Dear Diary

December 28, 2011

All manner of year-end anxieties, and anxiety-enders. Plus: Ruby dyes her hair!

Naomi

Every week when I sit down to write my Rookie diary, I always think, Hmm, nothing has happened this week, so what shall I talk about? But of course things do happen, things are happening all the time. It’s just that they’re often hard to translate into words.

But this week, something big and concrete happened to me: Christmas! Then again, that happened to a lot of people. My first Christmas present arrived on Christmas Eve: my period! When I complained about it to my parents, they pointed out that that also probably happened to a lot of other people, too, which was comforting. I went to my first church service in a while—a thing that perhaps a number of people do but maybe not that many 17-year-old girls with social anxiety and priests for fathers. I didn’t go on Christmas morning, because I didn’t really want to sing carols through grimaces of period pain. I chose a tiny half-hour service at 11 o’clock on a quiet Thursday.

I am trying to work through this anxiety I get when I have to spend more than 15 minutes in one place. My instinct is to find the escape route and run as quickly as possible towards it. But on Thursday the church held only a few people, and my dad, not conducting the service for once, was steadfast beside me.

I had popped into church the night before and felt a feeling of discovery as I left, of lots of interesting things that I hope I will speak of in the future (Ooh secrecy! Stay tuned! Come back next week!), but I also discovered that older women don’t mind your talking about music careers and the perils of hair dyeing, and that the majority of people have the warmest smile for you and don’t mind telling you how nice you look, and that this can make you feel a lot better after a slightly grueling day, and there is another and for good measure. Oh yes AND you can also meet the other vicar’s daughter for the first time, and she wears an Amnesty International sweatshirt and likes Bruce Springsteen!

So as the small group in the church were silent in prayer, I thought I’d close my eyes for a bit. I’ve never felt so calm amongst the whole madness of Christmas in my life. Next thing I knew, what had probably been a minute at the most seemed like 10. I opened my eyes and tentatively looked around, hoping I hadn’t fallen asleep, and realised I’d been left to do whatever I had wanted. No one was looking at me, no one was silently telling me what to do. I felt, for once, completely unselfconscious. As a teenage girl who walks down streets avoiding glances from the insides of cars, aware of every move and sound I make in front of people, wanting to always give the right impression, I felt…lovely. I can’t think of a word that properly encapsulates the feeling, even if it was fleeting. Ever since, I have comforted myself when on the edge of anxiety by thinking about the next time I can go to church. Can you believe it? A youth! A swearing, leg-revealing, quite materialistic youth! But no one at church has ever made me feel like that.

So now I feel so much closer to an understanding of all the people in my father’s church, and also perhaps why he has so much care stored up for them. Because for people with no family, with nowhere else to go, those one or two days of the week when they can go to church and take a break from loneliness or low self-esteem or stress or sadness or anxiety are something to actually look forward to. This is why I get upset when people criticize church. Yes, organized religion can be very corrupted by greed or prejudice–but all the little people, the little churches that struggle to get enough money to run day to day, should not be blamed or laughed at.

The vicar’s sermon that Thursday compared the Christmas story to The Lord of the Rings (which had me straight away). Both stories started small (the shire/Nazareth; Bilbo Baggins/Mary) but led to huge consequences for the whole world. Well, that’s the same for churches, isn’t it? And perhaps politics too. Basically when you get down to it, that’s the same for everything. Everything starts small, and even on weeks when it feels like nothing much has happened, something’s just beginning. ♦

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21 Comments

  • marimba_girl December 28th, 2011 7:16 PM

    Katherine I’ll talk dubstep with you (and by this I mean moore than Skrillex)!!!

  • cherrycola27 December 28th, 2011 8:23 PM

    I never make New Year’s Resolutions, either. I think you can resolve to do something anytime of year, why does it have to be specifically on New Years? It seems everyone is destined to be disappointed in themselves this way.

  • Marguerite December 28th, 2011 8:34 PM

    OLD PEOPLE ARE SO EXCEPTING! like i was talking of getting my hair died with my grandma, and we had like all these hairstyles picked out and colours, and then mother dearest is like uuuummmmmmmm…. well i dont think so…..

    and want to go to church this year, not like on sunday morning with the rest of the people, just show up and pray on my own

    “Track down that Hogwarts letter that those gershdern owls lost when I was 11″ <– doing that too!

    Ruby- i really like your hair , its totally cool :)

    • Marguerite December 28th, 2011 8:35 PM

      did i spell excepting right? – i don’t think i did…

  • emilyelizabeth December 28th, 2011 8:40 PM

    ruby, i also barter babysitting for getting my hair dyed! i think the purple is beautiful!

  • annagracie December 28th, 2011 8:44 PM

    Looks good, Ruby!

  • cellardoor December 28th, 2011 8:45 PM

    Ruby, your hair looks great! Even if you were to dye it all purple, once your hair starts to grow, the roots will still be your natural hair color. I mean, you can’t change that just by dying it. It’ll always grow back in the color that it naturally is.

  • sissi December 28th, 2011 8:55 PM

    ruby, what type of dye did you use. my hair is a similar shade to your natural hair and i really like how the purple came out. please get back to me.

  • theo December 28th, 2011 9:04 PM

    dylaaaan,
    you are awesome and this is such a beautiful and relatable entry. Love that jacket!

    -theo

  • MissKnowItAll December 28th, 2011 9:50 PM

    Ruby
    Your hair looks wonderful.
    I wish I could dye my tips purple but I have black hair so all I would get is a pinkish tint:(

  • rhymeswithorange December 29th, 2011 12:16 AM

    Your hair looks awesome, Ruby!

  • Dakota December 29th, 2011 3:39 AM

    Oh the purple is beautiful Ruby!!!! I think it would look really good if you dyed it all purple!

  • dlaebe December 29th, 2011 8:24 AM

    naomi, this is a beautiful entry. “so much care stored up for people” that’s exactly right. exactly how it should be.

  • christinachristina December 29th, 2011 12:18 PM

    Ruby; I think the purple looks wonderful. It would obviously look awesome to do your whole head purple, but I think this look is nice and pretty and different and unconventional.

  • WitchesRave December 29th, 2011 1:11 PM

    Ruby: GAHH! my envious feelings for blondes will never go away! You guys can dye your hair any colour you want and it will come out perfecetly! If i had your hair i would probably dye the whole thing a dusty lilac colour..hint hint.. (:

  • noumi December 29th, 2011 3:43 PM

    Oh Dylan i’m in the same state of mind right now after being away from home to study at college and even away from my home country for 4 months living on my own.. I’m heading back soon so this kind of bad feeling will go and then be back for summer..! We just have to not be so negativ and just accept that we’ve changed for the better.. :)

  • Tyknos93 December 29th, 2011 8:20 PM

    Ruby I love your hair! I’m black and I have natural hair (BIG afro) and I’m afraid of what it will do If I dye it. I’m thinking green, pale pink or violet. I did a post on it today.
    http://blazoningpens.blogspot.com/2011/12/there-is-light-that-never-goes-out.html

  • Hedwig December 30th, 2011 11:05 AM

    Ruby! You should be semi-like Violet Baudelaire and tie your hair back in a black ribbon.

  • isadora January 1st, 2012 8:20 PM

    Your hair looks awesome, Ruby!
    I’m going mid-turqouise soon.

  • I.ila January 3rd, 2012 1:32 PM

    my friend who is next to me loves dubstep… but she doesn’t read rookie :-(

  • Kathryn January 16th, 2012 12:07 PM

    Ruby, your hair looks really cool! I have dark brown curly hair, and I wanted to dye it pastel blue or purple or something for a really long time, but now I think i’m just gonna cut it really short in 1920s sort of thing? I’m too scared I’m gonna ruin it! I’m very jealous that blondes can just go for it with no bleach!

    Katherine, we share many of our resolutions. Also, I think about the beauty of young DiCaprio all of the time.