Everything could be all right, maybe.

Last week I was freaking out because I didn’t know who Proust was, and I missed a whole day of classes. Every time I tried to sleep, every single stupid thing I’d said to any single person came back to me and made me cringe. I wondered endlessly what the people I had said those things to thought of me. I filled page after page of my diary with letters to Christopher Owens and listened to “Vomit” on repeat. Because that is what I do when I feel isolated and dumb.

I’m so fucking glad to be rid of that week. Everything is getting better. The literature class that I was worried about is my favorite class now. Discussions are laid back and easy to participate in, and the works we’re reading are interesting. Without this class, I’d die of boredom. It would slowly infect my mind and cause me to drool and write things like “live, laugh, love” all over my notebooks. In one of my classes, our homework for each night is to do things like give a definition of simile and metaphor or read one or two poems for the next class. Seriously? I got out of high school ready to take on the world—and now I’m defining simile for a class?! When does college start?

I’ve realized that I’m going to do just fine in my classes. In fact, I’m sure of that. What I’m not sure of is myself, and my ability to not make an ass out of myself to everyone I talk to. I’ll probably always be hard on myself. On one hand, it helps me learn. On the other, it makes me feel like a walking heap of dung.

Also, I joined a writing club. I was going to do school newspaper instead, but they mostly just write articles about student drug busts and how kids these days are scum who download music illegally. The club meets in a basement classroom in the building right next to mine. You get there by walking through an alley and going in a back door that was hard for me to find the first time I went. I like to pretend that it’s like the Room of Requirement or the headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix and I’m going to a DA meeting or something. The group is really small and eclectic. There’s a bro and a philosophy professor and a girl who’s really intimidating and no-nonsense. We use a prompt (just a random idea to get you writing) and write for 45 minutes. After that, you can share what you wrote. I haven’t shared yet. I usually misunderstand the prompt and write something strange. Then, I write something that’s actually a response, which, of course, I end up hating. Then I write something totally off topic. And then I’m too scared to read it.

It might be a week or so before I can share my writing. I’ve already gotten over my fears of eating in the cafeteria alone, of just sitting next to someone instead of on the opposite side of the room, and of speaking up in class. It took every ounce of strength for me to even go to the first writing-club meeting. I stood, hand on my door handle and completely ready to go, for at least 15 minutes before actually heading out. I told myself that I was sick, that I should have left a few minutes before and certainly couldn’t go now.

I got to the meeting five minutes late. I said something stupid and banal when I introduced myself. I misunderstood the first prompt they gave us.

The bro wrote something brilliant about Kennedy and the carpet of our room. A kid from my lit class recognized me and talked to me. I had fun sitting there and scribbling in my notebook, listening to others do the same. I’m going back for the third time this week.

So I have something I like, my classes aren’t terrible, and I’m becoming more self-assured. I’m going to be OK. I don’t have clean underwear for tomorrow, but that’s all right, too. Not in a ceramic-plate-someone’s-mom-has-that-says-“Every little thing is going to be all right” kind of way, but in an I’m-going-to-do-my-laundry-tomorrow kind of way. ♦