Dear Diary

August 21, 2013

Summer’s over.


Summer is over. On Monday I’ll be wandering the hallways clutching my schedule, trying to find my first-period class. I’ll be wearing my new ankle boots. I will have have done something special with my hair for the first day of school as a reminder to myself that I plan on caring this year.

What I’m not going to do: End up in a mental hospital. Fail my classes. Fall into toxic friendships, or skip class to read Nabokov and check under the stairs. I’m not going to storm out of class to protest every unjust action committed by the teacher. For the next three years I will tone down my nihilism, because it will make my life easier in general (less getting in trouble, less going to summer school, less people deciding I’m an idiot).

When I got out of the hospital last year, I felt an urge to shatter every social convention and arbitrary rule I came across. I burst into my now-boyfriend’s classroom, gave a speech about anarchy or some carpe diem shit (yeah, I don’t know), grabbed his hand, and dragged him out of there, yelling, “Let’s ditch this hole and explore the universe together!” I got way too sassy with teachers, even the ones I actually respected, and never did any of my work. I skipped most of my classes and walked in and out of other classrooms all day, sampling AP literature and music theory classes according to my whims.

My friends were concerned. “Why are you doing this?” one of them asked me. “You have to graduate. You’re going to be a super-senior. Just go to class sometimes. You think it doesn’t matter but it does.”

“Not if I’m dead before the opportunity to graduate is even possible,” I said darkly (I said everything darkly then). “I’m not wasting my time on this bullshit. It’s going to matter for you, so you go to class.” No wonder they were worried.

Then summer came, and I decided that I wasn’t going to die. As soon as I didn’t have to go to school anymore, I felt happy. For real. For the first time in as long as I can remember.

The past year has been nonstop torture. I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t do anything. I hated myself and everyone around me. I hated the whole world. I had started taking some anti-anxiety meds, and suddenly nothing mattered to me. I didn’t care about anything, and that was OK with me. Ruining my life would at least alleviate the boredom.

Everyone seemed to see my behavior as attention-seeking self-pity. Every time I dragged my heavy boots into history class and threw my bag on the floor as I collapsed into my seat, I would hear a loud voice coming from a cluster of girls a few rows back. “Hey, mall goth—the ’90s are over. Get over your angst trip.”

The last time this happened I got up and walked over to the girl’s desk. “I’ve always thought ’90s mall goths were the best kind,” I said, affecting my best innocent-naïf voice. “Am I wrong, you pretentious hipster asshole?” I waited for a response, but her jaw just dropped. The room fell silent. “I’m sorry,” I continued, “that’s probably just the angst talking. I’m having a bad trip.” On my way out the door I gave her a little wink and said, “Later, doll.”

I had never been that way before. What was even going on? Was it the medication? Was it the depression? Was it the pressure of being trapped in the one place I’d rather die than occupy?

I don’t know why everything changed last year. School was worse than ever and so was I. Behaviorally and academically, I was a failed student. And I didn’t die, so now I’m going to have to deal with the consequences.

This summer I spent a month in summer school. I felt like I didn’t belong there. I was a straight-A student before I stopped trying. Now I was in the school library, surrounded by kids who could barely read or do fifth-grade math, 20-year-old seniors, and a guy who asked me how to spell circle.

I used to be so nice to everyone. I used to be a pacifist and a peacemaker. I hated chaos and strove to make people happy and to make them like me. I would never consider retaliating against someone who made a snide comment at me—I might leave the room, but only to burst into tears and feel worthless.

This year I feel the same as last year. When I think about school I want to punch something. I feel angry and sad. I am hoping that I can coast through the year on the power of my summer happiness. I want to get my shit together this year. I can do this.

The first time I set foot in this school as a freshman was just a couple of months after my mom died. The first person I spoke to warned me to never even look at her or her friends, “or else.” This year, I’ll be walking in with my best friends—the people who saved me last year. I’m going to walk into tenth grade in my brand new ankle boots and get shit done. ♦


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  • mscorgancobain August 21st, 2013 7:25 PM

    Oh Ruby, you go and get shit done girl! I know you can do it. Also, 90′s mall-goths are literally the best type of goths.

  • strawberryhair August 21st, 2013 7:30 PM

    I hope you have a really good year, Ruby. And I would lovelovelove to have you burst into my History class like that <3

  • Dylan August 21st, 2013 7:33 PM




  • ColoredSoft August 21st, 2013 7:35 PM

    I love all of you guys…so much…we can get through this year, okay? We will.

  • TessAnnesley August 21st, 2013 7:45 PM

    Darling Ruby, I know how it feels to be so dark inside and to do things for no reason, anything to try and stop it hurting – but you’ve survived, and I know this year is going to be awesome for you. Ankle boots and all. YOU CAN D IT!!!!

  • o-girl August 21st, 2013 7:50 PM

    dear ruby,
    I love your diary entry so much, probably because it hits very close to home. I am dreading school, but telling myself the words Kate Nash tells me–that I’m a “badass bitch from hell and no one can fuck with me.” That I will get straight A’s and always pay attention and write tons and have a soundtrack and really great style and it makes me feel better to know that being who I want to be is possible. That I really am who I want to be and improving (trying not to make this sound like I really hate myself, because all I’m saying is that I have faults that are so easy to fix) is possible. That maybe, despite the cliches, the new school year is actually a chance to have a new mindset. I know that you’re brilliant, that you’re amazing and gorgeous and I know you know that too (and I know you don’t give a shit if those “hipster assholes” don’t understand that). I don’t know where this is leading, so I’ll just say that I love you and go and try to find about new things and learn and be awesome and that it’s possible to have a fun school year (I didn’t realize this until I wrote it).

  • Monica B August 21st, 2013 8:01 PM

    Hey Ruby –

    I’ve got it goin’ on as well. By that, I mean, I spent the last school year depressed and angry and apathetic for seemingly no reason at all. I wasn’t as depressed as you; then again, how do you compare a state like that? Maybe I just had a different depression, one that made me gloss over when someone said something mean about my shoes, one that made me listless, too tired to think or exist or do anything.

    So now, when I think about school, I think about that. I don’t get angry and want to punch something like you do – I have no momentum. My potential energy is so low. I just get scared, scared that it’s all going to be like that again. It’s been two days and I already feel the apathy creeping in, I’ve thought about ditching like six classes. It seems like all I can do to make it NOT as awful as next year, as pointless, as wasteful. I’m trying, and I see you’re trying too. We can both do it.

  • rottedteeth August 21st, 2013 8:06 PM

    Naomi I hope to be in your position in 2 years!

    Ruby I have this sort of mantra I say whenever I’m at school “keep your head down and your mouth shut ” I used to be way too outspoken.

  • dobby_is_my_hero August 21st, 2013 8:07 PM

    Ruby you are one badass bitch. I can totally relate about trying not to have a miserable year this time around even though sometimes loneliness and emptiness are so alluring. I believe in you and I believe you can get through this. Remember the summer. Listen to This Year by the Mountain Goats. You were gloriously happy once and you will be so again. Things matter, people care, there are good days. TEAM RUBY FTW

    • Tavi August 21st, 2013 10:00 PM

      “Things matter, people care, there are good days” is my new mantra, TY.

    • rhymeswithorange August 22nd, 2013 2:26 AM

      I totally listened to This Year the last two years of school, it is a great motivational song :)

  • dobby_is_my_hero August 21st, 2013 8:17 PM

    Britney you are not useless and stupid you are magnificent and dazzling and while your plant metaphor was lovely, I really think you should talk to someone besides the Internet about your sadness because sometimes real people are helpful with addressing real problems and I want you to be not sad. *hugs*

  • Tiger August 21st, 2013 8:47 PM

    Ruby, I love you. You are such an amazing human being, so just, never forget that, no matter how hard life seems. <3 <3

  • Sophie ❤ August 21st, 2013 10:58 PM

    Congrats, Naomi- you’re an amazing writer, so I can see why they chose you!

  • sloththefifth August 21st, 2013 11:46 PM

    Oh girls, my heart is so full of love for you. SO full. These dear diaries and their comments always fill me with a sense of companionship and compassion.

    I don’t know if you have heard of Cheryl Strayed, but she is an author from Portland who writes this out-of-this-world, amazing, makes-your-heart-break-and-then-puts-it-back-together advice column called Dear Sugar for The Rumpus. I’m telling you all this because one day someone wrote her this letter: “Dear Sugar, WTF WTF WTF? I’m asking this question because it applies to everything every day.” Her response was “Ask better questions, Sweet Pea. The fuck is your life. Answer it.”

    xoxoxox K

  • willowrox9 August 22nd, 2013 4:08 AM

    Ruby, please talk to someone about this! Stay strong xx

  • Tara A. August 22nd, 2013 4:09 AM

    Congratulations Naomi! I’m sure you’ll do wonderfully x

  • eremiomania August 22nd, 2013 4:21 AM

    Katherine really makes me sad I’m an only child, wow. And Ruby makes me feel… confident about starting as a freshman? terrified? eager? I’m not quite sure

  • moonshine28 August 22nd, 2013 6:55 AM

    Naomi, I wish you the best in everything! I cry every time I listen to Taylor Swift’s ‘Never Grow Up’ maybe you could give it a listen?!? Love you all xxx

  • Saana V August 22nd, 2013 9:51 AM

    Katherine, I no longer feel alone with how much i love my brother! i mean he’s my role model and best friend and the most important person of my life and everyone just seems to hate their siblings and i’m just ??? why?? because yea man, having a brother is awesome. He’s probably the only person i am never sick of tbh and that’s a big achievement.

    And Ruby – i feel you. All of that. And you know, I did something special for my hair on the first day of school (I’ve survived of two weeks of it by now) but i’ve returned to the good old hobo look now.

  • anything_bas August 22nd, 2013 10:26 AM

    Loved this week’s diaries so much! Naomi so much is waiting for you out there, Katherine you are SRSLY one of my favourite writers and I JUST DIG YOU and Ruby your closing sentence was perfection itself.

  • oh-ntsh August 22nd, 2013 10:48 AM

    Ruby, you’re such an amazing girl and you should feel this badass that you are in every single room that you step foot.

    Britney, I can relate so much to this feeling. Sometimes I’ll try to come with strategies to get through such days but no success so far.

  • LaurenMichele August 22nd, 2013 10:53 AM

    Ruby, I believe in you! I know you can do this! Go get shit done, girl! <3

  • Stienz August 22nd, 2013 11:36 AM

    Ruby. Your diary entries are my favourite thing and if you felt this past year was terrible, at least know that your thoughts were beautiful and made a lot of girls feel less alienated.

    Also, I find your ability to break social conventions and to not only be a nihilist in theory pretty bad-ass.

    Go and get shit done, we believe in you.

  • EchoMox August 22nd, 2013 1:12 PM

    I have to recommend “Teenage Liberation Handbook…” by Grace Llewellyn. Also – “The Day I Became an Autodidact”.

  • Suzy X. August 22nd, 2013 1:59 PM

    Yo Ruby, keep your chin up. You can make it! #MallgothSolidarity

  • Indraswari Sekar August 22nd, 2013 2:07 PM

    I am a 16 yearold student from indonesia & I feel that way too..
    Ruby you are not alone ;)

  • Sekar August 22nd, 2013 2:45 PM

    I am a 16 yearold student from Indonesia & I feel that way too..
    Ruby you are not alone ;)

  • abby111039 August 22nd, 2013 5:22 PM

    Britney and Ruby: major hugs to you both. I’m going through this shit too. <3

  • Ruby B. August 22nd, 2013 10:31 PM

    Britney, I feel you. Beautifully accurate metaphor.

  • ceri August 23rd, 2013 12:29 AM

    Katherine– your reationship with your brother is really beautiful and inspiring. I have an older brother who just went off to college. We’re friends, but not in such a close way as you and your brother seem, but I hope someday we will be. :)

  • wishfulwanderer August 23rd, 2013 1:25 AM

    TEAM RUBY!!!!
    Girl, you got this. I’m in the same grade as you and i’m starting soon too and we can both do it. Tenth grade will be infinitely better than ninth. xxx

  • _holly_ August 23rd, 2013 9:33 PM

    Yesterday was my first day of tenth grade. Your entry perfectly explained every thought and emotion I have been going through. Being so dark and depressed is the worse place to be because it only makes you more angry. It’s a vicious cycle.

    I love that you have a positive outlook on this year. I’m trying so hard to that, but it seems like there’s no hope for me..

    • Anaheed August 23rd, 2013 10:19 PM

      If hope exists for Ruby it exists for you. In the sage words of Dobby Is My Hero, “Things matter, people care, there are good days.” That goes for you too, Holly!

  • monsterserenade August 24th, 2013 10:07 AM

    I’ve never read any of the Dear Diary entries before, but I’m really glad I read these! They were all fantastic. Dear everybody – I love you!

  • sey_mour_sey_less August 25th, 2013 4:36 PM

    I agree with the comment that said that you need to talk to someone about it, whether it’s a close friend or a family member. I know how you feel and getting it off your chest might help. I wish I could reach out and give you a tight hug…I really do.

  • Pia August 25th, 2013 4:36 PM

    Ruby.. .have you thought about getting your GED? Maybe school is too toxic for you and you are trying to fit into a box that will never be able to contain you…

  • Anouk August 26th, 2013 12:00 PM

    Naomi you can do it! Just realize a lot of people (including me) are in the same place as you, leaving home and start a new chapter. I’m sure you will be fine and everything will turn out okay!

  • thelostone August 26th, 2013 7:48 PM

    I really love these journals because they expose insecurities’ and a lot of these people have an amazing writing style. I hope that maybe one day I’ll contribute to these journals and impact young girls to continue to motivate themselves and not be upset by the stigma set by the mainstream media. Until then I’m happy reading them.

  • blueolivia September 6th, 2013 6:48 PM

    ruby, your situation sounds a lot like me. i hated the anxiety meds, even though they did help me. but now that i’ve finally transitioned off, i feel a lot better. i know they helped, but it does get better eventually. even if it doesn’t feel like it will. i never thought i’d stop sitting on the floor or couch or bed and crying for hours. i never thought i’d stop getting so panicked that i blacked out and forgot what i had done. i never thought it would end. but it did. and its still hard sometimes, but it’s so worth it. things do get better.