Translating My Teenage Diaries

From the ages of 15 to 22, I kept a Livejournal. But it wasn’t just any old online diary, it was my work of art—a place where I could cultivate this hip image of my friends and I by writing vague posts and posting washed out polaroids. It was like a sad obsession. I would spend hours scanning photos and perfecting this whimsical dreamy tone. And for what? So people could think I was cool obviously. Coolness is the greatest kind of currency to a teenager. It means more than money or good grades. It’s the ultimate achievement. As I’ve gotten older, however, my life has {thankfully) made less sense on a forum like Livejournal. Things have gotten too weird, too complicated. and quite frankly too boring for a website that caters to excited youth. The best part about being “done” with my Livejournal though is calling bullshit on my old posts, which are so drowned in crap that it’s hard to figure out what I’m even talking about. Let’s try to translate the musings of a teenager into cold harsh reality.

What A Closeted Teenager Sounds Like

Age: 16
Subject: Girls
Date/Time: October 13, 2002/4:36 P.M.

Liv Tyler is so FUCKING hot. I’d kiss her in a second.

Anywho, today’s been good. The weather is awesome. I decided to be anti-social and go to Barnes & Noble to read and loiter around by myself. What can I say? I love being alone. I honestly love it. I was eating my bagel and this very attractive girl came and sat at the table next to mine and I couldnt stop staring at her. She made number three on my Beautiful Girl list. The first being a random girl in LA I saw while in line to see Blair Witch Project and the second one being a random girl in San Diego. This girl was waiting for someone I believe. She looked frustrated and checked her watch every so often. I was going to sit with her but I didnt want to be rude.
Shit, I have to do HW and go to a show. Bye!

Current mood: Energetic
Current music: “Hey Ma” by Cam’Ron

Translation: Only closeted homosexuals have a “Beautiful Girl” list. Only closeted homosexuals pretend to lust after quirky indie chicks.

Deep Thoughts Brought On By Feminist Literature and 90s Rock

Age: 17
Subject: wild horses
Date/Time: October 14, 2003/6:06 PM

today, i’ve been learning how to feel again. im getting inspired. i finished a doll’s house. fantastic. i also listened to my favorite song of all time, “Wild Horses” by The Sundays on repeat. & i tried to cry for every friend, every family member, every experience that i felt got away from me. i couldn’t cry but i feel a lot less numb. more awake and focused. im going to get my shit together & im going to find my way back.

Current mood: hopeful
Current music: sneaker pimps

Translation: This was around the time I stared to type exclusively in lowercase because I thought it looked more adorable. BTW, what’s up with teenagers having breakdowns and breakthroughs every three seconds? It seemed like every single  post I was “losing myself” and trying to gain my sense of self back. I think I just had too many feelings and not enough anti-anxiety medication.

Teen Poetry

Age: 18
Subject: i lose.
Date/Time: September 1, 2004/8:08 p.m.

Aspirations End Here

i used to think that i could’ve been that somebody for everyone
a great son, a caring brother, a better friend, a stellar significant other
but now those aspirations are turning into unfulfilled fantasies
because you see apparently it’s too difficult to do all of that
to be all of that
so says my mother & father
so says my brother & sister
so says my friends
& so says my lover
so here i am
giving my resignation
because i quit all of you

Translation: I bet you a million dollars that I wrote this in Geometry because I was depressed and didn’t want to learn about trapezoids. I was always questioning my relationships with people and thinking they were falling apart, which I guess they kind of were. High school friendships are generally a mindfuck. I’m so happy that getting older means not having to live in a constant state of paranoia about your relationships.

How A Teenager Pretends To Spend A Saturday Night

Age: 18
Subject: typical.
Date/Time: November 1, 2004/11:32 p.m.

tonight was very typical. the same people who get drunk, got wasted. & the same albums played. & the same drunken dancing was done. duhduhduhduh. except, tonite, there was alot more sex than usual. it was all fun & boring & amazing. all at the same time.

Translation: Being a teenager meant being jaded. I can guarantee that “getting drunk” was code for drinking Mike’s Hard Lemonade. We probably danced to Moving Units and I had terrible sex afterwards that I thought was amazing. When you’re getting laid in high school, you kind of want to broadcast it to the whole world but in a casual aloof way. Bad sex doesn’t exist at seventeen. You have no point of reference so it’s just amazing. Period.

How A Teenager Deals With Heartbreak

Age: 18
Subject: um.
Date: February 2, 2005/12:44 p.m.

I LEAVE FOR HUMBOLDT IN LIKE 20 MINUTES. I WILL MISS YOU KIDS TERRIBLY SO CALL MY CELLPHONE PLZ. I’M REALLY HOPING THINGS WILL START TO MAKE SENSE WHEN I GET BACK BECAUSE RIGHT NOW, I AM SURROUNDED BY LIES LIES LIES & A BROKEN HEART. I WONDER WHEN I TRULY WILL BE MYSELF AGAIN.

BYE!!!!

Translation: When an evil male broke my heart, I became so insane that I had to fly to Humboldt and stay with my sister to “get away from it all.” Unfortunately, I ended up spending the entire trip on the phone with my friends and ignoring my sister. I wouldn’t wish first heartbreak on my worst enemy. It’s some other level type of grief. For the next few months, my Livejournal entries consisted of “I’m over it!” followed by “When will the pain go away?”

When I went to college, the entries more or less stayed the same. Multiple posts would include some variation of, “& today i ate sushi & listened to leonard cohen & i’m so depressed!” Even though my blog was phony, I thought of it as a piece of teenage art. I took so much pride in this thing that existed only on the internet and read by my friends and gay teens in Ohio. As difficult as it is to reread though, I’m glad I have it. And I’m even more glad to have outgrown it. TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

Read Here

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  • Sarah

    Could you translate my old Livejournal posts? It's too painful and embarrassing to do on my own…

  • beth

    Oh my god, I used to write ~cryptic~ lists of my endless crushes and then rant in my IRL diary when one of my 5 OMGITHINKIMBIPOLAR!! INDIE!! GENDERFUXXD!!! friends didn't ask me to elaborate. Love LJ.

  • http://brianmcelmurry.blogspot.com/ Brian McElmurry

    Interesting!

  • freddy

    I have a Livejournal that I updated for about two months over summer break in 2001. I was 16-17ish. Still the best stuff I've ever written.

  • http://twitter.com/nanabuuui Anna B

    I dread the idea of translating my pre-pubescent thoughts. Sadly, I can easily reference them on the internet. I think those ideas are meant to be forgotten (at least, mine are).

    The wonders of technology are truly inspiring. Right -__-

  • saritapatrice

    I recently looked for and reread my LJ from years and years ago, and almost died of humiliation. Oh, dear…

  • ariezee

    i like tumblr. O__o

  • prettypetty

    This is incredible. Ryan, please never stop.

  • padface

    I am so glad I never discovered Live Journal, I did fuck all work as it was.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mikecosta Michael Costa

    LOL I love it.

  • julia

    Quality content right here.
    It's kind of a relief to see that everyone else used to be an idiot as a teenager as well.
    But don't look back with regret! Life is so much easier once you learn to appreciate the hilarious absurdity of it all.

  • EmiliaBedelia

    this took guts. strangely moving.

  • inflammatorywrit

    Just thinking about my old Livejournal makes me want to die.

    Your courage is astounding.

  • http://twitter.com/brandollars Brandon Silverman

    this made me start going through my old LJ posts. oh god…….. who was i???

  • Missy

    “I think I just had too many feelings and not enough anti-anxiety medication.” I LOVE THIS SO MUCH

  • http://www.facebook.com/caitier Caitie Rolls

    OMGGGGGG I'm pretty sure mine was mostly full of bad teenage poetry and pictures of my new haircut.

  • guest

    reading my old livejournal makes my skin crawl….. and when i left it open and my mom read the whole thing and forever blocked it (because i ranted about her and another parents might see it!!!), i cried for days. my afternoons procrastinating my homework and making endless, obsessive lists were gone, FOREVER. i tried xanga for a week and hated it. things would never be the same. oh livejournal, i do not miss you and your validation of my teenage angst.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Caroline-Evertz/25521401 Caroline Evertz

    I had a DEADjournal! Which I don't know if that makes me lamer or not. Love that you wrote about this cause at least I know I wasn't the only one posting weird, vague poetry in all lower case.

  • http://twitter.com/elatheindelible Mikaela Kaimo

    Haha, this is so spot-on. I wish I could say I've outgrown this but I'm only eighteen, so who knows?

  • Sam

    Ugh. I read through mine a couple of years ago and got major second hand (first hand?) embarrassment, so deleted the whole thing. I couldn't bare another glimpse of my incessant whining.

  • http://twitter.com/bsdf BEN ENGLISCH

    i'd kiss u in a second

  • Saraphonic

    “I’m so happy that getting older means not having to live in a constant state of paranoia about your relationships.”

    THIS, a thousand times

  • Andrew

    one of my faves

  • an

    I love that we all had embarrassing live journals as teenagers. I never want to delete mine, and I hope no one I know finds it.

  • Kay Elle

    The scary thing? Being 27 years old and STILL writing in my Elle-Jay. Over the last eleven years I've documented the devastation of the “first love of my life,” my “manic-depression” phase, my “moving-across-the-country-on-my-own” phase and the subsequent “drug-addiction” phase that followed.

    Things took a turn once I documented my rehab immediately followed by the suicide of my sister and the slight changes in maturity once I've realized that a career is actually a good thing for my life.

    I also wouldn't remember explicit details about that time I ended up in bed with three women unless I hadn't written it in my LJ 8 years ago.

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