Dear Diary

August 14, 2013

Everybody’s alone.

Ruby

Rows and rows of desks, dark gray, full of 15-year-olds who don’t want to be here. Well, they kind of do. They want the result: passing a class, getting a decent grade, getting into college. But nobody actually enjoys sitting in class for seven hours, even for driver’s ed.

I don’t know anybody here. It’s a feeling I haven’t felt in a while, and I realize how much I missed it.

I think back to this time two years ago. I had just finished eighth grade at that tiny Quaker school with no friends. There were a couple of people who were just beginning to pass the acquaintance line, but I never worked to make it happen. I didn’t know about or need friends. When you don’t have many friends or a social life, you’re left looking at things instead of doing things. It’s a freedom, of sorts. I had no social expectations or obligations. I was just the weird girl that some people supposedly thought was cool but nobody actually knew. Some people liked me, some hated me, and I felt exactly the same way about them. The problem for me was that everyone noticed me. In a small school, I stood out anyway.

Coming to high school was a dream. It’s the biggest school I’ve ever been to, and my black clothes and platform shoes turn far fewer heads. No one looks at you here.

When I got here I decided to try making friends. It was a reluctant decision—I would have to give up the freedom of not having to deal with social relationships and the risks that come with them (drama, fighting, rejection, being noticed). And it wasn’t easy to do it. I didn’t even know how.

When I hung out with people, I would take notes—facts about them to study and remember. I maintained a short bio for each of my new friends and I studied them. But soon I was speaking to too many people per day to keep track of each one.

I loved this new life. I had studied or this having-friends test and I had passed. I have friends now that I love more than anything. They’re a second family. Really.

But sometimes I miss being alone.

Awkwardly shuffling towards the back of the room, I take a seat between a blond girl in a ribbed white tank top and a guy in a snapback. The girl gives me a disgusted look and shifts her desk noticeably away from me, making her friends giggle. Inside, I smile. I feel utterly alone, and the nostalgia is overwhelming.

When the class ends, I walk into town alone. I loiter outside Dunkin Donuts and people-watch, listening to King Crimson. I go into the woods by the bike path and sit very quietly. I haven’t had a date with myself in at least a month. The breeze blows around me. It’s warm but not at all humid and the wind rustles the leaves just enough. The day is perfect. I remember life without friends. I remember the years when I spent every day like this, and I think of them fondly. I think of all the stories I wrote during that time, the books I read, the music I listened to, the hopeless celebrity crushes, the hopeless real-life crushes, the hopeless friend crushes. Being alone wasn’t all sad—I know myself very, very well because of it.

My cell beeps the Kim Possible pager tone. I take it out. It’s from Ben: What’s up?
And I remember that I have a boyfriend and I have friends and I have a social life and that I unexpectedly love it. I love every one of them. My first-ever friends.

I’m going to keep looking back fondly on those solitary years. I’ll spend days like this occasionally, just watching the day go by. I will always remember the great times I’ve spent with imaginary friends and fictional characters, but those years of romantic lonesomeness are behind me. Deciding to try out real friendship was the best choice I have ever made. ♦

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22 Comments

  • From-Hannah August 14th, 2013 7:37 PM

    Caitlin, I feel the exact same way. Sometimes I feel scared more than anything else. But it is getting better (Rookie has helped a lot). Thank you for putting it into better terms than I have been.

    http://fromhannah-withlove.blogspot.com

  • Aurora August 14th, 2013 7:47 PM

    Ruby B., thank you for knowing exactly how I feel and being another 15 year old with the Kimmunicator ringtone.

  • Amal August 14th, 2013 8:15 PM

    These are so beautiful! Dear diaries always put my thoughts into words and I loved the concept of these ones!

    http://www.tutusaresweeter.com

  • emseely August 14th, 2013 8:22 PM

    Naomi… I hope you feel better soon. I wish we were friends IRL, I feel like we would have a lot to talk about.

  • Imogen-Rose August 14th, 2013 8:24 PM

    Ruby I love your ringtone! <3

  • taste test August 14th, 2013 11:47 PM

    ruby, thanks for reminding me that there are some good things that I might actually look back on fondly about right now. & also reminding me that it won’t be like this forever.

    http://xyzzyzzyzx.blogspot.com

  • book_kitty August 15th, 2013 12:29 AM

    Just a heads up to staff that rubys diary link goes to Brittany’s right now.

    • Danielle August 15th, 2013 2:10 AM

      Thank you for the heads up!

  • FluffAndSparkles August 15th, 2013 2:18 AM

    Oh cool, I live in NYC too Britney!

  • LeavesThatAreGreen August 15th, 2013 8:18 AM

    Oh, Caitlin, I can relate to that so much. I am (and have always been) afraid of e v e r y t h i n g. My fearfulness has led to some serious test anxiety and some kind of receiving-grades-phobia. I’m also super scared of growing up, uhg. I only have one year left until I’ll have to “decide what to do with my life”, which scares the shit out of me.

  • rottedteeth August 15th, 2013 10:58 AM

    I love Caitlin’s comic/artwork. Very relatable.

    http://empassant.blogspot.com/

  • Katzemuse August 15th, 2013 12:13 PM

    lovely, lovely, beautiful. all of you.

  • Tavi August 15th, 2013 1:50 PM

    Ruby, one of my best friends and I are constantly going I USED TO DO SO MUCH MORE AND WATCH MORE MOVIES AND READ MORE and then we remember, like you did, oh yeah, that was before high school/friends. Freaks and Geeks came into my life in 8th grade and I was sitting in bed making collages when I saw this part-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmCpmEQD0L4
    -and it totally resonated with me in the warmest, fuzziest, least-sad way.

    Hugs to all of you <3 I loved this week’s so much, Caitlin.

  • Saana V August 15th, 2013 2:45 PM

    Ruby i feel you.

  • GlitterKitty August 15th, 2013 4:07 PM

    Oh Caitlin I feel you girl. School scares me so much. So does growing up. I go back and forth between “I don’t want to grow up, it’s so scary” and “I really need to stop being so childish and grow up”. Ugh. But lovely artwork this week.

  • Miss_y August 16th, 2013 1:21 PM

    I relate with all the diaries a little. On the last real vacation I went on, my older sister wound up forcing Mr into being a third wheel while she walked around with a guy she found at the park (we weren’t allowed to walk alone). Eventually I just said forget it and left. Feeling left out is way too common for me. Sometimes I enjoy being alone but at other moments I can’t stand it.

  • 3LL3NH August 16th, 2013 3:07 PM

    Oh Ruby, reading your entry made me smile in the most genuine way. I have the same comfort in feeling alone- I just finished high school, and that gives me freedom to think about what friends are still important and which ones were “high school friends” that I can drift away from. I’ve been doing things with myself a lot, and the only time I see people is at my new job, which is a nice environment, and the people there make me happy, but when I leave I’m still alone, and it is freeing. I just love that.

  • rahima August 17th, 2013 5:21 AM

    Ruby, i love your article. it made my heart smile and my eyes teary. i feel alone too. mostly because people don’t understand me and it sucks how some of the people i love despise me. i don’t really know how to fix it. i’m really hoping that in the future things will get better but in the meantime, i’ll just hang out with my friends. they may not know me better than i know myself, but at least i have someone to run to when things get rough. your article sort of made me feel like i’m not alone in my loneliness and so i thank you ♥

  • daisy-by-marc August 18th, 2013 1:19 PM

    I loved all three of this weeks entries, Ruby yours resonated most within me. <3 love and hugs to all three of you. xx

    http://daisybeech.blogspot.co.uk/

  • abby111039 August 19th, 2013 7:15 PM

    Caitlin: I feel ya, girl. I’m can literally find something to be scared of in everything. EVERYTHING. No matter how small the detail or aspect, I can be scared of it.

    Naomi: Keep walking that path girl. No matter what happens just keep going forward, even if you’re walking towards something you can’t see or don’t know. Even if you’re walking blind. I’m in that place right now, walking blindly to an unknown future. But you’re walking and so am I. And there are many people out there walking these paths as well. Perhaps we’re all walking together. Stay strong, my dear. <3

    Ruby: I'm proud of you for taking that chance, as it has made you happier in the end, no matter how hard it was at first. I am proud and a little jealous because I wish I could do the same. But I'm mostly proud. ^_^

    Britney: I know those feels. Being the odd one out, and feeling bad for being upset about that when it's a friend who's become happy. I know. Just remember you're not wrong for feeling upset or lonely at all.

  • MaddyGrace August 26th, 2013 9:44 AM

    I identify so strongly with this. Especially the bit about being scared of the elderly. I wouldn’t say I’m scared but it makes me feel sad when I see an elderly person struggle to do things that I can do so easily. And then I guess I feel scared because we all will end up there one day, where things won’t just be easy and I shouldn’t take for granted how lucky I am right now even though it doesn’t always feel like it.

    Anyways. Great storyboard. Really resonated with me. xx

    http://www.maddygraces.blogspot.com