to endure instead lessons on how to properly cite and annotate papers, which I always messed up anyway. While I wished I were in a studio class learning how to design fashion editorials for magazines, I had to watch my classmates in U.S. history awkwardly present group-effort PowerPoints in with that awful pink bubble design and distortedly stretched pictures from Google Images. No!!! So much pain in my eyes! But besides all that, understanding high school as just a thing to be tolerated until I could be where I need to be actually helped me get through the silliness of its social politics and lectures about “joining the order.”

And here I am now. I got here. I’m writing this while sitting in one of my digital/screen-based design classes while my instructor goes through the history of something blah blah computery design boring… This is the situation I, with a ton of glitter and fairy dust and rainbows, fantasized about in high school. But half-listening to this lecture, I still feel restless like I did back then. I’m still in a classroom, and I’m still being assigned things that I don’t have earth-moving passion and enthusiasm about. Go figure. And now I’m wondering, if this is my dream that I achieved and everything is great and all … why don’t I feel completely satisfied? And what comes next?

Work is work, and class is class, and yeah, some versions are better than others. Maybe dreaming about sitting in just a different kind of class isn’t the place to put all of my fantasies. I’m realizing that as I chug along through the end of my teenage years, dreams adapt. They change. That’s OK. Each dream gets me through what I need to do until I get there and realize it’s not the end of the glittery unicorn rainbow. As much as I wish it did, life does not look like an illustration from a Lisa Frank Pee Chee folder. Now that I’m here and looking for what’s next, I guess there’s only one more thing to do. Find a new goal, and DREAM THE CRAP OUT OF IT!

“All your dreams will come true. All my dreams came true, but now I have a bunch of other dreams.” —Kim Gordon


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  • Sunshine September 21st, 2011 7:11 PM

    Love reading these journals!

    Dylan – AHHH it’s so awkward when nuns ask you if you’re thinking of joining their order! IK from experience.

    Naomi – I’ve always wondered if I should go blonde…I’ve lightened a streak of my hair in the front. I’ve also thought about going darker, but I’m never sure what will look good. I have the whole brunette/pale skin thing going.

  • EveyMarrie September 21st, 2011 7:44 PM

    I thought of art school for a long long time during high school, but I’m only going to a community college for now. My art & design class did give me a chance to make art and such, but pretty sure community college won’t give me the creative satisfaction either haha.

    Blonde, never so much a thought for me because I’m tan with black hair, that’s just weird, but I’ve thought about going like red-brown, however, that’s a frightening thought. Mainly frightening since I’ve somehow managed to go through my teenage years without touching hair dye once (SINFUL, WASTED YOUTH).

    And I totally code-named my crushes… and their friends haha. They ranged from “Furby” to “Casey” to “7-25″ XD It’s funny how the one boy I never code-named was the one who managed to stick around until now ;D (2 years and a month).

    • back2thepast September 22nd, 2011 6:18 PM

      Cute! I like your comment! I totally had/have (hahahaha being a silly teenager) code-names for the stud muffins of school. And the occasional goth kid who I am really attracted to for some reason… good article!

  • diny September 21st, 2011 8:01 PM

    i like it that you talked about crush, Katherine. i am passive for kind like that. i am shy. and the most major fault is i am so realistic and perfectionist so i never really really fall in love. boy who like me always scare me. yeah, alone doesn’t mean pathetic. it just mean that i should know myself better.

  • unicorn September 21st, 2011 8:10 PM

    i really want to dye my hair, but i already have blonde hair. maybe red or purple?
    i dont really codename my crushes, but they are the only people i come up with nicknames for. so they already know their codenames.
    which rather defeats the purpose of a codename.

  • LoversSaintsSailors September 21st, 2011 8:21 PM

    Oh man, I totally did the code name too. For 5 years. 5 years! Over this one guy. You know what’s crazy though? I saw him, like 5 years later and my tummy still flipped. I guess there are a lot of memories attached to crushing.

    And Naomi, I always said I needed 7 bodies to be all the different people I wanted to be. Mostly it was about tattoos though. Part of me wanted full sleeves and part of me (the real life me) decided against it.

  • Nomi September 21st, 2011 8:43 PM

    Katherine–I FEEL YOU. My love life could be described as disastrous. I always make a fool out of myself in front of the guy i like. actually, I always make a fool out of myself in front of everyone. my first real crush was also in first grade. That was back in the days when for some reason i was actually popular and a ton of guys liked me. Yeah, that stopped at about that stage in my development. But the guy that I liked (he was Japanese!) never noticed me, even though we went to a show together once with our moms or something, I don’t really remember. I told my friend about my crush, and since she was such a good friend, she told him but made the cuckoo sign to “show she was just kidding.” of course, I probably ruined that perception by freaking out when I saw she was telling him. and that was just the prelude to my love life, which consists of me liking a boy and that boy either never ever knowing that I even go to his school/camp/whatever or finding out my feelings and being embarrassed and running away. Yup, that’s just me,
    Naomi–I know what you mean. As a fellow brunette, I for one have always been offended by the saying “blondes have more fun.” Like, thanks. I’ve considered dying my hair a multitude of colors, including blonde, but in the end I think I’d be too much of a wimp to go for anything more extreme than temporary dye. Or a wig. I could really feel a wig like Tavi has, that long blue one.
    Dylan–Took your advice, listened to the music. Um. You seem really cool and I like your posts, but your taste in music and my taste in music are perhaps not quite the same. Other than that, I too have known what I want to be when I’m older for quite a while, but luckily for me there are many venues available for me where I could pursue creative writing. (I don’t know if I’m using the word venues rite.) And I never went to religious school (I’m not even Catholic) but it sounds like a ton of fun (no it doesn’t). I’m happy for you that you are in a better school now! (Also, you should read Unfinished Desires by Gail Goodwin, if you’re a bookworm and/or into long books about life at a Catholic school which sounds really boring but is pretty amazing and one of my favorite books.)

  • junebuglove September 21st, 2011 9:20 PM

    Every time I realize that I like a boy I get all awkward around them. Also I never tell anyone because in third grade this kid ran around the playground screaming about how I liked tis one boy, his code name with my best friend was m&ms …. her crush was 7up.

  • Maialuna September 21st, 2011 10:00 PM

    My first crush actually did like me, but I didn’t find out until after he had moved to Colorado. (I live in MN) I was in second grade, and had liked him since first. My heart was very broken.

  • rhymeswithorange September 21st, 2011 11:27 PM

    Haha, what is it with code names that are food? I had a crush that was Sprite, my friend had Coca Cola..

    I totally identify, Naomi! Also with the hair dyeing part, but also the whole figuring out yourself thing. Sometimes it just feels like why do you have to put a label on yourself or anything, or say you’re this way or that, but I guess society makes it that way. It’s all very typical teenager, that everyone goes through, so don’t feel ashamed.

  • AmandaLouiseHobba September 22nd, 2011 1:19 AM

    Love this post Dylan!

    I have always been a big dreamer, some dreams i have achieved, some I still trying to achieve, and others are still somewhere out there waiting for the right time to come.

    For a long time I dreamed about writing a novel. It’s quite amazing just how much it took for me to even start thinking of it as a potential reality.

    Now I’ve been working on it/developing it for quite a while now, and the problem is, the more effort I try to put in the more it feels like work, and I actually end up making less progress.

    Maybe my imagination just can’t be forced to cooperate when I want it to, or maybe I just forgot why I was writing the novel in the first place.

    I think it’s important to bring ourselves back to basics, back to the point when we do what we are doing because we enjoy doing it, don’t just do it because we feel that we ‘have too.’

  • AmandaLouiseHobba September 22nd, 2011 1:28 AM

    Naomi – something I have learned in the last few years – you can only ever truly be yourself. I used to want to change every little thing about me, I hated everything I saw in the mirror.
    It has taken a while to accept who I am and what I look like, or maybe I just don’t care anymore – who knows.
    I don’t think it is something that can be forced, it is something that develops deep inside, and eventually spills out onto the surface.
    Well I guess that’s my rather vague self-discovery lesson for the day ;)

  • Lotta September 22nd, 2011 4:52 AM

    Naomi’s ‘identity crisis’ IS MY LIFE!!

  • samhatt September 22nd, 2011 8:42 AM

    Exactly, do we ever really “discover ourselves” or do we just get lost and caught up in routine?

    If you dye it blonde (and have to bleach it to do so) If it doesn’t turn out alright then you can just dye it a different color : )

  • Tessa September 22nd, 2011 12:28 PM

    That is so funny, I feel exactly the same way and also had the urge to go red after seeing Florence live and being inches away from the stage. I always go through these phases. The only thing the concerns me is the damage to my hair. At the same time, I feel like, who cares, I may not even live until I’m 80 to actually lose it all anyway.

    The colour my hair is definitely reflects a bit of how I carry myself…

  • Whatsername September 22nd, 2011 6:11 PM

    @Naomi’s, I’m a natural blond, and I honestly don’t see why people always want to go blond. If I ever dyed my hair it would probably be some shade of red, or some freaky color like bubblegum pink.

  • jessejames September 22nd, 2011 6:20 PM

    I’m seventeen and a brunette and just this summer I dyed my hair blonde with pink streaks. I was really worried that if I did it on my own it would look terrible and fry my hair, but I did it anyway. It’s kinda lame, but I don’t feel any different. I mean, I think it looks good, but it’s not like changing my hair defined me. I feel like pretty much the exact same person I was as a brunette.

  • cookielover September 23rd, 2011 12:48 AM

    Ahhh! Thank you for this article. I was feeling pretty maddened by the first crush I had in ages, but this helped so much and made me feel better about things . : -)

  • Tavi September 23rd, 2011 12:59 AM

    For a while i used the codename Buttface.

    • Anaheed September 23rd, 2011 1:04 AM

      “For a while” as in last week.

  • erin September 23rd, 2011 10:34 AM

    I was just having these same angsty thoughts last night. I wrote in my journal how I felt everything I’m doing is such of waste of my precious youth. I feel like that as long as I’m doing something I enjoy that’s putting me closer to one of my real goals (not the generic “good college” “happy family” nice husband” goals) then I have less of a chance of falling into despair and a monotonous life of working for things that don’t matter. Oh, and did I mention I love rookie mag for providing me with chances to share how I feel with complete, like-minded strangers?

    • Dylan September 23rd, 2011 1:49 PM

      I think about this allll the time. This outlook is really good for keeping yourself in check about what you’re doing with your life and if you’re happy and stuff and making sure you’re pursuing your goals…but it’s also pretty easy to get judgmental of yourself (ie, “WHY DID I MAKE NO ART THIS SUMMER, I SUCK, I HAD 4 MONTHS AND ALL I DID WAS WATCH BRAVO TV UGHH” -Dylan Rupert, 2011)

      The mandatory stuff is the most annoying to get through but once life direction becomes more of a choice its so awesome and freeing but at the same time I feel a lot more accountable for like, everything I do.

      I love Rookie Mag for providing me with chances to share how I feel with complete, like-minded strangers, too.

    • Pashupati September 28th, 2011 7:56 PM

      I’ve the same problem both with art-like things and finding time to do maths.
      The problem is, I neither do maths nor art-like things… Too busy watching old Fantômette TV-series!

  • Rhibarb September 25th, 2011 6:42 AM

    dylan you complete me! I started back at collage 2 weeks ago and what you’ve wrote about it basically all I have been thinking about. It’s made me calm down abit!

  • Cebee September 26th, 2011 5:47 PM

    I’d love to be a carrot-top :)

  • WitchesRave October 2nd, 2011 10:52 AM

    @Dylan: God, your post is just what i am experiencing!
    I go to an all-girl catholic school in Ireland and im a sophmore (4th Year). To get through every school day i just remind myself that i only have to be there for 2 more years, then i can do what i want…

    I KNOW what i want to do when im older and that i want to go to art college, yet our guidance counsellor (What type of job is that?!!) keeps shoving ‘nursing’ and ‘teaching’ and ‘accounting’ leaflets at me as she sees it as a ‘more stable’ future…