Dear Diary

May 2, 2012

Being a person is hard.

Katherine

I hate high school so much right now. I’ve reached the point where, when there is free time between classes, I don’t even know where I can stand anymore. I lean against my locker and watch as groups of friends drift by, chatting and laughing. I calculate, based on who’s in a given group, whether or not I could successfully join them. Most of the time I decide that I can’t, whether it’s because I have never talked to the people in the group and won’t start now, or the people in the group know and hate me, or I actively avoid one or more of its members. So I just stand there and wish I could temporarily turn into a small vapor or a tiny bug. That way, I wouldn’t have to look for a place to stand or go hide in a classroom. I could just observe. In a way, I would be a part of every group. Universally accepted yet unnoticed.

This past weekend, our school put on a production of Grease. I auditioned back in December with the girl who people say is one of my best friends, and we both made it as chorus girls. It was going to be one of my last times onstage. It was supposed to be special. I went in expecting to feel this great sense of community and friendship; I just ended up feeling just as alone as before. I spent rehearsals talking to everyone around me, telling myself that this was theater and that I could be freeeee. Which I now know is a load of crap. All this weekend, while we were backstage, I found myself in the same position I’m always in: looking for a place to stand. No matter where I went or whom I talked to, I would get the sense that I had intruded. They’d say things like, “We’re talking about something personal, could you give us a minute?” Other times, we’d just have a few seconds of fragmented and uncomfortable conversation before one of us wriggled free. After the second performance, I stopped going to the afterparties. After the final performance, I took off as soon as I’d cleaned up my space in the dressing room. I didn’t say goodbye to anyone, and I didn’t cry with all the other seniors. I was completely numb.

I’m numb now, I’ll graduate numb, and I’ll spend the summer trying to gain back some feeling. I feel like whatever efforts I made over the past four years to get to know people I liked were for nothing. If I had friends and later changed, whether by losing my religion or by becoming more outspoken, they would tell me that I had become a different person and that I shouldn’t hang out with them anymore. If I invited someone to hang out with me, there was always a 50% chance that she would stand me up with little to no explanation. I’ve been stood up and tossed around and left alone. I feel like garbage. Except garbage always has a dumpster or trash bin in which it belongs. So I’m deciding right now that I’m sick of trying anymore. I’m just going to show up and do my work and graduate in four weeks. Meanwhile, I will try to hone my turning-into-a-vapor skills. ♦

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47 Comments

  • Sugar May 2nd, 2012 7:19 PM

    People on food stamps are pathetic. Do not go on food stamps. It isn’t chill, and it doesn’t make you a more authentic artist. Food stamps are for crack heads who can’t work.

    UGH.

    This is coming from someone who grew up on welfare. My mother wasn’t struggling, she was lazy. And it sucked.

    • Dylan May 2nd, 2012 8:09 PM

      I don’t equate financial circumstances with being any more or less of an artist, or really any other occupation. I don’t think anyone really aspires to be on food stamps. EBT would be chill if I was 100% financially independent and didn’t have the means to feed myself after paying bills like rent and loan payments, for instance.

      • Sugar May 2nd, 2012 11:21 PM

        Oh I didn’t think you aspired to! I have just known too many people who thought in order to be a “real” artist, you had to struggle. Which is absurd!
        Some people really do think there is something romantic about poverty. So strange. Good on you for your financial independence!

        • Dylan May 3rd, 2012 1:20 AM

          Yeah, that idea about poverty=authenticity is so dumb it makes me super uncomfortable. Especially if you’re at art school, I’m just like, COME ON! Fortunately I don’t know many people like that. Phew.

        • Dylan May 6th, 2012 11:06 PM

          This is what I mean. http://chronicle.com/article/From-Graduate-School-to/131795/

        • airplanes.books May 7th, 2012 6:22 PM

          “Food stamps are for crack heads who can’t work.”

          yikes, harsh, judgmental, and not always true.

    • lorobird May 4th, 2012 9:51 AM

      Please don’t assume your experience is universal. Many people don’t have the education, resources, and/or support to get a better job. This is not just having a college degree (although it’s part of it); it’s also about having a net of emotional support in order to be able to have a decent life.

      The majority of people DO NOT like having a shit job, in shit conditions. But most of the time, there are no better prospects.

      There is NOTHING shameful in living off welfare in a society as unfair, unjust and exploitative as the United States. The rich keep getting richer while the majority of the population work like drones, bombarded with adverts every day, atomized in their small flats without even a shred of a community to hold on to. The poor keep getting poorer. The middle classes with university education are miles away from the working classes who have no hope of leaving the poor neighbourhoods.

      And those who manage to leave shit on other poor people instead of looking at systemic inequality and a way to solve it.

      The fact that a small amount of poor people can escalate the social adder does not mean the whole social ladder is fucked up. Wealth must be redistributed into good schools and good higher education and support networks and social services so the most vulnerable in our society stand a CHANCE.

      • Mim May 7th, 2012 12:45 AM

        Thank you, lorobird! And not only are people stuck in shit jobs having this problem — just reading the news, you can see that even well-educated people in positions usually seen as “privileged” (like having a PhD) are on welfare in record numbers (and rising) right now.

  • nattwenty May 2nd, 2012 7:24 PM

    Katherine, it’s scary how much my current situation relates to yours, except for the fact that I transferred to my current school last year. I was also in a school play a few weeks ago and also skipped the last cast party because I can’t stand those awkwardly impersonal conversations I try to strike up. I want to have something to cry about and I’m frustrated with myself for not feeling much about my high school experience.

    I know kids who I think may be fun to hang out with, but have no idea how to enter their social groups/what to talk about/if it’s worth it as I’ll never see them again. And regrettably, I find quite a lot of them boring and/or annoying, laughing about things I don’t find funny and expending energy on issues I don’t care about. I wish I knew what to say and how to be interesting and how to enjoy the end of my senior year. I’d like to go to prom but literally have no one to go with (friends or otherwise). This is supposed to be fun!!! Damn.

  • missblack May 2nd, 2012 7:27 PM

    AHHH I would die without Katherine’s updates every week because otherwise I would feel all alone and depressed. Thank God for her.

    Little&Trivial

  • northernground May 2nd, 2012 7:29 PM

    Katherine, I’m in the exact same position. The sense of intruding, being set up, all of it. It’s disgusting how all the people in my shitty “group” it’s okay and “cool” to shoot me/others down if something isn’t the way they like it.. and forget about awesome comebacks or anything, my “friends” just love to ridicule those even more. But apart from my rant (sorry.) AT LEAST IT’S MAY. (Although I’m not graduating like you, only moving schools.)
    But honestly, whoever said high school is the best years of your life obviously peaked as a teenager and didn’t have much of a life after. (I tell that to myself to boost my confidence at least….)

    • Mim May 3rd, 2012 9:33 PM

      Whoever said “high school is the best time of your life” was someone living back when it was totally normal to marry and have kids right when you graduated, so of course you were more free and had more fun before you had to cook dinner and raise babies! Soooooo not true now (except, as you note, for lame people who peaked way too young.)

  • Mayabett May 2nd, 2012 7:33 PM

    Katherine, you are literally fantastic.
    I switched to my high school last year and after a lot of rough times in which I isolated myself I still feel pretty much alone. I have a couple close friends, but they all have their own groups, and I’m just a drifter. I don’t really belong anywhere. And I always get that attitude from people who I try to talk to, like why am I hanging out with them… Do they think I’m weird?
    I’ve learned that you need to find people who love you for who you are. You can’t force people to be friends with you. If they don’t want to make the effort, so be it. It’s their loss.

    xx Maya

  • croonersanddreams May 2nd, 2012 7:36 PM

    Dylan, I totally get what you’re saying. I’m a senior and feeling so ready to graduate and I just committed to a college and at the same time, declined the offer from my dream school, NYU, because of the fact that I would be in so much debt (sorry for all the and’s). It sucks but sometimes I think my response to the situation is the only thing that will make things better for myself.

    • Kaede May 2nd, 2012 10:34 PM

      I’m about to graduate from high school like you, and I also had to decline my dream school (FIT) because the out of state tuition is ridiculous, and all they offered me was loans…
      So now I’m going to a state school (my last choice) because it’s basically free with the in-state scholarship they offer. Like you said, it sucks, but I keep telling myself it will be worth it in the long run.

  • Juniper May 2nd, 2012 7:38 PM

    Katherine, I wish I could stand around awkwardly with you!!

  • Jes May 2nd, 2012 7:38 PM

    Katherine: Your writing is wonderful. It’s beautifully melancholic. And also, know that I feel the exact same way that you do. Want to be friends? :)

  • lyrarose May 2nd, 2012 7:55 PM

    Katherine, we are the same person. Every detail of that essay just described me and how I am right now.

  • I.ila May 2nd, 2012 8:12 PM

    Wow. Everybody’s really depressed this week. Except maybe Ruby.

    • I.ila May 2nd, 2012 8:12 PM

      Good for you, Ruby, on not being depressed.

      • peanutbutter May 2nd, 2012 10:26 PM

        It’s a good thing to be depressed sometimes. It’s good to feel lots of different things.

  • lylsoy May 2nd, 2012 8:16 PM

    Ruby I absolutely say “do you have a killer-time” all the time and no one ever gets it -.-
    Kathrine, do you want to be my friend??? Please??
    I love reading your diaries. <3
    http://lylsoy.blogspot.com

  • Jo Marie May 2nd, 2012 8:16 PM

    Food is a basic human right, not a privilege, and even responsible, working, tax paying insividulals could benefit from them for time to time :).
    Also, Food Not Bombs was awesome at helping me not starve too yayyy! http://www.scn.org/foodnotbombs/

    • Dylan May 6th, 2012 11:13 PM

      Jojo is right! I used to serve food with FNB in Seattle during high school and, similar to food stamps, is a crucial resource for ANY kind of person to get what they need.

  • Yellie May 2nd, 2012 8:30 PM

    Ugh, Katherine, that is me.. or was until these two girls took pity on me and decided to inch over my way, still can’t pronounce their names… only a month left though, then no more living in a blur or curling up against the heater?

    and Naomi, your entries always touch me, i think you’re amazing (blushes)!

  • nattwenty May 2nd, 2012 8:33 PM

    To everyone who empathizes with Katherine: reaching out to people helps! take chances and remember that you have total control over your life

  • Lucy23 May 2nd, 2012 8:33 PM

    Ruby, I wish I was there to revel in Napoleon Dynamite quotes.
    “I see you’re drinking one percent, is that because you think you’re fat?”

  • GlitterKitty May 2nd, 2012 8:57 PM

    Katherine, I swear, you are me. I feel like this all the time. I totally understand the feeling of not quit fitting in anywhere. It always seems like there’s this real awesome group of people and then there’s me, just standing on the outside. I’ve only started high school this year so let’s hope it gets better! Best of luck!

  • Ruby B. May 2nd, 2012 10:57 PM

    That’s a terrible feeling, Katherine. I’m sure there are people who would love to approach you but just think they aren’t cool enough! At least you don’t have to worry about being one of those kids who peaks in high school and then disappears. You have college and then Real Life to find your people! (You know, besides Rookie gurls.)

  • Kristen May 2nd, 2012 11:46 PM

    Naomi, your writing is the most beautiful thing in the world. I’m mesmerized.

    Katherine, recently, my best friend told me that another one of my acquaintance-friends thinks that I hate her. And then she told me that other girls we know from our dance studio had said similar stuff. I thought it was the strangest thing, because I’m never mean… I just tend to be quiet and don’t talk to many people in dance because I’m tired from school. And I feel like people aren’t paying attention to me anyway.

    You could have a situation like that going on. Maybe, people don’t see you like an awkward person at all, maybe thats only you, and like Ruby said, they actually think you’re really cool, and are intimidated by your coolness (or, like me, they think you hate them). There are always different perspectives.

  • Happyuphere May 3rd, 2012 12:25 AM

    Dylan: I dunno if they talk about it much in the United States (I know it intrigues people in Europe), but there’s this huge um, shitty situation going on in Quebec where many students are on school strike to protest against the increase of tuition fees, and it’s been going on for two months now… Granted, we don’t pay nearly as much as Americans do (it’s like, $20,000 for your entire degree), but debt is debt and it’s scary and I find it totally wrong to put so much pressure on youth when you’re trying to start your life and you’re told college is the ONLY way to ever have a decent life and it turns out it is not completely true because you have so much debt and sometimes you have to give up your dream because you can’t afford it and not because you don’t have the abilities to do it and this angers me and it’s just OMG TUITION FEES ARE EVERYWHERE IN MY LIFE NOW LIKE EVEN WHEN I’M NOT ON QUEBEC SITES /end huge political statement in two too long sentences

    (Did that even made sense? BTW English isn’t my native language so maybe it’s not totally understandable… You’ve been warmed)

    • Dylan May 3rd, 2012 2:14 AM

      Duh you’re making sense! Ahh it’s a stress factory…but oh my god, you guys are fortunate, $20,000 is less than what it costs a year to go to private school here…super wrong in my own opinion.

  • hellocathy May 3rd, 2012 12:57 AM

    Katherine – I’ve been reading your entries for a few weeks now and I swear that we could be the same person. It’s comforting to know that other people go through the same things and feel the same way. I’m just finishing up my freshman year in college and I can’t help but to think that I am more socially awkward now than I ever was in high school.

  • ivoire May 3rd, 2012 2:08 AM

    Ha, our school NEVER have dances. Which may be one reason I have the inability to talk to many people.

  • HeartPlant May 3rd, 2012 4:46 AM

    Naomi,

    I love your writing style, it’s so lyrical and nostalgic and moving. Although things are not what you want them to be right now, I hope that you eventually get what you want out of life.

  • Caden May 3rd, 2012 8:08 AM

    I love the dear diary posts. It’s such an interesting idea :). Thank you for sharing your worlds!

    Caden
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/pinkpoppies1991

  • TheGreatandPowerfulRandini May 3rd, 2012 10:46 AM

    Ugh, I’m so stressed out about the financial thing with university, and it’s over 3 years before I graduate. I need to start hunting for scholarships, like ASAP.

  • Ellie May 3rd, 2012 12:50 PM

    Katherine, I would totally stand around awkwardly with you. It sounds like a blast, really.
    Ruby, that sounds like the best school dance a girl could go to. :D

  • coralgirl May 3rd, 2012 1:14 PM

    Katherine— I understand completely. I fell out of my friend group in a dramatic and traumatic sha-bang halfway through my sophomore year. I could have stayed and been unwanted, but I left and I’m proud that I did. I was left without a group and in a small all-girl school like mine, it made surviving a nightmare. I didn’t go to lunch for the rest of the school year, I usually hid in the library or the bathroom (if it was an especially bad day or if I was paranoid that the librarians caught on). Forced gathering like assemblies and prep rallies were a nightmare. I did the whole gauging of groups thing too, and finally went out on whim and tried for a group. It was awkward and uncomfortable and I was in no way ready to deal with people. Any way I fucked it up. So I re-created myself into someone that I wanted to be, someone I wanted to be friends with. Slowly I learned more about music and movies and thrifted like a maniac until I had a closet that I could love. I finally embody who I feel I really am. But now, I’m kind of like that vapor. Universally accepted, but virtually ignored. People have no buff with me, but no one talks to me. I actually have no friends at school. Indifference sucks. Just wanted to say that you are in no way alone. I feel you and I really enjoyed your entry.

  • suze_me May 3rd, 2012 1:45 PM

    KATHERNE. Oh my god. *hugs*
    I feel sad yet, secretly happy after reading all the comments because I AM NOT ALONE. I feel this way all the time and it sucks massively. You are SO lucky you are graduating, I have another 9-10 months to go :/
    ‘The High School Experience’ is just BS. I am sick of feeling bad about always being an outsider. Its like EVERYONE is a part of a group and very important whereas nobody would notice if I dropped out of school.
    I have stopped trying too and accepted my myself as a loner.
    I definitely feel more at peace now.
    -.-

  • Mom May 3rd, 2012 6:22 PM

    Dylan

    getting past the repetitious expletives, I appreciate your maturity here. something to be grateful for and I’m sure, born of a youth not immune to financial challenges. This awareness is serving you and you are handling school very intelligently to set you up for “a real job” and more. I’m proud of you. you’re a smart girl.

  • thedoctordonna May 3rd, 2012 7:03 PM

    Dylan, oh my god its nice to know someone else is dealing with this too!

    I spent the last four years (high school) in an insanely rigorous advanced program to try to get into a good college. I didn’t even get enough financial aid to cover tuition, let alone housing. I’m going to end up going to a community college in the fall. Now I’m just wondering if it was all worth it. ._.

  • meels May 4th, 2012 2:34 AM

    Ruby I’ll love you forever for saying that napoleon quote!

  • guiltfreedonut May 4th, 2012 1:50 PM

    Katherine– Actually the best word to describe High School– numb. I never thought of that word but it fits perfectly.

    http://www.guiltfreedonut.om

  • Svart May 6th, 2012 4:46 PM

    Katherine – thank you.

  • Mandyyy May 10th, 2012 7:18 PM

    Katherine
    I’m so sorry about your experience and honestly i know what it feels like. where you feel completely numb…i ended up getting to the point where i couldn’t cry anymore it was like there was nothing left. I went from the very top in school to being almost invisible and im still not exactly sure why or how it happened.
    the best thing i can tell you is that happiness comes from within; which means you gotta get up every day and tell yourself you will be happy. eventually you dont have to tell your self anymore because you just are HAPPY:)
    it is one of the hardest things i ever did…to go from depression back to my normal happy self but its so worth it:)
    and don’t let those people worry you or make you feel like an outsider, college will be different because usually people are more mature by then and im sure you will make lots of friends!

  • Tiger July 5th, 2012 6:37 PM

    Ruby…I know the feeling ALL TO WELL. Once I requested a song (and it wasn’t even obscure at all! Like seriously, I think it was by arcade fire or something) one girl was looking over my shoulder, and when she saw what I wrote she kind of fake smiled, a polite way of saying “You have such weird taste” and it was lyk awkwarddddd.

    And omigod “I AM YOUR GRANDMA” scared the living crap out of me!