Thursday, March 29, 2018

My Life in 1988 (Part 2)

Teenage angst continues....



Heather is in Florida. Pipila wrote Marni a note. It was pretty long. (4/20/88).  Pipila was one of the fake ghosts, and Marni was the girl who was not supposed to be friends with me because I believed I was friends with a bunch of dead people.

I wonder how Marni felt when I gave her the note. Was there a tiny part of her that believed any of it was true? Did she think I was totally insane?  Oh! And did she perhaps believe that I didn't believe? Maybe she thought I was trying to trick her?

I have no idea.

Marni says I'm her best friend. She has started a writing friendship with Pipila.  (4/21/88). Was Marni keeping her friendship with me...and Pipila a secret from her mom?

Jennifer and I went to Six Flags. We met 5 guys and 2 girls. (5/2/88).  You know when I've thought back to the ouija board drama, I have had this idea that I gave up all my living friends for characters that exist only in my sister's imagination.  But it seems I managed to keep up a social life with real people.

Melissa is the biggest pain. I wish I didn't need Melissa to talk to Heather and Alex. She is a spoiled brat. She has a personality of the girl on the Bad Seed exactly. (5/10/88).  Well...uh...minus the murderers, at least. My sister was probably a brat as most younger sisters are. I don't think she's a psychopath!

The ouija board never worked. I got Melissa to confess she moved it. Well, I'm upset about that but not anymore. (5/14/88). Well...I got over THAT fast.

No, I didn't.

My diary is lying.

I suppressed a lot of very negative emotions.

I think I felt pressured to get over the whole thing, and so I pretended I was fine.  Or really...I forced myself to be okay.

I find it sad, but not surprising, that I didn't write more about what had happened.

What I remember without the diary's help:

A) Getting suspicious when the "ghosts" misspelled the word "nightgown".

B) Testing my sister

C) My sister failing the test

D) Getting very angry and yelling at my sister

E) My mom coming upstairs and yelling at me. She yelled something like, What did you do to her?
She assumed I was the one who had done something wrong.  It was horrible because not only did I suddenly completely lose all these friends I imagined I had, feel like a complete fool for being tricked by my ten-year-old sister, but also my mom was acting like I was some kind of monster.

F) My parents offering me very little comfort. Or none. And my mom actually acting impressed and proud of Melissa for being so imaginative.

G) I REALLY wanted to die that night. I wasn't courageous enough for suicide, but the pain was strong enough that I wanted to vanish. I vaguely remember, in desperation, grabbing a bottle of pills. But that's as far as I went...suicide-wise.

Looking back thirty years later, I can be also be a bit impressed with Melissa's creativity. It's too bad she didn't go on to do more with that.  BUT for my mom to say that to me in the midst of my emotional trauma?

I have 100% forgiven Melissa for her hoax. I have not forgiven my mom for the way she treated me in the aftermath.

Melissa was a little nicer yesterday. A miracle! (5/17/88).  I'm kind of surprised we managed to get along at all in those days.

I'm reading through May entries. It kind of freaks me out that I sound so fine about everything.

I know I wasn't.

I think in some cases I can believe my diary more than my memories. THIS is not one of those cases.

Marni is so selfish. All she cares about is herself. (5/24/88).  This is one of many negative statements I provide about Marni in the May entries.  I have to wonder if the ouija board aftermath affected our friendship.  Maybe she had actually believed. Maybe I wasn't the only one hurt by my sister's hoax.

Rashmi told me Marni said that Marni's mom said that she didn't like me as soon as she first met me. (5/25/88).  I wonder what she had against me. I thought it was the ghost thing, but apparently there was something else.

And who is Rashmi?  I saw her name mentioned earlier in the diary, but didn't really take notice of it.  I'm guessing the name is Muslim or Israeli? Sometimes I can't tell the difference.

I went and backtracked to the earlier mention of Rashmi. She's on a list of people I dislike.

There's also a list of people I DO like. Both my parents are on that. So while I have anger towards my mom regarding the ouija board aftermath now, I guess I was cool with her back then.  And...I mean it's not like I don't love my mom. We get along fairly okay. When I say I don't forgive someone, it doesn't mean I'm not speaking to them or that I don't have a loving/fun relationship with them. It just means that along with the love, there is also some negative feelings.

My goal in relationship drama is not to forgive and forget. It's to love and enjoy my relationships despite the negative aspects.

Oh! I should have read ahead with the May 25 entry.  I talk more about Marni's mom. 

 Last summer at the CF foundation, Marni told me her mom didn't like how I worked with diseases and death.

She didn't like that I did volunteer work. Fascinating.

Is it true?

I'm not sure.

What I wonder is why Marni would tell me all this? Was she venting to me? Was she using her mother as an excuse to insult me?

And did I ever give her the same treatment?  Did I name the things that my parents didn't like about her?  I'm not sure if they ever said anything against her. But maybe they did?

I am writing a story about a girl named Kristen with Cystic Fibrosis. It will be long. (5/27/88). That ended up being my first novel.

There's something very special about Stewart and Missy. They have a real braveness to them. They are so brave. Except Stewart seems a bit nicer, I have to say. (6/3/88). Stewart and Missy both had (have?) CF.  Major inspiration porn there!  I have grown against this attitude and I cringe when I see it in others.

Having a disease or disability is one of the possible roads that MAY lead to courage, but there's no guarantee.

About eleven years after this post, I wrote the novel Thirty Cats, which I think shows that I had slowly began to grow away from the whole idealization of the chronically ill and disabled.

That book was about Neurofibromatosis instead of Cystic Fibrosis. Gabrielle, the protagonist, has the disorder and has no extraordinary courage or wonderfulness. She's just a typical teenager who happens to have NF, and she's hates having it.  Her father, on the other hand, has that certain bravery we tend to see in stories about the disabled or chronically ill. Gabrielle's brother admires their father and is obsessed with the disorder.  I think I somewhat modeled the brother after my high school self. Though, as my diary, displays, I had a huge amount of sympathy for CF families and a huge longing for a cure; I think I was also fascinated by the disease in a scientific kind of way.  A part of me hears about someone's illness and thinks, Oh no. That's so awful. I'm so sorry she's going through that.  Another part of me is thinking, Wow! Fascinating! I need to learn all about this!

I had so much fun at the sports challenge thing. At 1:00 I went over to help with the CF kids. I got embarrassed because I was supposed to gather them at but they were too fast for me.  (6/4/88).

Those kids were poster children for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. And as I've come to learn, poster children are a kind of inspiration porn.

Here's a piece written by a woman, Kayla Whaley, who was once a poster child for Muscular Dystrophy. She says the use of poster children is similar to inspirational porn. From what she says, it seems inspirational porn involves fictional characters.  I didn't know that. I thought it could be real or pretend people.

But anyway....Whaley says,

As a poster child, your worth is in your disability. You’re there to inspire the able-bodied audience. To inspire pity, sadness, fear, guilt, etc. You’re the poor, poor cripple whose life would be that much more horrible without their monetary contribution.

What I wonder, is is there a way to effectively raise awareness and money for organizations without poster children or something similar?  I think it's easier for most of us to care when we have a story to care about rather than just statistics.

I just read the ending of the article and Whaley has a solution. She says,
I think the answer here is simple, as it tends to be. It all boils down to treating with children with disabilities as whole people with dignity, agency, faults, etc.

Yeah. I think that's the key.  If we're going to humanize stories by adding characters, whether fictional or real, we need to make them relatable rather than inspirational.