I promised you guys LiveJournal drama. I promised you I’d bare all, that I’d show you just how fucking ridiculous my attempt at teenage attention-whoring actually was. But…this turned into something I didn’t expect.
First, a disclaimer:
I didn’t start my LiveJournal as early as I thought I did. LJ and I became friends in early 2004, when I was 20. Still, as I started going through each entry, there wasn’t that big of a difference mentality-wise between 17 year old me and 20 year old me.
So in preparation for this article, I went through each entry. I laughed, I cringed. I found things like this:
And oh dear Christ this:
Surprisingly, the humor wore off rather quickly. I started to feel uncomfortable; I had hit a nerve that I didn’t think I had anymore. Cryptic entries about winning whatever situation I was in, or entries asking questions of an audience I didn’t really have were bringing me to a dark place, and it wasn’t fun anymore.
When I go through old journals I have a habit of losing myself in time. I start feeling itchy and weird as I’m flooded with the emotions I used to feel about certain things. I find myself falling into a pit of anxiety, thinking that I need to solve these problems all over again.
This time was no different. The cushion of a decade between the past and the present wasn’t enough. These entries weren’t remotely funny – they were really fucking sad.
I’ve always been emotional, but I tried to keep it under wraps because I used to feel that no one needed to know, and really, no one gave a shit. But I needed help, and entries like this:
…were a cry for attention, from anyone willing to give it. Don’t get me wrong, I had my mom, but when you’re 20 and incredibly lonely and losing all your friends because of things you did (and things they did), no parent can really help that. Add the stress of an unstable family situation and a cross-country move to a place where I knew NO ONE and I’m surprised I didn’t actually lose it for real.
I stopped writing in my LJ regularly around 2008. I was trying to figure out why I stopped and I think it’s because I didn’t need it anymore. We had moved back to Chicago from living in the Worst Place on Earth (Florida), I had started a really great job, and I think I finally felt like I was accomplishing something, rather than just treading water.
When I finished going through the journal entries, I needed to do things to remind myself that I was a different person now. As silly as it seems, going through my Facebook and Instagram brought me back to the present. Without humblebragging, I’m in a really good spot right now, and I’m thankful for everything I have because there was a time when I had none of this.
It’s easy to look back on your former self with annoyance and embarrassment. We do some really shitty things because the circumstances call for it (or we think they do). But it was still you, and eventually you’ll look back on this present time and think, “Fuuuccckkkkkk I shouldn’t have done that” AND THAT IS OKAY.
But you should never beat yourself up for surviving. You did what you had to do to get by. The fact that you can sit there 10 years later and look back is a testament to your strength. Embrace that. Give your former self a hug, rather than a punch in the face.