Archive for September, 2010

Old Journals & the May 8th Flood

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

I dug out my old journals this past Thursday.

The first one, a Stuart Hall 70-sheet wide rule spiral notebook, received its opening entry on May 22nd, 1993.  I was 11-years old and in sixth grade.  I printed in pencil throughout all 70 pages, front and back.

Some highlights:

May 24th, 1993
Now, for the first time, I will hide my journal.  Where?  Under my mattress of course.  How original.  If I change the place I will write it.

May 31st, 1993
I figure I will replace all of my 90210 posters with Edward Furlong posters.

June 8th, 1993
And my ear surgery is just an ear tuck.  (They call it otoplasty, I think.)  I need that done this summer because I look like Ross Perot.  And people tease me.  But they have to cut open my head.  How gross!  And painful.  But they are supposed to put me in a “twilight” so I don’t feel it.

July 7th, 1994 (now 12-years old)
I am starting over.  Forget the past.  Well, I know I won’t forget it, but I don’t need to write it.  There’s too much.  I know I won’t be reading this when I’m 40 and remembering my childhood, it’s just a dumb notebook that I pour my feelings in because I have but a couple of friends.

October 23rd, 1994
I just smoked my first cigarette.  I think it was disgusting… I’m wondering if I smoked the cigarette wrong.  I still feel gross, but at least I know how, or at least I think I know how (enough to look like it) for social events.

March 3rd, 1995
When I get upset, I have no feelings.  Right now I have no feelings.

May 3rd, 1995
I hope John is okay.  I care about him.  I almost like him in a way.  I will always wonder if he still thinks of ——– though.  I hope he gets over it.  She isn’t worth it.  No one is worth your life.  No one.

My second journal started in pencil but changed to ink after about four months.  It was another Stuart Hall spiral notebook, only college rule.  The first entry is dated May 8th, 1995.  There was a huge flood in New Orleans that day.  Heavy rains began the evening prior.  During a short period of twelve hours, some areas received twenty inches of rainfall:

New Orleans International Airport, 9.67”
New Orleans (Lakefront Airport), 15.44″
Harahan, 14.88″
Kenner, 17.11″
Metairie, 19.39″
New Orleans East, 20.20″

It was the worst flooding the city had experienced between hurricanes Betsy in 1965 and Katrina in 2005. There has been no comparable recorded flood in New Orleans caused by rain alone.  Six people died as a result. The city of New Orleans suffered $360 million in damages, and the damage of the surrounding areas put that total above $1 billion. Some 56,000 homes were damaged in 12 Parishes. Thousands of cars were flooded. 14,600 homes and apartments were flooded in Jefferson Parish.  Pumping stations were overwhelmed.

May 8th, 1995
It’s funny to think this could be my last entry.  That’s because there is a horrible storm outside and our lawn is flooded almost to our house.  The thunder and lightning is very close.  But I’m sure everything will be okay.

May 9th, 1995
The streets are wet.  Houses are flooded.  Carpet is at the end of many driveways.  Jennifer’s house got over a foot of water.
This morning I woke up for school, and after driving there I found it was being used as a rescue station.  So no school.

May 14th, 1995
I’m acting happy, sort of, but deep down I’m so upset.

May 23rd, 1995
I now remember why I don’t really like [having a boyfriend].  You are always wondering if they still like you or if they’re mad.  It’s weird.  And confusing.  And… whatever.

May 24th, 1995
John dumped me.  He didn’t even really give me a reason.  He told Damon that when he starts going out with someone he stops liking them.  I almost cried.  I don’t get it.  There were no warning signs.  I just don’t understand, and I’m too tired to write about it.  I think I’m getting the fucking chicken pox, too.  Fuck fuck fuck.
This is the first breakup where I’m really upset… He doesn’t care.  When he was breaking up with me on the phone he was almost crying, and Justin said afterward John called him and told him and he sounded just fine.  Kind of happy.

May 26th, 1995
I have lots of chicken pox.  Mostly on my face, chest, and back.  I have some inside my, you know, vagina, and it sucks.  And my party is tonight.

June 4th, 1995
Me and John got into a little “word” fight.  He was being a dickhead.  Of course he apologized later.  But he was hanging out with some girl and Justin was saying John “found a new chick to hang with”.  I felt crappy, but I just told everyone I felt awkward.

June 6th, 1995
Well, well, well.  Life’s a big stinky bitch.

June 16th, 1995
I got high for the first time tonight.  I smoked weed.  It was great.

August 28th, 1995
It’s been so long…
I’m in high school.  Life sucks.  I think I hate everyone.  And I want to die.

May 10th, 1996
Guys drive me INSANE.

May 11th, 1996
I just got bitched out by my mommy and a little by my daddy.  I got home at exactly 5:02am, but they didn’t know I left.  I did all my “bedtime rituals” and at about 5:11am I checked in.  I wasn’t going to, but while I was in the bathroom I could have sworn I heard my mom downstairs calling my name, going in my room, and then going back upstairs, so I figured I’d just check in.  I am so fucking dumb, but at least I had fun.

May 17th, 1996
I did get caught sneaking out my window.  Yup.  One evening last month I did the usual jump out my window thing.  Well, I got home I guess around 4am, and I did everything (change into my pajamas, etc), then I went to the bathroom.  When I went back into my room there was a note on my door.  I think my heart stopped for ten minutes.  It said “TRUST?  I love you Ash.  Talk to me.  Mom.”  So the next day we talked and I have a beeper now and pretty much no curfew.

June 5th, 1996
Ohmigod!  Matt said he’d call me!  He really did.  I know he doesn’t work tomorrow!  God I hope he calls!

June 6th, 1996
No, he didn’t call.

June 25th, 1996
Never in my life have I ever experienced anything like it, and never again do I want to.  It was a hit and run, and we ran.  I’ve never been so scared in my life.
(Note:  No one was seriously injured.  The driver of the car was a friend, and he/she turned him/herself into the police that evening.)

July 12th, 1996
Well, this is officially the last real night of summer.  It sucked too.  Oh well.
This summer wasn’t a complete waste though.  I met Tori Amos.

February 23rd, 1997
Regrets.  I have so many regrets.  Little ones that don’t really matter, and big ones that could have changed my life.  Yet they all burden me in the same painful way.  I put them all in the little black box in my head, which is being pushed to the limit right now.  They never go away either.  My black box is bad.  Chris’s black box made him put a gun to his head.  I wonder what mine will make me do.

February 25th, 1997
I don’t know what I want.  Chris told me I was afraid to be happy.  I just don’t know.  I don’t know.

July 8th, 1997
I hope I just worry too much.  Oh god life is hard.  I hope this is the most emotional stress I have in my life.  Ahh, the teenage years.  I guess it’s one of those “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone” things.  I guess I’ll see.

July 2nd, 1997
Why am I writing?  All I want to say is I miss him.  A lot.  Too much.  So much that it makes me nervous.  I just wonder if he misses me.
Yeah right.

July 15th, 1997
The bright side to every situation looks darker every day.

There is some cryptic cursive writing dated some time in 1998, and then a few similar entries in 2004.

The very last entry is a sort of poem.  It’s dated July 2, 2004.  It was around that time that Jayme and I decided to move from Los Angeles to New York.  The text of the “poem” goes:

Lilibeth and death

and my paycheck

and your face

and your body

and your smell

and your eyes

and your lips

i have to go to new york

We moved on September 17th.  It was the day after my 23rd birthday.

I’m still living in New York, and this Thursday, I’ll be 29-years old.