“July 4, 2007: I’m going to Jo’s house tomorrow. I have to do chores and pack in the morning. Today at the movies, Jo said I couldn’t spend the night because she couldn’t miss summer school Friday since she missed today. However, her mom said she only goes to school Monday through Thursday. I’ll pack anyway. We never get to hang out, and this way, we can bond more. Ok that sounds cheesy. That way we can hang tight better. That’s more gangsta. Power to the peeps.”
“July 5, 2007: Mom’s being a control freak like usual. She just sweeps over the house telling people to fix things she doesn’t like. I washed my clothes just now. I wish mom would just go on a vacation for like three weeks. That would be nice. She came in with that try-to-be-innocent-wide-eyed look on her face. I hate that. She was just trying to be nosy. ‘What’s wrong?’ she asked. ‘Nothing’ I said, but of course the problem is her. She tried to look sad. Anyway, so I just made up something, ‘I’m just hot and tired’ which is partly true because I’m hot. I just can’t get her to go away. She went to her room and shut the door, yes! Now stay there please. Like I was saying, it would be hecca tight if she would just go on a trek across the USA, you know? I guess I’ll try to sleep. My next U.R. workshop is Monday. I still feel nervous. If it was at S. High, piece of cake, but it’s at L. High. Where’s their dance room? I’m stressing about my summer work too. Summer is supposed to be relaxing. Not with my mother still living.“
“We’re making nachos. Mom had to go and get milk for the cheese. She’s now bugging people about where their stuff is in their rooms. She has a problem with one video game in one drawer while two are in another. Why does that bug her? She can’t be in control of everything. I’m sick and tired of it. Am I sinning because I’m writing this? I just want her to go.“
“July 8, 2007: I’m gonna go to the 9AM service with the high school kids today. I’ve never gone before. Nicole with be with Em and her other friends so she’ll mostly be ignoring me. I just don’t feel right with them. I’ll give it a try. This is just church right? I have to get out of my box. My outfit does look cute. Tomorrow is my second U.R. workshop. I feel so nervous.”
I wrote a prayer for strength since I was feeling nervous about the dance workshop. There are many entries that include prayers when I am feeling nervous, upset, or out of control. I wrote them seeking god’s help in matters I felt I could not handle on my own, which was practically everything. I haven’t included many prayers in my posts because frankly, it’s annoying to read them. I am newly atheist and my tolerance for religion is very low. I am still recovering from religious trauma. As a teen and also in my early 20s, I prayed constantly, but as I started to realize years later, it was always me who came through for myself, not an invisible entity.
“June 9, 2007: My first dance class was modern. It was much better than the other one last time. It was short, but easy. The next dance was more emotional and it was a partner dance. My partner was a girl my height with highlighted brown hair, black capris, a long-sleeved top with black and white stripes, and an old age green drape thing from the back that crossed in the front. The dance was kind of hard. I had to drag her! Then we wildly freestyled at the end. It was pretty fun. I kind of messed up. I want to wear better clothes. Maybe I’ll fit in more and be happier too. I felt alone. Two of the girls from U.R., Alice and Kay were with me, but they acted like I wasn’t there. I told mom about how lonely I felt and how I don’t mix very well. She said Milo is like that too and he doesn’t have any friends. I knew he was shy, but I didn’t know he had trouble making friends. He is very different than most 9th grade boys. He seems less serious. Jo said he’s a dork because he plays Star Wars video games. I like Star Wars.”
Looking back at when I reached out to my mother to express my loneliness, I don’t think her response was very helpful. At the time, I think I felt more connected to Milo, knowing he had similar social struggles, but he and I weren’t even friends. Telling a child struggling to make friends and feel accepted that other kids go through the same thing is informative and relatable, but it still left me dealing with it on my own.
“July 13, 2007: Did I tell you I unexpectedly started to like Huston? What is the world coming to? Kate is spending the night. She’s in Ann’s bed so me and Ann are down here on the floor in the family room. We have Bratz, food, and video games, but we want to wait until mom and dad are sleep before we eat and play. Mom’s checking on us. She has no idea there’s food stashed under our blankets and pillows. She’s telling me I need to go double check the kitchen before I go to bed. She’s in the pantry. She’s leaving. Wait, she’s back. Now she’s leaving. “It’s almost midnight” she said. Now she’s gone.”
“July 15, 2007: Mo was at church acting all conceited and telling everyone about her birthday. She hangs out with Kalin, her new friend, obviously. She never invited me to go the movies for her birthday. I don’t really want to be her friend anymore. I was wearing a new white tank that said ‘Glam’ in sparkly letters! Me and Huston are pretty good friends now. Kel said she thinks he likes me. Well, I don’t know. Kel’s brother was trying to overhear our conversation. I don’t think her brother likes me. I still don’t think I have much confidence and most of the time I think I look ugly. I hope that’s not true. Today I’m going to Big Spoon with the high school group. It’s a cool ice cream place. I’m trying to get used to being with the high schoolers. I hope Milo is going! There’s gonna be a Sunsplash trip soon too! It’s for all three youth groups. Can’t wait to show off my suit!”
“Things aren’t great. I’m in one of those states where a lot of things are on my mind and I can’t handle it. I have to do this stupid mythology outline and Mo has shared some secret information with Nicole. I don’t want to be her friend. Plus Nicole is talking about how pretty much the whole high school group is going to be volunteering at our middle school camp. They had theirs and we weren’t there. No one interfered or was watching them. It’s not their hangout time. Really, we don’t need them for our mystery place secret destination activity, or six flags. We’re supposed to be middle school ministries for crying out loud. I don’t know if this is happening because I did something wrong and god is punishing me, because that’s what it seems like. I’ll read a bible verse or something and then force myself to sleep.”
“We went to Big Spoon. It wasn’t much fun because I was pretty much alone. Nicole had her friend Em and Em totally ignores me. I mostly stayed to myself. That sure was spirit lifting.”
I wonder if my sister’s friends were standoffish because she was standoffish towards me. They had no reason to dislike me because they didn’t know me.
“July 18, 2007: I have on a purple halter top. Also, mom rebraided some of my braids. I painted my fingernails a diamond purple. They look nice. Jo came over, we hung out. Candy was here too. Then Dom showed up. He totally likes Nicole. I guess she’s good looking to him. I was kind of nervous around him. I was kind of staring at him. Kinda. We made eye contact a lot. I think I might have looked mean to him sometimes. It was just weird.”
“July 19, 2007: 11 something in the morning: I’m at camp now. Me and Tina are in our tent. Me and my team just played truth or dare. Milo was there too. He seemed a little shy, but he tied his belt to a pole. Funny huh? All of the people like Tia and her friends are being dramatic and talking to boys. It’s a little annoying. “
“July 21, 2007: Yesterday was the Gong Show and I had to be the chicken in our skit. Milo was starting to talk to me a little. Why? I don’t know. It was a little surprising. Huston started talking to Candy more too. Tina’s brother Marlin is here. We had smores last night. A group of us were laying in a sandbox and singing when J#3 came over and started singing Candy Shop to me. Not church appropriate. He’s like stalking me. Today we’re going to do community service.“
“It’s later. We just took showers. We came back from a horse farm. We picked up trash, picked fruit, painted, and petted horses. Me, Huston, and Candy saw a rocker horse. It was gray and black and had cool hair with bangs. I swallowed a few rubber bands from my braces when I was there. At the farm, Marlin and I kept making eye contact. When he sneezed, I said ‘Bless you’ and he said ‘Thank you!’ Isn’t that exciting! J#3 keeps looking at me too. I can’t believe he sung Candy Shop to me last night. We’re going to have hot dogs and go to the mystery event.”
“The stupid mystery event was seeing Ratatouille at the movies.”
For the record I was pissed about the “mystery event”. I thought we were going to do an activity that was some sort of adventure. I wanted something fresh, new, and exciting! Also, the movie was rated G. They took a bunch of teenagers to see a kid’s movie and thought it was a fun surprise. During a large portion of the movie, I struggled trying to calm myself down because I was so angry. I felt like we were being treated like small children.
“July 22, 2007: Today we went to Marine World. I woke up sick. I’m freezing even though it’s warm. Then, I ended up burning up. I had such a bad headache, I couldn’t really ride rides. Me and Marlin kept looking at each other. He sat next to me when we were getting ready to go. You could have cut the tension with a butterknife. He sat next to me on the tram too. Score! I hope he didn’t catch me smiling. We went to Wendy’s. Milo and Tim kept looking at me, especially back at camp. A lot of boys keep looking. The thing that sucks is I’M SICK!“
“August 1, 2007: I went to high school youth group. The senior pastor’s boys and their friends were there, plus Milo. I felt a little lonely.“
“August 3, 2007: ‘My cleaners are back!’ That’s what my dad said when we walked through the door. This house is clean because of me and Nicole. That’s the reason they’re glad when we return home when we’re gone. A part of it anyway. They feel like a load is taken off of them. I just told mom I’ll miss bible study because I’m visiting grandma in Oakland. The first thing she said was “I don’t feel like driving out there.” That’s all she ever says. She doesn’t feel like it. She’s getting old and lazy and controlling. She needs to go.”
“August 13, 2007: Dear god, I struggle with worrying, anxiety, lack of confidence, doubt, and negative thinking. Please take them away from me and show me how to seek you. Please remove the burdens from my heart and just show me the way to the right path. Please let the bible speak to my heart and help me improve on these things. Let me understand and receive your message. Please forgive me for my sins.”
These problems I so earnestly prayed about did not magically disappear or get better in the next few months, or even years. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have started this blog. I learned that prayer was always the answer. I felt helpless and believed I had no control over my own life. I did not believe I had the ability or the power to improve my life, because the only people who had control over me were my parents and god. Anything that happened to me was a part of god’s plan and if bad things happened, it was because I did something wrong, intentional or otherwise. So whatever I wanted, no matter what it was, no matter how big or small, I had to ask for permission. This unhealthy way of thinking left me vulnerable to manipulation, bullying, and abuse later in life when I left home.
“August 19, 2007: I watched High School Musical 2. I couldn’t believe how good it was considering it was the second movie. Orientation was yesterday. Darion was in my group. He picked me to play a game with him and he sat by me and flirted a lot. He asked me if I had a boyfriend and if I ever kissed a guy etc. He even put his arms around me. I liked it, but I told him I didn’t like being touched. I accidentally swung my hip into Manny and he said “You can put it on me if you want to” and pushed himself against me. I said “That’s not what I was trying to do” and moved away. This was on the campus tour, and it was a little embarrassing.”
Both of these boys are African American and while they showed interest, I didn’t like being touched or asked personal questions. I felt my boundaries were being challenged and it was uncomfortable. I noticed there was a difference between interacting with African American boys vs. Caucasian boys. Interacting with African American boys was often stressful or uncomfortable due to their boldness and/or my dilemma of not being allowed to flirt back since I wasn’t allowed to date. With Caucasian boys my experiences were largely being ignored, strictly friendly interactions, or awkward eye contact. Though I interacted with boys of all races and ethnicities in some capacity, my young mind paid the most attention to, and therefore compared, Caucasian and African-American boys. This could be because of the obvious, I am African-American, and also because most of the boys I interacted with or were around the most, were Caucasian.
“Now I’m going to church and I’m gonna go to a leadership meeting for kids church after second service. 9:33PM: Tomorrow morning I will be in high school. You’ve had a peek at my first teenage summer. Now we enter new challenges, new people, and choices. I’m a little nervous.“
End of Diary 3. Thanks for reading 🙂