Tales of an eighth-grade nothing

UPDATE (7/20/2010): Upon further review, this really doesn’t seem like a fun, fruitful activity. I’m tempted to censor and remove this post. I’ll just kinda hide it.

As a severely depressed thirteen-year-old back in 1989, my therapist encouraged me to write down my thoughts. I started a journal in a spiral-bound notebook, and I never really stopped.

That journal goes online to the world starting now. I’ll have to transcribe it, but, for the time being, I’m planning to work on that.

Why am doing this? What purpose can it possibly serve? I know it’s all very painful. It’s obviously all very private.

The main reason is that the thirteen-year-old who was writing it desperately did not want it to be private. He grew to write as if there was an audience, as if there was someone who cared about what he was thinking and feeling. If he was going to overcome the nightmare of that horrible depression, he wanted to chronicle how he triumphed over it. Or, if he never overcame it, he wanted people to understand how it destroyed him.

Enough of the third-person. I wrote in my journal for years with the fantasy that my writings were going to be thoughts that others would read someday, and the idea that I was not having these thoughts in a vacuum kept me going at times.

I do not claim that these will help anyone. I wonder if going through these may help me, although I tend to think it will not.

I have been a brutal critic of myself for over twenty years. I frankly don’t know how to give myself a break. Putting the journal out there is a way of given myself, at least my miserable teenage self, a break.

There will be plenty that’s embarrassing, perhaps even humiliating. And it may be embarrassing or humiliating for people I care about. Like with my current-day blog Toastiest, I won’t ever directly use my name. I know people either know or easily can find out who I am, but this slight act of censorship is meant as a way to protect myself and my family. But it’s important for me to put this out there.

I remember wishing I could have an index of journals, and I even began such a project with pen and paper once, jotting down people and topics and noting dates next to them. My younger self would be thrilled that I can put all of this out there, with tags and in a searchable database. My younger self was, after all, I huge geek, and as I’ve implied, had very little in life to be thrilled about. So I am excited that I can do this for…myself.

I tried a similar endeavor a couple of years ago. Called “toastie97”, it was an attempt to transcribe my journals from my college years. Even though it was 13 or 14 years later, I still felt compelled to give every single name a pseudonym. I did not want anyone I know now or knew then to have to have their real names associated with Toastie when even I wasn’t publishing my name. I only put a couple of months up there before deciding it was an awful thing for my psyche, and I stopped. toastie97.com is now somone’s link farm.

There will be no pseudonyms on the new site, or at least I don’t know what circumstance might cause me to use any.

I’ve picked a WordPress.com site for now. I don’t know if I like the blog name, and maybe I’ll change it later. I’ll link to it here, but I don’t know if I’ll comment much on it here in the future, or if I’ll keep my reflections to that site. I imagine I’ll have a few quotes relevant for 2010 from time to time.