Sunday, April 1, 2018

My Life in 1988 (Part 3)

It's time for a new diary!



I started this one in June of 1988. I was 15.

Today Melissa and I got balloons at Fridays. We filled them with CF information and let them go. Actually we only let mine go. Melissa's popped. I hope and pray that by the end of this diary Cystic Fibrosis will be cured. (6/5/88).

I was so overdramatic and idealistic. If I met someone like me today, I'd be giving them dirty looks. Well, maybe not literally, but inside my mind...yeah.  

Or maybe I'd excuse it since it's coming from a teenager. Plus when I was fifteen, I looked about eleven. So...maybe that would add to the charm.  

Rashmi and I stopped sitting by Marni and Kerri. They are pains. Brats! Bitches. (6/6/88).
I still don't know who Rashmi is. And why did I go from disliking her to liking her?

Well, I just looked up the name Rashmi. I was expecting to find that it's Israeli or Arabic. It's Indian!  

I don't remember knowing any Indian people in high school.  

WAIT!

I just suddenly had a flash of something.

But now it's gone.

This guy likes me but I don't like him. I'm going to tell him I like him just as a friend, but really he's not even my type of friend. (6/9/88).  I imagine that happens a lot. There's, I like to spend time with you but I don't want to kiss you. And there's, I really don't even want to talk to you much.

I decided my goal in life besides the CF one will be making Heather O'Rourke a legend and a household name. Not as the freaky girl who died on a jinxed movie but as a beautiful, talented actress.  (6/14/98).  There's still no cure for CF and Heather O'Rourke is probably mostly known as the child actress who died tragically young.  I have so much shit to add to my list of failures.

I thought the ouija board aftermath would have brought my self-esteem even lower—having friends that never existed, being tricked by my little sister....

But it seems I still had a delusional sense of power.

I'm wondering if that's unusual for teenagers? Common? 

I guess I do often see it in people...of various ages. But it's more in terms of career goals. There's this idea of entitlement. If you have talent; if you're dreams are strong enough; if you work hard enough...you WILL be very successful.  

We have so much to sell at the basement sale. The more the better. (6/15/88).  I'm down on my teenage self a lot, but here is something that makes me proud. A month earlier, I had been through one of the worst experiences in my life. Instead of locking myself in my room, I organized a sale for charity. I stayed busy.  

Despite the lack of written evidence in my diary, I'm pretty sure I was depressed that summer. But I brushed myself off and kept going.

I don't want to push the message that other depressed people can and should act the way I act when depressed. We all feel depression differently, and we react differently to it.  I'm just glad that I personally was able to deal with it that way.  

On the other hand....

I wish I had more emotional support. I wish I hadn't felt compelled to suppress the pain to that degree. I wish someone had explained to me that I had suffered a big loss and it was okay to feel grief, sadness, loneliness, etc.  

Melissa's teacher Mrs. Pepper died of cancer. I almost cried but for the first time it was for her the person who had died. I have no sympathy for Melissa. I keep on thinking of her impatience when Heather died. Her accusations when I was still in shock. "You're not even sad she died." Her teasing, "Maybe you caused Heather's death". Her evil trickery with the ouija board. Her inquiring questions. "Do you wish I died instead of Heather?" God No I don't, but I do like Heather better much better.  (6/20/88)

I think this might be the first time I actually mentioned the ouija board since the aftermath post.

We lost Grandpa's car. It took us about 20 minutes to find the car, maybe more 30-40-60. Then we lost grandma. We looked all over and were calling her. When we found her she yelled at grandpa and was crying. I'm sorry but I didn't feel bad for her.  (6/28/88). WHY didn't I feel bad for her?  I feel bad for her now.

This happened on a summer trip that Melissa and I took to visit our grandparents.  I think that trip healed our relationship to some degree.  It seems we had fun together. Sometimes fun is what a broken relationship needs.  

I used to like Melissa but now I don't.  (7/15/88). Well...it seems the relationship wasn't mended completely.

We went to Six Flags (Melissa, Stephanie, and Ruthie) I felt totally alone. I hate Melissa! The time we went with Jennifer and Kristen she felt sick, so for an hour I took her around not going on rides. Then for Ruthie we had to go out of the way for ice-cream.  Everytime someone wanted something I'd go out of the way to get it. But when I had to go to the bathroom, no one would stop so I told them I'd go to the bathroom while they went on Splash Water Falls. When I came back, they never went and they got mad because I didn't want to go with. Ruthie acts like she likes Melissa and Dawn more but she sleeps in my room and makes it a mess (7/19/88).  It kind of sounds, to me, like they were waiting for me while I went to the bathroom.  It seems like a miscommunication. Why didn't I see that?  Or am I reading things wrong now?

When we got home, Melissa and I made a code thing with our elbows to prevent hurting each other's feelings. (8/3/88). It looks like we were at least trying to get along.

Then the terror happened. Rachel insisted we go in the wave pool without rafts. Melissa agreed. They both almost drowned. Melissa was crying. Then a guy pulled them out of the water. (8/10/88).

This was at a water park in Atlanta.

Rachel was a child with CF—one of the kids I had met at the sports challenge thing.  

I remember the wave pool incident.  It was scary, and I still get nervous when going into a wave pool. They seem really dangerous to me.  

I saw an amazing movie just now. It was called Made in Heaven. It was so spectacular. (8/13/88). I remember loving this song from the movie. 

Also on August 13... It is so strange to me. It seems like Isabel has been here for months but she has been here only two weeks.

I totally forgot about Isabel!

She was a French woman who had worked at the same company as my dad and sister.  I think it was a temporary work experience kind of thing. She had been living with other people, but it wasn't working out so my sister had her come stay with us.  

Rachel was over on Monday. She is so nice...she is very open about CF and death. She talks about it a lot. She told me and Melissa about how mean people treat her....one time Rachel pretended to be dead and I picked her up. She said something like, Oh Dina. If I was dead you wouldn't hold me because I'd be all white and gross. I said, No, I'd hold you and bring you back to life.  (8/17/88)

I feel like that's a scene from a young adult novel.

Dawn is leaving for college tomorrow. (8/19/88).  Someone reading my diaries in entirety might be surprised that Dawn existed. I rarely mention her. We weren't very close. But that did change eventually.  

Despite the fights that Melissa and I had, we were always very close. I wonder if Dawn was jealous of that. Or was she too busy with her social life to care?  

I'm betting there were times she felt left out, but I think for the most part she preferred the company of people her own age or older.  

Last night was so scary. I thought I saw 2 spiders. I jumped out of bed. I felt dizzy. Everything was going black and there was a loud buzzing noise in my ear. I am ok now. I felt like I was going to faint. (8/22/88).  I'm glad I recorded that incident.  Something similar happened to me two other times.  I remember those, but I didn't/don't remember the one in my diary.

In at least one of the two other times, things went all white instead of black.

I'm not sure what's the cause of these incidents...probably low blood pressure.  The other two incidents happened during the day, and I felt better after drinking some water.  

Rachel is so well I don't know. It seems like she likes to have CF and that she wants to die. She's sweet, though.  (8/25/88). I think Rachel was the beginning of my life lesson regarding people with terminal/chronic illnesses and disabilities. We went them to be angelic, but in the end, they're messed up in the head like the rest of us.  

Also, I think people like myself had pushed Rachel to take on a certain role. Her self-worth and identity was probably wrapped up in the whole CF thing.  

We do that to people. We give them the message. You are special because you have a genetic disease. You are important because you have cancer. You are interesting because you've had major surgery.  

Here is one of our conversations. Rachel falls down on the top of the stairs. Pretends she is dead. I tickle her.

Rachel: What do you think happened to me?

Me: I thought you were dead.

Rachel: What would you do if I died?

Me: I would cry.

Rachel: How would you tell my mom?  (8/29/88).

I think that's pretty poignant. 

Had I been right about Rachel wanting to die? I think she was morbid, but I'm not sure that equals a death wish.  I can't remember exactly what Rachel was like, but I think she was probably open about her morbidity and maybe that surprised me. 

At some point in the near future, I'd end up writing a paper about terminally ill children. From what I remember, I learned that terminally ill children WANT to be open about death. They want to have conversations about it.  

At our wedding, there was a big controversy because Greg, our family friend, did a long speech that involved CF.  

His speech mentioned the fact that CF is fatal. Certain people at the wedding were very offended because Tim's brothers had/have CF.  It felt like they believed that Tim's brothers hadn't realized they had a fatal disease, and now Greg had let the cat out of the bag.  

I think most people with CF, especially adults, have seen it mentioned that the disease is fatal.

I think it would have been different if Greg was having a personal conversation with Tim's brothers and said, Hey, CF is fatal. So that probably sucks for you, right?  Or if Greg pointed at Tim's brothers at the wedding and said. These guys have CF and it's fatal.

Or DID he do something like that?  It would better explain the outrage if he did.

Hey, I was drunk with bridal happiness so I might have missed something there.

Anyway, back to Rachel. I feel like I've contradicted myself in the last two bits. Was she a person whose identity got too wrapped up in her illness?  Was this pushed on her by a society that idolizes those with disorders and disabilities?—inspiration porn?  Or was she simply initiating conversations that helped her deal with her questions and feelings regarding her own mortality?

I'm guessing it was probably a combination of things. Being a CF poster child probably pushed Rachel to strongly embrace certain aspects of her identity.  AND....

Death happens to all of us. Some of us are quite morbid about the whole thing.  For those who have clocks that are ticking louder than average, it makes sense that they might want and need to talk about it.