Dear Diary

May 8, 2013

Anti: boys, school. Pro: dancing, drag queens.

Katherine

In my early teenage years, between the ages of 12 to 16, I was very restrained. Restraint was more than a behavior for me; it was a core belief: I believed that I should be quiet and reserved, that I shouldn’t be noticed, that I should practice moral restraint, and that if you disagreed with an oppressive or faulty institution or system of power, the best way to change it was to make that system work for you, rather than do something crazy like try to overthrow the bad system. I felt very dull during that time, like I was looking at the world through a fogged-up lens.

Somewhere around my 16th birthday, I stopped believing in God. I separated from my former friend group. I started writing more. Then these weird moments started happening, these abrupt shifts in consciousness that take over my brain without warning. It happens like this: I’m doing some banal task—sitting in class, starting my car, or about to fall asleep—and then suddenly everything feels different. I become completely aware that I’m a human and of what that means. I’m aware of every part of my anatomy and can feel mortality in the front balls of my feet. The objects around me become outlined in light. This lasts about 30 seconds before I return to my former state, but with a residual hyperconsciousness that fades after about a minute.

These moments have been occurring with greater and greater frequency. I want them to happen more and last longer, because they’re the one time when I feel like I can turn off all of my brain’s pragmatic, rational filters and act on instinct. I feel fully myself, like I have my very own mind that’s separate from everybody else’s. I no longer feel like a zombie.

I just finished my freshman year of college, and my only year at this particular college. During my final month there I felt like the lens I was looking at the world through turned the color that Cheeto dust turns after it’s soaked up the moisture at the tips of your fingers: a toxic and aggressive orange. I stopped showering and doing laundry and stayed in my room as much as I could. If I was hungry, I got something from the basement vending machines, and I was so on edge that I screamed in fear every time one of my roommates came into the room late at night. I skipped the classes that had lots of students in them, and the stuff we were being taught in the other ones seemed cheap and consumable and made me feel sick. I felt like everything around me was coated in some sticky substance, and I didn’t want to look at or touch anything I didn’t have to. Sometimes I went to hang out with my brother and started to feel better for a while, but my former state of mind would return as soon as I returned to my dorm.

Final exams ended last week, and I moved out. My RA did an obligatory final check of my dorm room before I left. The walls were white and ripped in several places from where I hung lights and a banner, and the rest of the room looked clean and empty. I kept on saying how weird the room looked now that we were all moving out, but that’s not how I felt. The room looked how it always felt to me: white and empty.

I’m home now, and my mental state can best be described as lukewarm water dribbling from the faucet—no longer grimy Cheeto-dust orange, but still a little murky. I’m trying to shock myself into my hyper-aware state by reading, talking to my brother, and trying to think in full sentences—those things do the trick sometimes. I wonder if I can ever make that state permanent. I wonder if that happens when you grow up. ♦

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27 Comments

  • FreeksandTwinPeaks May 8th, 2013 7:30 PM

    THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY AND I FEEL LIKE PRANCING AROUND I LOVE THIS ARTICLE FOREVER <3333 Thank you!!!!!

  • FreeksandTwinPeaks May 8th, 2013 7:36 PM

    I can relate sooooooo much like that’s why I’m so happy!!!

    http://spookyteen.tumblr.com/

  • loonylizzy May 8th, 2013 7:46 PM

    so relating to these posts right now… stress, anxiety, stupid ex-boyfriends, i have it all. hopefully i’ll discover a peace of mind like naomi or start having magical epiphanies about my humanity like katherine. that way my mind can quit being a constant stream of pandemonium and discord :P

    http://www.theflightoftheflamingo.blogspot.com

  • maddieT May 8th, 2013 7:49 PM

    BRITNEY girl i feel you romeo and juliet might be a good play but in school it’s just a nightmare on wheels.

    ladieslovescience.tumblr.com

  • Kaetlebugg May 8th, 2013 7:51 PM

    Gooo Ruby!!! ALSO to Britney: I PROMISE IT GETS BETTER! YOU DON’T HAVE EIGHT MORE YEARS OF THIS! I hated 8th grade and freshman year and I was so stressed and I was like “how on earth is this going to be my whole life???” but I promise it won’t. I’m not saying high school is going to be a picnic, but once you get to start classes you actually like (probably around 11th grade, but certainly in college) you won’t end the day drained. Instead you will end the day perhaps somewhat tired but also intellectually stimulated!! Also I promise it is totally possible to just get better equipped to handle the stress. I don’t mean to sound condescending at all because I can totally relate, but one word of advice: touch. I remember one week freshman year was the most stressful week of my life at that point and I was literally about to cry/starting to weep one day when I wordlessly hugged my friend and she hugged me back, and I immediately started to calm down. Hugs can be mighty.

  • GlitterKitty May 8th, 2013 7:59 PM

    Ugh Britney I feel you girl. End of school is soooo stressful and exams are just ewwww. I’m so stressed out with school and have so much to do (so the obvious decision was to go on Rookie).

    And Ruby’s friend Sam sounds lovely.

  • Moxx May 8th, 2013 8:03 PM

    yessss, j’aime trooooop La Cage Aux Folles!

    the film is great, too. (the original, not the american version)

  • ColoredSoft May 8th, 2013 8:06 PM

    Katherine, you’re worrying me.

  • Kourtney May 8th, 2013 8:15 PM

    Ruby, I am rooting for you. And I’m glad you have Sam! He sounds like a pretty awesome dude. Britney, I feeeel you. At the beginning of the year I told myself that I’d actually work hard this year and get good grades, and I did. We’re in May now, though, and every essay/homework assignment/test just seems unnecessary. I can’t wait until school is over.

  • Julia May 8th, 2013 9:11 PM

    i’m really happy for your newfound confidence, ruby! please keep in mind, though, that “female” and “woman” and “feminine” are not synonymous. you made the distinction between your gender and expression- femininity/masculinity- but, reminder, female refers to the sex. so femininity is not limited to women, and neither are limited to females.

    awesome discoveries, though!

  • sabrinalee May 8th, 2013 9:18 PM

    oh, Ruby. I worry about you. Your life seems to mimic my former years too closely. I recently found out my ex-fiancee has gotten his 18 year old girlfriend pregnant, which just devastated me for so many reasons. I digress.
    But I came to the conclusion: you know what you had was real. It was true. The truth can change from moment to moment, but just because it changed doesn’t mean that what you had wasn’t true.

  • Chloe22 May 8th, 2013 9:27 PM

    Ah, all the stress the end of the school year brings…;p
    http://rhinestonemoon.blogspot.com/

  • indigosunday May 8th, 2013 10:14 PM

    it’s weird for me that I know exactly what Katherine is talking about and I’ve been in that place and sometimes I think I’m slipping into it too often

  • elliecp May 9th, 2013 1:29 AM

    Ahh britney I totally get how you feel…love this post, thankyou guys <3

    http://roseandvintage.blogspot.com/

  • eremiomania May 9th, 2013 1:42 AM

    Ruby your article empowered me like La Cage aux Folles empowered you. I am so happy for you! I’m also completely jealous of your friend Sam, he seems really great and I’m so glad you have such a supportive friend.

  • Eileen May 9th, 2013 10:54 AM

    I loved Katherine’s! I feel like the only thing you CAN do in those peculiar states is just write about it; put it out unto the universe, that way it doesn’t feel like it’s your problem anymore.. Like it now becomes a thought floating around to all who will listen, and it becomes less of a tumor growing inside of your throat. I love that you can take a step back and observe all of that, maybe watch a Disney movie…? that usually gives me some perspective. I recommend The Little Mermaid.
    http://waitingforeuro.blogspot.com/

  • Yayo May 9th, 2013 11:16 AM

    ”Then these weird moments started happening, these abrupt shifts in consciousness that take over my brain without warning. It happens like this: I’m doing some banal task—sitting in class, starting my car, or about to fall asleep—and then suddenly everything feels different. I become completely aware that I’m a human and of what that means. I’m aware of every part of my anatomy and can feel mortality in the front balls of my feet. The objects around me become outlined in light. This lasts about 30 seconds before I return to my former state, but with a residual hyperconsciousness that fades after about a minute”

    Oh MY GOSH KATHERINE.
    I have a wall in my bedroom that I write down quotes books or poems or songs that I think are just literary genius. I just added your paragraph.

    You’re up there with Wilfred Owens, Lana Del Rey, Harper Lee.

    I relate to it so much I started to cry.

  • I W May 9th, 2013 11:35 AM

    Katherine- I get those moments! I’ve never heard anyone else talk about them, but they must happen to most people, right?
    Also, that sucks about the Cheeto-dust thing, but I’m glad you’re feeling better.
    http://doxographies.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Saana V May 9th, 2013 12:41 PM

    Britney, are we the same person? I’m so fed up with school this moment and i’m having five important tests next week and for some reason they define my future (every test we have does. ha no pressure there) soooo yeah.

  • Clara Barnes May 9th, 2013 2:38 PM

    Caitlin, why did you delete your blog? I loved it so much!

  • junebug May 9th, 2013 4:46 PM

    Ruby, I don’t understand how you can be so much younger than me but deal with/write about my emotions so much better than me. Love this one. Screw the ex–you have better things to think about.

  • jill May 9th, 2013 5:34 PM

    SAM IS BRIAN KRAKOW!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ally_O May 9th, 2013 6:22 PM

    RUBY YOU ARE SO AWESOME!! Reading the first part of your entry broke my heart because I’ve gone through the exact same thing as you and I know how much it hurts. Clearly, though, your ex-boyfriend is a major jerk, not only because he’s already hooking up with new girls but because he thought those guys calling you names were funny. I’m glad you have someone like Sam in your life, and I’m glad you’ve come to that realization about your gender!

  • abby111039 May 9th, 2013 8:34 PM

    I can relate to all of these…stress, atheism, stupid boys…I love reading these posts ’cause it reminds me that I’m not isolated on an island of problems because other people are dealing with the same stuff. So thanks. <3

  • Maude May 9th, 2013 8:35 PM

    Omg! Caitlyn, where’d your blog go? I always check after reading the diaries, and now I’m so sad.

    • Caitlin H. May 10th, 2013 3:03 PM

      Awwwww Maude, I’m hiding out on the internet for a bit, you may be able to find me.

  • retrogirl23 May 18th, 2013 11:09 PM

    I’m reading Romeo and Juliet too Britney! Are you going to watch the movie with your class?