My only friend at school was sick. Again.
And for some reason, I felt the need to write down just what I’d been thinking and feeling about this whole high school experience, as a freshman who had her suspicions that high school wouldn’t be any more fun than elementary school.
No recess to speak of. More work, less fun. Remind me, again, why I came here?
Oh, right. No choice.
But because I felt the need to write things down, and I happened to have some spare change on me, I bought a thin notebook from a vending machine in the high school library, and I wrote all that I was thinking. But I wrote from the perspective of someone who was new to the planet – someone with powers yet untapped (and unknown to all but myself), someone who would eventually break free of the pointless tedium of her high school existence.
To do what? Well, I had a whole 80 page notebook to work that out.
Unfortunately, being as absent-minded as I am prone to writing down my thoughts, I left that diary in the high school library one day, after my class spent some time in there to learn research techniques. I left it behind and didn’t realize I had done so until I opened my bag at home and realized my diary wasn’t there anymore.
Someone picked it up, though. And read it. And shared it.
With the entire school.
Now, I was already pretty much used to being an outcast, so having kids ask me if I really thought I was an alien from another planet wasn’t the worst thing I could imagine happening to me. It was embarrassing, yeah. But I could live with it. Not that I had a choice. Because I didn’t.
What really made life difficult was the fact that I’d written (several pages) in tender language of my growing attachment to a boy in my Algebra class (who explained things better than the teacher did). When a girl from my class asked me in the bathroom, “So, do you really love ___ ____???” I was pretty sure my life was over. But it wasn’t.
It was not easy looking that boy in the face for a while after my diary went public. So, of course, my Algebra grade was doomed. Not only that, but I had to get through each day without looking at him. And looking at him was probably the best part of the school day.
I’ll never know who turned my diary in to the school counselor, but someone did. And that school counselor called me to her office in the middle of a school day. I think I missed part of my science class. I didn’t mind that. I do remember hearing a few snickers in the class as I rose from my seat, grabbed my school bag and headed out the door.
The counselor told me she’d read the whole diary. She began with telling me how well-written it was, and how entertaining. Then she asked me, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you feel about yourself on a daily basis?”
Even in my senior year, I had freshman girls coming up to me and asking, “Do you really think you’re an alien from another planet?”
Needless to say, I was spared the expense of going to the prom.
There’s a short story in this somewhere. I started one a while back where the counselor promised me she didn’t share the diary with anyone but her cat.
It ends leaving the reader wondering whether the boy from her Algebra class was the one who turned in the diary, partly just because he wanted it safely returned to me. And he thought I might need a psych evaluation.
“You need help. But you’re irresistibly attracted to me. That proves you have discriminating taste. So, there’s hope!”
He never actually admitted to turning in the diary, but he was one of the few who didn’t make my character feel like a complete loser. Where others teased, he quietly, unperturbably continued to help her with her Algebra.
That didn’t actually happen. At least, not for a while. I avoided him out of shame. I avoided most others for different reasons.
So . . . if you must know the essentials of keeping your alien diary out of irritating hands, take the following points into consideration:
1. Don’t take it to school.
2. Don’t take it out of your bag in a public place, where you might possibly leave it behind absent-mindedly.
3. Don’t write about a secret crush, unless you’re absolutely certain it won’t end up in the hands of those who will share it with everyone ostensibly human.
4. Don’t do as I did and destroy the diary when (or if) you recover it. Years later, you might find yourself wondering just what exactly you wrote back then, when you were lonely and felt like an alien and wanted special powers and had a crush on someone.
5. Don’t take it to school!
I hope I’ve helped someone avoid the worst that can come of writing your innermost thoughts on a notebook that can easily be filched, or left behind, or read by unscrupulous (or just over-curious) over-the-shoulder busybodies.
And with that, I’m minutes away from publishing a blog post about a humiliating experience from 26 years ago.
Because it’s just one of those days, maybe. Or because this is what came to mind when I asked myself, “What should I write about for my next blog post?”
Because the very best thing a homeschooling mom can do is to plant doubts in her readers’ minds as to whether she’s mentally stable.
Any thoughts? Please share (I may regret that, but share anyway).
Update: I don’t homeschool anymore, but this is still one of my favorite blog posts, so I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. 🙂