A Review of My Teen Years, Through the Lens of Livejournal

From January 2004 and August 2009, I wrote nearly 600 entries between two primary Livejournal accounts, and basically every single one can be reduced to just the following:

“I have nothing to say, but I’m gonna write something anyway [because it took me so long to log on with dial up that I might as well take advantage]. Today, I ate a lot of food – specifically, [this food.] I am also not-so-humble-bragging about how well I’m doing on every test and in every class ever, but I AM STILL SO STRESSED about failing. I’m angry with my mother, and I love [random boy of the day/week]. I am pretending to be an airhead because I think it will make more people like me, even though in the same entry I am quoting a poem by T.E. Lawrence. Endless “*hehehehehehehe*s.”
Currently listening to: Any number of terrible pop-“folk”/pop-“punk”/pop-“alt” songs.

Mood: Quixotic, even though I never knew what it meant.

However, here are some clutch quotes, moments, or observations:
  • I once used the phrase “will just die” if this happens, unironically
  • I got a 97 on my first midterm exam sophomore year of high school, which was in World Geography, but then immediately professed to not knowing where Iraq or Iran were. Lol?

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  • I had a weird crush on my biology teacher that lasted for WAY too long
  • I apparently had a crush on a guy named Henry? I don’t even remember ever knowing anyone named Henry. And who the hell was this guy Tom I was so stoked to be sitting with during Astronomy? Apparently I was really psyched to be going to some guy named Andy’s birthday party, but the only Andy’s I remember now are ones who would have  *never* invited me to their birthday party…
  • Ah, sweet memories of having Driver’s Ed with a dude I had a crush on at the time and would eventually have a mediocre one night stand with, 11 years later.
  • I was arguably equally obsessed with two boys named Jesse whom I had very different relationships with (one I thought of as the Dawson to my Joey, and the other I thought of as my very own Jared Leto brought down to play in my high school’s screamo band) and often shared stories about them without specifying which one, which is very confusing upon re-reading.
  • In hindsight, it is not nearly as surprising that I ended up dating the boy I did senior year cause I can see now that we clearly liked each other for months leading up to it, even though at the time I was oblivious.
  • I had a very definite crush on a dude who’s brother I ended up hooking up with later. Whoops. Forgot about that. Tacky.
  • Who the hell is “this Russian named Igor” I knew in college, and why was I going out with him?
  • Aw. Sad emo Emily “hasn’t got a heart to break.”
  • Crushing on Jon Stewart since 04, baby!

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  • It’s like I didn’t know that people were reading this thing, for all the trash talk (both casual and crazily intense) I threw out on it.
  • Reading about some of my encounters with friends, crushes, etc. is like an out of body experience because I genuinely have NO memory of ever doing like half of them, and the other half then suddenly all come flooding back in to drown me in shame
  • I literally started incorporating the phrase “so fetch” into my regular vocabulary the same day I saw Mean Girls in theaters
  • I do not ever remember being the type of girl to write “I am so sick of the drama!!” or “No one’s even gonna comment on this so who cares” which is the equivalent of kids posting an Instagram pic now with the caption “Deleting later,” which annoys me. You’re just fishing for compliments, child, and that’s not cute.
  • I ONCE CRIED IN THE CAFETERIA?? Oh, sorry, make that at least two crying-in-public jags. Wow. And I thought I had avoided those til college!
  • God was once #1 on my list of “What I couldn’t live without.”
  • I was equally excited to receive Ravi Shankar’s Three Ragas for Christmas as I was to receive Time Well Wasted by Brad Paisley, and Eminem’s Greatest Hits…
  • I was already anti Creed by 2004, thankfully, which is still too late in the game by many people’s standards but you do not understand how much I loved Scott Stapp back in the day. And I don’t understand it either. So this was a big accomplishment.
  • I at one point listed Kanye West as my favorite rapper. Ew.
Good Lord, teenage Emily. Take so many chill pills, PLEASE, because you are a manic mess. Take some deep breaths and know that the golden era of wireless internet and smart phones is coming, and soon your life will be filled with videos of baby animals, and a whole world of Nutella based breakfast recipes will be open to you, and you’ll be able to watch all cycles of America’s Next Top Model on your phone while sitting on the toilet.
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Don’t be so judgmental about people’s habits and appearance, but do be more discerning in who you choose to be friends with. You’re going to get very lucky in terms of meeting amazing people who will become lifelong friends but shouldn’t let that make you lazy in terms of honing your character assessment skills. You are smarter than you think but also way dumber and immature, too. College will be 90% awful but you’ll get through it. Know that a) many of the guys you liked in high school actually did like you back already, or would have if you’d just had any confidence in yourself at all, and b) mostly they were not worth liking in the first place. Open your damn eyes. Also please stop hooking up with your guy friends; it’s literally never a good idea. Everything prior to October 2007 was just practice for the real thing, and you shouldn’t judge those boys too harshly for not knowing how to handle your crazy (but also you shouldn’t let them walk all over your feelings either). You will have a first great love and it will eventually end, you’ll have a bad love that lasts for too long but ends with you figuring out how to start actually loving yourself, and then you will meet the love of your life shortly after that because you’ll finally be ready to appreciate him. Stop being a competitive biotch with other girls over things that don’t matter and just embrace feminism ASAP, please, because other women are cool and you’re going to have a life full of wonderful, inspiring, radical women to remind you of that fact every day, and because all the dudes in your life will benefit from feminism, too.
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Every major thing you’re going to do, you should do, even the “bad” stuff; I wouldn’t have you change a thing because it’s going to help get you to a better place even if it feels like a mistake at the time or looks like one in hindsight. It can be a mistake but still be a good one to have made because that’s how you learn. Except for over plucking your eyebrows – you really shouldn’t have done that. You should, however, stop saying (or specifically, writing) everything that comes into your head because you’re a mean little thing sometimes and that’s not a good look, nor is it helpful to anyone. The Internet will be full of people spouting every opinion they’ve ever had; you don’t need to be one of them.
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It will all get worse before it gets better, but it will get better. Friday will come, the semester will end, you’ll lose the weight but more importantly you’ll learn to accept your body and face the way they are when taken care of properly, you’ll have a career that fulfills you, and a husband who loves you, and cats that use you as a body heat and food dispenser. Just have your fun, don’t drive stoned, and wait.
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The Elegance of the Hedgehog

I finished The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery, sometime last week and I completely loved it.

Renee (Madame Michel) is the concierge of an upscale apartment building in France – she is extraordinarily intelligent, emotionally advanced, thoughtful to a fault, well-read, and well-versed in all things artistic, philosophical, and intellectual, but she hides all of this from the world due to a long-held secret and a deep-seated fear of upsetting the social status quo. Meanwhile, privileged and precocious 12-year-old Paloma Josse lives upstairs – like Renee, she has been blessed with a great capacity for compassion and a hunger for knowledge, and also like Renee, she prefers to hide these facts from others and slip through life as unnoticed as possible. Enter Kakuro Ozu, a distinguished gentleman from Japan, who moves into the building and almost immediately sets about to the task of drawing both Renee and Paloma out of their shells and towards one another, as he recognizes the true nature of each and the kindred spirit that connects them.

I have no complaints or criticisms at all. The plot was subtle to start but exponentially grew in strength (I was near tears towards the end), while the prose was consistently beautiful throughout. The characters were fantastic but ultimately believable and very easy to identify and empathize with, and the narration (I listened to it on CD) was extraordinary – it was an excellent example of true voice acting, especially on the part of Barbara Rosenblat, who narrated Renee’s sections. Listen to it, or read it, or have it read to you – but you really ought to experience it for yourself at your earliest convenience.