The Summer of 1995 was a huge turning point for me. I was 21. I’d just graduated from college. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I had dreams, but they were just that–intangible. I was laying down the template for my future. I hadn’t yet met the boy I would marry. I was searching for the meaning of life–more specifically, my life. I was struggling. And I completely broke.
I apparently wrote much of it down in my diary. Which I found. And I thought I’d share some of what I wrote with you. Here are some excerpts:
June 24, 1995:
You know, you ask for Spring to end…and Summer solstice starts and the world boils.
June 27, 1995:
I’m going to try to adopt the Daoist method of just finding my center and waiting for things to come to me instead of searching frantically for whatever. It takes enough effort and focus as it is just to reach out and grab what passes you.
July 4, 1995:
So anyway, I’ve decided to switch my reading from Foucault’s Pendulum to Native Speaker by Chang-rae Lee. I think I could write a book. If only I could be more imaginative! Or rather, more complete with my imagination!
July 9, 1995:
JW of course, showed up at 5am this morning. Didn’t fall asleep til 7am or so.
Woke up to congo drums from above again.
Check this out: I live below a congo drum instructor who gives lessons on weekend mornings.
July 14, 1995:
I spent lunch hour mulling. MULLING. Just mulling SHIT. I’m trying hard to be good to myself and do the right thing, but it’s so much easier to be careless. It’s so much easier to say who cares and indulge and put feelings aside and fuck all night with a guy whose priority in life is to not deal.
July 23, 1995:
Still in a funk. Being suicidally depressed is unbelievable. I think I usually just lie stunned at its power, this monster hold on me. I have spurts of energy, nervous energy and I try to do all I can during those periods and other times, most of the time, I just lie debilitated in tears or numbness. But the energetic times scare me. I want to live again.
July 28, 1995:
It’s been hard. I’m seeing a doctor on Tuesday. J gave me a squash. For some reason it made me happy. I think it’s one of the few things he’s given me, and it was given to me when I felt like I had nothing in my hands. But Squash? I think I’ve lost it.
July 29, 1995:
So yeah, it’s weird I’ve found hope in a yellow squash. But when I sit with it or think about it, I feel better. I figure hell, “whatever gets me through the day,” no matter how fucked up. So I sit with the squash.
July 30, 1995:
Today from 3pm to 7pm…I had a hard time. J called at 5pm in the middle of the hardest part and broke the trance, the ritual, the whatever. It was strange talking to him with bloodied wrists wet with warm water while holding a bloody napkin. I know, I’m so insane…yet sane. Afternoons and evenings are the worst.
August 6, 1995:
I’m at Moss Beach! At the marine life preserve, sitting on the sand by the tidal pools. The place here is teeming with life. Hermit crabs, sea anemones, and eel-like seaweed. This is the most peaceful I’ve felt in awhile. This place. With the waves. With my feet dug into the sand. The earth so giving and hard. This place where earth and rock meet water, where sun and moon struggle.
August 20, 1995:
I must write a book. I must write books, plural. That is what would make my soul happy, I think.
JW says he likes it when I’m a bitch. That no one cares if you’re depressed. It’s better to be a bitch than to let people know you’re feeling fucked up.
But then again, I fell in love with a yellow squash, which sits wilting in the stay-crisp drawer of my refrigerator. Anything I suppose can be for real, even love for a yellow squash in a period of malignancy and despair.
August 28, 1995:
I guess you try to do whatever makes you happy in the little circle of air you’ve carved away for yourself. It’s not big, but you can be happy there.
September 4, 1995:
Watched Mortal Kombat w JW today. Possibly the worst movie I’ve ever watched in my short life. It was so bad I enjoyed it.
I’m going to refuse to be dependent on anyone for my own happiness. My parents can depend on me for their happiness, but I refuse that vicious circle. That felt good to say. Everything for a long time will be for myself–well, but not at the expense of others. But if it’s a choice between me and others, I will take the one that’s best for me. My happiness is my own.
I have to change my life or die.
What was a turning point in your life?