Dear Diary

April 24, 2013

“Some things are hard to write about.” —Sylvia Plath


Some days certain societal expectations/conventions get to be too much for me, and I have the urge to retreat, but I feel torn. There is a particular mood I get into sometimes wherein I don’t want to go out but I don’t want to stay in either. I don’t want to talk to people but I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be seen but I don’t want to hide.

I’m expected to go out and have “fun” all the time, to have a boyfriend, to have girlfriends, to be popular, to be clever, to know everything, to be interesting, to get good grades but not be a smartass, to look pretty, to wear nice clothes, to be happy, to be nice to everyone, to not get angry, to not have feelings, to not cry (but not be heartless either). To be independent, self-sufficient, stoic; to keep it together on my own, and not rely on others. To not get tired, to have good posture, to be fit and healthy, to eat enough but not too much, to exercise, to hold my alcohol, to know my future, to not get scared. To have a clean bedroom, to live a clean life but not be a goody-goody, to be fun and easygoing but not kiss too many strangers, to not be a prude or a virgin, but not be a slut either. To not be annoying or irritating, not like anybody too much, not be a hassle of a friend, not an attention-seeker, don’t be needy, don’t be too nice but be careful not to be selfish. To be tough, to not show weakness or naïveté or ignorance, to have an opinion but not too much of an opinion, to speak up but always know my place.

It’s this and more every single day, and it’s exacerbated by people I know and people I meet who neither acknowledge nor even try to comprehend the massive pressure placed on women in this world and the connection between that and women’s rights or (whisper the word) feminism. People who don’t get why I might want to live in a society where these pressures don’t have the power to make me, my friends, and other young women feel intensely bad about ourselves.

A discussion in my politics class this week added a whole new bundle of demands to the list: don’t go to therapy (it doesn’t work), don’t take medication (you’ll just build up a reliance), don’t like Sylvia Plath (she is a “narcissistic bitch”), don’t argue that Sylvia Plath wasn’t a narcissistic bitch (it was “just an opinion”), don’t have any constructive discussions, but rather just throw your stubborn opinions at one another.

I’m a young woman living in a country that has normalised the sexualisation and objectification of women to such an extent that the biggest-selling tabloid newspaper features a topless female model on the third page of every issue, but what some people seem to find far more objectionable is the idea of a woman pointing a mirror at herself, staring at her own reflection, and exploring more than her appearance—Plath wrote about her psyche, her pains, and her pleasures. She wrote about the limited roles in life available to her as a woman in the 1950s and early ’60s, and how those constraints drove her to despair, depression, and self-destruction. Even if her writing is not exactly to your taste, surely you can appreciate what an achievement The Bell Jar was, and you must be able to see, if not enjoy, Plath’s astonishing talent, no? But apparently some people find nothing to admire in a person who, in the midst of a culture that constantly told her that her value is as a wife and a mother, and nothing more, became well known and earned the respect of a male-dominated literary scene by writing about her private life, thoughts, and emotions—no, that just makes her a “narcissistic bitch.”

My politics class is full of strongly opinionated boys, and it is hard to make my voice heard over theirs. It’s also tough to keep my passion and anger down, to force my words into coherence, in any debate or argument that means something to me. There was a study last fall that concluded women spoke less when surrounded by men. I’ve noticed this tendency in myself, in class, at social occasions, and with family and friends. I will keep trying, though. I don’t care how small I feel, how worn down, how doubtful—I will continue to express my thoughts, feelings, and opinions, because I don’t know who I would be otherwise.

Maybe this makes me too a “narcissistic bitch.” Well then, I’m in good company. ♦


1 2 3 4 5


  • Freddie April 24th, 2013 7:14 PM

    Naomi I love your diary this week – totally relatable and great inspiration for others to keep trying too!! (sometimes it’s so hard…)

    • paige.xo April 25th, 2013 6:46 AM

      same! naomi, i love your entries so much. i relate to you and you write beautifully…

  • soviet_kitsch April 24th, 2013 7:17 PM

    britney, there is not a lot you can do when someone is seriously depressed, especially if you don’t see each other offline. i know very well how guilty you can feel when somebody is suicidal and you have no idea how to help, but it’s not your fault. i know it’s a cliche, but as long as you showed zoey your love, she probably knew how much you cared for her. lots of love to you. grieving is painful <3

  • o-girl April 24th, 2013 7:31 PM

    I’m sorry about what happened, Britney. You couldn’t have done anything about it, you couldn’t have at all. I hope you feel a ton better, as you totally deserve to. All my love <3

  • MikaylaT April 24th, 2013 7:31 PM

    Oh gosh Britney I’m so sorry. But I want you to know that none of it was your fault, and you were probably one of the best things that happened to your friend. You showed her love and care which maybe she wasn’t getting elsewhere, or from herself. Grieving hurts, and don’t put on a happy mask just because you feel like you have to okay? Don’t bottle up your emotions. If you need someone to talk to I can give you my email or something, okay? Stay strong girly.

  • giov April 24th, 2013 7:47 PM

    Naomi! I feel you SO much. I keep finding myself in my tutorials just counting the minutes occupied by boys talking (mostly) non sense and looking at the other women be silent. The very few men in any of my classes take up so much space, and when I try to do something about I just feel insane for all the pressure.

  • GabbyCat April 24th, 2013 7:50 PM

    I’m so sorry about your loss, Britney. I don’t think you’re being narcissistic at all, and I don’t think you could have done anything to stop things from happening. Sending good vibes your way.

  • Chloe22 April 24th, 2013 7:51 PM

    Naomi, I love your entry so much! I don’t think there is any way to be perfect to everyone. You just have to find the people who respect you and respect your differences. A lot of people always think I’m weird because I have very ”girly” interests, but I also am really into my religion, politics, haute couture fashion, and TV shows from the 70′s. I don’t fit into any grouping, so I am like the epitomy of ”imperfect” by societal standards. It would be so easy to not be selfish and be nice to everyone if everyone would be nice to us!
    I love how male politicians can yell and scream at a UN meeting, but if a teenage girl has an opinion on what’s happening in the world she’s narcissistic.

  • vvk97 April 24th, 2013 8:18 PM

    Absolutely in LOVE with Naomi’s entry. I feel this way all the time, and I’m so grateful that someone put it all into words in the most perfect way possible. Let’s all be Silvia Plath.

  • peppermintmoo April 24th, 2013 8:21 PM

    Britney I’m so sorry. My friend killed herself three years ago when she was twelve and I was fourteen and every day is hard. I have dreams that I call her house and stop her but then I wake up and everything’s the same. I know how it feels to have so many questions but zero answers. You’ll be on my mind tonight.

  • Marian April 24th, 2013 8:26 PM

    Britney, I’m so sorry your friend passed. It sounds like you offered her nothing but love and compassion while she was around. Sending you love over the internet <3

  • Jes April 24th, 2013 8:44 PM


    I also have similar problems containing my passion and anger. Because I am opinionated and passionate about politics and social justice, people label me as crazy. To dismiss me, they label me a super liberal or a feminazi. Sometimes I wonder if they are right, that I go over the top and should chill out more. I want to make change someday, and to do that I need support from people, which I won’t have if they find me crazy.

  • Bene April 24th, 2013 9:09 PM

    Hooray for narcissistic bitches!

  • lizzyheinie April 24th, 2013 9:28 PM

    Haiiii Caitlin I think we are soul sisters and also I might need a book-purchasing intervention

  • Stephie Shen April 24th, 2013 9:36 PM

    I love this so much Naomi!! Can I please use your list as a found poem for my english project?

    • Naomi Morris April 25th, 2013 5:29 AM

      Ermmm i would be HONOURED

  • indigosunday April 24th, 2013 10:25 PM

    Naomi! it’s like every week you crawl into my brain and figure what I’m thinking. I love your entries this week’s especially. if I’m a narcissistic bitch so be it

  • abby111039 April 24th, 2013 10:25 PM

    Naomi, that entry is my ENTIRE LIFE. Thank you a ton for writing that. ^.^

  • landlockedblues April 24th, 2013 10:27 PM

    Britney, I am so, so sorry for your loss. Last year, one of my best friends passed away and it just left me feeling very hollow and scared and worried and awkward and sad. I wish I could tell you that the sadness goes away, and it does sometimes, but I hope you find your own way of coping with what has happened. Something that helped me was realizing how lucky I was to have met my friend and shared good memories with her. I really am sorry and I’m sending you lots of love. <3

  • indigosunday April 24th, 2013 10:30 PM

    ruby…your post, it was really beautiful. I don’t even know what to say because nothing can really express how I feel about this. and know that you can get past this and you guys will be okay and you’ll fix it together ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

  • rhymeswithorange April 24th, 2013 10:54 PM

    Congrats Katherine! I hope you love your new college, you’re awesome.

  • thebrownette April 24th, 2013 10:54 PM

    It would seem that it was a had week for everyone. Keep on going, girls. It’ll be okay in the end. Now if I could just take my own advice…

  • Luz April 24th, 2013 11:03 PM

    Ruby –
    You probably won’t read this, but I figured I might as well give it a shot.
    I think you’re brilliant, you write with real immediacy of feeling and you’re so honest. I don’t want to come across as creepily obsessed, because I’m not, I just relate with so much of what you say and I appreciate how well you say it, I suppose.
    I think you’re one of my favourite “unknown but known of” people in the world.
    Good luck with everything.

  • TinyWarrior April 24th, 2013 11:29 PM


  • Abby April 24th, 2013 11:35 PM

    Naomi I want to be best friends because I think we have the same thoughts all the time.

    Ruby I love you and I hope Zach the Boyfriend (I love that name btw) comes around.

    Katherine CONGRATS!

    Britney, ALL the Internet Hugs. It took me a long time to get over the guilt I felt after my sister tried to kill herself. Time heals, I promise.

  • peanutbuttahlovah April 24th, 2013 11:40 PM

    Wow. Naomi’s post hit really close to home. It reminds me so much of this awful, inescapable feeling that I’ve been dealing with for the past year or so – I can’t tell if it’s just hatred and frustration in the way that women and stereotypically viewed and treated in society, or if I am transgender. I have always been physically attracted to guys, but it’s gotten to the point where I don’t think I could be in a relationship with one because all I would be thinking about the whole time is how much I want to BE him. I don’t enjoy any stereotypically feminine activities. I just want to cut off all my hair, not wear a bra, take off my shirt when I swim or exercise, and be treated like a boy. I’m a minimalist and it’s gotten to the point where I don’t even want to own hair ties. It sounds so stupid, and I know I could do all these things and not be a boy. Society’s constructs of the female and male norms are pressing down all around me, and I feel like if I were to become a boy, I would somehow be “taking the easy way out”, because I am a privileged white girl who doesn’t get bullied and leads a fairly easy life, compared to most. I should feel lucky to be alive, and maybe I shouldn’t indulge in thinking about this. I just feel so miserable being a girl. I don’t know, sorry for rambling.

    • Hally April 25th, 2013 10:15 AM

      Hi PBL! I just read your comment and felt compelled to respond. I think what you are feeling and going through is completely normal, so know that you are not alone. Figuring out your identity is a really hard thing to do! I personally went through many phases, especially in high school, in an effort to understand who I am. My only advice would be to explore. Why not get a short haircut this summer and see how it makes you feel? Bind your chest with bandages one day and see if you are more comfortable. These things are not permanent and are easy to undo, but by experimenting, you will be facing your questions head-on. You may feel better and more “at home” in your own body than ever before. Or you may realize that this approach doesn’t seem like the right fit either and need to keep exploring. Just don’t give up or dismiss yourself as a “privileged white girl.” When it comes to your body, you are entitled to think and feel whatever you want about it. Oh, and I also recommend you check out an author named Riki Wilchins. She deals a lot with topics of gender and sexuality, specifically within the scope of feminism. Good luck! <3

  • Emily Kay April 25th, 2013 12:29 AM

    Congrats, Katherine! I was also accepted as a transfer on Friday to an awesome school! As disappointing as it is that I invested so much energy trying to like it at my current school, it isn’t a tragedy that it didn’t work out. In fact, I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to try something different. Nothing is written in stone. What a great feeling. I am so excited, and I can tell you are too. Things are looking up :)

  • Dylan April 25th, 2013 1:15 AM



  • sugarmilz April 25th, 2013 2:06 AM

    Britney I am so sorry! But it wasn’t your fault, sometimes there is nothing you CAN do.

    Ruby, loved this. I hope you work it out soon, u have a lovely relationship

  • elinoir April 25th, 2013 2:18 AM

    Naomi! That was brilliant! I’ve always loved Sylvia Plath even though it’s kind of cliche to do so and whenever I try to discuss her work people dismiss her as a depressed psycho. I think she’s a genius, and I totally agree that there is just way too much pressure placed on females (on humans as a whole, even) to adhere to standards that are just impossible to meet.

  • Ruby B. April 25th, 2013 6:29 AM

    I am so sorry for your loss, Britney. Never blame yourself.

  • Alexx April 25th, 2013 7:34 AM

    okay so I have two things to say:
    First of all, I’m really sorry that this had to happen..especially since you two were close
    Second of all, I feel you so much right now! something really similar happened to me this week- and with an online friend too..
    I don’t really know what to say since I’m in a similar situation right now so I’ll feel really hypocritical if I give you any advice that I’m not following myself but here it goes..
    Try to realize that what happened is not your fault in any way. since you didn’t know what she was thinking of doing, there probably wasn’t much you could do about it, even if it seems that way now. it’s just good that you were someone she could talk to and relate to. So, no you’re not narcissistic for not having stopped her suicide- you’re actually even less narcissistic for feeling guilty even though there wasn’t much you could do. I hope you feel better soon! (and sorry for the excessively long, probably not-helpful-in-any-way comment!)

  • Wren April 25th, 2013 10:18 AM

    Ruby – I’ve been living with my chronically depressed boyfriend whom I love very very much for the past nine years, since we were teenagers in fact.
    He usually has a bubbly loving personality but will sometimes go cold and unresponsive and I miss him so much (even though we see each other every day).
    Sometimes you just have to take a step back and let them sort themselves out… it’s hard but all you can do is be supportive and patient.
    Stay strong ♥

  • stelliform April 25th, 2013 10:59 AM

    Naomi, I loved your entry. I am also constantly trying to find balance between the characteristics you listed in the first paragraph (even though it’s a little silly to do so). You are so right about Sylvia and The Bell Jar and standing up for yourself. Don’t give up. You’re awesome.

    Ruby, reading your entry was eerie for me. My ex-boyfriend’s name is Zach, spelled exactly the same way. He and I dated for a long time (over a year) and I felt (well, I still feel) similarly about him as you seem to about your boyfriend––he made me happier than anyone else ever has. Anyway, we broke up last month because I was severely depressed for the first three months of this year. He fell out of love with the person I was when I was sad. I am not saying this is going to happen to you; it sounds like you two will be able to work something out, and you’re very brave and loving to be willing to take a break from him if necessary. Just know that it isn’t your fault that you’re struggling mentally and emotionally right now. You’re young. He’s young. I’m young. It’s hard to know what to do about such intense and complex emotional situations. Taking a break might be healthy. It’ll hurt, and you’ll miss him, but you might be able to work it out someday. (I’m only saying this in case it ever happens! I don’t think your situation will be exactly like mine whatsoever. This is for future comfort if needed.) You are awesome, and you will heal with or without him. Keep loving him and everything will be fine. :)

  • Saana V April 25th, 2013 5:25 PM

    Oh Britney, that is the hardest thing ever.
    One of my internet friends was suicidal when i was about, what 13? or so. I grew up a lot during that time and every morning i was afraid of seeing a status on her fb page or getting a message from her mother but i didn’t thank god for that.

    The worst thing was that when I told to an irl friend about how i was worried about her all i got was a “meh.” Like, when she took an overdose and passed out for a few hours i called to her several times before calling to my friends who just said something about not having to worry bc “she’s your internet friend. not a real friend.” it made me feel even worse. So yes, i understand how you feel when your mother wants you to smile.

    You must smile some day tho. Don’t let her turn to a memory too fast, but don’t let her turn to a ghost either. Everything gets better by time.
    Hugs, kisses and chocolate for you.

  • clairedh April 25th, 2013 7:56 PM

    These diaries are so well-written, they make me a better person because I’m able to be more compassionate, especially when I have never experienced the same things. Thanks Rookie.
    Naomi, I’m reading A Room Of One’s Own at the moment and Virginia <3 talks about how men need to make women inferior so they can keep up their own self confidence. I don't explain it well but reading it really helped me in thinking about men/people from a new perspective (try Anais Nin <3 for this too). If you haven't already I totally suggest checking it out (it's short).
    And remember that other women feel exactly the same! I used to be super quiet in classes too but always admired the one girl who would speak out and get into arguments. You never know, you might be helping another girl in your class to find her voice…
    Ps. love you all, slow down, take it all in, i wish there was more than 4/5 diarists

  • 3LL3NH April 25th, 2013 10:18 PM

    Katherine, I loved your entry, most especially the bit about the Matrix. Congrats!

    Ruby… it’s not the same, but I told one of closest friends, the first friend I had told without them first noticing and asking, that I self-harm, and she avoided talking to me more than politely for two weeks, even in my six person dance class. She recently let me know that it was a huge blow to her system, she didn’t know how to respond, felt she lost me when I told her. I really hope that Zach finds the strength to talk it through with you. Who you are is beautiful.

  • erinaudrey April 25th, 2013 11:34 PM

    Naomi’s entry was amazing… I had to print it out and tack the first bit on my wall. It’s like this perfect echo of how I’ve been feeling lately and reading this it was just like “I’m not the only one!” And I love Sylvia Plath, she’s so amazing….

  • Maradoll Mynx April 26th, 2013 7:17 PM

    Yep. Never ceases to totally amaze me when I see how entitled the boys in class seem to feel when discussing their opinions, their heroes, this canon of writing which is totally male-centric.

    They seem to completely buy into some thought that all of this writing coming out of one socio-perspective could be completely multi-faceted and omnirelevant. It isn’t. How could it be. How is this not even questioned by them?

    Also amazes me how comfortable and confident they feel when speaking out their opinions. I’d give my right one to be half as comfortable in my own skin.

  • robynjean April 27th, 2013 10:04 AM

    beautiful writing. i really enjoyed reading this. thank you.