My dad keeps on doing this thing where after he talks to me about helping him stain the porch or about when I might get a job, he starts to tell me what a good life I have. He tells me that even though I hated people at my high school, I received a great education and I have pretty much everything I need and most of the things I want. He usually references these diaries as examples of my dissatisfaction.
I explain to him that it’s the nature of a diary to write what’s on my mind and not to say things like: “I woke up. I rewatched some Gilmore Girls and came up with darker endings. In one episode, Rory poisons Dean’s food in a feminist rage after he says he likes the idea of having a wife who does the housework in a dress and pearls. After that, Rory and Lorelai off anyone who makes a sexist remark. By the end, Emily and Richard reveal that they actually murdered a man to get that vacation home in Martha’s Vineyard. The last shot is of Babette’s late cat Cinnamon rising from the grave to take revenge on Luke, who served meatloaf, of all things, at the wake. Then I read, got McFlurries with Davis, and lip-synched for my life to Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Take a Picture’ and it was really fun.” That’s a pretty shitty diary.
However, I’ve noticed, and so has my dad, that this idea of a tragic Katherine, one who constantly longs for human interaction like a character in Winesburg, Ohio, often shows up in my writing and my sense of humor. She’s part of my persona, even though it’s not how I want to think of myself or how I want to be. My high-school social life was not the most vibrant, but as one of my friends once told me, “You can be a total bitch sometimes.” Which is totally true.
It’s just like this Winesburg Katherine is always calling me on the phone to remind me she exists. And I’m like, “What are you doing? Go the fuck away.” And in her best Ghostface voice, she’s all, “I AM YOU. I’M IN YOUR SPEECH, YOUR CHARACTER, YOUR 3 PM POP-TART.” And I’m like, “Sorry for leading you on, but I don’t want you here anymore.” At which point she just laughs, because she’s in the closet LOOK BEHIND YOU.
I don’t want to write a Thanksgiving-table diary, and I will never write one, but my portrayal of myself makes me sound like a victim, which I’m not. Yeah, I do feel sad and discontent sometimes, for a number of reasons, and that’s interesting to write about. But more often it’s my choice to spend a lot of time by myself, and I know that other people think that’s a bummer, so that’s the way I represent it. I don’t know how to shake Winesburg Katherine, but I just want to be as honest as possible. ♦