Dear Diary

October 31, 2012

Stormy weather.

Naomi

I had nerves like blunt pins in my chest, neck, and mouth. Because I was “going out” to a new place. Out in the world—at night. It had been a long time since I’d stepped out into the darkness, and there was no way of knowing what I would find there.

I made my bed, turned off the lights, kissed Dad goodbye, and hauled my overnight bag to the car, then my mum gave me a lift to my friend Kate’s* house. The whole way I was chewing gum nervously, holding tension in my jaw.

As soon as I got to Kate’s house I dyed my hair purple. I hadn’t planned to, but suddenly I found myself leaning over her bath with mulberry water dripping from my head. I felt infused with magic—with spontaneity and mischief and everything I haven’t let myself enjoy for the past few years. My hair felt like a barometer for the rest of my night.

Kate and I called a taxi and waited outside. Through the car’s steamy windows I could decipher only pinpricks of light. By the time we got to our destination, the whole world was shrouded in a thick mist, like we were held inside our own special sphere. Our world was adorned: cocktails, disco lights spraying circles over the dance floor, the lights reflected in people’s eyes, Kate’s and my freshly dyed hair—all were jewel coloured. I danced and got lost. Only occasionally would I realise where I actually was, and how I was.

A boy was there: Donald from my college (aka high school), who lives nearby. I had told him he had to come out so he could walk me to my grandparents’ house, where I was spending the night. We left the party just before midnight. The streets were majestically quiet. The yellowing streetlights illuminated the thick patches of mist, making the whole scene look like a film set. It was impossible for our voices not to be too loud; our conversation must have sounded, to people in their beds, like snatches of alien speech. Donald is really cool, and I felt safe.

When we got to my grandparents’ house—all three storeys of it—he seemed impressed. I didn’t want to go inside just yet. We both knew of a certain bench on the street, and we sat on it for a little while. Apart from the occasional passing car lights, the world felt empty except just us two. I could have talked to him all night. But I said, “I am so tired.” He said, “Do you want me to walk you to your door?”

Lying in an unfamiliar bed, I couldn’t sleep, despite feeling heavy tiredness through every limb. My eyes would close, but my brain was on fire, still excited and, on reflection, glad to be alive.

I didn’t feel like a fraud at any point in the evening. My fun wasn’t faked. I was me—but a new me I hadn’t met yet. That was the most exciting part. In the early hours of the morning, I felt precious–but strong like a stone. ♦

* All names have been changed for reasons of privacy.

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30 Comments

  • cami October 31st, 2012 7:14 PM

    katherines was so relatable. enjoyed it a lot.

  • Nomi October 31st, 2012 7:20 PM

    Ruby/Brittany–I can’t believe school was cancelled for the whole week :/ are you guys alright? a lot of my friends have lost power (I live in a safe zone, so I was alright)

  • Paprika October 31st, 2012 7:39 PM

    I can seriously relate to Katherine. I’m an extremely awkward speaker when I’m stressed or anxious; I tend to withdraw in class discussions as well.

  • redblueblueberry October 31st, 2012 7:45 PM

    Oh naomi, your diary entry is fabitty fab fab. Sounds like a real good night. Really loved the part: My fun wasn’t faked. I was me—but a new me I hadn’t met yet.

    Sounds absolutly perfect.

  • roselikesclothes October 31st, 2012 8:00 PM

    NOOOO Ruby you ruined Lord of the flies for me! I read it junior year next year and I’ve gone so far without the ending being spoiled!

    whatevs

  • koalabears October 31st, 2012 8:15 PM

    I can relate to Katherine; just the moment before I’m going to speak everything seems clear in my head but it doesn’t come out as expected.

  • vanguardinspace October 31st, 2012 8:26 PM

    Naomi! This was so well-written, I felt like I was there, and as usual…I sortof was, because somehow we always seem to be experiencing the same things at the same time.

    I decided to go to my school’s dance last weekend, and it was the first time in a long while that I went out somewhere at night with peers and it was very. I realized that I was actually having fun, and actually dancing and actually enjoying the people that I was with, and I wasn’t even trying to, and it felt comfortable. Weird. But a good weird. Things can change so much without us even noticing.

  • bawlingbrother October 31st, 2012 8:45 PM

    “i’m never speaking up again” -john mayer

  • intreatment October 31st, 2012 9:29 PM

    Katherine- I can definitely relate to what you are going through. I always always always beat myself up after I speak up in any situation, but especially in classes. I don’t know if this is your experience, but I don’t ever speak up because I’m constantly worried that I’ll seem stupid and loserly.

    My inner critic is always screaming at me to be perfect and say perfect things and always seem smart and interesting when I speak and contribute really meaningful ideas to discussions. I can never please my inner critic. No matter what I say or do, it’s never good enough.

    If I speak, then I feel that I must have said something unintelligent or embarassing, which means I should never ever ever speak again. But if I don’t say anything, then I see myself as a loser who contributes nothing. It’s exhausting. It’s something I’m currently working on with my therapist, which helps me a lot.

    I don’t know if you can relate to having an inner critic who criticizing you 24/7. If you can, just know that you’re not alone.

  • LookingGlass October 31st, 2012 9:34 PM

    Hi! Katherine- i went through this same sort of thing once. It was hard, really really hard. I started having all these anti society thoughts, questioned everything I could about the world and our culture and everyones habits. Everyone else seemed so much more normal than me – but also like I wasn’t allowed to be myself because I didn’t want to conform to their way of interacting. It got so bad that eventually I just felt like I couldn’t talk or relate to anyone. But hopefully you’re not there yet and you won’t have to be. You seemed kinda down at the end of your entry when you said it’s just gonna take a lot more living. I used to think that too. But it sort of also takes realizing that you’re not perfect (though, duh, we all know that!), and if you become someone you thought you weren’t, someone with certain qualities that you don’t particularly want for yourself, well, it’s just part of growing and it’s likely temporary and you’ll probably either grow out of this phase too, or learn if you don’t you’ll learn to like yourself. Sorry if this sounds preachy – I don’t mean to be. I just am probably a little older than you (in my early 20s) and I relate to it and it’s good to talk about.

  • dogsrule October 31st, 2012 9:39 PM

    it’s so eery reading the entries about hurricane sandy considering the massive destruction it caused

  • raggedyanarchy October 31st, 2012 10:48 PM

    Oh god, I know, Katherine. Something will sound PERFECT and PRETENTIOUS and SMART in my head and when I open my mouth it’s just “asdf grapes aflsj farts aldfih oreos.” And I hate not being able to talk in class because of it. Like, sometimes I have intelligent things to say but my weird brain-to-mouth function doesn’t work right. I speak just fine with my friends, but put me in a classroom and I turn into a blabbering idiot.
    And to anyone affected by hurricane Sandy: Keep safe! I hope your friends and family and selves are all ok! Hurricanes are no fun, take it from someone on the Gulf.

  • yeliah October 31st, 2012 11:18 PM

    I swear, it’s like Katherine and I are the same person. Every week she totally puts into words what I’m feeling but can’t explain.

  • Funky Monkey October 31st, 2012 11:34 PM

    I have the same problem as Katherine. I have so many thoughts, but I’m not good at articulating and I end up using poor grammar and the same words over and over. I feel bland and redundant and stupid. I mentally go back to the conversation and respond correctly, but that doesn’t help – it’s already happened. What I’m trying to do is plan what I’m going to say (sometimes, I’ll even write it down and sound it out slowly in my head beforehand), say it, and then leave it be. I tell myself I did the best that I could do and move on. I don’t let myself think about it for the sake of my well-being and happiness. Occasionally, I do clarify something with someone later, though. Like if I think they got the wrong impression, I’ll just take them aside and tell them what my intentions were or tell them what I wanted to say before in a different way. But, regardless, even if you don’t plan what you’re going to say and just say it, you did the best that you could do in that moment. In that moment, you did the best that you could do with what you knew at the time. We only get one life and it’s our first time around, so we have to give ourselves a break. And this sort of thing happens over and over sometimes. But, don’t let it keep you from answering questions in class. Just raise your hand, say your piece and be proud of yourself for even trying. You deserve to take that opportunity to answer those questions. You deserve the best lot in life. I didn’t answer a lot of questions when I was in school that I could have answered and I regret it.

    Cont…

  • Funky Monkey October 31st, 2012 11:35 PM

    In regards to telling yourself that you don’t know about things, this is also something I struggle with. Sometimes, we don’t give ourselves enough credit and we know more than we think. Other times, we don’t know and we just want to have our say anyway. The latter is me. I always want to weigh in on what other people are talking about. The key, I think, is not letting yourself get in too deep. Just talk about what you know about. I don’t know if that’s relevant or not, but I just thought I’d put it out there in case other people could use it. I’m still working on it.

  • kittenmix November 1st, 2012 1:11 AM

    Katherine I feel you SO much I had my major english exam today and I think I may have messed it up entirely because I just didn’t believe that I had the authority to talk about anything we studied, and i couldnt express myself, so everything came out vapid and insincere (booo hissss everything sux)

  • sophiethewitch November 1st, 2012 2:31 AM

    Naomi, your entry is beautiful!

  • Shanti November 1st, 2012 4:56 AM

    I feel so unintelligent and shallow saying this after reading these amazing, perfect articles, but… OH MY GOD Ruby i love you! I’M PRINCESS BUBBLEGUM TOO!! <3

  • tothestart November 1st, 2012 12:32 PM

    I’ve been feeling kind of similar to Katherine. I recently started at uni and all my new friends seem to move through conversations so fast that I can’t keep up. I come from a different background and I don’t know about things like classical music and I’m not very good at talking about history or literature. Anything I do come out with sounds really basic and obvious, so I tend to just drop out of conversations completely! I like Yoko Ono’s advice on this though- ‘You might be articulating your thoughts more than you care to know. Don’t worry. You are alright. You don’t have to rush to be someone else.’

  • Ella W November 1st, 2012 2:50 PM

    First of all, Caitlin, those are some seriously cool and inspirational halloween outfit ideas. I personally would have gone for Van Gogh’s severed ear!
    Katherine. I completely understand what you’re going through. Until very recently all my teacher reports included the statement ‘Ella is very quiet’ or ‘Ella needs to speak up more’ or ‘Ella needs to become more confident’. Recently, I’ve become a bit more speaky uppy, but I still worry that what I say won’t be cool or intelligent or whatever. It always seems that everyone else is so much more eloquent than I am, and although I know exactly what I want to say, I never quite get it out right. I then spend forever afterwards thinking about what I should have said, and how everything I did say was completely stupid and embarrassing.
    I don’t have any tips on how to speak up more. Just do it, and try not to imagine what could or should have happened afterwards (although I always do).

  • Jes November 1st, 2012 3:00 PM

    Naomi- I’m happy you are happy.

  • Miss Erin November 1st, 2012 8:13 PM

    NAOMI – That was a beautiful, gorgeous post. I’m so glad you had that night, and thank you for sharing it with us in your writing.

    KATHERINE – I have a suggestion of something you can maybe try, which is saying things out loud when you’re by yourself. To practice. This actually can be REALLY helpful–firstly because, like you said, things NEVER come out the same when you speak as they are in your head, so actually literally voicing them (and getting practice in doing so) is important and helpful. And secondly, because then, since you’re by yourself, no one’s judging you, and you can keep talking/saying the same things/having conversations out loud and correcting until you’ve got it sounding a bit more like how you mean it. (This sounds crazy, maybe, but I’m serious about it on a practical level. IT HELPS.)

  • Juliane November 2nd, 2012 10:48 AM

    Naomi, I really enjoyed reading your entry!

  • Juliane November 2nd, 2012 11:37 AM

    Katherine, this entry is really goog, I can understand what you mean and I think you ARE able to express your feelings.
    But I often feel the same way, too. For example when I try to make a comment for Rookie. I live in Germany and I have problems to express things in English. I just started my own blog, because I always feel like that there’s so much I want to say but when I start to write, the words don’t come out. Or I write anything but when I have finished I’m sure that nobody will understand what I mean.
    I hope YOU understand now what I mean. :-)

    This is my blog:
    http://zsvdvaaevw.blogspot.fr/
    It’s in German so most of you won’t be interested but I hope that there are German Rookies out there, too. :)

  • Tiger November 2nd, 2012 7:40 PM

    Caitlin– cutest illustration ever.

  • Gabby November 2nd, 2012 10:24 PM

    KATHERINE! I feel the exact same way. College is weird, but I think we’re both geniuses so it’s ok.

  • AlexH November 3rd, 2012 3:49 PM

    hey rookie! quick question: if I submit something and don’t hear back for a while, is it safe to assume you haven’t gotten around to reading it yet? will I hear from you if you decide to not use my piece? thanks!

  • Franckswife November 8th, 2012 2:23 PM

    Caitlin, just marry me please.