Every morning I wake up and thank god that I’m not a teenager.
When I was at the height of my angst, when I was embroiled in some horrifying displays of self-pity, and when my juvenile poetry was mired in bitterness and despair, the web didn’t exist. I am so grateful for that. You should be, too.
Somewhere along the line the drama died down a little. The biting edge of everything pulsing and full of ache faded in color and intensity. It’s scary that this is me subdued.
What raised the topic of gratitude for not being a seething wildebeest drowning in hormones was me digging through (and deleting) the majority of my web rings. I have realized that everyone on diaryland, or blogs in general, is either a pissed-off self-sorry thirteen-year-old with an inflated sense of self, or an overeducated/underemployed mid-to-late-20’s office dweller abusing company resources or waiting for the government check to roll in.
I am, for obvious reasons, partial to the late 20’s office dweller. My favorite reads are thusly written, and I have been known to dabble in that lifestyle. I wouldn’t consider myself overeducated, but I do know that I didn’t require a B.S. in Journalism to play with an Excel spreadsheet all day.
I belonged to quite a few web rings at one point. They were good. But then good people unjoin, and bad people join, and suddenly I’m stuck between two horrible diaries using Marilyn Manson and Britney Spears templates respectively. Granted I shouldn’t be one to talk design; I am clearly lacking in the layout department. But as I learned during my three years in internet marketing, Content is King. And Britney’s content is so obscured by her usage of bizR c@ps f0r n0 rzn — LOL! & LR sez UR BFF bt n0 n0tz during cl@ss??? UR @ l0ser!!! wtf???
These kids who are growing up with the internet from infancy are developing their own little language that I totally can’t even understand. I get the whole LOL thing, but some people use it so frequently during IM that I picture them sitting at their computer, bouncing merrily and chortling away all night.
Anyway these poor teenagers run the risk of having their neuroses and emotions transmitted via broadband to all corners of the earth. It was tragic enough when I was sitting on the floor in the hallway during lunch scribbling in my Mead 5-subject spiral bound. I can only imagine the torture one would endure reading that.
Although the reading of my scribblings is sometimes on my mind. It’s an issue of trust when I start dating someone because I have 73 notebooks in my room, each page filled with incriminating details. Often about them. Ain’t much about me I won’t tell ya — just ask. But I leave for work in the morning and that person is alone in my bedroom with every thought I’ve had in the past 20 years. There’s just no practical place to house that amount of literature under lock and key. So I basically cross my fingers and hope that if they decided to take that volume back up off the shelf and crack its weary spine and read, they’d get bored quickly before getting to the rare juicy stuff. I no longer have delusions of grandeur about my idle prattling.
When I was seventeen, my boyfriend thought I was cheating on him so he grabbed my journal from my desk and bolted into the bathroom, locking the door behind him. I screamed and banged on the door in a total panic. I could hear him turning the pages so I grabbed the fire axe from under my parents’ bed and tore the bathroom door off.
And I hadn’t even cheated on him.
But really, everything was such a big fucking deal when I was a teenager. My favorite thing in the world to do was fall in love with someone and not tell them. Then I could ache from afar and play the abandoned one and drive myself insane. I would write about how I would never be She Who is Adored because of x y or z… but in reality is was because, oh yeah — I forgot to tell Jeff I had a crush on him. Good lord.
Now I just fall for unavailable people and not tell them. Because then I can ache from afar and at least have a good reason for it.
Oh drama! Angst! I realized recently that I cultivated a sense of humor somewhere around 22. It took me that long. It was when the Interstate Archive was first born, which is this compilation of crap I write in various forms while running around. It started right after I graduated when Ruby lent me a laptop for the summer and I started chronicling my ironic life as a recent graduate in the big city.
I wouldn’t have survived without a sense of humor. Some of that shit is really funny — I was reading it the other day while I was packing away my 73 notebooks. I started keeping the document on the laptop, and then saved it on floppy and brought it to whatever temp job I had that day and wrote there. Whether I was in a state of relaxation or a state of work, I was writing. So it became the Inter-state Archive. But that Archive is the first evidence I see of me having a sense of humor. I was so fucking miserable for so many years that eventually I had to start laughing at myself. At going to the BU Job Resource Center and having them ask me why I didn’t go to my individual school’s resource center, and me saying, “COM has a resource center?” About breaking my glasses on the way to a job interview and wandering dazed through the entire thing. About my colorfully-chronicled boy-angst as I plowed through guys at a rate of one per week. (Shanono and I were doing research for our screenplay, “Exit Fantasy; Enter Irony”. )
I think that’s the problem with being a teenager. Or at least it was for me. I hadn’t found self-deprecation, sarcasm, or fuckit-you-just-gotta-laugh-ism yet. I was truly and honestly convinced that I would die of things like boredom or heartbreak. That I would just drop dead right there. My eyes would glaze over and cradling my frozen heart, I’d waste away ignored and misunderstood. The world would never know my genius, my beauty, my love.
I’m just glad I kept it to myself.