Hey Teen Angst, I Remember You: A Retrospective on Old Journals, Scrapbooks and Laments

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As Kurt Cobain scribbled on the cover of an infamous spiral notebook,

 “If you read, you’ll judge.”

So read and judge away the inner life of young Lillian, ages 14-18, from high school through the first half of freshman year of college.

TRIGGER WARNING: May stir up buried rollercoaster childhood emotions. Also, I am much more self-actualized, more self-possessed a woman now–AKA, much happier on an average basis.

On Typical and Atypical Teenage Self-Hatred:

Age 14 — January 05, 2003 — “I started out shooting high, but now I’m just struggling to survive. I DO NOT WANT A REPEAT OF 8TH GRADE. Does everyone hide it inside better than me?

BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG. BE STRONG.

IT’S FUCKING THURSDAY AND I KEEP TELLING MYSELF THAT MAYBE TOMORROW IT WILL HAPPEN, SO I JUST HANG ONTO THAT HOPE AND LIVE DAY BY DAY. BUT I STILL FEEL I SABOTAGED MYSELF IN SOME WAY.”

 “I started out shooting high, but now I’m just struggling to survive.”

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“I don’t know these people. I took their pic at a concert. Guess they are in love with each other and with punk rock!” – Anonymous

Age 14 — May 04, 2003 — “If I could do whatever the hell I wanted, I would write all over the wall until the words bleed out of the corners and onto my hands.”

Age 15 — Sometime in September 2003 — “For anyone who misreads me, disregards me, dismisses me, they don’t know the degree of my self-hatred, of my horror and even pain at seeing myself in pictures from the past. So leave me alone if I want to look like somebody else. I’ll never survive [in high school]. The intensity of my self-disgust is misplaced Why can’t I have pale skin? Why can’t I just fit into a niche, just like that?

I’ll never survive [in high school].

You know, all it takes to go from a pretense of self-confidence to a lip-curling scum feeling is one image of myself. Who was I? Who are the people I know? I don’t know if everyone’s as cool or shallow as they seem. Maybe I’m worse than the people I felt somehow intimidated by, or looked down upon by [sic].

Maybe nothing really sets me apart. How am I going to make a dent in everyone around me and let them know what I’m about if I never express myself?

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But it doesn’t stop because I feel so un-rooted in my own self-esteem and every affirmative, confident act of mine is mimicked from someone else, who may as well be having similar insecurities.

And in the end, I wrote this just out of a generational state of ennui. Am I really saying something for misfits? Am I being deep because I really want to be?”

On Regret:

Age 16 — Sometime in fall of 2005 — “Life, I have shit you away, I concede. And given our circuitous track record, it seems we may never end this cycle of antagonism unless we willfully decide to partner up.”

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On Journaling…and Bettering Oneself:

Age 18 — Undated, sometime in fall of 2006 — “I have learned that you can’t try to better yourself by “trying” to force a positive trait upon yourself. You have to work with whom you already are. Who I am isn’t that bad. I do enjoy writing deep entries in my journal, entranced by the superficial profundity of my own thoughts . Listening to the sounds they make in my head is very abstractly beautiful and soothing.

My brain makes an empty dum-dum sound…

I like the sheer beauty of writing. It’s my artistic sensibility. Maybe I’m not someone who can live with a structured lifestyle. Maybe order is the walls that encase me in my depression. I need to live with a clear view of all the possibilities in the world shining through at once.”

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On the religion of self-love:

Age 18 — September 07, 2006 — “I put myself first today. That’s what’s important. Feel proud.

I don’t necessarily believe in a God but if I did, I would say He is beaming with approval at my utter and complete self-love right now. I love you, Lillian. Contrary to popular belief, it is not vain to be in love with yourself.

People want a God to love. [sic] Because they’re afraid to love themselves.”

On Predicting One’s Own Breakdowns:

Age 18 — October 20, 2006 —

“Signs of a Breakdown oncoming:

  • When you start looking down on people (for no reason)
  • When you find yourself unable to be on time for anything
  • When you find yourself debating back and forth whether or not he “knows.”

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