The letter arrived today. In lieu of getting my pants hemmed, I’ve taken to wearing heels. I click-clacked down the front steps, opened the mailbox with the little key and saw it. The thin envelope. It was already opened. I knew. I didn’t need to read it, but I did. I didn’t read much; I don’t think they expect you to get past the first sentence. I didn’t.
My heart caved in and my mind shuddered to a sudden halt. My breathing stopped. Tears swam in my eyes.
It has come to this: I’ve been formally and methodically rejected.
It wasn’t unexpected, just so you know. I applied last minute. I didn’t prepare. I have a 3.1. (This is a miserable piece of information, I know.) I had a dream in February that this would happen and it is rare that my dreams lie to me in the form of future address. (They lie about the present and the past all the time, the sneaky bastards.)
And so, in my grieving and in an attempt to remind myself that this cannot be the end (the good news is that the thought of slitting my wrists in the bathtub, although seemingly practical, does not appeal to me at this particular moment), I have resurrected the one journal I still find solace in. I opened it randomly, and found what I was looking for.
I have changed locations in order to not form any emotional ties with my space. I am currently seated in Mom’s sewing room, my laptop, flanked by two irons, is perched precariously atop the ironing board and I am seated in a rolling, turning office chair of sorts from the late 80s. This way, when I remember today with a broken heart, I will not feel the pain as coming from anywhere familiar. In fact, this room is still off limits to this day.
And so, treat yourself (ha, humor me as I grieve the only way I know how) to a look into my past:
Note on the journal entries: This was for either Relationships and Sexuality or New Testament, both taught by Mr. McGuire. He was a Renaissance man himself, having not landed at a particular profession until rather late in life (and by this I mean his early 30s). He had a very Catholic family and practiced natural family planning. It didn’t work.
They always told us that they didn’t read our journals, they just checked to make sure the entries were there. I have little doubt as to why he called me Sister Katherine and I have a sneaking suspicion that the contents of my journals may have been an influential factor. My entries are either complete bullshit or are rather graphic and of a usually inappropriate nature. Fear not, gentle reader, I have edited them for either lack of interesting-ocity or whatever else I don’t want to reprint. I do have some semblance of dignity remaining, although I have a long way to go to rebuild my self worth after today.
Well, then, shall we?
You’ll notice that my love of overuse of commas was beginning. I love this about myself.
Oh, as I look down, I see bright orange marker in my handwriting: Morality Journal. (Not Mr. McGuire, Mr. Siefker, who was fired for comments to a student the year after I left. I could write for hours about him and his disgusting ideals.)
March 4, 2005:
Quote of the day: “Happiness is activity in accordance with complete virtue.” -Aristotle
….Another key point was letting go. People, to be happy, need to let go of everything that is causing them pain and embrace everything. One must effectively transcend their problems and get through the pain. Happiness is not difficult to attain, but is involved with some work.
Faith is a key factor.
Suffering was mentioned as one way to get to happiness….
(This first entry is entirely me attempting to stretch the words so they look like a complete journal entry.)
myself as an adolescent critic:
March 7, 2005
2 or 3 things I learned from the Leonard essay
I thought that the essay did not hold itself up as a critical, or at least insightful, look into the lives of others. The author was obviously attempting to take an artistic view through repetition and use of words. (interjection: use of words? isn’t all writing use of words?) She kept alluding to people she knew, thus creating a community. She also ties time to this essay through a weakly worded conclusion….By tying everything together, she loses her sense of simplicity, as well as the point.
I know someone who’s wearing pants. But underneath, there is a leg. And even underneath that is flesh and bone. And the only reason that they wear pants, [sic] is to follow and obey the law. To be in dress code.
See even I can do it. While sitting in English. Not paying attention. Throwing my education away. At least, she tried. That’s more than I would do, put my work out there. Give a mere religion teacher unlimited liscense [sic] (I’ve always been unable to spell license without a good deal of thought) to do as he wishes with my work.
(That entry was kept in only for the last paragraph. It’s odd how that feeling still resonates.)
March 8, 2005
….I think that the search for happiness really has nothing to do with a frat house drinking death. Well, any life is in essence defined by how it is lived. Drinking is, and has always been, an integral part of the college party scene. (I love that my 17 year old self knew so much about the college “party scene.”) …
March 9, 2005 (This is the entry I read first this afternoon)
Quote of the day: “They say that practice makes perfect. Well, it doesn’t! Practice makes permanent. So always practice hard and practice your mechanics correctly. Lousy practice makes your lousy. -Coach Shenbeck
Everything I am about to write on paper is an absolute lie…Judging people on the way their life ends is a cruel practice. And then, when the life is over, you go back and criticize? How can you do that? Were you there to live out every moment, and ride out every storm Sometimes everybody has a bad habit, a bad day. And sometimes that is the last day. Everyone has to die, and no everyone can die a noble, tragically beautiful death. Someone has to have a waste, a way to go that will set an example. Keep people talking. Everyone is drawn to horror, drawn to everything that will make them realize how lucky they really are. She’s only famous for the way she died, which is more than some people can say. And thus, it doesn’t work. Everyone is someone, living life the only way they know how.
March 11, 2005
(I’ll spare you the quotes and the thoughts, but this entry made me laugh because it’s my internal struggle between agnosticism, Satanism and Buddhism. The last lines of the entry are: “don’t laugh.”)
March 14, 2005 (This was during a period in my life where I refused to capitalize my Is when referring to myself. The computer has made the necessary corrections.)
Despising everything I ever let you be. Turned you into what you’d never be….I know you’re nothing. You still stick here, so perfect in your youth. Know that I made myself need you. I never wanted you….Keep hiding, we’re all doing it, you know. So don’t fail me, please keep
March 15, 2005
(There are so many entries in this journal where I’m lying to myself and I know it. Watching me try to talk around stuff is funny now, but breaks my heart because I remember what it felt like. It still feels like that, sometimes, only know it’s with a whole different cast of characters.)
…once said that voices, especially mine, are like fingerprints. Everyone has them…I am no longer jealous. I no longer feel inadequate. Release. Liberation. Growth….She’s nervous, will they judge her? of course, they already have. And she knows it.
March 16, 2005
(This entry made me cry. I mean, there have been tears waiting in the wings so it wasn’t really a stretch…)
Quote of the day: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” & “The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion.” -Al Einstein
Every day we write our feelings as though they will release. Awaken inside us something that’s long been dead or never quite alive. I am writing now about the fact that I feel no call to faith. It confuses me because I know that faith is a big part of the satisfaction and fulfillment in life. And I guess maybe I’m too cynical to accept any single religion. I am capable of experiencing spiritual moments, the times when you feel one with nature, and when all of a sudden, you know exactly where you stand in the universe. You stand alone, you are nobody. It’s such a humbling experience. It scares me, it awakens me. It reminds me of everything, every action. It’s beauty, truth, all the simplest truths of life. And my future of religion is, and may always be, nothing structured. I’ve been looking into everything, every religion. And I’m going to keep looking until I find something that fits me. Be is Catholicism or not. I believe…I wish I knew. It’s beautiful, though, knowing nothing and being forced to think for myself. Knowledge of self is something I’ve always been blessed with and it is an amazing tool for being able to deal with emotions and situations that may occur during the course of one’s life.
(Situations such as this. Thank you, 17 year old Katie Barry, whoever you were, for comforting your future self. Also, so fitting are my thoughts on love — oh god, the one thing I’ve never understood, the one thing that motivates me…ha, these are a little hilarious.)
March 16, 2005
So today I am questioning love at first sight and everything that goes along with it. I am beginning to think it might exist, or at the very least, there can be a certain curiosity and excitement…..Because there’s always the possibility that he’s boring. That he has no life. That he might be boring like no other. (I’m sensing a theme.) But I still want to know. Because all these wasted days of wanting may lead somewhere, and they may lead nowhere. But either way it’s worth it. (Famous last words.) Don’t let the words, the thoughts, the feelings go to waste. It could be great.
March 17, 2005
I cried myself to sleep last night. I cried because of the book I’m reading (The Red Tent, at the time). I was reminded of love lost…..I cried because he’ll never know how much he’s affected me, how much he meant to me… (this was the first boyfriend I ever had…we reconnected our junior year of high school, not in a romantic way, but as friends)
I cried because I’m jealous. She’s absolutely perfect. She’s everything I wish I was. (This has also proved to be utterly false.)
I cried because I know he’ll disappoint me…..I cried because I am incapable of love. I have so much anger in my heart towards (ew, I hate the word towards) so many people. I cried until I tasted my own tears. I cried until my eyes stung. I cried all my pain out. And then I cried some more.
It was a rather cleansing cry. I woke up happy. My dreams were comforting, peaceful. I did not feel scared, hurt or angry. I woke up happy calm.
That cry cleansed my soul, wiping away the pain my young heart feels. (Oh my, so dramatic)
And I’m ready for the world again. Ready to face my fears. Every day is a trial. Today is the day to make my move. Wish me all the luck I’ll need.
(So wish me all the luck I’ll need. I’m entering the unknown again, as usual. And I’m heading in blind and headstrong, as usual.)