March 21, 1991
Well, me and Justin are over before we began.
About two weeks ago I called Justin and he said he didn’t want to go out with me. I’m over him.
I was in the talent show today. I sang “let the river run” and I only hit 1 sour note. What was neat was that a lot of people were cheering for me and complimented me on my singing.
What wasn’t “neat” was that I had to spend weeks on tenterhooks and then initiate my own rejection by Justin. And I didn’t get over him as easily as I tried to make it sound in my diary. When practicing for the talent show, there was a part of me that hoped more than anything that Justin would be so moved by my singing that he’d change his mind and go out with me after all. Obviously, that didn’t happen.
And hey, at least this time it wasn’t a Debbie Gibson song.
I was never a major Carly Simon fan, but always loved the 1988 classic* Working Girl, whose theme song was “Let the River Run.” It plays over the opening sequence as Tess McGill (Melanie Griffin in her finest role) rides the Staten Island ferry, dreaming of a better tomorrow while she begins another day as an under-appreciated secretary. Tess takes her fate into her own hands, transforming herself into a savvy businesswoman. She’s not afraid to defy convention to achieve her dream, something I found inspiring.
Of course my way of defying convention (throwing a note out a bus window at a boy I liked) did not make my dreams of getting a boyfriend come true. Even so, I used “Let the River Run” as an anthem of hope. “Let all the dreamers wake the nation,” belted out Carly. “Blaze a trail of desire,” she commanded. I was a dreamer! I wanted to wake stuff up too! I would have to face plenty of rejection, but wouldn’t let any dumb boys tarnish my optimism. I had too many trails of desire to blaze to let a little disappointment get in my way.
* Your definition of “classic” and mine might vary.
Today started out as a perfectly normal day but it ended up one of the worst days of my life.
It all started when Chen-chi told me that she knows something about Mitchell that will upset me and she wasn’t supposed to tell me but I dragged it out of her and she told me that Mitchell asked Carmella Louise out but she said “no.” Well I was really upset and disappointed but I made it through lunch and I was talking to my friends on the stairs how I’m going to dump him when we went to the next landing and guess who was at the top? That’s right Mitchell. He probably heard everything. When I got back to the class Sam P gives me a note from Mitchell saying:
I didn’t really give a damn (I was mad enough already!) but he gave me another note saying some shit about liking me but wanting to see other girls and what really pissed me off is at the end it said:
But we could still be friends!!!!!
I’m having mixed feelings about this: part of me is just furious, another part of me is really upset and a small part of me even wants him back! But I guess that is just the way the cookie crumbles.
Now he’s just another name in my book of memories.
Oh, the drama! The race to make that preemptive strike, to be the one who dumps, not gets dumped. The nerve of him for asking another girl out before letting me know where he stand. And what extra nerve to use the biggest cliché in the break-up book by saying we could still be friends! How could he?
In hindsight, I of course realize he lacked the maturity and emotional sophistication to be honest with me, or at least bit more tactful in ending what was a tenuous relationship at best. Let’s review: two months, two dates and zero kisses. Really? Come on, there are Amish kids who probably have steamier relationships than that.
A day or two after the break-up, I took the bracelet Mitch gave me and wrapped it in a note that said: you are a two-timing sleaze-ball! I snuck into the coat room during class and hid the bundle in his jacket. At the end of the day, he tried to give me back the bracelet, but I was a girl of principle and refused to take it.I don’t remember what happened to the stuffed puppy he gave me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it met with an equally dramatic fate.
While I was able to maintain a brave face in school, when I got home I cried and cried and cried. Then I cried some more.
I was supposed to get a perm today but I’m not! Because some of the Beauty Salonists said I was to young and it was to dangerous and my dad didn’t want me to so I’m not getting it.
He was even willing to pay me but I don’t need his stupid money!
Now my mom is going to the salon (for a trim) and then we will stop by Kings Highway for me to get some tapes. (my Idea.)
Maybe that will cheer me up. I DOUBT IT.
It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: the 1980’s were all about big hair. Being burdened with pin straight hair as a young girl, I did everything I could to get extra volume: crimping, curling, abusing mousse and hairspray, you name it.
My mother got regular perms and I was quite envious of the way her hair puffed out at the sides. When I look at photos from back then, I can now laugh at the pyramid-like shape the chin-length curls gave her head. But at the time I was desperate for a permanent solution to my flat hair dilemma (sorry, bad puns are one of my guilty pleasures).
Obtaining permission from Mom and Dad to get a perm took hours of pleading and coercing. When they finally said yes and I made it to the salon it was utterly heartbreaking to be told that the strong chemicals in the curling agents might hurt my young head of hair. I was furious and beyond disappointed. Stupid beauty salonists!
Over the course of the last ten years, my hair has mysteriously developed a natural wave. This is something that would have thrilled me as a little girl, but instead of embracing my hair’s new texture, these days I prefer to wear it straight and frequently use a flat iron to get it that way. Maybe it’s human nature to fight against what you were born with. Or maybe it’s just me.
Today was horrible!!!!
First I went back to school but our teacher was absent so we had to get split up.
But guess whose class I had to go to?
The same class Marcela’s (the bitch, snob, a@#hole, and f$%^ed-up piece of sh&*) sister is in.
I still have a cold and take cough drops, so in the afternoon when we had glee club rehearsal my coughing began. I could only stand one song at a time without coughing. It’s good that nobody noticed or I might have been a goner. Finally I got through.
I saw Nisa too. I haven’t seen her 5 days so I asked if she could come over my house. She said she’d ask her mom but in the afternoon she said she was busy and couldn’t come.
Neither could: Elaine, Jess, Penny, and Yanmei’s line was busy.
I tried to make french toast for dinner but the handle of the pan broke off. I tried to make toasted bread with cheese but the toast was burned. I have had the worst day.
For some reason, I get this mental picture of my eleven-year-old self stumbling around, with my clothes disheveled and my hair mussed and dusted with flour. When I think of some of the bad days I’ve had as a (so-called) grown-up, burning some toast or having a coughing fit is hardly cause for sympathy. But I also know how those little things can have a domino effect, when one thing after another seems to go wrong. In which case being sick, stuck all day with my enemy’s older sister, coughing through a pastime which normally gave me joy, having no friends to play with, and not even being able to make a tasty dinner at the end of all the misery would add up to a perfect storm of suckiness.
There were worse days in my childhood, ones that involved car accidents, robberies, torment at the hands of mean kids and even meaner teachers, loneliness, boredom, and other things I didn’t bother writing down. But as a young girl, this was one day I was happy to vent about in my journal and even happier to put behind me.
Today is the day!!! The day of the election. I know I should not be nervous but I am (a little).
I cannot believe that the day finally came, I’m so exited.
We are allowed to watch the counting of the votes and I am definitely going to be there. My parents are going to hear my speech in the auditorium.
After weeks of campaigning (which consisted of little more than taping posters all over the halls with “catchy” slogans and telling classmates to vote for me), it was time for the moment of truth.
I prepared a solid speech which I had practiced at home to the point of memorization. I can only imagine the outlandish reform I promised if elected to become vice president, from better cafeteria food to fewer school days.
My main opponent was George, a tall, broad-shouldered Greek boy who had the quiet poise of a natural leader.
I remember being in the spare classroom while the votes were tallied, counting up the hash marks as each ballot was accounted for. All of a sudden George and the other students were congratulating me, and I felt an odd sense elation at having won the election, but knew something was off. By my count, George had 10 more votes than I did.
Part of me hoped I was the one who counted wrong, but I knew that wasn’t the case. The votes were tallied again and George was announced as the vice president.
Those few false minutes when I was thought to be the victor were so bittersweet. Though George was boastful during campaigning, he was gracious about accepting his rightful victory. I remember his sad, gap-toothed smile when they announced the corrected count, downplaying his excitement for my benefit.
When I was seven years old, I asked my parents for a diary. The one I chose had Hello Kitty on the cover holding three balloons, a basket of flowers at her feet with “DEAR DIARY” written across the top. The diary assured privacy by way of a small padlock and two keys, both of which I promptly lost (I’d use a crochet hook to open the lock).
Here are those first few entries:
I am sick. I don’t go to a school. I watch T.V. and havef fun. But ti’s not fun. Cos I skip school.
I go to the movie and I am still sick. I go to the swings. I do not go to the movie.
I mite go to the movie. But I will go somewhere eals. I still do not go to the movie.
As a little girl, two things I loved most were going to the movies and going to the playground, where I would ride the swings and play on the monkey bars pretending they were my own apartment (you should have seen what I did with my imaginary living room). Two things I hated most were false promises and getting my hopes up. While my youthful disappointment may not have been fully conveyed within the rainbow pages of the Hello Kitty diary, rest assured, it was there, between the lines.