Teen diary ; feeling like too much of a dick to talk to a boy

One of the nastier traits of an anxiety disorder is feeling like you have made a massive twat of yourself pretty much all day, every day. Having experienced a vast array of post-conversation freak-outs, I finally realised that most of the time other people had no idea you were feeling nervous and awkward. In fact, most people are far too interested in themselves to give a fuck what you are doing. People are selfish in the most glorious way.

The worst, obviously is talking to a boy you like. Someone you had undeservedly built up in your mind as a paragon of perfection, even if you barely knew them. That’s when anxiety saunters in and makes you feel lowly by comparison. The cold, hard reality of the ridiculously high standards you have placed on them mean that if they fell off the unsolicited pedestal on which you had mentally placed them they would seriously injure their back. Is that what you want? To paraplegic your crush? No, I didn’t think so.

Aside from the obvious in this post (my embarrassing love for the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, my adoration of a new notebook and my inability to spell by age 16) my main reason for posting this 1998 shocker is to show how stupid I felt any time I talked to Jonathan, sober or inebriated. I didn’t give myself a break, or understand as I now do that being a bit awkward and over zealous can be endearing if you manage it well. Hey, it’s worked well for me with many boys since.

feeling like a dick in front of Jonathan

At the ripe old age of 33, I finally understand how important it is to valuing yourself. I never had much self-esteem. No, I didn’t go out and let idiot teenage boys use me or get myself into dangerous situations like the ‘bad’ girls in movies do, before you discover in the final scenes that it was all because no one told them they were pretty when they were young. My good behaviour was down to my anxiety more than valuing myself in any substantial way. I wanted so much to be one of those crazy, ruinated, slutty girls, but looking back I know that desire was my lack of self-esteem talking rather than a lack of bravery or desire to ‘experience life’. Experience is great fun, but knowing when to say ‘this isn’t cool anymore, get the fuck off me’ should come from a place of preservation and belief rather than a mental disorder.  I’m not complaining. To a certain extent my anxiety saved me until I was big, brave and ballsy enough to think I was too good for shitty treatment. I didn’t get knocked up, get a disease or get assaulted during my young stupid years and for that I am grateful.

What I know now is that however badly I think I fucked up talking to someone, made a twat of myself while drunk or vomited on my friend’s shoes (sorry Sara), I’m still pretty god damn awesome and need not let my anxiety devalue my self belief. How ever many time Ol’ Bruce (my name for my anxiety) got in there and told me I wasn’t worthy, if I had realised at 16 just how great I was, perhaps I could have been brave enough to find out my crush was human after all. And all humans are both wonderful and fallible. Me included.

Teen diaries, practising small talk with my diary?

This excerpt doesn’t relate to my crush story or to my chronic and often crippling anxiety but when I came across it I just thought it too cheesy and quaint to not post.

Aged 12 1/2 and I’m still writing “Dear Diary” like some Americanised automaton.

Teen diary 1994, aged 12, diary was my buddy

 

Obviously I believed I needed to let my current diary know that I would be moving to a new book meaning I saw the invisible diary companion as a fluid entity rather than attached to the book it’s self.

How much better would it be if each book came with it’s own personality and had to be spoken to in an altered way!

If only I had been so inventive and contextual back then.

Teen diaries; the quickening

I’m going to start this little diary exercise slowly, ease into it. I don’t want to blow my cringe-worthy diary load all in one mis-spelled blast.

Not because I think anyone will be shocked by the ranting of my hyper-dramatic 12 year old self but because the idea of printing this stuff, thought quite funny, also makes me feel sick with nerves. As a now 33 year old woman I have approx. 16 years worth of diaries collected in some old suitcases in our disorganised, under-utilised office. Every disturbing event or lack there of is chronicled from the ages 9-25 ish.

My intention with these posts is to describe what it felt like to be an anxious teenager (it was really shit). I’m not doing this just so we can all have a laugh at my terrible hand-writing, grammar, spelling and melodrama, I am doing this for my anxious brethren. Those girls who I know are out there, their brains going 100 miles an hour filled with anxious thoughts 24 hours a day who feel like they will always be this way. I am here to show you it gets better. If you are socially anxious, you will find your stride eventually. If you’re scared of talking to boys right now, it’s not the end of the world.

I want to crack open the mouldy, back of the pantry walnut that is my brain and show you what an extra 15 odd years of living has show me. What I’ve realised is that we are ALL scared sometimes, even the people who seem to have it all together. They had shitty times, embarrassing moments and felt the scolding heat of social mortification the same as we did.

Turns out, even the coolest boy may have had a bad first sexual experience ending in piles of vomit and a whole bunch of piss taking friends (that story will appear in a later post… )

Jonathan

I’ll start off small. Just the tip.

Who remembers these things? Did we all do ‘love maths’ obsessively? Perhaps it was just me. This is a page from my diary some time in 1994 when I was 12. I was still crazy about the aforementioned friend of my older brother, badass and all around cool guy, Jonathan.

J-loves-L-edited

I have kindly edited this image from my diary with some ‘see no evil etc.’ monkeys so I don’t disclose any other names. I don’t want to expose anyone else’s mortifying past as well as my own.

I pined over boys in this way, from the safety of my room. Boys whom I had crushes on for years but never managed to speak to for anything more than minor pleasantries. I never managed to slip into the small talk that I wanted to repetitively smash my face in to their face until our faces were covered in each others saliva, because that’s what ‘pashing’ came down to aged 10-13. My anxiety stopped me from being confident and forth-right about what I wanted but it also made me petrified of what I would do if I were ever in the situation to make good on these day dreams. So I didn’t get in those situations. I stayed home and hid.