Thursday, February 4, 2010

Some Basics

Before I jump into the first Notes from 2010/high school entry posts, I think I should give a basic overview of where I was coming from just before I got depressed.

In junior high, I had a small but tight group of friends. We were nerds, and we got teased like hell, but we had each other and that made it all kind of okay. The thing that initially brought us together was that we were all anime-obsessed in an era when anime wasn't remotely cool, and generally assumed to be kids' stuff or porn, depending who you asked. We loved Sailor Moon (naturally), Ranma 1/2, Project A-Ko, Rurouni Kenshin, and so on, and we watched whatever we could buy or rent. Anime was a lot scarcer back in the VHS days, at least where we lived.

This is the group I mentioned in my intro post: the one that had broken up almost completely by the summer between tenth and eleventh grades, and that I clung to desperately way longer than I should have, because I didn't know what to do without them. There were a few other people we hung out with a fair bit, but these are the ones I was close with, and who I feel like I need to explain ahead of time. There are other people you'll see me meet along the way, but I'd known my junior high friends for years, so without context, the journal entries about them could be hard to follow.

Junior high friends:

Hannah: One of my oldest friends in junior high (and, for the record, still one of my oldest and closest friends today). We'd known each other since elementary school, and stayed friends through high school. We had some issues at the time, and I'm sorry to say I often absolved myself of a lot of bitchiness towards her because I always cast her in the bitch-queen role. You'll often see me call her patronizing, say that she talks down to me, claim that she's a lot less mature than I am. And maybe not all of that was off base--maybe she did patronize me sometimes; and yes, it pisses me off to this day when someone is clearly treating me like that. But I was just as flawed as she was, and I had no right to be so fucking judgmental. I think a big part of it was that I was jealous of how much more easily she made friends than I did, since I had myself so convinced I was a nicer, better, more interesting person. Which I can say now is absolute bullshit.

Looking back, I know I didn't appreciate her friendship and loyalty half as much as I should have, and as I hope I do now. It's hard to read some of the things I wrote about her back then, and honestly, they're a big part of why this blog is, and will remain, anonymous: I do not remotely feel that way anymore, and I never, never want her to know that I did. Hannah, I hope to God you never read this, but I still want to say it here: I'm sorry. You are a great friend, and I am an unforgivable moron for not realizing that back that.

Isaac, aka Izzy: Izzy was my best friend, and my polar opposite. He was outgoing, artistic, loved the spotlight, never had trouble speaking his mind, and was himself whether people liked it or not. I was shy, quiet, and as much as I wanted to stand out, I was way more scared of making a fool of myself. I wanted to be liked and admired, but I was too afraid to risk being laughed at to even try.

Maybe it was a complementary personality thing, but somehow we clicked despite our differences. Izzy was my closest friend and confidante for a good two years, and I'll always look back on that with a lot of love for him. (Totally platonic love, that is--there was never any attraction between us, from either side.) But from the beginning, Izzy was a lot cooler than I ever had a hope of being. He was also more curious about sex and drugs (not my thing to this day, for a variety of personal reasons I may eventually touch on), and had higher aspirations of being seen as cool, if not necessarily popular. By tenth grade, he'd pretty well ditched me for a new group of friends who were more into that too. At the time it hurt like a motherfucker, though I get now how it was only natural for him to do pull away from me. We still keep in touch, though we sometimes go years without seeing each other.

Dani: One of Hannah's oldest friends. She went to a different junior high school than the rest of us, but we spent tons of time talking on the phone and online, and hanging out after school and on weekends. She was a ton of fun, a nice combination of reserved and outgoing, and could make us laugh at just about anything. She moved to a different city before high school started, but we emailed a lot and visited when we could, and we're still friends today. She and Hannah are still close too.

Alyssa: Hannah and I met her in seventh grade, and she integrated into the (slightly different) group of friends we had at the time easily. Our friendship with her was the opposite of our friendship with Dani, in that we almost never saw Alyssa outside of school, but spent almost all our time together during the school week. She was never as big on anime as the rest of us, but got kind of into it by proxy. Alyssa and I weren't especially close, but it was still confusing for me when she found a new group of friends in high school and stopped hanging out with me and Hannah. She was always nice to me, though, and reached out to me now and then over the years, long after I'd stopped expecting it. We've fallen out of touch these days, but I hope she's living a good life, wherever she is.

Iris: Hannah, Alyssa and I also became friends with her in seventh grade. Iris was from a certain background, and had two groups she hung out with: me and my friends, and another group of kids who were from the same background as her. Her closest friends from each group would all hang out together once in a while, but for the most part my friends only knew Iris's other friends to say hi to. Iris was one of the friends who stuck by me all through high school, and I owe her a deep debt of gratitude for that. We had one or two classes together each year, and, honest to God, hanging out with her for an hour or two every week helped keep me sane. She was an incredibly sweet, caring person, and while I was never brave enough to confide my deepest problems to her, the fact that she liked and accepted me helped me feel like maybe I was worth something after all. If someone like Iris felt I was good enough to be her friend, there must be at least a tiny spark of something good in me. Unfortunately, Iris and I grew apart when we went to different universities. But we're Facebook friends these days, and she seems very happy, which I'm very glad to know.

Hannah, Dani, Izzy and I were regulars at couple anime-based chat rooms. We'd stay up for hours talking to each other and our "c-friends" there. This was pre-cell phones and IMing was just starting to come into style when we were in grade 9 or 10 (and God do I feel old right now), so chatting was our answer to texting. It gave us some much-appreciated autonomy and privacy, since our parents couldn't hear what we were typing, and didn't spend that much time looking over our shoulders.

We all had online friends we considered as real as each other, and some of them will also come up in my entries. It's usually obvious when I'm talking about people I only knew online versus people I knew in real life, but there are a couple people who need an explanation up front, so it's clear who they are.

Online friends:

Izumi-chan/Camille: The closest online friend I have ever had. We emailed back and forth a ton when I was in grades 10 through 12, and told each other just about everything. I was as close to her as I ever was to Izzy. Izumi-chan was her chat name, and Camille was her real name, and I use them interchangeably in my diary entries. Camille had a lot more life experience than I did, but she was loving and patient with me, listened to everything I had to say, and gave me a long-distance shoulder to cry on, plus real advice and support. I honestly don't know if I would still be here if I hadn't had her.

She was going through some pretty bad shit herself at the same time I was dealing with my depression, and I can only hope I helped her as much as she helped me. We've lost touch over the years, but I hold out hope that I'll someday track her down on Facebook, or MySpace, or somewhere like that. I would love to get to know her again.

Skylark: My first big online crush, and my first big crush on a girl. I think I talked to her three whole times in the entire time I knew her--possibly for a total of an hour, possibly less. *L* I started getting minor crushes on girls online when I was 13 or 14, and calling myself "open." When I was 15, I came out to myself (and later, others) as bisexual, and I've identified as bi (and more recently, pansexual) ever since. In retrospect, I think the barely-warranted online crushes were a safe way to start exploring that side of myself without any risk of serious consequences. Wherever my (entirely unrequited) feelings sprang from, Skylark will come up quite a bit in my earliest entries.

I think that covers the essentials of who and what my earliest journal entries are going on about. In the next couple posts, I'll move on to real thing.

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