Dear Diary

February 1, 2012

Nobody feels like dancing.


Maybe I am just not cut out for academics.

This month will be spent desperately trying to scramble together English coursework (thousands of words, I can’t remember how many exactly) due in March. I am worried about this, and I am worried about exams in June and I am worried about another whole year of work until I finally get to my goal: UNIVERSITY.

I just can’t cope well with huge amounts of work or engagements or activity without getting ridiculously tired or stressed. I am so fed up with it. I don’t want to be one of those people anymore. I don’t want stress. I want to be able to get on with my life.

Thing is, I don’t know whether it’s a reflection of my current mental state or whether it’s just my character. And even so, my current mental state isn’t that bad. I keep on trying to un-wrinkle my forehead and drop my shoulders and relaxxxxx.

My therapist says that my brain has been conditioned to tense up and that I have to re-train it. I can’t re-train it in a day or even a week. But even re-training can be stressful—it means I’ve always got to have some kind of consciousness about how relaxed I am!

So January has been quite anxious, but that’s a natural reaction to actually doing stuff I want to do.

I think university is what I want at the end of all this. I really, really love learning. Knowledge is one of my favourite pleasures in life. I don’t mean equations or memorising French verbs, but knowledge I can actually apply to my life and pop culture, man. People shouldn’t underestimate this—shout out to Anne Helen Petersen who writes the best pieces on the Hairpin. I love making connections between everything. The other night my mind was going on a connection spree, you know Hamlet →Nirvana →Sylvia Plath →e.e. cummings →Bon Iver. Those kinds of connections. It’s the grading scheme that I don’t appreciate. It’s the competition. I am so fed up with being competitive! Come on society, sort it out.

I think often “What the hell am I doing?!” and I realise: I don’t need to know right now. I can just enjoy the things I enjoy without being so hard on myself about how good I am. I can experiment and dip my toe into everything that intrigues me and Future Me can figure it out (fingers crossed). ♦


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  • queserasera February 1st, 2012 7:07 PM

    Naomi- I just had finals week for my school last week and it was absolute hell. I wanted to curl up and hibernate for a month. and deadlines are mankind’s worst invention. oh that and paperwork.

  • Marguerite February 1st, 2012 7:16 PM

    AHAH! RUBY! I AN GOING TO THE DANCE ON FRIDAY JSUT TO MAKE THE LITTLE KIDS FEEL AWKWARD!!!!!!! IM SO EXCITED! -most of my friends all got invited to dances at coed schools…so two of us are going to enjoy ourselves greatly, and hopefully get asked to dance by 10 year olds heheheheh :)

  • MissKnowItAll February 1st, 2012 7:16 PM

    Dylan, I feel as if your experience with crush boy mirrors my experience with my(totally unattainable) crush.
    Katherine, In a way aren’t we all the snob?
    Ruby, When I was in middle school, the dances were pretty much just one giant excuse to grind with anyone you thought was remotly cute.

  • delirium44 February 1st, 2012 7:17 PM

    Ruby, I loved that article! I find myself at dances thinking, why am I here again? I don’t even like the music they play. But I guess you are right! I love hanging out with my pals!
    P.S. I am a huge fan of you! I follow your blog. I wish I had that lavender lipstick!!!

    • Ruby B. February 1st, 2012 8:34 PM

      Same here! It’s like they make the playlists based on what I DON’T like.
      And thanks you! That’s so nice!

  • rrruthie February 1st, 2012 7:23 PM

    Dylan — writing all the thoughts I have, on this page. It’s weird how similar your situation is to mine! Actually, it’s probably not that weird, it just seems that way cause, um, things that I don’t tell anyone being voiced. Very cool for writing this. Keep being awesome!

    • Dylan February 1st, 2012 7:51 PM

      thank yee! The thing with these posts is that half the time I write them and I’m like, ugh, this makes no sense to anyone outside of my head, I swear…but then they go up and I must be relating to somebody! So, you know, that’s nice for me to hear, even if the situation at hand is a sticky one.

  • kittehpants February 1st, 2012 7:31 PM

    Well, it’s a dance…so, learn to dance…? Plenty of cool tutorials on YouTube. I know Rookie doesn’t really encourage its readers to get physical, but learning how to dance to DnB (plenty of Russian teens have created how-to videos!), hip-hop, or dancing with a hula hoop is a great way to feel the music like you’ve never felt it before, boost your confidence, and bond with other people. I can’t tell you what wonders dancing has done for me–a former awkward, mopey teen and twenty-something. When I get on the floor I get tons of compliments and “wow can you teach me that?!” I’ve made friends and learned how to enjoy dances.

    • Tavi February 1st, 2012 8:16 PM

      hey, we encourage dancing!

    • poppunkgurrrlx February 1st, 2012 8:35 PM

      since when did rookie not encourage readers to get physical? lol but i also love watching dance tutorials on YT =)

    • Miarele February 4th, 2012 7:32 AM

      OMG YES! dancing around in your room following YouTube tutorials are sooo much fun indeed! :) But sometimes I find it hard to get the exact movements and then I get frustrated with myself for a while, hahaha

  • tellyawhat February 1st, 2012 7:38 PM

    Naomi, your diary reminded of my partner’s favorite expression as a little kid which was “screw future me!”

    I think you have the right idea in terms of falling in love with the pursuit of knowledge, yet questioning society’s reverence of academic institutions. The most difficult thing to learn is when to buckle down and delay gratification and when to stop everything and eat some goddamn cake.

  • Janelle February 1st, 2012 7:55 PM

    Naomi, your entry this week was so so so so so very relatable. I too, love learning, but going to a public high school is the source of panic and stress for me, daily. I also feel like those little connections you make are so much more important than most of the crap that I have felt as though I have been force-fed since the day I set foot in high school. Im sick of it, and I still have one more year after this before I can escape to the freedom of College. I want it to come now and I have no clue how I’m going to cope with the insanity that is the public school system…. sorry for rambling on, but relevancy is such an important thing to search for in daily life and what you wrote this week seemed greatly relevant so thanks for that…. also, Bon Iver and Shakespeare. Yes.

  • norienoire February 1st, 2012 8:10 PM

    Oh god Ruby, that’s just so completely relatable. I think the anticipation of school dances and all of the preparation that goes into getting ready for one is why they’re so tantalizing. And even though I’ve yet to go to any of them with a date, I always manage to have some sort of fun with my friends despite the crappy music and the conga lines that look more like orgies. But probably the most exciting thing of all is just the opportunity to get all fancied up. I think the only reason why I’m actually going to my prom is so that I can dress up like some sort of mysterious and glam rock-ish galactic queen.

  • lucygoosey February 1st, 2012 8:37 PM

    yo dylan, i met my boyfriend at a party and subsequently never “partied” with him again. the same things worried me too — the fact that we just sort of hung out with just each other and not with either of our friend groups and what not worried me for awhile, but we’ve been dating for almost a year now and i sorta like that we don’t go out all the time and that our relationship has been formed through us doing stuff together and not amongst crowds of people. it’s different than what i’m used to, but maybe that’s what makes it work so well!

  • emilyelizabeth February 1st, 2012 8:39 PM

    Naomi, sounds like a college that doesn’t have grades would be perfect for you! When i was applying to colleges last year a few of the ones i applied to didn’t give grades, just written evaluations from the teachers, and a lot of the times at those schools you create your own course of study and stuff! Bennington College and Hampshire College are two schools like this that i know of in the U.S.

  • Nomi February 1st, 2012 8:45 PM

    Ruby – I always hated dances in middle school because the guys would act all horny to every girl but me and ask every girl but me to grind (or at least, that’s how it seemed.) I always felt like I didn’t really belong there. Turns out, I didn’t really belong there–or in middle school in general. That’s another story though.

  • Kristinini February 1st, 2012 9:09 PM

    I know exactly what you mean. I hated school dances but I would always go to them, I think it really is the anticipation of going to dance.

    What I loved about dances is actually dressing up, I loved dressing up even if it is for a silly event that I disliked oh so much. But dressing up is always fun, well, at least in my opinion.

    Have fun at your dance!

  • darksideoftherainbow February 1st, 2012 9:09 PM

    Dylan, I fell in love with your crush for his response. It’s weird that we read into a different! Haha. I think maybe you should think about how you wanna talk about it and then go for it. Like I see what you mean by him thinking that you can’t keep up but maybe because I’m seeing it from the outside it’s different. So, maybe he just doesn’t want to put you in that drug situation because it’s different to be used to being around drugs and seeing someone who you have a thing with use them. Maybe he’s worried how you will see him. Its just a thought…but maybe I’m right :) so DEFO give talking to him about it a shot! Please?! He sounds preeeetty awesome! And you for SURE are, too! Love your diary entries! I’m glad that through you’ll keep us posted!

  • hillary February 1st, 2012 9:29 PM

    Naomi’s entry is me to a tee. I absolutely hate school not because I don’t like learning or don’t find it interesting, but because I hate the way the whole thing is based on measuring and comparing people! Everyone complains about everyone being held up to beauty standards etc etc, but school standards and grades are even worse. I mean, there are just some people that don’t fit into that certain school mould and so they get judged and punished and told they’re stupid – it’s not fair and it’s really exhausting!

    As for school dances, you guys are so lucky! I live in Australia and the only dances/formals/socials we have are a debutante ball (which you can’t go to if you haven’t got a date anyway) and a graduation dinner at the end of your school career :(

  • annagracie February 1st, 2012 9:49 PM

    Ruby, that is EXACTLY how I feel about dances. A lot of the time, I don’t know the songs they’re playing, and/or hate them. And all the sweating and noise kind of give me a headache… yet, I go to every dance. And then I call myself an old lady, an hour after it’s over, whilst I take my Advil and watch old Freaks and Geeks episodes.

  • marit February 1st, 2012 9:57 PM

    i love minna’s diary this week! also i thought katherine’s was hilarious and very relatable! :)

    faux style.

  • Cerise February 1st, 2012 10:37 PM

    Naomi, I know exactly what you mean. I got so frustrated at my school sometimes because everyone only seemed to care about passing the tests, and no one really seemed to want to learn or discuss anything. And the whole connection thing is dead on–that’s one of the things I’ve loved about college–all this stuff in all these different areas of life are all connected and making those connections is one of the coolest things about learning–it just feels like discovery, something that I felt was pretty much pushed aside at my particular high school.

    Ruby–I totally had a fake sixth grade boyfriend, too! There was a tragic lack of lack of dances, though, so I never tried to go to one with him. :(

  • callie February 2nd, 2012 5:33 AM

    naomi, i am literally you one year later, writing coursework for March and completely sick of school. I’ve got an offer for English from my dream university and now its like ngggghhh this is so boring coupled with arrgghhh i need to get full marks in everything to get in! So basically what I’m saying is yes its boring now but you know, its just one year (and a half) to go then you can explore Hamlet to your hearts content XXXX

  • zomgitsmoi February 2nd, 2012 9:16 AM

    ruby, this incredibly relevant post could not have come at a better time. MY NEXT DANCE IS TOMORROW :D i don’t know why i even want to go, besides the fact that, like you, i’ve been to every single dance at my school since sixth grade (that’s no easy feat, as there are five dances every year scheduled at horribly inconvenient times). i can’t even use the thrill of getting to dress up as an excuse, because NO ONE DRESSES UP. no fancy dress for me (and i just got two new ones!) :( and you’re not the only one who hangs out by the teacher chaperones when it gets unbearable haha :) wow, this was much longer than i intended for it to be…

  • KayKay February 2nd, 2012 1:34 PM

    Naomi, I’m totally like that, too. I love knowing stuff just for the sake of knowing and being able to have this archive of things in my brain.
    Like my english teacher; she’s really because she knows everything about anything. Even though she’s in her late forties she is so up to date, it’s scary. She knows all these little facts that my mind simply can’t keep track of; she introduced us (us being my class and I) to the joys of Shakespeare’s jokes and Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”, as well as recommending Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” to me, which I am currently reading and absolutely love. I sort aspire to be like her in that way – to just know so much!

  • LB February 2nd, 2012 10:55 PM

    Naomi- ANNE HELEN PETERSON IS MY TEACHER. I go to school where she works. And yes she is awesome and everyone loves her.

  • Hedwig February 3rd, 2012 10:35 PM

    Ruby, I love that you quote pooh!!

  • Miarele February 4th, 2012 7:29 AM

    Ruby, I feel you! Sometime ago I went to this dance that were supposed to be a farewell dance for seniors who are graduating, but on the event itself there were nothing REMOTELY resembling a dance. We just s it there and watch nostalgic videos on the graduating batch and some performances by other students. The whole thing were very awkward. I was really expecting it too, so I was most disappointed. I know that expectation does not always align with reality (thank you (500) Days of Summer for the most accurate illustration of that!) but I was just really underwhelmed. But reading your entry made me remember that I AM excited during the preparations. I even dress up, accessorize and do make-up with my friends… now that I think of it, it was more fun than the event itself! So yeah, I guess that means expectation could be both the best part AND the worst part of some very one thing huh?

  • puny weakling February 5th, 2012 9:25 AM

    Naomi, i know what you mean about school :( but the whole structure of the educational system is just so dumb and the way everything is about proving that you know a specific set of predetermined things rather than just finding things out and learning about the things you find interesting… like, if you ask a teacher a question because you’re curious about it half the time they’ll just go “oh, that’s not going to be in the exam, you don’t need to worry about not knowing that” and if they try to explain further then that’s wasting everyone else’s time. deadlines just shut down any motivation i might have, and combined with really low self esteem, it often means that i put off doing work just because i know i’m a terrible writer/ artist/ whatever, and i’d rather fail by their standards by my own… this is just stupid though, because all it means is that i never do anything at all and i get even more depressed. ah well.
    (sorry about the length and whinginess of this comment)
    ps katherine – the snob sounds brilliant :)

  • A-baum February 6th, 2012 1:26 AM

    GAH RUBY! Thank goodness I’m not the only one! I have come to terms that I am not a fan of my school’s “dances” (inaccurately named, grind-fest is more appropriate). I admit I am will always be a sucker for the getting ready with my friends, anticipation for the night in the air, and the endless but fun photo taking. But that doesn’t change the fact that by the end of the night you will find me and my awesome party getup on the sidelines. I’m not sad or anything, I don’t mind it, its just me. Awkward dancer and all, just glad that there are other people who would rather be reading.

  • aqueenbeeseaqueen February 6th, 2012 2:45 AM

    dylan – i feel like i compleeetely relate, and i don’t want to be a total downer, but if i could give one piece of advice to you – if you’re the kind of person who likes to go out and see shows and party and stuff, maybe what’s making you anxious about this whole thing is that you want someone (and this is going to sound lame) to like, share your life with? and not in like a getting-married-forever way, that’s not what i mean, just in like a way where you want to be with someone that you can share fun experiences with and look back and say “remember that awesome time? that was so hilarious!”
    also, if you’re afraid that he doesn’t know anything about you – all i can say is just really try to be the expressive person that you are around him. i fully understand the temptation to make him search it out – but at the end of the day, if you are the kind of person who loves to tell people about themselves, that’s like, a fundamental part of your personality. so i guess what i’m saying is just really try to throw yourself into being yourself.
    i just got out of a long-term relationship with a guy, and my main reasons for breaking up with him was a) he didn’t like the parties/shows i went to, and thus, we never did fun things together and b) i constantly felt like i was – not censoring myself, but i was never fully expressing myself around him. i, too, love telling people my life story and what i’m feeling ALL THE TIME – and that’s a major part of me being me.
    anyway, long effing post! sorry. probably reading way too deep into the situation :)

  • thunderbolts February 6th, 2012 7:05 PM

    dylan – well this obviously is a love, there’s a bit sparks of hate.

  • ScoutAsh February 7th, 2012 3:58 AM

    Dylan! I LIVE in an unrequited crush spiral at the moment, it is so frustrating!
    in fact – read about it here and PLEASE HELP

  • anisarose February 7th, 2012 11:33 PM

    Naomi, from my own experience with the endless stresses of school, take things one assignment at a time. Instead of worrying about five classes at once, pick an order of concerns that you will stick to everyday. This way, there will be some sort of pattern to your day and everything will seem more manageable. I always like to make lists of what I need to get done— especially for the weekends because there seems to be twice as many assignments then— and by following the order of the list and checking things off as I go along, the homework seems easier. As far as that big assignment due in March, break it up into parts and give yourself deadlines. If that doesn’t work, talk to your teacher. Yeah, school sucks 95% of the time but at least you aren’t illiterate!