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Autumn Reason


No part of this book may be reprinted without express permission from the author


7-2-82 10:00 p.m.

I took care of the neighbor’s kids today. They’re so cute, but I was feeling a little tired so I wasn’t in the mood for them jumping around all day long. But we colored and made some pictures, they both made ones for you. By the time you read this letter, you should already have the pictures. Ellen, their mom, melted down old crayons and poured them into bunny molds, so now we have a bunch of crayons that are shaped like rabbits. The kids love them.
And I’ve been playing with my zen rock garden, too... I’ve had it ready for a while, but I never got sand for it. Well, I finally did today, and once I started to use it I loved it, so I learned how to use Dad’s saws and made you one, too (but you already know that by now, too - I really hope you like it. It’s quite addictive, and slightly creative - very relaxing). When I called Susan later on I told her that I made one and she said that she had always wanted a rock garden, so I made another one this evening. I feel like such a busybody.
Let’s see, what else is going on? There’s still a bunch of things I have to do. See a professor about getting a job as a history professor... I don’t know if I want to move to another city to do a job I’m not even sure that I want, much less can get.
I wish I had other options. I wish I could get on track. Sometimes I know what I want to do with my life, and I’m determined to let nothing stop me. But there are other times when I feel as if the entire world is pitted against me, that others don’t want to see me happy specifically because they don’t know what they want to do with their lives and they want to feel like everyone is in the same boat as they are. They want everyone to work in the same mind-set that they do, because they can only compete in their little world. If someone doesn’t want to climb their little success ladder that they chose to climb up, others can’t handle it because they don’t want to believe that their standard is wrong.
It’s like this: people don’t know what they want with their life, so they do what is expected of themselves, climb the “ladder” of whatever career track they choose, mix in the appropriate social circles, work toward making money, even if they don’t know if that’s what they want and doing it doesn’t make them feel any better. So then they see someone else that has decided to not even acknowledge the ladder that the people with no direction have decided to climb because they don’t know what else to do. And this other person won’t have as much money or as many friends as these ladder-climbers do, so it becomes really easy for the ladder-climbers to dismiss them and unsuccessful - and therefore they must be unhappy.
But I think that these ladder-climbers don’t want to admit to themselves that they are jealous of these people that have found what they wanted with their life.
But in order to achieve their dreams (if they even chose to acknowledge them consciously), the ladder-climbers would have to give up their social circles, their prestige, probably some of their money. And they’re too afraid of not succeeding, because they’re only comfortable with the efforts that they have been putting forth in their ladder-climbing lives, they’re so afraid of not succeeding and losing what they already have that they don’t see the effort as worth it.
So they hold a resentment toward someone they see as a visionary - someone who does what they want with their life.
So then what? They make fun of them for not having enough money, for having no friends. They may even try to sabotage the plans of the creative one, solely because their value systems don’t match.
It’s amazing how people need a mob in order to have a belief in something. Shouldn’t that be evidence enough that they really don’t care about their beliefs, if they need the support from others in order to live with those beliefs?
Anyway, my point from all of that was... Well, I’m no visionary, and I haven’t decided to chuck the whole system into the toilet. But I do want to use the system for my own needs, so that I may be able to do what I want to with my life, whether or not that fits in with what people expect. And I think that scares every person I meet, and I think others resent me for that, and I feel like all these artificial barriers are put up in front of me so that I may get discouraged and quit.
And the thing is, I know what kind of work I want to do, but I’m wondering if and how I can do it.
Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t even try, like the odds are against me. And I have to try to fight that.
It’s a constant battle.


7-6-82 11:35 p.m.

I wished we lived in the same city. I really do. I wish we could see each other all the time, that we didn’t have to deal with calling each other on Thursday nights or that I wouldn’t have to pull strings so that you could stay over for a night or two. It’s a pain in the ass. Okay, not that I’m not willing to do it, it’s just that it’s a pain.
Although if I was with you I would probably bicker with you all the time, wouldn’t I? This is a thought, now, really - are we compatible? Or are we at each other’s throats all the time? Now that I think about it, I don’t think it’s really that bad. I think we come out ahead in the end when we’re together.
So I just got a new word processor from Rob, and it’s great. I can do not only a spelling check but also a grammar check. I can pull out a thesaurus if I’m stuck on a word. I’ve already checked, they don’t have “fuck” or “shit” in the spell check or the thesaurus. Wait - I wonder if they have “penis.” Let me check.
Of course they didn’t have it, but they had “penetration.” Let me see what they have in store for that word.
Well, that sucked. All they had was “entrance.” Poo poo to that. Thumbs down. Definitely down.
Wait - there’s an idea. I’ll look up “poo poo.” Here goes...
No, of course not. This is no fun. They don’t have any good words.
bulging: projecting, protruding, obtrusive, protruding...
How about “thrust”: drive, ram, plunge, lunge, surge, burst, explode... wow, this is starting to get fun. I’ll just see where this lil’ ol’ thesaurus takes me...
desire: hunger, longing, appetite, craving, urge, want, lust, passion, fire, carnality, pleasure, rapture, pant, infatuation, affection, attachment, fondness, love.
Wait, That ended on too mushy a note. I’m going to look up carnality and start again from there.
carnality: gratification, sensuality, sex, intercourse, copulation, climax, ejaculation, exclamation, cry, shout, howling (I”m not making this up, I swear, I’m just typing the list they’re giving me), discharge (Oh, gross!!!), fulfillment, satisfaction, performance.
Whew. I’m quitting there, I’m a bit worn out.
So, how are you doing with the book I gave you? Are you enjoying it at all? I hope so. I look at the main characters and I just think they’re so respectable, they’re almost inhuman for they don’t ever seem to go against the value system they set up for themselves. That’s the only thing that makes it unreal for me. It’s somewhat hard to believe that these characters stick so solidly to their value system when most people I know don’t even have a value system. Rather, they claim to have a value system, but don’t live by it at all. I want to feel like those main characters do, but sometimes I feel like I’m just going to break down against all the pressure.
You know, there was a man I knew once, he was the type of guy that tried to have sex with as many women as possible, a real sexist womanizer type, and one day we were talking about the fact that he’s a republican, and he’s so conservative, and then he said he was a good Christian and that he prays every night before he goes to bed. And all I could think was that this this guy was such a hypocrite for sleeping with anything that moved, then praying to his God every night before he went to bed. I wanted to ask him if he prayed in front of all the women he was usually sleeping with, but instead I asked that if he believed in Jesus Christ, how could he justify having sex before marriage? Then he proceeded to tell me that nowhere in the Bible does it say you can’t have sex before marriage.
And the moral of that story, I guess, is that people can justify anything they want when they don’t live by a cohesive value system. This guy managed to pervert his values and the wording of the Bible in order to go against the vast majority of the Christian interpretations of the Bible in order for the value system he decided to adopt to jive with what he wanted to do at any given moment.

So I really want to do something now, I really want to feel as if I’m accomplishing something with my life. I feel like I’m in such a heavy state of limbo that I’m going to just fall off the face of the Earth and no one would be the wiser. I hate that phrase, “no one will be the wiser,” but I just used it. I’m so ashamed. Anyway, I said something to Susan about you going back to school in the fall, and then we both made a really weird laugh. We’ve been so ingrained with the idea that we’ve graduated that it just seems so foreign to think about taking more university classes in the fall. I know I’ll be there all the time, doing work there, going out and all that jazz, but it’s just weird to think about going back as a full time student. I’m even thinking about being a teacher there, or at least at another university, instead of doing what I’m doing now, so that would definitely keep me back in the university system. But being a student again - it just seems so out of the question.
I just used another phrase I hate, and once again I’m ashamed. “All that jazz.” What does that really mean anyway? And why on Earth did I feel compelled to use it?
Now this has got me thinking about all the strange phrases we use in our every day language. “What on Earth.” “The whole ball of wax.” “A hill of beans.” Someone’s probably written about book about these things.
Speaking of books on useless things, remember how I wanted to know why women’s shirts button the opposite way men’s do? Well, Catherine pulled out a book she had about useless facts and in there it explained why men’s shirts button differently from women’s. Men at the time buttoned their own shirts, especially if they were going off to war, but rich women had maids to dress them, which wanted the buttons the opposite way to make it easier for them to dress the ladies. Interesting.
And did you know that zippers were invented to replace not buttons but shoelaces? Very strange.
Well, I’ve gone on long enough. I’ll write more soon -

p.s. I hate to tell you this, but today little Jeanine from next door said you have a funny name. I don’t know how cool “Jeanine” is for a name, but I think you’re pretty cool.


7-11-82

You know, I don’t even know if I would want to teach at a university, live on a campus, in a campus town. I mean, I like living in a big city... But it’s more than that. I went through the university system, I learned about being politically correct, I supported women’s groups and minority groups - I even took part in protests and rallies. But I start thinking about how giving special rights to certain groups takes away rights from other groups, even if those other groups are while men. And then I start thinking about how people in these groups blame a whole group for the problems of society, and in turn prejudge everyone and assume they’re bad. And then I start thinking about how most people in these groups are scorned people - scorned by the system - and yes, the system is often pitted against some people - but maybe the answer is that internal struggle, learning to accept yourself and not fight these enemies - enemies that are not only real but also that are created. Maybe the answer shouldn’t be a fight against everyone else. I mean, if people want to fight you, that’s their problem, but it’s your life, and you have a right to live it. Don’t bother spending your life telling everyone to let you live your life.
Maybe these groups, this separation, maybe the political action on the parts of women and minorities makes people too angry all the time. Maybe these groups actually make people mare antagonistic toward one another. Maybe they remind people of our differences more than we need to. Maybe it’s a matter of giving the people running these rallies more power, making it an internal power kick instead of an issue of empowering the entire group they represent.
It seems like a noble things to do on the surface. I see the benefit of supporting women’s rights, minority rights, etc.
I did it myself for years.
And who did fighting the system help more? The system, or me?


7-16-82 1:00 p.m.

osculate is the word for kiss, right? I looked it up in my handy-dandy word processing thesaurus and found it. It looks like oscillate. Hmmm....
I saw you last night and I wanted to let you know that every time we have a discussion that borders on an argument it seems like I’m badgering you. I’m not, I’m really not, you sometimes seem like you’re profusely apologizing when that’s not what I’m concerned with. I never expect an apology from you. When I tell you something, it’s just to let you know how I feel. I’m not telling you you have to change.
Does that make any sense? It’s just that if I tell you how I feel about something, it’s just to let you know where I’m coming from, not to make you feel bad or make you apologize or make you feel like you have to change.
You don’t have to change. I love you. I’ll write to you later.


7-23-82 2:45 p.m.

hi, i’m back, and i’ve decided not to use any capital letters in this letter. i’m such a rebel. anyway... catherine’s such a bitch it’s absolutely amazing. now i remember why i didn’t want to live with a roommate. i hate finances, i wish i could just go off somewhere and live and not have to worry about money. i’d be anywhere other than here if i had that luxury.
she’s so petty it makes me sick. she lays claim on furniture we bought together, and guess what? she’ll probably never move anywhere because she has no initiative and no independence. and when i move on, and do something with my life, she’ll resent me so much for making her either find another roommate or live independently that she’ll fight me tooth-and-nail for things that I am just as much entitled to as she is. and i have to deal with this. why?
and the thing is, half of me would want to say it’s not worth the effort, that she is not worth fighting with, and that the price of half of the furniture would be a small price to pay to keep her away from me. but then again, she doesn’t deserve to win this kind of petty battle solely because she is aggravating.

i got your letter a few minutes ago. once again you write such gushy stuff that I’m overwhelmed. i don’t think i know how to write gushy stuff. i’ll leave all that up to you. keep up the good work.
i don’t want to be here. i don’t want to work for pennies at a mindless job. i don’t want to have to hate my home. i don’t want to be bored off my ass. i don’t want to be alone.
god, i’m the cheerful one today. kelly wants me to go to the outlet store with her to pick up the candles and plates for her party. we’ll probably talk about you. rather, i’ll try to get a word in edgewise about you while she rambles on and on about her wedding (wedding should have been in capital letters to stress the importance of “the wedding,” but because i’m being a rebel i refrained from the use of said capital letters). i know, I’m being strange.
geez, I’m being depressing. sorry. i’ll try not to be so. it’s hard though, when i’m here, and when you’re there. but more importantly, when i’m here. i hate this.
at least i have my computer here. but right now i’m trying to do something with a program and it’s not working. i’m getting frustrated.
i had a dream last night that i was out on the patio with catherine and i had a shotgun, or a pellet gun or something. we were complaining about animals running all over the driveway, so i aimed for a cat across the public pool. i don’t know if i hit it or not, but it jumped into the pool, started bouncing around in the water, then bounced out of the water, over my head and under the fence off the patio. it was the scariest thing i’ve dreamed in a long time. catherine woke me up as it bounced off the patio. she started blaring the television in the other room and woke me up. i was hyperventilating for a bit. it was very strange. i don’t know what it meant.
but we went to garage sales today. i didn’t find any books for you, but i got a couple books for me - a dr, seuss, a freud, 1984, carnegie’s novel, an old dating etiquette book (that should be fun), and a sex book. wait - i’ll get the sex book out now.
it’s called “everything you always wanted to know about sex.” good name, i suppose. i’ll just randomly turn to a page...oops, that was on male homosexuality. i’ll turn to another page...birth control. geesh, i’m picking all the fun topics randomly, now, aren’t i? oops, this paragraph said that one couple when out of condoms once used saran wrap for a condom. now, i can’t imagine anyone wanting anything so badly that they were willing to wrap their anatomy in clear plastic wrap.
oops, kelly just called and told me to come over so we could do the shopping scene. so...


8-23-82

I hope you really care for me as much as you say you do. Once or twice before I thought someone felt deeply about me, and they showed me I was wrong. I don’t want you to do that to me.
Sometimes I feel doubtful. Catherine was telling me I should see other people, or at least not rule out other people, because this is now a long distance relationship. It reminds me of a long distance relationship that went foul really quickly. I didn’t like that, not at all. I just read one of the letters I sent him. It was so sappy, it was starting to sound like one of the letters I send you. That frightened me. I wonder if this relationship will end as abruptly as his did with me. I don’t want you to do that to me.
I have put so much trust into you, so much caring. I don’t want you to take that lightly. Yeah, you talk about marriage. So did he. He sweet talked me, swept me off my feet. You don’t know how much I cried when I lost him.
Granted, it wasn’t love. I suppose it was some sort of infatuation, but I wanted it to be more than that. I thought that was what he wanted, too. Maybe he was frightened of having a long distance relationship when his last one ended with his fiancee having an affair with his best friend on the other side of the country.
Maybe he just didn’t like me as much as he thought he did.
Yes, what’s done is done. But I just cringe every once in a while when I think that you could do that to me too. Why not? You have years of school ahead of you, I have life stuck here. Where would we live? How would we match our lives so that everything actually worked out?
Now, I’m not trying to talk you out of trying, although that’s probably what it’s sounding like. I just want you to make sure you know what you’re saying when you say that you want to spend the rest of your life with me. Don’t toy with my emotions, so to speak. I don’t think I could handle it if your were doing that.
But don’t think I’ll go psycho if you did turn around and break up with me, don’t get a cocky head or anything, just remember that it would hurt. So... What am I saying? I have no idea. Don’t break up with me, I suppose. Either that or just constantly remind me about how much you care for me. And mean it.
Oh, I’m sorry for all that. It probably sounds really stupid. I just get insecure and lonely here. Alone. Without you.


8-24-82

Here I am again, bored. It’s still the first day, and I hate looking like I have nothing to do here. I have my own office and no one else is in it right now, but I’m afraid that someone will walk by and see my feet up on the desk and fire me or something. Geesh. I wish I brought some work from home to do while I was here. I wonder if this is what careers are really like - a lifetime of trying to find something to do so you look important. All this time I’m sitting here trying to figure out what photographs to bring tomorrow to put up on the wall in front of me, should I bring frames for them, how will I put them up on the wall.... I really can’t believe I’m sitting here trying this hard to do absolutely nothing.
I’m starting to worry that this is actually what people do for all of their lives. That their occupation is trying to look important, or busy. Worthy of a raise when they’re really not doing anything. This one guy, Tom, told me once that the trick to being respected at the office is to always look angry, always look like you’re in a rush, that you always have a lot to do. Put extra papers on your desk, make it a little messy, always have stuff in your “in” box (even if it isn’t work to do), always remember to make a phone call or jot down a very important reminder when someone is trying to talk to you. Always make everyone wait to talk to you - even if it is just for ten seconds - while you attend to some sort of made-up “business” - whether it be finishing up a fake phone call or writing something “very important” down. Act like you have to get up to do something, even if it’s only getting coffee. And always have a furrowed brow. Sigh a lot, try to look a little tired, or a little sick (that way you are thought of as a “trooper” for coming into the office even when you’re not feeling well). People think that you have so much work to do that they want to give you time off, even when they don’t know what you’re doing.
And neither do you.
Urgh. Is that what life is all about?
I can’t believe that this person actually thought this way, that this friend of mine had actually put that much effort into trying to look like you’re doing something when you’re actually doing nothing. Don’t you think that’s a problem to actually get to that point?
But I think I’m starting to get to that point too.
I don’t want that for myself. I want to do something I like. I’m driven, and I can’t live like this.
Or does this just happen when nothing else in your life works for you, and you finally get tired of striving for dreams that never seem to come true?
I remember having a teacher in high school and he seemed really smart, but it just seemed like he got so tired of the screaming student, and trying to make kids care, that he always walked a little slower, never smiled, just gave us our work to do and then went to his desk to finish his work. And I remember thinking then that he was burnt out on the school system, that he tried for so long to make a difference, but faced one too many kids who just didn’t care. And now he’s like a robot, making almost no impact on anyone’s lives.
Including his own.
Is this what everyone else in the world ends up like?
There’s this 8x10 of Oliver North tacked to the wall above my computer. Working here is going to be fun, I can just tell. Jared, the vice president here, shares the office with me. He’s got all these pictures of himself in golf leagues. It reminds me of what my dad’s office used to look like when I was little. It’s strange. And there are all these newspaper clippings of his son, Steve, who used to be in a minor league baseball team. Now he works here with his dad, and he sure as hell doesn’t look like an athlete (but then again, baseball players aren’t really athletes, they’re more like spitting crotch-scratchers, right?).
They’re going to love the things I put on my walls, aren’t they?
Anyway... I just talked to Jared, asking him if I can take a half hour break instead of an hour break, so I can leave at 4:30 instead of 5 and get to my other job on time. That would be nice. He said it was fine, but he didn’t seem to be in a very good mood when I talked to him. You know, working for Jared and William (William is the head honcho, Jared is the vice president and the “next” head Honcho), is like working for two people that act just like my dad. Two dads, where I work, when I still have one dad that I have to deal with in my own family. Thank goodness there are all women for my superiors at my second job! And thank goodness that the two dads at work don’t complain that I use the phone too much, or wear too much make-up, or that I have a boyfriend, or that I don’t look happy, or WHATEVER.

Well, I just got a call with some information I needed, so I’m going to actually do some work right now. Talk to you soon -


8-24-82

They’re going to let me go at 2:30 so I can drive back to town and get the cable that they need for the scanner. 45 minutes away. Maybe I’ll read about the credit union for a bit.

Well, from what I’ve read, I don’t really want to bother changing my checking account. The differences aren’t that great when you consider that I have no charges to my account since it’s in joint with my savings. But the credit card does look like a good idea. I decided a while ago that I’m going to cancel all of my credit cards that have any annual fee on them. Hey, that just reminded me that I have to buy new checks. I want some marbleized effect on my checks or something a bit more stately, thank you very much. I have to look into it tonight when I get home.
Now, promise me you won’t complain anymore about the fact that I never write you. I don’t like writing for the most part, but typing I can seem to do forever. Especially when it makes me look like I’m working. I’ll probably be able to print up a lot of letters for you, even if I can’t type them here, if I don’t have the time (I can still type them at home). Now you’ll be inundated with letters, you poor boy, and you’ll regret the day you told me I didn’t write enough.
Well, before I leave here I’m going to try to see if I can apply for that credit card over the phone. Then I can do it here and I don’t have to worry about filling out more forms and waiting even longer. I’m not a very patient person, you know.
Well, I’m going to clean the office. The secretary (Sally) is a really cool lady, and everyone here is just like, “well, I wish there was something for you to do... well, do whatever you can to keep busy.” She said I can use the printer now. I’ll straighten up here, call the credit union again about the credit card, and then... go. I love you, honey. I’ll love to get a picture of you here, so I can feel like you’re my family that I go home to in the evenings. Well, you’re not, but let me think of you that way. I love you-


8-25-82

Hola, my beefy burrito of manliness. I think my writing you letters while I’m at work is going to become a big-time habit. I’ve discovered that the version of the program they have that they have here is so outdated that you can’t even change the size of type that you put in it. When you’re trying to make a brochure that’s supposed to look good, then little details like that matter. Someone just walked in. I get really freaked out when someone comes in, I don’t want them to think that I’m slacking. I’m going to bring in two new versions of the program they have here tomorrow, but until then, there’s not much I can do (their version and my versions of the program aren’t compatible, so it’s pointless for me to work with their program today).
Two months ago this morning I found a dozen roses and a birthday present on my car seat for my birthday. I love you.

Hi. It’s now 3:55. I’ve been a little more busy today than I was yesterday (thank goodness), but I still have plenty of time to write. I want to go take a picture with you at a portrait studio. Okay, if you think it’s a dumb idea, fine, but I still think it would be nice to have a nice picture of the two of us to have around.

Jared’s phone always rings, the secretary always transfers the line to his office, but he’s never here, so I have to sit in here by myself and listen to the very loud ringer on his phone ring all the time. It drives me nuts. And they tell me that Jeff (the salesman that is also in this room but is on vacation this week) is a very loud talker - that if he’s on the phone, I may as well not even think about using the phone myself. For a person who likes her privacy and peace and quiet when she works, I can tell this is going to be a pain.
But alas, I shouldn’t complain, at least I have a full time job where I have enough privacy that I can sit and write you long pointless letters most of the time. The woman that I’m doing most of the work with for the brochure is cool. I wish I could remember her name, but she’s cool.
I’m starting to learn the names of different types of saws by playing with their pictures. My nephew, who loves all sorts of gadgets and construction stuff, would be proud. When I got the job, all he cared about was the catalogs that I got. No, actually, he was happy for me that I got the job, but I think it was partially so that he could have someone else to talk to about saws and mixers and other cool stuff like that.
I called Ron during my lunch break. He said he’d look up your new number. I gave him the address, but I didn’t have the new number on me. He’s going to be in Naperville Wednesday and Thursday, so I’ll probably see him Thursday night.
So now that I’ve talked about myself at great lengths, how the hell have you been lately? You know that I worry about you constantly. I don’t think you have to worry about finding a future for yourself. It’ll happen. Just believe in yourself for once and you’ll be amazed at what you can do.
The more I was thinking about it, the more I came to this conclusion: Tony Stevens has a pretty perfect life. You know who I’m talking about, my old professor who had that part-time business running...I don’t know why that popped in my head, but it did. But this is why I think his life is perfect: he’s got s good job teaching, he likes what he does and he’s good at it. He’s got a nice suburban home (pretty decent size, you know) and a pretty wife. He works at his little business on the side, he’s young. Good deal, I say. And driving around in the slums on the west side makes me want to live in a smaller town.
Anyway, I’m going to close this letter, I’ll write more tomorrow, I’m sure (unless they actually figure out what I’m supposed to be doing here). I love you--

Ah, crap. It’s 4:40, and I still have nothing to do. I have a ton of crap to do at home, but nothing to do here. I talked to Susan because I was bored. She said we just got our diplomas in the mail today. Great. I called in at my second job to see if they still needed me there tonight. They do. Great. It’s Thursday night, I should be at a club dancing, but instead I’ll be working at my second job. Great.
Well, I’m starting to get worried that someone is going to come in here and see that I’m typing a personal letter, although I think everyone has pretty much left. I think I’m one of the few people here that actually is supposed to stay until 5. Oh well. I’m really going this time - I love you -


8-26-82

Hi, dear. I’m on lunch break. I brought a couple of 5x7s to the office - one of Dan and Liz and I, one of Nancy and John. I still have to get a good one of you. I think we should go to a portrait studio. (okay, I’ll shut up about the portrait studio - by the time you read this anyway, we will have discussed that matter already). It is kind of quiet in my little office. I have things to do, but it never seems to be enough. I can find personal things to do to fill up the time, for the most part.
Wow. I was just looking through a computer catalog, and it had on it a CD-ROM package of computer-generated stories. my sister knows the woman who did it, and she thought that I should try to get published this way because of the fact that this woman got published that way. Wow, she’s in a computer catalog. The program she designed is a lot bigger than mine, it’s got sounds and stuff, it’s on CD-ROM, but maybe that would make mine more marketable (if it was only on one or two disks and sold for a smaller price). And her CD ROM sells for 60 dollars. I could sell mine for six. Wow, I never even thought about stores selling my work. I don’t think it would be possible, because chain stores would have to get an okay from the head offices, and the head offices probably don’t go for this kind of marketing strategy (in other words: like I have a chance. Sure. Just Give Up.).
Wow. What a neat idea, though. Maybe I could strike some deal with the store so that they could give a copy away with the sale of a certain product. Or maybe I could strike a deal with certain libraries to get these disks in the libraries. I wonder if there is a way to find out which libraries carry computer disks. Hmmm. I should talk to the friendly people at my local library.
Now I’m really intrigued. I’m almost not even tired. Well, I’m still tired, and as soon as I have to do something associated with this job I’ll get tired again, but for now my adrenaline is going. So now it feels like I’ve got this pit in my stomach. What a nice feeling. Oh, I like feeling like I’ve got an ulcer. It’s so pleasant.
Someone complimented me on the ring you gave me today. I think it was because they had one very much like it in blue topaz. Her ring was pretty too. But I like mine more.
Well, I’m going to sign off, I’ll probably write again before I leave (at 4:30 instead of 5)...love you...


8-27-82

Hi there. I’m very depressed. When I left work yesterday, I cried as I drove all the way home. You start classes today. I wish I was going back to school. I really do. Three people like my dad to deal with is just too many. Three too many. I got photos back yesterday, from our road trip in Tennessee. I have copies for you. I brought a photo of you and Betty to work today. My mom bought me a mug for coffee at work. That’s about all that’s new. Oh, fuck. I just took a sip of my coffee and it’s cold. I should be doing some work anyway, so I’ll go.


2:00 p.m.

Hi, honey. I’ve been typing in addresses for mailing lists all morning. Ooh, that’s a fun job. Anyway, they had me go to the printer today. I’m starting to make more connections, and it’s getting a bit more interesting. Mind you, it’s just a bit more interesting. I think I need a small rolodex. and business cards, so that when I meet people, they don’t think I’m a flake.
I keep looking at that photo of you and Betty. It’s leaning against my keyboard. It’s such a great photo because (okay, I’m going to get sappy now), it just looks like you’re loving playing with this kid in this photo. It just makes me think about what a great father you’ll be one day. The kind of person that cares about his children, that would never want to hurt them, who would talk to them, smile with them, play with them, try to be a part of their lives. It’s a nice thought.
I don’t know if I should be happy thinking about you like that, or sad thinking about me like that.
I’ve been drinking from my new (spankin’ new) coffee mug all day. I’ve officially declared today as caffeine day. I’m going to shake until tomorrow, I just know it.
William was pleased with the work I did on the labels this morning. They’ve been having trouble with other computers and mailing lists lately. Hmmm. Maybe I scored a few points. He even said, “Hi, honey” when he first gave me the work, and he gave me a little side-to-side hug. A little refreshing.
Now I’m frightened that I’m pleased that he called me “honey.” What an awful name! I suppose it is better than his usual grunt, but it’s still degrading.
I was so aggravated when I left here yesterday. As I said, I cried half the way home in the car. It’s just that this isn’t what I want, not at all. I don’t want to be a secretary for some pig and live with a woman that sucks and have my parents meddle in my life all the time and drive through a shitty part of town every day and basically be a very “type A” person. I don’t want that for my life. I used to have this little dream float around in the back of my mind, I thought about it again this morning: being a history teacher at my old university, teaching classes. I don’t think it will ever work for me, though.
Oh, shit, I don’t know anymore. It gets so depressing here. I face a wall in a room by myself every day (unless, of course, Jared, dad #3, is sitting at his desk next to me, oh happiness) wishing I was with you. Get a job up here, would you? Or win a huge lottery or something, just so we’d have enough to be able to be together and not be living on Saltines and chunky peanut butter the rest of our lives. Oh well, I can dream...
God, it’s scary that I’m thinking about winning the lottery instead of doing something that I actually want to with my life. I wish that there weren’t so many blockades up in my way when I’m just trying to live my life and make myself happy.
But I should probably go again, just to do some more work before I go. Maybe I’ll write again before I leave today.. I’m thinking of you -


2:58 p.m.

I’m bored. I’ve decided to give you a copy of one of the pages I’ve been working on, when they don’t have me running to the printer or dealing with advertisements, or typing addresses into the computer... It’s really exciting stuff. I love it.

4:45 p.m.

Hi again. I just thought I’d say goodbye before I left. I got a lot of work done,and I don’t have to work at my second job, which means I can go out with Susan and Jessica and Ned for longer. Now I’m just trying to get Friday night off...
I love you to death. I’ll write tomorrow.


8-28-82

It’s lunch. They all go out and buy food for one another and eat lunch together, and I sit here in this little room on the side, bringing my own fucking cheese sandwiches because I never talk to anyone. Like I could think of anything to say to these people. Half of them have posters of naked women in their work areas. Like I even have enough money to buy my own lunch.
It’s bearable here, I was in a better mood this morning because I was thinking of you, but William had me typing more fucking mailing labels today, and trying to keep your head straight while you’re typing all these stupid addresses is hard, so my good mood is shot. Maybe when I go to the printer I’ll get into a better mood again. I can’t wait it see you. I’m going to eat now.


3:33 p.m.

Hi there. I just finished one of the jobs . William and Jared are gone, so there isn’t much for me to do. You should have left to come visit me by now. I hope so. I’ve got a lot to do tonight: take photos of a couple of kids for freelance work, get Ellen’s shower present from the art store (they’re framing it), possibly work... Wait. I’m going to call my second job now to see if they need me. It’s probably too early to call, but I’ll beg them to let me go. Hold on.
YAAAH-HOOOO!!!!! I don’t have to work. So I’ll go there to pick up me check, I’ll go to the store to get Ellen’s present, then I’ll go to do the photography work. Then we’ll hang out for a bit, then we’ll go to the movies. oh, this is nice. then Saturday morning I take photos of mom - I’ll explain that one in a minute, then we take photos, then I wrap Ellen’s present and make a pasta salad and we go and drink all afternoon. cool.
They want me to work at my second job Sunday from 11 to 1. It’s only 2 hours because a girl there just quit and they can’t find someone who can come in that early. will you still be in town? oh, I’ll figure it out . Oh, I’m so happy now. I get to spend the evening with you. I don’t have cash, though. piss. I’ll get some somehow. I just got my check from working here 4 days. It’s something horrendously small, like $150 or something.
Ooh... I think I hear a boss’ voice. Let me check. Love you -


3:45 p.m.

No, no one that resembles a boss is here. I think William is playing cards with his friends anyway. Ah... About an hour to go, then I’ll drive home. And then I’ll see you. Jessica and Susan and I were out last night and Jessica and I were just babbling about how happy we are being tied down and everything. Susan was kind of sad, but we couldn’t hold it in. It’s just so nice to care about someone so much. Susan is going to see a country concert tonight. Not sure who is playing - like I’d know the artist anyway. She was asking people if anyone had a cowboy hat she could borrow. I thought that was just gross.
Wow. I’m almost done with my first week of full time work. We’ve got copy machines here (red and black ink), a laser printer, a computer and a scanner for me to abuse. That part of the job I love.
Well, I’m out of paper. I’m really going this time - I love you -


8-31-82 1:20 p.m.

Hey there, baby doll. I’m not going to write much now, but I just wanted to say that I am so glad that I got to see you this weekend. I hope you had fun. I did. I can’t wait to see you this Sunday , go to the show... I figure we’ll go to the lake front again afterward. There’s a jazz festival at the music shell Sunday starting at 3 p.m., maybe we can see that.
I don’t know when the next time I can visit is. the weekend after Labor day is the bachelorette party, the next weekend is the wedding, and you’ll be coming up here. Maybe the weekend after that, after my parents leave for Mexico, maybe then I’ll be able to make it. But you know I want to be there. I hope things are going well for you. I’m going to get back to work. I love you.


2:10 p.m.

Hi there, honey. People are talking in the other room about the new health plan we’re getting. It seems like it pays 100% of most everything, which is a damn good deal, if I can believe it. This is an interesting job. The secretary is on vacation, so I took a letter for William and faxed it. Ah, the many tasks I have to do. Jared just walked by. I’ll work on my catalog. I miss you already-


4:50 p.m.

I’ve decided that I hate him. William, that is. I’ve decided that I don’t want to be a secretary, too. This man is a jerk. I hope the secretary is sick and not on vacation, because if she’s gone for 5 weeks (that’s how much vacation time she gets), I sure as hell don’t want to be doing her job for that long. Get a temp, you cheapskate. Anyway... I’m still thinking of you-


9-1-82

Hello there, my baby doll. I just wanted you to know that I love you. Eek, I’m getting to say that vulgar phrase far to often. You tell me not to swear, well, love is a four letter word...
I talked to you earlier today, I wonder how much those calls cost on my calling card. But I’m glad I heard your voice. You’re going to be exhausted Sunday morning. You’re going to be a dud all day, I can just tell. You really should rest more.
Rose and Jen at work told me they approved of you. They said that anybody who would bring the flowers to work to try to surprise must be okay. I assured them that you were.
I’ve been working on this catalog ever since I’ve been here, and Gwen (the woman telling me what to do on it), just told me to scratch 1/4 of it, they forgot they needed a bulk mailer page. I love intelligence.
Why can’t people figure out what the need done ahead of time, so everyone can be more efficient? It seems like half the work I do here is not actual work, but corrections on the work I did - and it’s not because I did something wrong, but it’s because someone else forgot something and needs to rearrange the whole project. A lot more could be accomplished if people knew what they needed ahead of time.
But then I guess we’d all have to fill up more of our time by faking looking busy, wouldn’t we?
But the thing is, they give me changes because they forgot stuff, but the give me all these changes late when we had a deadline for getting the project done. So ninety percent of the time I’m bored doing nothing, five percent of the time I’m working, and five percent of the time I’m running around frantically trying to get their corrections done in time for the deadline because they were late in giving me corrections that should never have existed in the first place. We could at least spread that work out so I’m not bored here as much as I am.

Does that make any sense? It just seems like people are so inefficient.
Oh, poop. Someone just walked straight into this room, leaned over my shoulder and said, “What are you doing?”, but I think I managed to close the screen before they actually saw anything. Oops. Well, like I have much else to do.
Actually, I could be doing a few other things. But I don’t want to do them.
William asked me if I had enough stuff to keep me busy today, and since I told him yes, he has completely left me alone. And I have been pretty busy - even though I’m writing you now.
While I was working at my second job last night, I started talking to Rose, and we started in on religion (she’s religious, I’m not), and then we started talking about how our lives have been so different. Her father was a minister. You know my story. Well, I told her about my family, my dad, even about Alan ( and I’ll tell you about all of that later), and we started talking about all these things. It was really cool. We even started talking about that whole racial thing with me at the women’s rally (the black women not wanting me to walk with them...) All in all it was a very interesting evening.

Wait - did I ever tell you about that? The time when I was walking to the women’s rally? It was right around when I met you, so I might not have. Well, I was walking to this rally, to photograph it, it was a huge march for women’s rights and women’s safety, and I’m walking down the street and I see this other group of women (an organization of their own, not just a group of friends) walking to the rally too. Their group was some black women’s organization group, and they were going to march in the rally as a group. They had signs, and they were saying chants, and stuff.
So, I thought I’d show my support for their organization, so I walked across the street (originally we were walking parallel to each other), and walked with some of them (there were about 25 black women walking in this group). We were going to the same place anyway, so I figured I was just being supportive... I even started saying one of the chants that they were all saying.
Now, I know I’m white, and yes, I was the only white women walking with them. But the group was to support the progress of black women, and I supported it enough to walk with them, even if it was only because we were going to the same place. Seems innocent enough to me.
So then a women from the group starts walking next to me, she was obviously the leader of the group, and she asked me, “Do you know what group this is?”
And I said yes.
Then she asked, “Then you know we’re a group for black women’s rights?”
And I said yes.
And then she said, “Well, some women in this group are uncomfortable with you walking with us.”
I was stunned. I was just trying to be supportive, right? So I said, “I was just trying to help -”
When she said, “I know, but some people here feel uncomfortable.”
And I didn’t know what else to do. We were going to the same place... Was I supposed to look for an alternative route?
So, I walked to the other side of the street again, and turned a corner so we didn’t have to look at each other the rest of the trip to the meeting place.
And for the rest of the time, that incident just sat there, in the pit of my stomach, and stewed there, apparently with all the acids and bile and stuff in my stomach, because it just started making me feel more and more uncomfortable, more and more tense. If they didn’t want help and support from all people, what did they want?
I guess it still bothers me, and I still don’t know what to make out of it all.

Susan just called me - if I don’t have to work tonight, maybe we’ll do something. I think I have so many other things to do, though, that I’ll just never get them done with the amount of free time that I have at home.
I’m saving copies of all the old copies of flyers and catalogs to give to my nephew. He’ll probably have more interest in them than I do.
I’m going to tell William sometime that we should invest in some floppy disks - we have room to store everything on the hard drive, but if anything happens to the hard drive, all my work is gone. Not my letters to you, of course, because I keep them all on one of my own floppies, but all of their work. All of the scanned images, the saws, the blades, the logos, and all the page layouts for their flyers and brochures. Tee hee hee. They wouldn’t want that to happen, now, would they? It is a smart idea, though, and then I can probably get a lot of money for buying a bunch of disks and a case for them. Then I could even get copies of all the work I do on disks for myself, in case I ever need them to show the work I did for another job prospect.
You know, I’m sitting here working on the computers, pretty much baffling most of the people here, and I can’t even figure out how to add on the adding machine. It’s like the buttons don’t work or something. I figured out how to multiply, divide tell it to print or not to print, but getting the damn thing to add or subtract is a huge mystery.
Yes, I’m bored. But I want to be bored for a minute. I don’t want to think about brochures, or what bills I have, or how I have to get home at lightning speed in order to eat before I go to the next job. I can feel myself getting aggravated already.
I don’t want to look at all the crap that’s around me, all the things that I don’t want to be doing with my life, but it’s all right in front of me.


9-2-82 11:00 a.m.

Hello. I’m tired. I worked last night, and I think I”m coming down with what my mother has, she’s had a cold since the weekend. I don’t want to be as sick as she’s been. I can’t afford to do that. I’m trying not to talk much, and I brought soup for lunch. Yes, I”m taking my vitamins, and drugs, although I don’t want to take much of those. I want to look for a more holistic means of recovery. I’ll try to take a bath tonight, maybe meditate or something.
I can’t do all the work they want me to do on this computer, because the screen quality is so poor I can’t tell what I’m doing. I’m going to ask William if I can work at my house for part of the afternoon. I wonder if he’ll go for it, or just think I’m trying to get off work. Honestly, though, I can’t adjust gray-scale photos here when the monitor doesn’t print gray.
I bought another pair of pants last night. Black. It’s hard to find my size, so I jumped on them when I saw that they came in. I’ll never save any money at the rate I’m going.
And I don’t know how much money I’m going to get for taking pictures for that freelance job. I hope she pays me well- most photographers are paid well for their services, especially when they’re freelance. We’ll see.
Well I’m going to go now, I told the guy here in charge of the petty cash that it’s a good idea to back up the work I do on floppy disks. He agreed, so I’m making a trip to Radio Shack now.
I’ve been screwing around all morning. I hope things get faster here.
I had the stress of getting a new job this month...PMS and a cold... It’s my lucky day. And you’re not with me. What else could go wrong?


1:40 p.m.

I’ve been writing you a letter on paper because I was doing computer work. I’m taking a break from that now. I’m going to see you in a few hours. I’m so relieved. I want to spend my time with you. It’s that simple. If all the money I make goes toward finding ways for me to spend small amounts of time with you, then it’s all worth it. I just want to feel you holding me. I just want to know that you’re there for me, that you’ll be there for me, that you want to spend your time with me.
It’s so good to know that you exist. That someone as pure as you exists. And that you think that I’m good, too. Oh, now I’m being sappy and stupid, but everything I see and hear and think of makes me think of you and makes me feel good. You just make me so happy.
I don’t know what more to add to that. It’s that simple. You truly make me happy. Even though we argue half the time we’re together, you make me happy. Really happy. I love you.
Well, I’m going to go, because I’m once again running out of time (but this also saves me from being even sappier - oops - more sappy - on paper). I love you so much that I can’t tell if this is joy or pain I feel. I think it’s joy. I love you.


9-22-82

I just heard about your fender-bender. You really should be more careful, young man. I don’t appreciate you getting into accidents - especially when I can’t be there to nurse you back to health. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you said you weren’t hurt, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re in a little pain tomorrow, you know, soreness and all.
Okay, enough joking. DAMNIT, BE CAREFUL!!!! I know it wasn’t your fault, but I still don’t want anything happening to you. Christ, I care about you so incredibly much that if anything at all happened to you I don’t know what I would do. Collapse and die, I suppose. I swear, I was on the verge of crying for about two hours after you talked to me on the phone at work and told me what happened. I knew you were okay, but I still worried, and I still couldn’t help but think about you getting hurt, or something terrible happening to you.
I think I did cry for a while at work, and for the most part I was really unpleasant to be around for a good while. Please be careful. I don’t want to lose you. I know you’re accident-prone. But I don’t want to take any chances with you. I don’t want to risk that. I love you so much it hurts. Geesh, I’m mushy, but hell, we’ve got a whole future ahead of us - one that’s going to be absolutely wonderful - as long as you’re around long enough to let it happen. Please be around long enough to let it happen.

I had a bad dream last night - one where my mother died. I normally don’t have dreams that are that violent, that vivid, that scary, or that hit so close to home. I woke up a 4 in the morning shaking. I had to wake Catherine up. I talked to her, she told me to think of something nice, to get my mind off it. I went to bed, and I imagined that you were there, and you were consoling me, letting me know that it was just a bad dream, that you were there. And I imagined you kissing me, curling up next to me. And I felt better, and I was able to go back to sleep.
I want you to be there in the future, curled up with me, making me feel better. And I want to do the same for you. I want you to be there when we pick out furniture together. I want to have stupid arguments with you over nothing, and then I want to make up with you. I want to have all those dances with you. I want to go to bed every night and know you’ll be there, too. I want all those little times in my life, the good times, the bad ones, I want to have all those times with you. But you have to be around long enough to let that happen. Please be around long enough. I love you.

captain’s log, September 22, 1982, a little after 10 o’clock p.m. You’re at work, and you said you were going to call me at 7 or 8. I understand that you couldn’t call, but I still wish you did. I still worry about you. I’m sure you’re sore.
I want to see you. I don’t think I can make it this weekend, but I’ll sure as hell try. I’m almost tempted to quit the my second job job just so I can see you on a more regular basis. My job is almost not worth it, with all the hassle it brings me.
I’ve been thinking about you a lot today. I’ve just been thinking about the future, spending it with you. I wish we had more time with each other, I wish we had those boring between days to spend with one another. Not just our time off.
I hope you’re feeling okay. I’d hate to think that you weren’t.

I’m so tired, but I’ve barely been home and I don’t want my own time to be cut so short. I work two shifts tomorrow, have to go in to work early so I can leave early so I can make my second job on time. Thursday I work then go to a dinner Jenny is holding for Nicole’s birthday. Friday I work, then it’s Nicole’s birthday. Saturday I work. I think I’m supposed to work Sunday, but I’ll sure as hell try to get out of it.
I still can’t believe there are big scratches in my car. I just found these gouges taken out of the front corner, right above my bumper. Someone must have nicked me while parking. I almost cried when I saw them.
I should tell the my second job people that I can only work on week nights, not on the weekends. If they don’t like it, they can fire me. I don’t want to lose the job, I suppose, but I hate waiting until a few days beforehand to find out my schedule. I can’t make any plans that way.
I was so angry when I heard that I was probably scheduled for Sunday. I worked my ass off and managed to get the first half of Monday off of work at my full-time job just so I could spend more time with you. Now it seems there was no point in doing it.
Oh, well. I should probably go. My eyes are really tired.


9-23-82

I think I’m going to tell Kathy that I’ll quit today if she doesn’t give me Sunday off.
I’m so aggravated, and if I don’t get any time to relax, I’ll go nuts. I’ve driven myself crazy before by giving myself too many things to do. It’s happening again. I’ve run myself ragged trying to do too many things at once, I’ve driven myself to the hospital because if it. I don’t want to do that to myself again. And I sure as Hell don’t want my second job to do it to me.
I know people who gave themselves ulcers from stress, and they were in high school. God, I don’t want to be like that. The more stress I feel, the more my joints hurt, the more aches and pains I have. To literally feel pain from stress manifesting itself in soreness, in an inability to move, that’s horrific. Not lethargy, but pain. When you feel stress, you know you have to get a ton of things done, and then it hurts to do it. It just makes everything going ion in life that much worse, until all you can think about is th pain, and how you have to overcome the pain to get everything done in your life.
And I can feel myself going down that road again, and I don’t know if I have to hit rock bottom before I can get any better.

If I had all the money in the world, I’d get you out of debt. I’d pay off the credit card bills, the University bills.
And then I’d spend the rest of my money on myself, I suppose. But at least I was thinking of you.
I’m almost liking how bored I can be here. At least I can have the time to do other things, to write you letters, to print labels, to make stationery, or whatever. And I’m learning about different printing processes and costs. Today I got paper samples.

See, these things, even things that sound as stupid as paper samples, these things mean more to me than selling clothes, or doing some other stupid retail job that has no real value whatsoever. A discount is nice at the stores, I suppose, but I usually buy things on sale anyway. And while Nancy still works there, I can get an even better discount than the one I get now.
I’m going to call Kathy (my manager) in a hour if she doesn’t call me by then. I don’t want to give ultimatums, but I’m not going to work Sunday. I won’t do it.
It’s nice to have a photograph of the two of us in a frame on my desk. It’s just a nice thing to look at.

When I come in Saturday night, let’s just spend the time together. Let’s dance a little, and I mean slow dance. In your living room. Oh, wait - your exciting roommates will probably stay home, won’t they?... hmmm... well, we’ll just have to dance in your bedroom then. Or go outside and bring a music box and dance by... oh, I don’t know, we can go to a park or something.We’ll kill that remaining bottle of champagne. And just curl up with each other. I want that.
I miss spending time with you like that.

Catherine’s birthday is Friday, and I bought her a sweater, a pair of earrings and two necklaces. On the box I put four potpourri sachets and decorated it in a really neat way. It looks cool. And with money I had from free gift certificates, returns, etc., from my second job, I actually got about $8.00 cash back for buying her her present. Now that’s what I call a good deal.

Have you listened to the tape I made you yet?

Wow. It’s actually quiet around here. I think I might try to bring in a tape player, and play Big Band music in the background while I work. I think would maker the time go faster, too. Granted, I’d have to turn the music off probably about every time Jared or Jeff (the salesman that’s in the same office) walked in the room, but there are a lot of times when I’m in here all by myself for a long time.
It’s nice that I can get things done quickly on this computer, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have the time to write you letters. But I want you to know that I do think about you, close to all the time. Remember that.

Sometimes I like being bored.
The rest of my life always seems so hectic that I shouldn’t mind being bored.
Why is it that I don’t know how to relax?

I just went into the other room with our portrait studio picture and put it face down on Barb’s desk, then I left. She should be coming in as soon as she gets off the phone to bring the picture back and say, oh, you guys look so cute, blah, blah, blah...
I like showing that picture to people. I like having it on my desk.
I’m going to have a pretty big portfolio of catalogs and brochures and flyers from this place by the time I leave. That’s probably a good thing.
Susan wanted me to go out last night, and I wanted to go to go sulk in my beer about having to work Sunday, but then she told me Jessica was going, and I didn’t want to listen to her say, “Well, I don’t see why you’re complaining, my life is so much harder...” You know how Jessica gets. It’s like, I know that when we go out, all the girls I mean, it’s often a big bitch session. But at least Susan and I have the understanding that we are each allowed to bitch about stuff, and not tell the other one that their problems aren’t important.
It wouldn’t be so bad if Jessica didn’t have such a condescending tone about her. I hear she’s got a job now, which is cool. She might be calling me soon to ask if she can go on a road trip with me. Sure, Jessica, but I don’t know if or when I’m going.

It’s lunchtime in about a half hour. I’ll call my second job again in about 15 minutes. I’ve really done nothing of any value today. Days like this are fun. William isn’t around, and Jared has been using the outside office (and not the desk next to me) all day. The stuff he gave me to do takes about 15 minutes, so I’m stretching it out a bit.
I still don’t know what day I started working here. I’m going to look in my checking book to try to figure it out (according to when I got my first check)... hold on...
I think it was August twenty-fourth, but I’m not sure. If it was, then that means that tomorrow will be the one month anniversary of me starting to work here. Oh, joy. Well, it has it’s down points, but it’s better than my second job. It has regular hours. It has more hours. It has better pay. It has health and dental benefits. I can say I work in a major city, instead of a stupid suburb with no culture. (even though it’s a dangerous neighborhood... oh, wait, I was mentioning good points, not bad ones.) I have a lunch break that I’m paid for. I can sit most of the time instead of running around. Sometimes there are free donuts. Okay, I’m getting carried away with that one. But I do have access to a printer, a computer, a xerox machine, enough paper and supplies... and it’s something related to what I want to do with my life (as opposed to the enchanting career of fashion merchandising - what a joke).
It wouldn’t be so bad if I quit that second job.
Well, we’ll see what happens. I’m going to go, I’m running out of room on this paper. I love to to death (but not your OWN, so please be careful behind the wheel). Be careful period. I love you-

p.s. - I just called, and I didn’t even have to threaten them. I’m off Sunday. I’ll see you Saturday night -


9-24-82

Hi. I’m bored here, but I’m starting to like that. I worked on some of my own projects this morning.
Anyway... I went out last night with some friends of mine from work and from high school... you met Ellen and Loretta, but Rich and Jack were also there, as well as John. We went to this local bar, sat around... They played darts. I talked to people, then went home. It was just something to do.
I have to go to dinner at Lori’s tonight for Nicole’s birthday. Fun. Susan just called me at work here this morning, asking me if next weekend (October 2-4) I’d want to rent a car and drive to Minnesota to see a football game. I guess I’m getting old, but I’m not in the mood for all the driving just to see a football game. Besides, I know I have to work Saturday morning (the 3rd), and I probably have to work Sunday (the fourth). Oh well.
I hope your car hunt is going well. I wish you had more luck when it comes to things like this. Every time you try to get ahead, something unexpected goes wrong, something backfires... Doesn’t that seem like the way it always happens? Not to get you down or anything, at least you still have me (or is that another problem?).
Geez. It’s not even eleven in the morning. How am I going to fill the next six hours? Maybe boredom isn’t such a wonderful thing after all.

Hi. I went to work for a while (well, I just kind of created stuff for me to do, actually). Now it’s about 3 in the afternoon. I think I could have sat here all day, acted like I’m doing things, and really have done nothing at all. I’m amazed at how some days they’re on my back like you wouldn’t believe, and some days I think I could walk out into the main office naked and no one would notice.

I can’t wait until Christmas, when you come to visit me. We’ll decorate the Christmas tree together (well, it will probably be after Christmas when you visit, so we’ll just admire the tree), we’ll have nice long evenings by the fireplace with lots of quilts. We’ll spend New Year’s eve together downtown. We’ll have a great time, and I won’t even have to go anywhere to do it.
I’ll invite all my friends who will be in the area at Christmas time over for a nice dinner, maybe. Okay, a buffet maybe. Okay, maybe cheese and crackers. But the point is, I’ll get people together and actually have a pleasant time over the Christmas holiday at my own place. That will be novel.

Hi. I’m back again, it’s almost 3:34 in the afternoon. I know, it hasn’t been long since I had written last. I’M BORED..... Not that I don’t want to write to you, of course...
I want to see you this weekend. Two days from now I’ll be even worse about - I’ll be at my second job just itching to leave. Oh... tentatively keep next Saturday night free, too, and don’t schedule yourself to work Sunday night until later. I figured I better remind you a few times. Thank you. I really do love you, it’s just that sometimes I think your brain is made of brick. or wet cement. One of those.
Catherine said you at times are pretty tactless. I know your intention isn’t to be rude, but it really comes off that way sometimes. You should be careful about the way you say things sometimes, and be careful to sometimes know when it’s not a good time to throw your opinion in.
Geez, it’s bitch about you time. I’m sorry. But I thought you’d want to know what Catherine said about you. I know that you have to deal with her when you visit me, and I know that sucks, but if you care about making any attempt to get along with her (and that’s entirely your decision), you should just be careful with what you say and how you act.
It’s 3:45, I’m still bored.
Amanda just called me asking me to work Friday night. I told her I had to go out to dinner for someone’s birthday.
I got pictures back. Remember when we were finishing the roll in my office Monday morning? I took one of you, and it’s absolutely adorable. I’ve pinned it up on my bulletin board. Now all we would need is a few burning candles and people would think you were a demi-god and we were trying to reach your spirit or something.
Well, maybe I am.

There’s not much else that I can think of. I want to write something, though, because I don’t want to sit here bored.
I write a sentence, pause, try to think of another damn sentence, and then I feel bored again.
Oh, sorry, I just said Damn. I know you hate it when I swear. Oh, I just wrote it again. Sorry. I apologize.
Geez, it’s only 5 minutes to 4.
Maybe I could go to the bathroom, waste some time in there.
But I really don’t have to go.
At least I don’t think I have to go. Maybe if I go in there, I’ll suddenly have to go, and I can waste a few more minutes.
I don’t really want to get up, though. Geez, I think I’ll leave early. This is stupid. It can’t be too early, though, or Jared might actually notice. We wouldn’t want that.

Okay, I just went into the bathroom. The whole “bathroom environment theory” failed. I couldn’t bring myself to go to the bathroom, so I just kind of stood there for a while, looking at myself in the mirror, thinking how ugly I was. Then I noticed there was an old padded living room chair in the corner of the bathroom (yes, I noticed it was there before, but I never bothered to “test it out” before), so I sat down on it. It was comfortable, but after about a minute of just sitting in silence in the bathroom in a padded chair staring at the wall, I realized that this was pretty stupid and I got up.
So here I am.
It’s 4:11 and a half now.
If I thought I could keep my head still long enough, and if I thought no one would walk by the door to my office, I might have tried to scan my head. Or maybe my butt. Oh, okay, I wouldn’t have scanned my butt. Or my face, it’s a bright light in that scanner. But I’m almost willing to try anything to keep myself occupied at this point.
Hm. I could think perverted thoughts about you..
Great!!! Why didn’t I think of this before? I’ll even write them down for you, so you can get all excited.Okay, now I have to think of something. Hm.... Oh, no, I can’t even think of anything perverted. Well, I suppose I have an obligation to write perverted stuff for you now, now that I’ve just started to make you think about it and all...
I know. I just got a picture in my mind of us sitting by the fireplace at Christmas time. It’s evening, we’re curled up by the fire, I brought a ton of quilts from upstairs to the floor next to the fireplace. It’s warm. We’ve got blankets up to our noses, but I start to take your clothes off under the blankets. Unbuttoning your shirt. You do the same to me, and before you know it, we’re naked under piles of padded quilts. It feels so good, just to feel your flesh, just to touch your skin. We sit up, but keep the blankets wrapped around us as we make love to each other. Everything just feels so perfect, I can just imagine it now, my arms around you, my hands running through your hair, me kissing your forehead. I can feel your arms around my waist, your hands on my back, pressing my chest closer and closer to you.
Shit. It’s 4:25, and it’s not even close to Christmas.
And now I’m all excited, and I have to sit here at work. Why did I do that? Now I can’t get this image of you and I making love out of my head.
Well, Jared just came in and gave me something to do for the last ten minutes. Making love is now out of my head. But my love for you never leaves me. Time to sign off -


9-30-82

Hi. I just wanted to tell you that I love you. I think about you all the time, I miss you something violent, and I always want to see you. I’ll be visiting in less than a week and a half. But the time until then will seem like forever.
This is just a reminder to you, a reminder that I’m always thinking of you, that I always want to be close to you.That I miss being able to curl up next to you and feel your arms around me. I love you -


10-1-82

Hi, there. I’m expecting to see you in less than three hours. I’m tired; I’ve been feeling really sick lately. I woke up the past two nights at 4 in the morning freezing, and then I wake up a 6 or 7 dripping with sweat. I’m tired, my body is trying to fight something off. I hate being sick. This is worse than a head-cold, there are times when I just want to pass out, at least when I’ve got a cold I can still work, I’ll just sniff a lot.
Everyone told me at work yesterday that I looked really sick. Pale, you know. Catherine said it, too. Please don’t constantly ask me questions about it or anything, for then I’ll think you’re really unhappy with my body and you really want me to lose weight. I’m just telling you this because I’m starting to get a lot of pain again, like I did last year because of stress. I think it’s because at this time of year is when I start getting more and more sedentary, and I think exercise will make the pain go away (at least to some extent).
It’s amazing how stress can make someone physically sick. We as Americans like to pop a pill for everything, and we like to assume that we just have to handle the stress, like something is wrong with us if we can’t handle to pressures of our work or something. I think stress should be paid more attention medically. We should do more for ourselves to eliminate stressors in our lives, and them our health problems would probably go away a lot faster.
I’m finding myself taking a lot of medication again lately because I’m in a lot of pain. I didn’t like having to take medication before, and I don’t want to get into the habit again, even if it is over the counter medicine. There has to be a better way to feel better, right?
Last night I wanted to get so much done, I wanted to clean my apartment, Jessica was coming over, I wanted to do computer work... I felt so bad that I sat on the couch almost all night. I finally dragged myself out from under two blankets to get drugs and dinner at 8:30. But then I took a shower, tried to relax, and I started feeling better. I think having a positive attitude will do a lot more for me than fretting over it. I tried to dress up more today, put on make up, just so I’d feel better about myself, my appearance. That might have a positive psychological effect too.
Well, I also get dressed up for you.
But you probably knew that.
Geez, my bedroom is a mess. There are clothes piled all over my bed, some of which I’m throwing out, some I just didn’t have the time to put away. Sometimes I have to run from one job to the next, and all I have time to do is throw some new clothes on. And throw the old ones on the floor. You know, I haven’t even unpacked from my last trip yet. I hate this.
I think it’s colder in my office than anywhere else in this place. I just asked someone to come in here and tell me if I’m crazy; they thought there was no difference in the rooms. It must be because of the way I’m feeling. I must begetting even more sick. Great.
Anyway, I think I’m going to go, I want to find something to do. I’m going to see you in almost two hours. You’re probably on the road as I type these words. I can’t wait to see you. I love you -


10-19-82

Hey, there, darling. I’m starting to feel a little better than I did yesterday. I got to work here at 8 a.m. and I’m going to ask Jared today if I could leave at noon Friday, partially so I can get my oil changed Friday afternoon. I am due for another oil change. I don’t see why he should say no.

I’m revising my resume today, too - and I’m going to make copies and start sending them out to places in the want ads. I’d like to see what my other options are. I can’t afford such a cheap job.
And I’m almost even thinking of quitting the my second job, if all they’re going to give me when it comes to hours is every other weekend. I haven’t worked a weeknight in the past two weeks. If this keeps up, there’s really no point. Getting a paycheck for 4 or 5 hours is stupid, especially when it gives me no time to rest.
So... Friday. Even if I go for the oil change first, I’ll still be there before dinner. Let’s have a cute little romantic dinner, PLEASE??? Oh, thank you. You’re so good to me. It doesn’t have to be fancy, we’ll make spaghetti, maybe have a little bread, I’ll bring lots of candles. It’ll be nice, and there won’t be any of my friends or any of your roommates to bother us. What a pleasant thought.
But... Jessica and Susan will be in town for the weekend. I have Tom’s number on file, and I’m sure we can get a hold of Susan sometime. I told them to bring their swimsuits. I think we should all get together and carve Halloween pumpkins. Maybe, if the weather is nice outside this weekend (I think it’s supposed to be), then maybe we could carve them outside, throw pumpkin guts at each other, stuff like that. Should be fun.
Thank you again for the candy and the books. I didn’t even think about the fact that it was the only chance I’d see you before Sweetest day. Hope you don’t mind my stupidity. Hey, we’re all allowed it sometimes. It doesn’t mean I’m not madly in love with you, though.
Anyway, I guess I should go. There isn’t much else for me to say, and I want to be sure that this gets out in the morning mail. I’m thinking about you, honey -


10-19-82 7:45 p.m.

I can’t stand Catherine. She’s driving me absolutely insane, I’ve got a huge migraine from her (I mean, I can’t even turn my head without being in pain), and she HAUNTS me. I mean, she won’t let me be in a room by myself. I tried to start this damn letter to you and SHE came in, talking about something really pointless and stupid to me.
She’s just such a moron. She can’t do much of anything right, and then she gets so stressed out that she gets even less accomplished, and then she feel like she can do nothing, and she becomes less successful, and the vicious cycle goes on. But it’s all her fault. And I can’t pity that. It only makes me sick.

I designed a new resume today. You would almost think I was someone successful or important or something by looking at it, too. Someone who wasn’t earning an income below the poverty level. I guess I shouldn’t complain about Catherine’s inability to succeed until I’m no longer living in the glass house, right?
Fuck. She just came in again. She keeps coming in and she keeps bothering me. Why does she think that I actually want to talk to her? It’s like she has to be in the same room as me. I just want my privacy. Now Catherine just told me she wants to use my computer when I’m done. Nice of her to ask. Well, at least I know she’ll be busy using the computer and I’ll be able to just sit and read without her bothering me.
Fuck, she drives me nuts. I know I’m swearing a lot, and I know you don’t like that, but I’ve got a lot of emotion here, and it’s hard to let it out and feel better when all I’m doing about it is typing at a stupid keyboard. I’m very emotional, and this is one way to keep me from blowing up.
It’s just so irritating to deal with a roommate that is so incapable of living or excelling when I feel so driven.
But what am I driven by?

Speaking of being driven, I almost cut off my boss on the street as I was driving home today, yes, I’m the type A driver... This guy in a wagon was going slow, so I eventually passed him, thought nothing of it... Then he came along side of me, rolled down his window, honked and asked, “Where did you learn to drive like that?”, and then he drove away. It was actually kind of funny.
I should have said “your mom,” but I didn’t think of it until now. Damn, another opportunity lost.
Of course I’m going to be driving as quickly as I possibly can when I’m trying to get away from that boring job.
But of course my fun-loving mood was spoiled when I came home and had to deal with THE BITCH. BITCH, BITCH, BITCH, BITCH, BITCH, BITCH, BITCH. I just don’t like her. I was telling her how she prods me to do things, and how she treats me like a child when I seem to have more of a head on my shoulders than bitch does. That’s it. From now on, she’s not Catherine. Her new name is bitch. It’s that simple.
Bitch is in here again, I don’t know why, probably under the guise of cleaning or something, although more of her shit is around this apartment than mine. I really have to move this computer into my bedroom and out of the living room, in order to have more privacy. But there’s no room in my bedroom... And when she would want to borrow my computer (and it’s not like she’s going to stop using it just because it’s in my bedroom), she’ll be in the only place in this apartment where I can have some privacy.
And she yells at me, often for no reason at all. She vents at me, but somehow transfers her anger toward me, instead of facing her problems.
The heating went out in our apartment. Catherine got to calling someone about it, since she works less than I do. That’s another thing I don’t understand, but I won’t get into it now, because bitch keeps walking in and out of the room. LEAVE ME ALONE, BITCH. DON’T YOU GET IT???
I think it would kill her if I said any of this to her. I think she would just shrivel up and die or something. She’s not very healthy. I’m glad I’m not like her. I mean, I know I have plenty of faults, and I know I’m not the best at a lot of things, and I know I get stressed very easily, but at least I TRY to be the best and I GET OVER bad things. Bitch doesn’t try, and if anything goes wrong, she flips out for weeks. She’s still flipping out over the leak from our bathroom, which was over a week ago. I mean, it’s a leaky faucet. Don’t cry over it. It’s fixed. Get on with life.
I could still be flipping out about the towing of my car and the taxi money, but I’d self-destruct if I did that. Did I tell you about that? My car got towed when I went out with Susan and Jessica, so we took a taxi to get my car, and I left in the taxi my silk blouse and a bottle of wine while we checked to make sure we were at the right place, but the taxi car drove off. Great... Now some cab driver’s fat wife is spilling good wine on my short.
Even that stupid problem, and other stupid small problems, aside, though, enough bad crap has happened to me that if I lived that way bitch does, I would never get anything accomplished. You can’t wallow, or at least you have to eventually get past it and do something with your life. You have to move on. I guess I just made a decision that I couldn’t live like that.
She never made that decision.

She’s exercising right now. Exercising for her mean walking in place for a half hour. GUESS WHY YOU DON’T LOSE WEIGHT. Let’s see... Could it be because you EAT LIKE A PIG? Or could it be because you need to do more than WALK for a half hour a day to make a difference?
Once again, I should move out of my glass house, but I’m not in as desperate shape as she is.
Move out of my glass house? How about just move out of my apartment? God, I want to get out of here so badly. You know, my friend Chuck said to me before, “You really hate your life, don’t you?”
If he was here listening to this, and asked me that question again, I’d have to do a really good job of hiding my true feelings until he left. Than I’d have to cry for a very long time.

Oh, crap, I should go. Try to relax. I think if I do this right, that typing could be a draining for me and I can fully relax now. I think I’ll have some tea, sit in my bedroom with a book, and imagine you coming through the door. I love you -


10-20-82 8-something a.m.

Hi. I’m here, at work, again. I think I had a better night sleep than I did the night before, but lately all sleep just hasn’t been up to par. I tried to read after I finished my letter last night, but Catherine twice needed help working on a program on my computer. “I swear, I was about to start throwing things,” she’d say,”It just won’t do what I want it to do.” And she says I have a bad temper. I twice fixed her problems immediately, but my tea got cold while I was doing her work for her. She’s just such a... No, I won’t use that word again. I don’t know what word I’d want to use to describe her anymore. A pain, I guess.
I tried to read my book, but I gave up at about 10-something. Besides, getting up before 7 a.m. means I should go to bed early, so I went into my room and tried to go to sleep. That’s when I cried.
I mean, I was just trying to have some soup and watch the debates last night and she wouldn’t let me. Everything is a horrid problem for her, and she inherently makes it my problem by being a constant bitch, a pain, a nuisance. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about it anymore.
I brought the newspaper with me this morning. I’m going to look at the want ads at lunch and start sending out more resumes. I think I’ll print some up now. I’ll be back in a minute-

I just printed about 4 copies. I don’t want to get caught doing this and have to explain why I’m making updated copies of my resume.
Right now I just can’t seem to be happy or enthused about anything. My job doesn’t make me happy, being at home doesn’t make me happy, going out gets my car towed, well, you make me happy, but you’re too far away, which make me unhappy... This is just stupid. I don’t like this at all.


9:05 a.m.

I’m so bored with my life. It’s quite a depressing one, you know. (I hope you realize that I’m writing all this depressing stuff because this is the only way I can ever vent it out and otherwise I won’t be such a sorry depressing case. I don’t think I’m depressed all the time, but I can’t seem to find another way to vent my frustrations. Thank you.) I’m looking forward to seeing you. I want to just have a nice, quiet, relaxing dinner with you, maybe rub your temples, curl up with you, kiss you, rub my hands along your shoulders... hmmm... that would be nice. Tonight I’ll make sure I get all my candles together. Maybe I’ll even get around to cleaning our glasses.


10:45 a.m.

Wow, even work here makes me feel better than staying at home and having to deal with... HER.
This new catalog is coming along pretty well. The other project is at the printers shop now; it’ll be finished in about 2 weeks. The new municipality project is the one I’m getting quotes on now. It’s cool to see these projects get done, to get back from the printers and look cool. It’s neat to think that a hell of a lot of people are going to see it - see the work I did. I think that’s nifty.
Well, I’m going to work on it a little more... I’ll write again soon...


1:29 p.m.

Hi. I just had lunch, and I can’t do much more of the tile catalog. I need more images, which are being mailed to me. I’m going to use cool paper and cool ink. It’ll be nice, I hope. A catalog that someone did came back from the printers and arrived here today. I designed the cover for it. One more thing for my portfolio... It’s really ugly looking, it’s bright red and bright blue ink on bright white paper and it just gives me a bright headache. But that’s what they wanted, something to jump off the page and attack you, as if it had a big stick or something. But it’s still nice to see a finished product.
Almost as nice as it is to see you (that was a pretty good transition, wasn’t it?)... This weekend will be nice. My car will be clean, my oil will be changed, and I won’t have anything that I’ll HAVE to do for 2-1/2 days. And I’ll have you. What more could I ask for?
2:04 p.m.

I want to learn how to make paper. I want to mash stuff into a pulp, put it in a press, roll it out, dry it and make my own paper. I’ve been thinking about that for a few weeks. I want to learn how. I could even put scraps of the potpourri into the paper and have potpourri stationery.
Wouldn’t that be cool, though? I could make my own paper, my own note cards, the paper would probably have to end up being thick, like card stock, so it would be sturdy and unique. It probably has the potential for looking really cool. I wonder if a kit is necessary, if all I might need is a bucket, a rolling pin, stuff like that.
I know, I’m weird. I can’t help it. I’m just like that. I get these weird ideas in my head and I can’t help it. I like being able to create things, being able to say, “I did that”, or “I made that.” “That wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for me.” I become woven into the things I make, they are inherently a part of me. That is my livelihood. That is what makes me feel like I’m alive.

Paul (the gay guy with the bicycle you met last spring) - when I was going out with his roommate, Paul would always be talking about the paper he made when I was over there. He’d be showing me little sheets, and he even put potpourri into some of them. The final product looked really cool. I want to try it.
No, I don’t know what I’d do with it when I made it. Don’t worry me with those little details now.
Maybe I’ll force myself to take some photos this evening as soon as I get home from work, just so I can get myself started in the thinking process of what I want to do with them.
I’m bored now. I want to make paper. God, that sounds really stupid. Go to the store and buy yourself some paper, idiot.
Hey - an evergreen bush... I could make paper with needles of an evergreen bush in it (you know, the needles that are about an inch long, we have them all over our courtyard). That would be kind of neat. I wonder if they have to be dry, though. No, they shouldn’t have to be, because the paper has to be in a mushy-wet pulp in order to make it into new paper.
Mushy-wet. That just got me excited.
blah. I’m bored now. I don’t think I want to do any work related to my job for the rest of the day. There, I have said the word, and it shall now be executed. What should I do instead?

I could put human hairs in my paper. That would look kind of cool. I could cut the hairs so they were kind of short, mix them in there with the paper. That would be weird if it worked. I could even put stuff in there like thin ribbons (just woven in and out of the top of the page), or... I don’t know, but there have to be more ideas. I wonder if I can have two different batches of pulp - paper in two different colors - and make one sheet putting the two pulps together, so that parts of the page were, say, blue, and parts of the paper were, say, pink. Nifty. Ugly color choice on my part, but nifty concept. Okay, new colors: light army green and dusty salmon. There. Better. Or Balsa. Or Hawthorn, or Aspen, or Cypress. How about Ash or Thistle? Okay, I’ll stop.
Okay, I haven’t done any work since I said I wouldn’t, but it’s only quarter to three and I don’t know what to do.
OH!!! I’ll call you. I’ll be back in a minute.
Okay, I’m on hold, your roommate is waking you up.
Okay, I just got off the phone with you, and you were very groggy. I was going to say that it was an unfulfilling conversation at best, but you started to perk up toward the end, and you actually put me in a better mood.


3:36 p.m.

Hi. I’m still bored. I tried to play on the computer for a while, make a new background for a program I’m making, but it didn’t really work out well, and now I’m bored again. Man, I’ve got an hour and a half here still. Poop. Super-duper-pooper-scooper. Plooper.
Oh, my. I think I’m getting delirious or something.


10-20-82 11:34 p.m.

I just got myself out of bed because bitch has been in my room pushing me into another argument. Just driving home today I got myself into a horrid mood thinking about having to actually be in my apartment and be with her. So then she comes into my room at 11, just when I think I’m going to be able to rest and be able to say that I made it through another day without killing her, and she comes in and start in on me. Basically, she wants to be my friend, to know everything about me, but then I tell her I need my space and she doesn’t understand it... Well, first of all, it’s called PRODDING, not concern. Secondly, does she really think that we can be
FUCK!!!!! She just came in to the living room and started bugging me AGAIN!!!! It’s like she can’t fucking leave me alone!!!!!
Oh, and then my sister called. And how I wish she’d get over this “But I took care of you when you were little” kick. I’m not little, and... Does she really think we can be a family? Does she think that I can erase my resentment toward her? She probably doesn’t even think that I hold any resentment toward her, but obviously I do, and I don’t think I could get rid of it if I tried. Why does she think that I WANT to be close to her? She wants to be “Sisters” with me. What DOES that mean anyway?What does the sister-relationship mean to her even? After the way she’s treated me all of my life, I don’t know what she wants to get out of this relationship. I don’t really know what it’s like to have a sister, I’ve had a mother for a sister because my mother left me when I was little, so I’m not very good at understanding this whole sister thing.
God, her and Catherine should get together. I want to be left alone most of the time, and she refuses to respect that. She’s overly concerned. And she makes me feel bad by saying that she’s just concerned and trying to be a good sister. No, she’s hurting me, I told her that, but not once did she hear me. I said to her, “Are you trying to hurt me? Well, that’s what you’re doing.” And she still doesn’t get it. I don’t know how much else I’m able to spell out for her.
Between Catherine, the roommate from hell, and the unexpected visits and phone calls from my sister, I think I’m going to go insane.
Oh, crap. I was in a bearable mood when I went to my room to go to bed. Why does she do this to me?
And why do I do this to you? Thanks for being an outlet for me. I might sound psychotic, but I’ve needed this.


10-21-82 10:28 a.m.

Hi. Catherine even got psychotic this morning - she was throwing her coat throwing things on the stairs and SCREAMING, I don’t mean raising her voice slightly, and she was swearing constantly (which isn’t something she often does), and she was running back and forth slamming doors and pretty much crying right before she had to go to work - and why? Because she couldn’t find her checkbook, it was somewhere in the house, she used it last night. It was insane. And then she dropped something in the garage (I think a computer disk), and she was flipping over that. I tried to stay as much out of her way as I could. What else am I supposed to do?
I tell you, that can’t be a healthy thing to have to deal with on a regular basis. It can’t be healthy for her, because she’s going to kill herself after a while. But it’s not healthy for me, either, for I don’t like the stress of not knowing how she’s going to react to anything, whether or not it be my fault. Yeah, I would like to live alone instead of this. I would like to have my privacy, to not have to worry about offending others or having to listen to people throw tantrums because they can’t find their checkbook, or have to listen to someone like that. I actually enjoy being here at work because I don’t have her around. It’s frightening when this place gives me solace.
I wish I could afford to live on my own. Four years of college, one of the best schools in the country in my field, graduated with honors, and this is what I get.
I’ve been looking in the want ads, and there is NOTHING in my field. I mean zero. There’s nothing that I could think to apply for. Maybe it’s just a bad time of year for hiring. Crap. It feels like I’m going to be stuck with this life forever. Promise me you’ll take me away from this. Promise me that, please.


12:56 p.m.

Hi. I’m feeling a lot better, since I’ve been away from her for a good five hours. I just got back from lunch, and I was sitting in the telemarketing room with Gwen, telling her about Larry and his psycho computer list of women.
You remember the list - this guy I knew made a list on his computer of all the women he ever had relations with, then he accidentally gave me the list when he gave me a bunch of other computer files... What a freak. And he doesn’t even know I know, and he wants to be pals with me. Like I’d want to be pals with a guy that writes up lists of women who have given him blow jobs (although I did have to laugh that there were only two women on the blow job list). What a pervert.
I just feel bad for all the women who didn’t know what a freak they were dating, and now they have their names on this list of his. What was his point in doing that? I’d love to go to his computer and destroy that list. On behalf of all the women on it.
I really want to thank you for reading this. I guess I could have written all of this and then just thrown it all away, but it’s nice to know that there is someone out there that will actually read this, it kind of helps verify these feelings I have. You probably think that I’m psycho after reading all of this, it’s just that sometimes I can’t handle the crap people like Catherine and my sister throw at me. If I never vented this all out, I would probably explode someday, and maybe someday soon. Thank you for being there to write to, thank you for just being a sounding board. Catherine can’t be a sounding board because she finds fault with my problems. Hell, she’s the cause of half my problems... And no one else wants to be my sounding board. So thank you.
And you can do the same, you know, you can tell me when something is wrong and what it is. A lot of times I don’t want to tell you my problems because I don’t want to spoil the time we do have together. I don’t want to think about the problems, so I just put them in the back of my mind. I had to vent stuff out now, and I thank you for letting me do that. But I do want to listen to you. I want you to know you can talk to me. I want to be there for you.
And on that note, I think I’m going to close this. I love you -


10-28-82 8:38 a.m.

I feel like I’m selling myself every day here. The work I do, if it’s good, people don’t appreciate it, if it’s crappy looking, they’re in love with it. They ask me to change the good stuff. I hate that. And I take it as a personal slam on me if they don’t like what I consider to be good, and I know I shouldn’t do that, but I can’t help it. Everything I do becomes a part of me because I created it. And they tell me it’s crap, a bunch of losers in this stupid business, and I’m not supposed to take it personally.
I don’t like being at my apartment, either. Great - where is there for me to go around here that I can stand? One of my jobs, maybe? I think not. And I don’t feel like socializing around here.
Fuck, this is a pretty miserable life. And the scary thing is that I know it could be a lot worse. Something to look forward to, I suppose.
Why do I have to be here? Why does my life have to go like this? I want something good to happen, something to change in a positive way. I don’t want to be depressed with my life. I don’t want to hate everything I do. I don’t want to feel like I’m settling for anything.
Isn’t it amazing that I never talk about this when I’m visiting you? I never want to talk about my life while I’m there. It’s a little escape.


10-30-82 9 something a.m.

Boo. did I scare you? Here I sit, at my boring old office, wasting time because I don’t feel like doing work. I wish I was with you instead.
My friend Max is in town for a little while, he’s staying at the Hyatt, I don’t know why he’s there and I keep leaving voice mail for him but he hasn’t picked it up. I’ll be he doesn’t know that he has voice mail, that he doesn’t know how to use it. Geek. It’d be nice to see him again, if he ever gets the message that I called. I’m on the phone right now with an operator, and yeah, they probably don’t know how to use voice mail. but she said that as operators they have to tell them if they ever use their phone that they have x number of messages. But that means I have to wait for them to use the phone in order for them to be told that they have voice mail. Hope they get in and make a call.
Jared now keeps changing everything that I do. For the past three or four days I have given him a completed copy of the new catalog, and the next day every day he would give me the copy back with changes on almost every page. Yesterday he gave me a copy of the municipality flyer - the day it was going out to print - with changes on every single page. Crap like that takes a lot of time to do, especially when it’s a change like “add something here” instead of “change this word to x”. So I rushed around like an idiot all day trying to get it done on time. I gave him the stupid flyer weeks ago to stop that from happening. And if he changes around this new flyer any more, I think I’m going to just have to kill him. It’s that simple.
See, it all goes back to people not taking the time to figure out what they want on any given project. That so much time could be saved if people only thought coherently the first time. Then they wouldn’t waste the time and effort of a number of people after the job had been finished.

Thanks for listening to me bitch in all my recent letters. It’s just easy to get aggravated here. I’m supposed to be going out after work with everyone from work because it’s Barb’s last day here. Barb is the one who thought I looked 50 in my picture with you. She’s actually a big air-head, she can’t even figure out how to match her clothes (she had a pair of socks that were sky-blue colored with little white clouds on them, for instance), she’s got the really annoying voice... I really don’t like her much at all. Oh, boo-hoo. She’s leaving. Sorry to sound so rude, but I even have to chip in money for a going away gift certificate for her. So she can buy some more ugly clothes, I suppose.
I know they wouldn’t get me a going-away present. They wouldn’t even take me out.
Yeah, now that I think of it, what do you want for Christmas? I’m stumped.


12:05 p.m.

Hi. got a hold of Max. Will see him tomorrow night. I don’t even know if I’m going to see you tomorrow or not. Maybe it wouldn’t be a good idea, I mean, it’s a long drive for you for a short amount of time. I worry about accident-prone boy driving around so much, I shouldn’t want to make you drive the distance for such a short time, right? I do want to see you, though.
I just saved Jared a lot of money - a 12 page catalog someone else just did for them - 10,000 copies cost them $7,000. 17,000 copies of my 12 pg. catalog will cost them $6,100 - that’s almost half the price of the other ones - and it will probably end up looking better, too. He better like me.
I just compressed a bunch of their old programs and stuff they had on disks before I got here and I saved them a ton of computer space. I think it’s a blessing that they have me around, actually.
I’m dressed in orange and black today. wow, she got festive. Happy Halloween.
So I’m going out to a local bar (and I’m not frightened? Should I pack heat?) after work here for this woman’s last day. I want a beer. Then I’m going out with Susan to a party that her friends from work are holding. She’s going to the party as an expressway, wearing black and putting little matchbox cars all over her with the hood up or overturned. Creative. All I could think of that would be easy and not very costume-like would be to wear all black and a beret and go as the rhythm method of birth control. Just an idea.


11-16-82 9:17 a.m.

Hi. I’m back at work. Things are sometimes difficult to understand. I read a letter from Bob today (oh, you’ve met Bob a few times, he’s just a buddy from college). It was addressed to another person, but it was all about the things he has been going through for the past few years. He was so panicked in his letter that it makes me wonder if sometimes I am losing it. Sometimes I wonder if my mood swings verge on panic attacks. I don’t think so, because usually my mood swings are caused by something; I can understand why I’m feeling the way I do at any given time, even if the mood is extreme.
There are times when I want to take positive steps toward making me feel better, I want to take charge of my life again. And sometimes I feel as if there is nothing I can do, and my mood becomes more and more depressed and I feel like it’s never going to end. If I’m successful, my vacation time with you is a departure from my depression. I just wish I could be happy here.
Which means I have to try. I think I’m going to start today, when I get home from work. I’ll just have to avoid Catherine at all costs and do positive things for myself. Exercise. Read. I’m halfway through “The Power of Positive Thinking”; I should keep reading it. Listen to my meditation tapes. Burn some incense. Maybe I should burn a candle every once in a while.
I think I’m missing something, though. Something more mental, something that faces the problems I have more. All of these things I mentioned are stress relief methods, and reading may be construed as positive for helping me mentally and helping me get along with other people. But I need to keep thinking about how to get rid of the problems I have instead of learning how to cope with them. Some of them I shouldn’t have to cope with. Feelings about Catherine, or feelings about my sister or my father. I need to get them out more, to study them more, to understand them more and maybe to then I’d be able to put them to rest. I don’t know how to approach doing that, though.
I can’t afford a therapist. It’s that simple.
Maybe I should devote a certain amount of time every day to writing about things, things about my childhood, things about my family or whatever. It would get very personal.
Maybe I’ll write mine to you, if you want to listen. Or read. Or whatever. Maybe I’ll write an hour a day. Or a half hour. And I’ll have to write for at least that long. Maybe I’ll start now.

I remember sitting in the basement when I was little. I was really little, because mom was still around at this point. I stayed in there all the time, especially when dad was expected home, or home, you know. Mom always had a manhattan ready for him for when he got home. She’d put the glasses in the freezer so they were cold and the edges were frosted.
I remember him always being a beast when he got home. Didn’t talk much. You had to make sure you didn’t bother him when he first got home.
A lot of times I remember sitting in the basement crying, wishing it was Thursday, when dad didn’t come home from work. Thursdays were his night out with the guys, and I was in bed by the time he got home. I never had to see him on a Thursday.
Friday mornings weren’t so easy to handle, that’s when you tried not to get in his way, but usually he was sleeping in and I didn’t have to see him anyway.
Actually, I don’t think I saw him that much when I was little.
I just read the paragraph about sitting in the basement crying and I remembered that I’d think about dying then, too. Killing myself. I’d think of different ways to do it, getting a big knife, or taking pills. But I knew I wouldn’t like the pain, and the thought of dying scared me, too. What’s after it? Nothing? Can I really think of ending my existence forever? I’d probably screw up anyway and then be in pain and have to try to explain myself to my parents. I didn’t want to have to go through any of those things.
This is what I thought about when I was really little.
I knew I’d never really try to kill myself, I was too chicken. Maybe I wanted to scare them. Maybe I wanted them to realize how much they were hurting me. Maybe It would make them feel guilty, look, we didn’t pay any attention to her, and look what we’ve caused. If only we showed her we loved her, if only we paid her some attention, if only we made her feel like she was a worthwhile person...
That’s the one that always gets to me. They never made me feel like I was a worthwhile person.

Mom was never an affectionate type, she barely ever talked with me, she was just a mediator between everyone in the family, she just tried to smooth things over all the time. Usually didn’t work, although I probably would have been killed by dad if she wasn’t there. Or just abandoned.
Dad was never involved with any of my life. Only if I needed to be punished for something, If I did something wrong, dad had to know about it, and dad had to do something about it. She might have told him the good things I did, but if she did, I don’t think he remembered too many of them.
And then she left. I think all of the mediating got to her. One morning breakfast wasn’t ready, and by evening we found out she went to visit her sister. And so my sister took over the role of mother. And with that brought a whole new set of problems.

I remember how bad I felt when I got caught stealing. I was little. I didn’t feel bad about what I was doing, I figured the stores wouldn’t even miss these little things, besides, why shouldn’t I have them? If I could get them, more power to me, I suppose. It was when I got caught that I felt so bad, I knew I was in trouble, I had no idea what they were going to do to me, but I knew they were going to tell my dad. And I thought I was going to have this criminal record for the rest of my life. I was so afraid of what they might do to me. I didn’t want to see dad’s reaction. I was 12, I think. a stupid 12 year old stealing small things for Christmas presents. Where was I supposed to get the money to buy everyone Christmas presents? Why was I made to feel like I was supposed to but everyone Christmas presents? Everyone else was older, and working, I was young, and I had no way of getting any money. Too young to baby-sit or work, and they didn’t give me an allowance for cleaning or something. So my sister made me feel like I had to buy Christmas presents for everyone and I had no money. They all bought me things, things they could afford when they had an income.
Oh, I just cried and cried when I got home after stealing the stuff. I was so ashamed, I didn’t want anyone at school to know what I had done, I figured that every time my dad looked at me he was thinking I was a thief and that I failed him. I was a failure. Dad had to leave from playing cards at a local bar. I wonder if they knew, the people he was playing cards with, what was going on, but I didn’t even think about it. My dad must have been mortified. I kept apologizing, I kept crying the whole night. They drove me home, and everyone just told me to sit in my room and try to relax. I just needed to be by myself. I was up there crying, I think they came in every once in a while. I don’t remember what they said to me.
I think everyone realized that my own fear and pain were punishment enough.
I do remember a couple of days later I was walking up the stairs in the front hallway, and I almost bumped into dad by the door. He stopped, he kind of grabbed my face and said he was so disappointed in me. How could I do this to him?, he asked me, and he was crying. Then he just walked away.
Failure. I couldn’t do anything right. Nothing I did made anything better between us. He always had reason to hate me, to make me feel like I was worthless. Christ, I was just a kid.

I always liked to play in small cramped places. I liked playing in the basement, because at the time part of it was closed off with a bookshelf and it made the corner like a little room at the far end that was hard to see into from the door. It was my private space. I’d decorate it like it was my own home, and I always had private things, secret compartments and codes so no one could get to my stuff. I was very secretive. I even liked to play in my closet, because there was a shelf in the back of my closet used for storage I could sit in if it was empty. It was like my own private room, in my closet. I decorated the walls, put pillows in there for comfort. I always kind of hoped they didn’t know I played in there, that they didn’t know it even existed, that they could come looking for me and they wouldn’t know where I was.

I think I’m going to take a break from this for a while. It’s been over an hour, and I’m starting to run dry. I’ll write again. Thank you.


11-16-82 3:47 p.m.

Hi. I’ve had a relatively positive and productive day. That’s strange, because writing about when I stole stuff almost made me cry this morning. I’ve been dwelling on how aggravating it is living with Catherine, at a job I’m not too fond of, so having a happier day seems a little strange.
I leave here in less than an hour, and then I see my dad. He might take us out to dinner. If only I can stand the company.
I feel like I should continue on like I did this morning. That seemed to make me feel a little better, even though it made me think about things I didn’t like. I had stuff to do today, which may be what made me feel better today. Maybe I shouldn’t spoil this mood. Ah, well, it’ll be spoiled soon enough when I go home and have to deal with Catherine and then with seeing my dad, so I might as well dive into my childhood again.

My childhood friend Nancy was over all the time. We always played Barbies or house or something, and I was never over there, although I wanted to get away from my family. She had a way of convincing me it was best for her to come over. But that put me in control of the friendship, in a way, because they were my toys, it was my house, she was only a guest (even though she almost lived here). I think I used that advantage to exert some sort of power over her, to make myself feel superior to her at times. I was smarter than her, even though I was a year younger than her. I wonder if I treated her second-hand. It’s hard for me to tell, because I wasn’t objective. Besides, it was so long ago. But if I was, I might have been because I wanted to feel strong, that I had power over something. It was hard to feel as if I had any power over anything in my house when I was little. Intelligence was all I had, I guess. But then again, in my house everyone was older than me and smarter than me anyway, my parents had been through all of this child-rearing stuff, this was just another kid, nothing new.
Actually, it was a little worse than that. I wasn’t just another kid, I was the last kid, which meant that as soon as they were able to get rid of me they could start living their life. I don’t think they wanted to make me feel unloved, but that’s exactly what they made me feel. Tired. They were tired of raising children, so they just wanted to kind of dump me off on someone. Is it their fault that they were tired? I guess not... Was it their fault they wanted to live their life? I guess not... Should they have aborted me? I don’t think so, well, at least not for my sake... But when I’m at the receiving end of all this hidden hostility I want something or someone to blame other than circumstance. You can’t yell at circumstance, or punch it in the face, or wish it dead.
When I was little mom and dad would go on vacation and I would be left with these house sitters. Mary was the woman’s name, I think John was the guy, oh, I could be way off, I don’t remember that much when I was that little. I don’t even remember how old I could have been. But they would house sit for as long as two weeks, I think, watch me, the house, while mom and dad went on vacation. I don’t know where my sister was.
And Grandma would stay when my sister was a little older and they just needed someone to watch me.
My parents would have people over, cocktail parties, I suppose, couples would be over, and they really didn’t want me around then. Who would want a little kid around while they’re entertaining guests anyway? Whenever I was in front of guests I would be very respectful and polite, and they would think I was a perfect kid. My parents would either agree (the only times I got compliments or even acknowledgments from them) or make a joke, like “Oh, she’s a terror. Next time she leaves the house we’re changing the locks on the doors.” They were charming all right.
Sure, it was a joke, but that’s the only kind of stuff I got from them, and after a while, even comments like that will hurt. A lot.
When I went to school, I acted the way I did at home. I wanted to learn, I was intelligent, and I respected my teachers. Which made all the other kids hate me, of course, and that didn’t make things any easier. Ellen’s friends didn’t like me because I was a geek who was 2 years younger than them. They treated me like shit. The kids at the bus stop would push me around every day - I mean literally push me around, they’d throw rocks at me, they’d shove me until I fell and had cuts and scrapes. And I was always told not to fight back, they’ll keep fighting if you fight them back, just ignore them. It’s hard to ignore them when you’re picking yourself up off the ground and they’re pushing you back down again. And then I’d go home crying, cut, bleeding, and my mother would do nothing. I don’t even think my father ever even knew about any of it. My sister was the only one that got mad, and every once in a while she’d call the parents of the person that did it and make them apologize, or walk with me to the bus stop if she could. How fucking humiliating. And I always hated the fact that my mom didn’t even seem angry, or concerned. Hey, mom, someone is beating up your daughter for no good reason. Aren’t you mad? Don’t you feel anything? Don’t you feel anything for me?
Why didn’t I ever fight them? I wish I did. There were so many things I could have done without even laying a hand on them that could have gotten them back. But I never did anything. I was told never to talk back, never to hurt people. I never talked back to my family, If I did I would have gotten hit, or screamed at, and nothing would have been better, and it all would have been worse. I was too afraid to do something to those other kids, I didn’t know what it would be like, I didn’t know what would have happened if I did.
If my family was civil to me, it would be through making fun of me. It was their way of being loving, I suppose, but when you never feel any love, being made fun of is pretty damn degrading.

Adultism is what they call it, treating children like they’re shit because they’re not as old as you and they don’t have your experiences and they’re not as knowledgeable. That’s why I try to treat children more like adult, and I don’t use child voices with them and I don’t give them ultimatums and I don’t threaten them and I don’t cut down their ideas. I listen to them, even if their ideas are obnoxious, hell, at least they’re original ideas, I mean, they are THEIR ideas. Making a fort in my closet as a stupid thing, but if anyone in the world respected it they instantly earned my respect. It helps when people don’t treat you like an idiot.
When children ask me questions, and I do my best to answer them. They deserve that.

Well, it’s getting close to time for me to go. I’m sure I’ll continue this soon. This is so emotional for me. It’s strange to think of all these things, to make myself think about them in detail. I usually try not to think about them. My stomach feels tense. I’ll write soon-


11-16-82 9:40 p.m.

Hi. Here I am, this time at the computer at home. It makes a lot less noise than the keyboard at work. A quality computer, I have. I think this writing about my past is starting to prove to be very interesting. I didn’t even think I really had any resentment toward my mother, but some seemed to come out in one of the writings.
Not surprising, I guess, considering the fact that she left us.

Saw dad today. Took me and my sister out to dinner. He bitched to m about things that were out of my control. Not surprising.

Nothing is good enough for my father.
I remember when I was inducted into National Honors Society in high school. There was going to be a huge ceremony, lighting candles, the whole deal. My dad was out and said he couldn’t go. I drove the wagon to school by myself.
I just wanted someone in my house to give a crap about what I did. I didn’t want to push them to go, because that wasn’t proper for me to do. But going to things like that alone made me feel horrid. Like no one noticed I was doing anything good. I didn’t even have to be there. It wouldn’t have made a difference.
Well, the ceremony was going on, and I walked off the stage with my candle and I had to go to the back of the gym, through the audience, to make a ring of people around the gym, it was part of the ceremony. And I’m walking down the aisle, and in the back is my dad, he came in the middle of the ceremony. Then he left before it was over. It was nice, I suppose, because dad was there, even though he never went to any functions of mine, it it was also strange, like it was forced. It wasn’t right that he was there. I didn’t know what to say to him.

As if I ever know what to say to him.
I was in the plays my senior year. It was pretty mandatory that my family go to opening night. They went, and afterward all I heard was dad complain that it was too quiet, that he couldn’t hear. Get a hearing aid, you stupid man. Sorry, but why is he trying to bring me down by complaining about it to me right after the performance? That’s when you feel the best, you probably want to cry with joy, and he’s telling me he couldn’t hear, and he wasn’t even in the back of the auditorium.
I don’t know. It’s just that after a while they made the appointments that they were supposed to make as family, but it still wasn’t good. They were at graduation, but it was nicer to see Nancy there, or my boss at the Plush Horse, who came to see me and a co-worker graduate.
I went to a retreat weekend once, and Sunday there was a family day. We got back to the school after being away for the weekend talking about things, and our parents were supposed to be there so that we could talk to them about what we discussed. The whole point of this retreat became “how to make it better for kids to grow up, and how to like your parents, and how to like yourself...” It was a really positive experience. I liked it a lot. But mom and dad weren’t there, of course, so I was adopted by a friend’s parents for the day. They liked the program so much that they helped run it the next year. My parents knew nothing about it.
It was that weekend, my junior year in high school, that I finally said something about my family, the first time ever. We’d have a lecture about a topic, and then we’d have a small group of about 10 people that would discuss our reactions to it, our feelings. Whenever we’d get on something about our parents, I’d clam up. Finally one of the guys who was running our small group made me talk. I don’t know what he said, but when I started talking, I lost it. I was crying and crying, and trying to spit out stuff about my family, and everyone there was very supportive. Lots of hugs. It was over all a good thing. People asked me to read poetry, and sing, and people were complimenting me on my talents, and people were telling me I was a good person. It was such a high. I never thought I could feel so good about myself, I never thought I could have such good friends.
Well, yeah, I lost those friends. And for the most part I lost those feelings. But it was nice to have those feelings, even if they were just for a little while. I went back after this weekend of revelations and no one from my family was even there. It was like everything was instantly the same, even though this whole weekend stressed change.
I guess I was depressed before I went to on that weekend, but after the weekend I knew why I was depressed. And that didn’t make anything better.
I’ll talk about more tomorrow. Thanks for listening.


11-17-82

I hate being the baby. I’m always the one who is considered last, I am always the one who’s opinions are discounted. I am always the one who suffers on behalf of everyone else. The last time I checked I as an adult. I’m tired of it.
I was always the last for everything. Dad used to visit my brother at college, the way that normal parents visit their children, spend time with them. If my parents came to help me move I was surprised. They didn’t do that for a year. They didn’t even see my last apartment until I was moving out, and they never even saw my first apartment. Wait. Dad never saw where I lived period. It was too much of a hassle for him to drive to see me.
Damnit, I hate this family, I just want to get away from it so much.
Half of it already left me, and I still feel this way.

Every year I visit them for Christmas. And every time I have gone there until about two years ago dad would get so mad at me that things were miserable. I was 17 and he grounded me for the length of my visit. Things are just miserable when I’m there.
And my sister has always been the agitator.
When I was little, I used to look up to her. She was all I had, mom and dad never wanted to spend any time with me. She became my mother. When I was arguing with Connie, my girlfriend, she would be the one who came in and tried to settle things. Granted, it was only because mom didn’t want to deal with me, but at least someone was there.
But she’d always find so much fault with me. Am I really that bad? She’d always tell me to do things. Was she my mother? Put your socks away. Help around the house. We shouldn’t have to tell you to do things, you should know what should be done and just do them. And when I did something wrong, I’d get hell for it.
It would go like this: She would get mad at me because she found a pair of socks in the front room. She’d ignore me all day, and during the day I wouldn’t have the courage to confront her about it. By night I knew that if I didn’t resolve this that day it would just be ten times worse by the next day. So as I finished getting ready for bed, I knocked on her door. She would be laying or sitting in her bed, wide awake, just waiting for me to come in and apologize. And I’d cry and cry because I had to stand there in the dark for two or three hours while she told me about how wrong I was and what a bad person I was and how I should learn to be better. And I’d have to apologize, and I never wanted to, and I never meant it, but I had to do it to shut her up and I had to make it sound convincing or she’d go into an argument about how I had to make my apology sound genuine. And she’d still be going on even after I apologized, after I promised I’d be better, that I wouldn’t do anything like that again.
I hate her for doing that to me. She’s such a fucking bitch. I hate her for the way she made me feel. She did this to me almost two times a week. For I don’t know how many years. I’d be standing there in her room in total darkness, I’d be wavering as I was standing because I was so tired. It’d be one-thirty in the morning, I’d be sniffing every 5 seconds because I had been crying for the past three hours, and I didn’t learn anything. I don’t even think there was anything to learn. Looking back, all the things she argued about with me were silly, stupid little things, and she degraded me so much by doing that to me all the time. Talk about making a person feel worthless. Do that to a person from when they’re 5 to when they’re 17, and they’re going to be messed up.
And I hate her for it, because even if they were valid points she made, she has no right to cut my life because she has no life of her own. She’s unemployed, friendless, boyfriendless, she still lives at home, she’s fat, bitchy and anal retentive.How can a person take advice from that? How can a person listen to that yell at you?
She still does it, every day, while I visit. She tries to make me feel bad for everything I do. When I’m there she’s making me feel like I always have to hide.
When I was 17, it was the summer before I left for college, I was driving mom and my sister home from a restaurant once because they had too many margaritas. So I’m driving toward the driveway and we’re approaching the garbage cans. They were empty; garbage was picked up that morning. I noticed that they had to be picked up (normally, my sister would yell at me because I didn’t notice that they had to be put away). So I saw them, and since we were at the end of the driveway, I thought that this would be the best time to get the garbage cans. Since I was driving, I said something to the effect of, “Should we pick up the garbage cans since we’re at the end of the driveway?” And my sister thought it was extremely rude that I assumed someone else should pick them up (well, I was driving, it was kind of pointless for me to get out and do it, unless someone wanted to drive the rest of the driveway, and in that case it would have been easier to just walk from the stupid house and get the garbage cans anyway). So she stormed out of the car, because mom shouldn’t have to do it, of course, and she got into the house and she stormed upstairs. She wanted to watch a movie that evening but wouldn’t even come downstairs because she was so mad at me. I told mom what she was doing, probably the first time I ever told mom that she did this kind of stuff to me. Mom said to just let her sulk, not to go up there to talk to her. So... I didn’t. And for 3 or 4 days my sister ignored me. It was almost nice, I didn’t have to deal with her. Then one night I wake up in the middle of the night, sensing that someone was in my room. I put my hand on my pillow to get up, and there’s a paper on my pillow. I turn on the light, and my sister had left a note for me. It said something like, “Fine - if you don’t want to be my sister, fine - I’ll never do anything nice for you, I’ll never buy you presents, I’ll never talk to you again. Don’t ever ask for everything from me!!!”
At this point I just thought all of this was so stupid, so I went over and told her - rationally - that she was being childish and stupid. It’s insane to make such a big deal about bringing in garbage cans. And she tried to argue with me, and she cried and cried and cried, and she said she might as well kill herself, and she’s always wrong (that one was said sarcastically, of course), and I just kept saying, you’re being childish, and no one can have a rational conversation with you when you’re saying such childish things. It was 5 in the morning and I was winning. It was the first time I ever did anything like that.
After that, from then until now, she’s been different. Much more pathetic. She still argues with me, she still complains to me, but now she couples it all with, “you’re my best friend, I want to be friends with you,” and she’s sobbing and sobbing, and she’s acting like a fucking idiot. I suppose I should pity her, but she brings everything upon herself. She doesn’t have a job - not because the market is so tough (It is, but not that tough), but because after all these years she’s still unwilling to move out of her parent’s house and look for a job outside of a ten mile radius of her little safe suburb. She doesn’t try anything new. She got a part-time job at the local department store one year because a friend of hers filled out an application. My sister was so mad when her friend backed out of working. She couldn’t even take a jewelry making class this year unless she made someone else take it with her. She won’t drive downtown to visit her few friends (I personally think they just put up with her because they pity her, because they all have lives and new friends of their own, and she is just this remnant friend who has failed in life) because she doesn’t know where to park and someone is bound to hit her car and she could get lost, and worse yet, she could drive into a bad neighborhood, she could get killed if she took the wrong turn, you know, or someone could mug her, or steal her car. And even if she did get there and she did have fun she’d have to drive home, and that’s such a long drive that she’d lose sleep and feel miserable the next day.
She spends her time obsessing over her nails, spending insane amounts of money on jewelry. She makes jewelry, but now she’s got stacks of jewelry she wants to sell but never will. And she’s got yards of fabric for dresses and shirts and all sorts of clothing, but she never has the time to make anything because she’s so busy. Busy? She’s got nothing to do, how can she be busy?


11-18-82

My sister called me and wanted to have a talk with me last night. It’s so incredibly difficult to tell someone you don’t respect that you don’t respect them. She says she loves me. And things would be extremely difficult with my family if I told her the truth. Probably more difficult than if I just lived with it and lied to her all the time. It’s better when I don’t have to pussy-foot around her because she’s decided that she’s ignoring me again.
I was telling Susan about all this last night, the way my sister has been acting around me lately, and Susan was just amazed. She said it was probably the most unhealthy sibling relationship she had ever heard of, and that I should get away from her as soon as I could. What am I supposed to do? My sister is unhealthy, but it’s going to make me unhealthy, too, unless it already has, in which case it will make me more unhealthy. I don’t want that, but she doesn’t change, even though she says she tries to, and it’s taking it’s toll on me. What am I supposed to do? Tell her to get a job? Some friends? A boyfriend? Her own place? A life? Tell her to leave me alone? I don’t know if I want to deliver that blow.
And what makes things harder when it comes to this family is that despite all of her shortcomings (and there are plenty), everyone still treats her with more respect than they treat me. Mom and dad do it, and they’re the ones that are letting her be dependent on their income. They give her the opportunity to live there for a decade, no questions asked, and they let her waste her life that way. I think I’m more developed as an adult, than she is, and I think that’s partially because mom and dad coddle her. Granted, coddling, might not be good, but why didn’t they coddle me? Why did they give me the cold shoulder?

I remember my father always drinking. No one else in the family seems to think he is an alcoholic, but I do. He drank so much. Beers at lunch (or martinis), beers during the afternoon while playing cards with the boys, two martinis when he got home, wine with dinner, after dinner drinks (some heavy liqueur-type stuff) until he was ready for bed, then a shot of night-time cough medicine as he passed through the kitchen. Cough medicine. God it was so pathetic. Granted, the drinking has slowed down ever since he had the heart attack, but he still drinks a lot.
And the frightening thing is that I think I carry some of his traits - alcoholism being one of them. It always cuts me to the quick when someone sees me drinking and says jokingly that I’m an alcoholic. It’s what I’m used to.
I find myself having a drink a day if it’s there, then going out on the weekends to drink more. Or even on a weeknight. I find myself coming home from work wanting to have a beer, and if we don’t have beer, fine, I’ll make myself a mixed drink. Last weekend I went away for the weekend to visit friends, and while I was waiting for them I drank whiskey mixed with orange juice. I never do that. It was just that I wanted to get drunk.
I’m not drinking in the house any more. I’ve decided that. If I go out with people, I’ll drink if I want to, but I don’t want to drink alone, the way I have been. I wonder how long this feeling will last, though.
I’ve been getting along with dad a lot better lately - it’s my sister that’s been driving my nuts. He’s mellowed out in his old age, and only occasionally does he revert to his old ways around me. He’s not around me that often, which is a big help.

When I was in high school I didn’t date much. I was a part of a group called Feedback; it was a school group that met once a week at a different person’s house. We talked about teen stuff, troubles in life, almost like a therapy group. Alan was involved in it, and one night I was in a particularly good mood and was talking to everyone (the way I normally would now), even to the seniors, even though they were a year older than me. And I went over and talked to Alan, sat down next to him for a minute.
Then he offered to give me a ride home, I didn’t have one, I never did, my parents never let me use the car. That’s another thing. I’d ask to go out on a Saturday night, and they’d say I couldn’t have the car and I had to be home by 11:00 when I was 17. That was unless I worked Friday, then they’d say I was already out one night this weekend and I couldn’t go out. They didn’t trust me at all.
That’s probably why I joined so many activities, that was the only way I could spend time with my peers.
But back to Alan. He offered me a ride home, he lived only a mile away, so I accepted. He got to my driveway and tried to kiss me. I was shocked - I didn’t have the idea of him being more than a friend in my head. And I told him that, and he agreed to it, and we both felt sorry, and within a week we were considered dating each other. We went out four months, then he broke up with me because he was going to college (it didn’t bother me, though - I thought it wasn’t working out anyway).
I found out that right after we broke up he started dating a classmate, Vicki. She was fat, and ugly. She considered herself such a sexual creature, and I thought she was really gross. And Alan started dating her. What was wrong with me that he’d want to go out with her? I came up with a good (and probably accurate) guess - she blew him. Pardon that. But our relationship wasn’t sexual, it was romantic. Like puppy love, but it wasn’t love.
So he went away to school, and he’d always come back to visit, and he broke up with Vicki quickly, and he’d always want to take me out to dinner, and he was glad we were friends, and he’d talk to me about how all the other guys made fun of him because he was from a suburb. And they were all ass-holes.
But over that year I saw a slight change in him. He was hardening.
And he wanted to be more than friends with me, and I didn’t want that, but I couldn’t hurt his feelings, so... by the time he got back from his freshman year we started dating again. But this time it was different, he was a bit of an ass-hole himself, which meant he was cooler, I suppose, and he was always trying to make a move on me. He’d do things to me I wasn’t ready for, and I didn’t know how to politely say that I didn’t want to do anything. I kept dropping what I thought were subtle hints over time that I didn’t want to sleep with him, I wasn’t ready for that. But his hints that he wanted it were probably stronger than mine.
The first night I moved into my dorm with my new roommate he came over, and the two of them had liquor. Loretta had grape schnapps, that’s all I remember. And we were drinking out of plastic cups, and I remember that he kept refilling our glasses. But he was refilling hers faster. I even thought about that that night - why is he pushing drinks on my roommate? I could see him wanting to get me drunk, but why her? I know he’s not attracted to her.
I don’t know when we decided we had to go to sleep. I don’t remember much from the evening. I think we might have gotten the cue from my roommate passing out in her own bed. I’m not sure. I had no idea what was going on. I figured he wanted to stay over, that we’d mess around or something. I hadn’t thought about it.
One of my guy friends as a joke gave me a condom as a going away to college gift. He thought it was funny. He was trying to be cute. I told him I’d keep it, and I knew I wasn’t planning on using it.
I think Alan knew I had it.
I think I even told him that night that I had it. I was just laying there when he got the God-damned thing. God, I wish I knew what was going through my head. I know I wasn’t thinking clearly; I just wish I was. I didn’t fight. I was too drunk. I didn’t know if I should be fighting, or why I should be fighting. I knew I didn’t want it, but I had no idea of what to say. I almost felt like I was resigned to it.
I remembering him telling me to relax; it was hurting me. I was so tense that he was hurting me, and he was telling me to calm down, to relax. I remember him trying to push my legs apart with his. I didn’t want them to be apart, I resisted, but it just seemed like there was nothing I could do. I was still daddy’s little girl, I couldn’t tell anyone I didn’t like something or that I was right and they were wrong. I couldn’t raise my voice, I couldn’t even think of what I would have said if I could get up the courage to argue. This was how it was supposed to be, wasn’t it?
Now I know why he was pushing liquor on both of us, but my roommate more. He wanted to make sure she passed out drunk, so she wouldn’t hear anything. She didn’t hear a thing. And I never told her.
I didn’t even find him attractive. I thought he was a geek. I went out with him because he paid attention to me, and he was there when no one else was. I turned to him as a friend countless times. His family treated me like a daughter. He was smart, was going to be making money one day. I was going to be an engineer, like him. We’d be set. I thought this would be the man I was going to marry, I was resigned to this, even though I didn’t love him.
That night messed me up. I didn’t know why I resented him, but I did, and minute by minute I could stand being with him less and less. He was happier than ever when it happened, but I started “needing space”, that’s what I told him, I wanted to meet new people, I just got here, give me some room. And I started wanting more and more room.
I don’t want to write about this any more.


11-19-82

I hate myself for not stopping him. I might not have wanted to do anything because that’s the way I was taught to be all of my life, but they never prepared me for this, they never prepared me for anything, but I still wished I did something. Why did I let this happen? I’ve worked on rape hotlines because of this, I know it isn’t my fault, but I think I will always look for something or someone to blame. Yes, I blame him. But there’s also a part of me that blames my family for making me feel so inadequate that I felt I had to stay with him because I would never find better. My family made me feel as if I couldn’t fight back. I could have fought back. They never wanted me to fight back, the best thing to do was ignore it, right?
They might be right anyway. Who am I to judge?
My father said that if he or one of his siblings came home and said a teacher hit them, his father wouldn’t get angry at the teacher for hitting him, his father would hit the kid and ask, “What did you do wrong?” He must have done something in order to get hit.
What did I do wrong?
God, I wish I could go back in time and change all the things I did wrong. Are they all my fault? If my actions are based on the way my parents did or didn’t raise me, then I wish I could go back and change the way they raised me. How can you change bad things that happened to you? How can you go back and change the past?
I didn’t tell anyone what happened to me for a while. I didn’t even know what happened to me, I didn’t know why I was feeling so depressed. That’s when I changed my major, that’s when I changed my hair color, that’s when a got a whole new set of friends. Alan still wanted to be friends with me, and I couldn’t think of a reason why I shouldn’t be friends with him, except that I didn’t want to, but that didn’t matter, because it was just me. Occasionally we’d have lunch in the cafeteria, but after a while I didn’t want to spend any time with him, I didn’t want to see his face. And I told him so. I was dating someone else by then, and I gained enough confidence to be able to say to him I didn’t want to see him. I told him to get out of the past and not talk to me any more. He’d call on the weekends in the middle of the night, high or drunk, telling me he loved me. I hated it. I’d see him on campus and he’d try to talk to me. I remember one time I was yelling at him on campus, screaming during passing time when everyone is out on campus, yelling at him to leave me alone, not to talk to me anymore, to give me some peace. I don’t even know if I knew why I was yelling at him.
Josh was a beacon to me during that time. He was a good person, a genuinely good person, and I knew he wouldn’t hurt me the way Alan did. He just wouldn’t. But he also chose religion over me, and once again, I lose out.
It was by March of the next year (a little over 6 months) before I told someone what happened to me. I told Colin, my friend from high school, and I sat there and cried for two hours. After that I told Richard. I didn’t tell anyone else for a while.
I remember that in the end of March I got a card and a mix tape in the mail from him. The card was for our anniversary of when he first tried to kiss me in the car after the feedback meeting, in my junior year of high school. He remembered, sent me a card, and made me a mix tape of all the songs that “meant” something to us during the course of our “relationship.” There were dates on all the songs, dates for when we heard them together, concerts we went to, things like that.
That disgusted me so much. I threw out the card. And I sent the tape back to him. It was scary giving the envelope back to the mail carrier, knowing then it would get back to him, because I was fighting back. That scared me. But I had to. I didn’t want him thinking it was okay to send me things. To talk to me.
As soon as he got the tape back he called me. I had to tell him to stop living in the past, to get over it, to leave me alone. I think he was making me cry. Forget I existed. Go away. Let me be.
I wish I could stop living in the past.
The next year he went to Germany for the year to study. I think a big part of the reason he left was because of me. Could re really have liked me? Was I hurting him? I’ve never told him he raped me. I’ve never just said it. Maybe he doesn’t know. Did he mean to hurt me? Did he even know what he did to me? How it affected me?
I remember him writing in a letter to me once that he was going out with this girl he really liked, she was about my height, the hair was the same, hey, even once when he saw her at the right angle she looked just like me. Well, they weren’t really going out yet, he just kind of liked her, but maybe they could go out.
I had to avoid him. This was unhealthy. I didn’t know what else to do. When he came back I did everything I could to just avoid him. He’s in Germany again, this time for good, I think. I still feel like he lives a mile away.
By that next fall (over a year later, when he was in Germany) I was dating other people as well as Josh (our relationship was rapidly falling apart due to religion, him working at a pizza parlor weekends and him being an engineer - he had no time for me), but I could never get close to any of them. Physically. I didn’t mean to lead them on, so I told them they weren’t going to sleep with me, it was that simple. It worked out okay, for the most part, I think I annoyed a few horny men, but oh well. I was going out with a guy named Ben for about 4 months in the fall, and he started noticing signs that it was more than a personal preference. Once we were watching a movie where a woman got raped and I had to go to the bathroom to cry. He made me talk after that.
Ben was a typical guy, a dick, so to speak, the type of guy that would just stop calling one day because he was bored with you. Not very romantic. But he was fun to go out with. I didn’t expect him to be responsive when I told him about last year. It was amazing how nice he was, he said I should go to group therapy, that he’d go with me if I wanted him to (that wouldn’t make him feel too awkward, would it?). It was very nice of him, but I was sure I didn’t need to see someone professionally, I mean, if I can’t handle stress... I rejected the idea of seeing someone.
January, right before classes started second semester, I saw an ad in the paper that said you could take a class for credit that would train you to be an acquaintance rape hotline operator. I thought this would be my own sort of therapy, and it would be constructive as well (and I got credit for it).
In that class we went over so many things that I’m not sure if I was ready for. Pornography, incest, basically the entire history of hatred toward women in a single semester. By the end we talked about how all of this, all of the conditioning of society, manifests itself in rape, especially acquaintance rape. It happens so often.
I’d come home from this class every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 and would rush to the cafeteria to meet my friends. You could always tell it was a Tuesday or Thursday, because I was either grouchy and silent or argumentative, starting a discussion group about sexism. I started doing more in my spare time about it. I ran a pornography workshop. I ran rape workshops for the sororities. I did more and more art work about it, trying to get that exposed. I did advertising for counseling groups.
And I thought I was getting better. I was behaving more and more like a normal person, even though I was a bit strong-willed. A bit of a feminist. I thought I took my cause to a more acceptable level than a lot of other violent feminists do. I thought I could make a difference.
Well, I don’t know if I thought I could make a difference, but I knew that I had to try, that if I didn’t I’d explode, or die.
And then I look at what I’ve done. Sure, I’ve done a lot. But have a really made a difference? Probably not. And then I start to feel like a failure again, I start to feel like people find me worthless again. I start to feel like a child again. I start to feel looked down upon, degraded even, like a child, like a little girl. Like someone who is mentally abused by their parents, physically abused by their boyfriend.
That’s why I act so dominant in a relationship now, I think - I don’t want to be looked down upon again. Nothing is ever good enough for me. I have to be strong, I have to be stronger. I never want to tell my problems to the person I’m dating because I don’t want them to think less of me, I don’t want them to view me like I’m a beaten child. I want to have a healthy relationship, and I guess I think that if I cover up what could potentially make the relationship unhealthy, then there’s a better chance of the unhealthy stuff not happening. If I act like a normal person, I’ll have normal, healthy interactions, which will make me more of a healthy person. It sounds like it would make sense.
But it’s still there, buried, in the back of my head, and every once in a while it comes out and there’s nothing I can do about it. Anything small can set it off. And then I’m crying, and I can’t even explain why.

I guess my determination in my work stems from the fact that I want to fight, I want to get over all these feeling I have. This is my way of doing it. But I think my depression stems from the fact that I’ve been taught all my life that my work isn’t important, won’t make a difference. That I won’t succeed.
Now I’ve got a job that pays me under 10,000 once taxes are removed, I live with a roommate I hate, and people like my sister still hang around - people that I can’t respect, people like her that have caused me to feel most of the pain I’ve felt in my life, who continues to give me pain whenever she speaks to me. How am I supposed to heal now?
I want to get on with my life. I want to get away from this limbo I’m feeling. I want to start progressing. I feel like I’ve already hit a huge brick wall and there’s no way I’m going to get around it, over it, through it. I’m going to work here forever, live here forever, be miserable forever.

And then I feel so bad when I think of all the suffering other people go through. Jim tells me stories, other people tell me stories... Is everyone out there suffering from some sort of mental or emotional problem? Who am I to complain? I’ve got a roof over my head, I’m not on lithium, I’m not having panic attacks, I haven’t had my car stolen, my boyfriend doesn’t treat me like dirt. But sometimes I feel alone, even if I’m not. Sometimes I break out and cry, and I try to stop it, but I can’t help it. Yesterday I cried in my office because William hit me on the back of the head. I thought it was rude, sexist and entirely unprofessional. But if I was in a good mood I’m sure it wouldn’t have bothered me. It was a tap. He meant it as playful. And on the way home yesterday from work I just cried and cried. I didn’t care what people in the passing cars were thinking. There was no point in worrying about it. There was too much else to think about.
And I flipped in a restaurant because they messed up my order. Big deal. But I started swearing, raising my voice, then I started crying. Why?
Why anything any more?

I went to a bar tonight with a few friends of mine. I’ve been there for a while, I just got home, I had a good time. They know nothing about me. That’s probably a good thing.
I miss you. I want to feel your arms around me.
I was driving tonight and I thought about suicide. I mean as an option. I haven’t thought about that since high school. Since I lived in my parent’s house. I thought I’d break up with you, try to piss you off so he’d hate me and wouldn’t be hurt by my killing myself, then try to kill myself when no one was at home. If they found me before I died, at least they’d know how serious I was. They’d know how much they hurt me, how much I hated them.
There are times when I wish I wasn’t afraid of death.

There are other times when I wish I wasn’t afraid of life.


11-20-82

Tomorrow I’m going to have Thanksgiving dinner with my family - everyone except my mother. She is out of town. Every family get-together is always pointless. We eat, maybe watch T.V., the women cook and clean, the kids fidget and leave the table early. It’s not as if we bond in any sense of the word when we’re together, if anything, I get bored or aggravated about something.
That’s even how funerals are. You’d think it was a holiday the way my family acts at a wake. They chat and laugh, talking about current events or whatever. No bonding. No feelings.
I was almost 10 when my grandfather died. I was devastated. Someone died. I talked to them last week, now they’re dead. The last thing my grandfather said to me was “you’re the most beautiful girl in the world.” My sister tells me now that he once held my grandmother and my dad at knife-point, threatening to kill them.
And I was at the wake, and everyone was laughing and talking about stuff that had nothing to do with where they were or what had happened. I just wanted to say, “Hey, there’s a dead man in the front of the room. And you’re related to him. Doesn’t that bother you?” But I was 9, and I didn’t know anything. My parents wouldn’t let me go to the funeral because it was on a Monday and I had to go to school. They wouldn’t let me take the day off to go to my grandfather’s funeral. I thought they were heartless.

I just want to ask my family: you mean it wasn’t obvious? Were you just that uninterested with things in my life, or were you actually afraid to think that someone actually did that to me? That you all did these things to me? Or did you care?
“Maybe if I don’t think about it, it won’t exist.” Well, that doesn’t work, everyone. It’s still there, whether or not you try to ignore it. I’m a shining example of that. How much longer do you think you can avoid me?

All my life, whenever I dealt with my family, I felt like I could never say anything to them. They made me feel as if they didn’t want to hear, they made me feel like I shouldn’t talk back, they made me feel as if my opinions didn’t matter.
I can’t love someone I don’t respect. I have to be able to like someone as a person, to admire their achievements. That’s why it’s so hard to say I love my father. I respect him as a person in some respects, he was a hard worker, he has a flair for getting along with many people... other than his family, which is why it’s hard for me to say I love him. My sister, I can respect her as far as I can throw her, which isn’t far since she’s so fat, but hey, I’m pretty strong, so that statement might even give her more respect than she deserves. Simply put: I don’t respect her, all the problems she has in her life are her fault and no one else’s, and I can’t love her. I can’t even pity her.

My father used to always yell at me because I didn’t smile. “Smile, damnit, you have nothing to be sad about.” First of all, I wasn’t sad, a straight face means no emotion, not negative emotion. Secondly, do you really think you’ll make me happy by yelling at me, by forcing me to smile?
I always put up a front whenever he’s around. I usually want to hit him, or run away when we’re in the same room. But I put on a fake smile, act happy. As long as it looks good for other people. As long as his friends don’t think he was an unfit father.
I wonder how many affairs he had. It wouldn’t surprise me if he had a few. And he’s my father. I have some of that in me. And I hate it.
I hate the mood swings, I hate my stubbornness, by bossiness, my temper. All of my bad traits I got from you. I learned from the best.


2-16-83

God, I don’t know if I can do any of this.
I don’t know what’s right for me anymore. sometimes there is just a part of me that wants to get out of here so much, to start my life. I just want it to begin. But I don’t know which path to take.

I want my own place. I could decorate it the way I wanted to. I wouldn’t have to have anything ugly in it, like lights from chains or silk lavender poinsettias. or a brass elephant statue. or any of Catherine’s shit. or Catherine, for that matter.
I could go out places without having to drive 40 minutes.
I could see you more.
I’m anxious. I need to relax more. I’m very impatient. It’s just that I want everything to happen for me, and I want it all to happen right away. Yesterday, actually.
I could have my own apartment. I could imagine my place now, with a desk with my computer. Maybe take a spare bedroom and convert it into an office/library room, with a book shelf with all of my books on it. and vases. and the living room would have all of my stereo stuff, and photos of mine all over the walls. and the kitchen would be my kitchen, and the fridge would be mine. I’d actually have room in the cabinets for all of my glassware. and food. I’ve never had a fridge to myself before. I think i’d have to live in a place by myself, I just want to have a place with no roommates. I want some space. It would only be messy when I wanted it to be messy. It would look how I wanted it to look. I could live in an old house, in the middle of nowhere, if it meant cheap rent and a lot of space and no roommates. I don’t need the best of everything. no cable. no call waiting. a 13” t.v., my stereo, my computer, fine. but I can deal with shitty furniture, an ugly couch, a small desk. I could put a sheet over my couch. I could paint and clean up some garage sale furniture. hey - I could get an unfurnished place for cheaper and just get any kind of furniture from garage sales. I could put a shelf over my desk for my computer monitor. I could make it some place i’d actually want to be in. It’s sounding more and more pleasing to me.
I could have Christmas in my own place. that would be nice.
I’m going to ask you to do me a big favor - could you get the Gazette on Sundays and check out the classifieds for me? Jobs as well as apartments. I’ll talk to you more about it later.
I just feel so lonely here.
Tomorrow I’m going to contact the village hall about getting space for an art show. I think I’m going to bypass the local fine arts society, because they drag their feet, and I have no patience. I could probably do plenty of my own flyers. and i’d be doing all the setting up on my own, even if I was sponsored by them. I’d have to pay for drinks and crackers, but then again, i’d have the whole place to myself, instead of being one of four artists or something. I could have all of my work, my gallery program running on my computer, and later do a reading.
I like to dream, don’t I? I get the feeling that I won’t ever have any show in town, and I won’t go to grad school. I think I just need to dream about these things so that I can keep what little sanity I have left.
Why do I think I can get any of this accomplished?
What can I do? What can I do to make myself feel like I’m accomplishing something? What can I do to make myself happy? What other steps do I have to take?
Should I hand-deliver every resume I send, and give them a little speech about how great I am? I don’t have time to go to all those places in person.
I can’t afford to move to a better place with the pay I make here, and if I quit to move far away, it just means that I’ll have no money at all instead of 14,3 a year. I’ll be even more in debt. I can’t do anything. I’m stuck in a hole. Am I supposed to go back to school? Am I supposed to spend my savings on that? Going to grad school is no guarantee that I’ll have a decent job when I get out. Hell, college alone used to be a guarantee of a good job. Now look at me.
I was saving all that money for my house. So when I got married, when everything started to happen for me, I wouldn’t have to struggle quite as much to make ends meet. Maybe it could mean that my children would have a better chance of going to college. I don’t know how I’m supposed to save any money for my children’s future with my life going the way it is. I know I’m thinking too far ahead into the future, and the next thing you’ll say is that I’m not going to stay at this job for the rest of my life, but at this rate, nothing better is going to come along for me and I’ll be stuck doing this fucking job forever. I left engineering because I hated the field and I didn’t want to sell myself just to make more money, and what has happened? I went into what I wanted and now I’m doing something I hate and making thousands less than I would have been if I stayed in engineering!
Do you know why I left engineering? i’ve never told this to anyone. Alan. he was in the same major as me. I don’t want to be associated with anything that was related to him. he was taking classes in the same building as I was freshman year. I wanted to get away from him. and all the stress of dealing with him made me not care about classes. I was slacking off, and you can’t do that in engineering. It just didn’t matter to me. I wanted to change myself. I changed my hair, my clothes, my friends - my major.
I couldn’t handle engineering. I’ve never wanted to admit it. I didn’t want to handle it, it didn’t want it enough to try for it. I felt like a failure because the schoolwork wasn’t coming easily to me, like it always had.
I shouldn’t blame him. I should blame myself. I should have been able to do it, and I just let myself down. my life would have been so incredibly different if I stuck with computer science.
Or if he hadn’t hurt me.
I think of all the ways it has affected me, and it drives me insane. Do you think I like being emotional? Do you think I like my mood swings? Do you think I’m happy with the direction my life has taken? I feel so alone, and I feel like everything has just gone so wrong. Should I blame him? Or is he a cover in my own mind for my father? Or are they both just a cover for me not wanting to blame myself for my own inadequacies?
It’s times like this when I feel I can’t do anything right.
Why is is that I can’t see myself as a success? Why is it that I find myself unattractive, fat, and unsuccessful?
Why is this happening to me?
Okay, maybe what I need is a big move, a move maybe to a warmer part of the country. Start a new life. I could lie on my resume, tell them I was a nuclear physicist at my last job, and boom - i’d be raking in a shitload of money. There’s my solution.
I’m going over to Ellen’s place tonight, I’m supposed to cheer her up. she’s going to be cheering my up by the end of the night at this rate. Nancy asked me yesterday if I ever had a day at work where I was just about to cry. well, yes, actually, and I’m having one right now.
Let’s go to that new bar this weekend. I think I need to go out, even if it does mean that I’ll end up spending a lot of money. Or maybe I just need to talk, get drunk, and cry a lot. That might actually be what I need. Think you could do that for me? Get really drunk with me this weekend, and let me just be a drunken fool? Maybe then I could spit out some things that I probably need to, but haven’t had the heart to spit out.
I just want to figure out why I get like this. What I’m supposed to do.
A psychologist would have a field day with me. With the pages I typed for you before and this, he’d have a field day. Make that SHE’D have a field day.
Today I feel so persecuted, and I can’t explain why. I feel like everything is out to get me, to sabotage my happiness. Not like I’m delirious and having delusions of grandeur, or having some paranoid feeling like people are out to get me, if anything I feel like people don’t care. Because they don’t. The feeling is more that I have to fight with the very nature of things in order to get something accomplished. I’m not just fighting a person, I’m fighting the world, I’m fighting the way things have always been done, the way I’ve always been taught to do things. No one is particularly against me, but no one is receptive to change, and would rather not deal with me because of it. And now I feel like I’m failing.
I get tired of fighting. What am I supposed to do then? give up? I don’t know how to. I don’t know how to change the way I feel. If I gave up, it would be me resigning and then losing all touch with reality. I couldn’t do it any other way. I couldn’t just become a cog in the wheel, and be happy with it, like all the fucking peons here at work. I’d die. I couldn’t do it. I could never be happy here.
Is something wrong with me because I can’t just be happy working, making money, and there you go, that’s life? It doesn’t seem right to me. I wish somebody could just show me the steps I’m supposed to take. I think I’ve proven that I’m willing to try.
I want to be with you, I really do. I want to try to make this work. And maybe it’s just that I’m so incredibly impatient, but I don’t want to have to wait for you to start your life so we can start ours. I want to start my life now. Maybe I could start to do that if I was at least with you. Being with you all the time would be one way for me to find out if that’s what I really want out of our relationship.
Hell, I might find out that it’s the dumbest thing i’ve ever contemplated doing. I can find a negative side to everything. But I think I’m actually starting to sound a little more cheerful. It can’t be.
I don’t know what the solutions are anymore, but I don’t think I ever did know. And it drives me crazy not knowing. You mean more to me than I want to admit. You’re my best friend, right? So, best friend, tell me what I should do. I can’t think clearly anymore.
I feel like i’ve hit a brick wall. I don’t know what the next step is. I think I need a vacation.
I like to plan things. I like to know what is going to happen next. I like to feel secure. I hate not knowing where my life is going. And that’s exactly how I feel right now. And how i’ve felt for months. I can put it out of my mind for a while, but it always comes back.


2-17-83

Who knows what I what to do. I know I want to live out on my own, but who knows how I want to do that. Working, school. I hate this. I’ve felt awful all day. My head hurts. I really have hit a wall.
I have to work at my second job tonight. I don’t remember what the place looks like.
I’m so depressed. I was crying over at Ellen’s, and I was just bawling on the phone with you. Crying on the way home last night. I don’t have the energy to cry anymore. I think i’ve even lost any motivation I might have once had.
I’m hungry. I just finished some pizza today. Pizza and an apple for lunch. I’ll have noodles tonight. Exciting. Spinach and tomato noodles. And wheat noodles. And shells and elbows. Don’t forget the all-too-exciting tomato paste with mushrooms. Maybe I’ll eat some bread with it, too. I might as well try to make it is creative as possible, because it’s all I get. I hate this diet. Then again, there are a lot of things I hate.

I’ve drank almost 100 ounces of water so far today. Ties me over. Gives me something to do while I’m here at work. I’ve been playing on the computer all day. I created some clip art from ads that were sent to me. gothic letters, pictures of dragons... It’s interesting. Has nothing to do with work, but it’s interesting. As far as interesting goes when I’m here, that is.


2-18-83

Hi. I just set up the appointment with the new job prospect downtown. yes, it’s downtown, and the computer set up they have is about 3 times better than the other place I interviewed at - at least 3 times better. In fact, I was looking at the two three-dimensional programs she has in a catalog today, to see which ones I would want to get.
I have to wait a week for the interview, though, and that wait is going to kill me. I’m going to put a ton of stuff together on my computer to show her next week. I want to show her how fluent I am on the computers. She’s going to have me do work on the computer while I’m at my interview, too. Test me. Wow. Now instead of being depressed I’m going to be manic for the next week, until she turns me down, of course, or until the president hires a buddy for the job.
You know me, I just like to work, and I like to work a lot. I can just sit in front of a computer for hours doing one task and the time will just fly by. This is exactly what I want to do.
And i’d have access to all the great computer stuff. It’s like having all the tools i’d ever need to do anything I want. I’d love it.
Lunch time. I should be social. If there was something here that drove me to do work, believe me, I’d do it, but until that day comes, I’ll take my time at lunch with the girls. I’m sure there’s so much more to say, but I think by now you know it all. I’ll talk to you soon.


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