Sunday, April 15, 2018

My Life in 1994 (Part 2)

More excerpts from my college diary.

These are from the second half of my junior year.



My stomach hurts and I still haven't heard from James. I did get lots of mail today. I got letters from 2 penpals, Grandpa, and Aunt Marcia. I'm keeping so well in touch with my relatives. That's cool. (2/1/94)

Aunt Marcia texted me a few months ago because she was decluttering and had come across some of my old letters. We had some nice chats about our past.  

I realize that my sign that I like someone is I have conversations with them in my mind. I'm always talking to James in my mind. Once in awhile, I'll imagine his response and that will make me laugh. (2/1/94)

I still have lots of imaginary conversations happening in my mind. I don't think it's usually with people I have crushes on.

I wonder what I talk about.

I do know one thing is, I'm a narcissistic conversationalist in my head. The conversations are almost always about me—my life.  I rarely ask the imaginary-versions-of-people about themselves.  

Another day without James.

I saw David today. When I came out of Hunter Hall, he was there. I awkwardly waved to him. He said, "Hi Dina". He always seems to say my name when he greets me. That makes me feel better. At least he hasn't forgotten my name. (2/2/94)

I saw Brent in the library. He came up to me. He is so cute and he is so nice. I found out the following information. He's graduating this spring with a degree in Psych. He's pre-med. He lives off campus. He does ask questions. That's cool. But my heart still waits for James. (2/2/94)

Brent is in the Dana category. I don't remember him. 

I heard the song "Free to be you and me" which reminded me of Sky, Emily, and Kate. They wait in limbo. At least I love them. (2/2/94)

Sky, Emily, and Kate were characters in one of the novels I wrote in high school. Seeing their names makes me kind of sad, because they're still in limbo. And I don't think there's an easy way out for them. I don't think I have the novel published/available anywhere. I once had it online, but took it down. Now Sky, Katie, and Emily exist only in papers scattered inside a plastic bin.  

Maybe talking briefly about them here will make me feel better. 

Sky, Emily, and Kate were three cousins growing up in the 1970's. The three of them were best friends. Emily died of Cystic Fibrosis. Kate became a famous actress. She and Sky completely drifted apart.

The novel was told through Sky's eyes as an adult, and the childhood stories were flashbacks. It went back and forth in time like This Is Us.

Maybe another one of my projects will be copying excerpts from some of my novel here. I'll probably be the only one who appreciates it. But that's okay. I'd like to do it for me...and maybe also for Sky.

I finally got a letter from James. It was weird. He was nice, but he seemed a bit out of it. He did not give me his phone number which made me feel a little rejected. (2/4/94)

I get the sense that James preferred that I NOT be part of his life. I think he was trying to keep me away from his life without being a complete ass about it. (2/4/94).

It's a hard thing to do. 

I saw Schindler's List again. It's the girl in the red coat who is on the posters. They show her dead body. I never noticed that either. (2/5/94)

Wow. Really? I thought it had been obvious.

Remember those days...when we had to notice things ourself and not rely on online information.

I remember when I was little, looking at the photo albums with the concentration camp pictures. I always thought the pictures were nice. I never knew they were a bad thing. And I thought the tragedy of the Holocaust was a family hiding in the attic. That was tragic enough. I don't know when I understood how bad it was. I think probably 11th or 12th grade. (2/5/94)

The photos I referred to were in my parent's European-vacation albums. To me, it just looked like another history-tourist destination.

I wonder how many tourist destinations are based on other people's past tragedies.  

I talked to Melissa on the phone. I told her that I was disappointed that she failed to mention me in her letter to James. I tried to not sound mad, but she thought I was mad. I tried to make it sound like I was joking and then I quickly changed the subject. (2/7/94) 

It's easier to hide anger when we're texting. Though, on the other hand, sometimes people see anger when it's not there!

My dad often sounds very grumpy because he'll sometimes just respond with "Okay".  

Like: I'm not coming to dinner because I have work to do. 

Okay.

To me, it sounds like he's pouting. To me, not-pouting would be saying something like, No worries! We understand! We'll see you the next time hopefully. 

But who knows. He could just be in a hurry, and most of the writing was done by the auto-response thing.  

Sometimes we know (or suspect) someone is mad, simply because we know what makes them tick. Like my sister probably knew it bothered me that I wasn't mentioned in her letter to James.

I know my dad gets uptight about things like us not attending a family event or being late, so it's easy for me to interpret his "okay" as anger/annoyance. If he said "okay" in response to I'm eating salad for dinner," I'd be less likely to think he's angry...since he often has salad for meals.  I would just assume he's too busy to give a longer response.  

I want to move to a place where there are more Jews. I want to have more Jewish friends. I have so many friends of different races and religions. I would like one day to have friends of my own group. I would like to be with many Jews. (2/9/94)

In a few years, I'd learn that Jews annoy me as much as any other type of human. 

Then again, it kind of depends on the community.  I ended up getting to know the Jewish community near my college, and I loved them. It was wonderful. I think it made my interest in Judaism even stronger.

Later I tried to get involved with the Jewish community in Fort Worth, and the experience was not positive. I think it's what drew me away from Judaism.  

I feel so Jewish. I am obsessed with being Jewish, which is good in a way. I just hope I don't look back at these days and cringe as I do when I think back to the Cystic Fibrosis sticker days. (2/11/94).

I STILL cringe when I look back at the CF sticker thing!

I think it was 9th grade...around Halloween. I made homemade "Fight Cystic Fibrosis" stickers, and handed them out to people. I think I gave them to trick-or-treaters.

I'm still embarrassed by that.

I'm not embarrassed by my Jewish obsession. I'm glad I went through it. It was a very good learning experience, and I had some very good times because of it. 

And of course, I'm not embarrassed by my CF obsession...only the sticker part, and the times my passion turned into zealous pushiness.

I still don't know whether I want to go to camp. Maybe I should. It's a good experience. (2/12/94)

I didn't know that had been on the table still. 

I still sometimes have dreams about returning to CF camp.  

The ocean is beautiful and mysterious to me. It looks like this beautiful mass of blue. But under the blue is magnificent creatures. There are sharks and whales and octopuses. The ocean is so incredible. (2/13/94)

I need to be more like my younger self—give appreciation to the ocean. I think when we went on a cruise this summer, I barely noticed and/or appreciated the water.  I DID when we went to the beach, but not so much from the ship decks.  

I am in love with Judaism and I am in love with God. I feel like devoting my life to religion. This is probably a phase, though. (2/13/94)

Yeah. it was just a phase.  

I'm pretty apathetic about Judaism and Jews now. And I no longer believe in God, so I don't love him...her...whatever.

James called last night and I had a wonderful time talking to him. The last time he called I got off the phone with a dark cloud in my heart. That cloud hovered over my thoughts and my dreams until I finally got a letter from him. Then the cloud disappeared but there was an emptiness. Then tonight when I got off the phone there was a rainbow in my heart. And in some ways, I suspect he has the same feelings for me. (2/14/94)

I suspect I was wrong, because I don't remember any sort of relationship happening between James and me. Then again...I don't remember Dana. What do I know? I might have married James. Maybe we have six kids, and I forgot them.

I don't think I ever mentioned the first phone call. It sounded to me like I was waiting and waiting.

Oh! Wait. I now remember that I mentioned him calling, and I missed the call. I don't think I ever wrote about us actually talking. Maybe I kept quiet, since it didn't go as well as I had hoped.

My mom says that James probably likes me. That means a lot because she and my dad are usually pessimistic about such things. (2/15/94)

Really! What was up with my parents and James? 

Did he totally kiss their ass or something?

I sat at dinner with a Palestinian guy. He annoyed the hell out of me. I almost started to hate Arabs, but later I saw Khalid and he restored my hope in them. Khalid is such a darling. Even Mustapho is a cool guy. But the Palestinians that I know are such fantastics. They're annoying. Maybe one day I will meet a Palestinian who is more normal. (2/16/94)

I haven't met enough Palestinians to find one that isn't totally preoccupied with the Palestinian cause. I'm sure they're out there. Somewhere.

Having passion for a cause is something I can totally understand.  It's just we have to make sure we don't have tunnel vision.  It's just like when I was obsessed with the Holocaust. I hope I was aware that the Holocaust wasn't the only atrocity out there. 

Yes, Palestinians suffer. But so do a LOT of people. 

Palestinians live in an occupied country, but so do Australian Aborigines, Native Americans, Canadian Aborigines, the Maori, etc.  

I'm going on and on, bitching about Palestinians. There are are probably tons out there who are passionate about a variety of causes.

I think I am going to marry James. Then again, maybe I won't. (2/17/94).

I find this disappointing.

I'm not disappointed that James and I didn't end up married.

I'm disappointed that I predicted marrying James.

Why?

Because I think I wrote in my diary that I expected to marry Tim. We did get married, so I kind of took that as some kind of cosmic sign.  I could have told our grandkids, Hey, I knew as soon as I talked to your grandpa that I planned to marry him.  But it kind of is diminished by these failed James predictions.  

UNLESS....

What if I end up splitting up with Tim?  Or he dies when we're in our seventies. I'm living a life as an old widow. James comes along, and my marriage prediction about him comes true too!

That would be nice, because I could gain respect for my romantic predictions.

I've often told myself that no matter what I'd never get married again. But maybe for the sake of my diary predictions, I'd make an exception.

I met 2 people at temple. They are both in the process of converting which I think is so wonderful. One man is named Carl. He is a writer. The other is a black man who majored in psychology and is now a taxi-driver. It always makes me happy to see a black person becoming Jewish.

My main wish for the black people, in regards to religion, would probably be tribal religion. God would probably be mad at me for thinking that. For some reason, I don't like black people being Christian. I feel it is a religion to manipulate them. I think they need their own religion. In my eyes, Christianity is a white man religion. I'm being anti-Christian again. (2/18/94)

Yeah. I wasn't a big fan of Christianity in those days. I'm not really now, either. But in those days, my anti-feelings were stronger.

I wonder why I didn't think of Islam for black people. Was I ignorant, or did I just forget?

Of course I believe any people from any ethnic group should be whatever religion they please.

But I still agree with my past self. Too much shit has been done to black people by so-called Christians.  The Jews were probably not much better. But I like that we don't usually push our religion on others. When it comes to systematic racism, I'm not sure Jews are better than Christians. But when it comes to proselytizing, we're much less annoying.

I talked to Saher today. He is so nice. I'd like to be better friends with him. All the Pakistan people I know are super nice. (2/20/94)

You know...I liked that I didn't judge a whole population of people based on the ones I knew. I didn't say, Pakistani people are so super nice.  I also didn't say, Palestinians are fanatics.

I seemed to understand that I knew only a small sample of the population, and I couldn't judge everyone in the group with that small sample. I wonder if I knew that instinctively. Or is it something that was driven into me via one of my college classes?  

A tragedy has befallen me. Eli is gone. Probably forever. Already I miss him like crazy. I wonder where is is, and if he's in a nice place. (2/21/94)

I wish I remembered Eli. It sounds like he was very special.

A wonderful thing happened today. I got a letter from Evan. I had pretty much given up on him. He was so nice in the letter. I started to worry that I would start liking him again. I don't think I will. He's a great guy, but my heart is set on James. (2/22/94)

If the cruise happened during the time of social media, would we have kept in touch? It's possible that we'd be emailing each other, texting each other, liking each other's photos on Instagram, etc.  Maybe we'd still be friends...all these years later.

OR not.

We have those friends in Australia. With what's available to us, we could be texting every day, emailing frequently, having conversations on Instagram. We could be totally connected and aware of what's going on in our lives.

But we're not. We very rarely email. We don't text. We infrequently post on Instagram, and we like each other's photos. Once in a great while, we'll comment. The comments never turn into substantial conversations.  

So with that in mind, I feel we're not really friends. 

Or are we friends, but the friendship only works if we're physically together?

Maybe we're not friends when there is distance. But if we found ourselves back in Australia, we'd be best friends for a few weeks. Then the friendship would end again.  

Maybe there are long distance friendships where you are friends all the time. And then there are long distance friendships that are on-again, off-again depending on whether you are in the same room.  

I have James' phone number. Tuesday I shall call him. I totally look forward to that day. I love him. (2/23/94)

I have a feeling that phone call isn't going to go as well as I had imaged it would.

I read that Jews need to love all Jews. That's a great idea, but it is hard sometimes. (2/24/94).

I'm glad I let go of that idea!

I greatly enjoy disliking some Jews. 

I read a book today that made me believe a Holocaust was more than likely to happen again. It was about the drowning of a homosexual man. It really bothered me a lot. (9/24/94)

What I understand now is versions of the Holocaust happen every single day...somewhere.

And no. I'm NOT talking about the termination of pregnancies.

But there's so much cruelty, hatred, abuse, systematic racism, genocide, etc.

My foot hurts. I am embarrassed about the murderer man. He says he was religious. Where in the Torah or Talmud does it suggest killing innocent people? (2/25/94)

That was in reference to a Jewish man who killed people in a mosque.  

I just Googled to remind myself. It was called Cave of the Patriarchs Massacre.  

If someone from our group commits an atrocity, I think we have every right and obligation to feel shame. No, we didn't commit the crime ourselves. But if we're going to sit there and be proud and smug that we belong to the same group as Steven Spielberg, we also have to feel shame about being part of the same group that includes Baruch Goldstein, Jared Kushner, and Harvey Weinstein.

 Melissa and I aren't close anymore. She literally acts mad at me about Darren. She's mad that I got in the middle of a picture. (2/26/94)

So I was mad at Melissa for not mentioning me in her letter to James, and she was mad at me for photobombing.

Ah...sisters.

I talked to Vanesa for awhile on the phone today. We talked about religions. Do animals go to heaven? I talked to Jennifer Schwartz for awhile. We talked about being embarrassed to wear a bathing suit. I talked to Rachel. We changed the subject many times. She sounds so much older, much more mature. (2/27/94)

I'm kind of surprised I was still talking to Rachel on the phone—that we were still in touch.

I remember getting a letter from her at some point. There's that idea of getting in touch after not being in touch for so long. I think she was 16 at the time.  I would have been about 24.  I don't think I ever heard from her after that. Though Melissa had a short reunion with her on Facebook a year or so ago.

I sent a package to James. Tomorrow is the day I call him. I hope he is nice and gives me hope. (2/27/94)

A few years ago, I decided to step out of the whole game of trying to find friends, make friends, keep friends, etc.

Reading these diaries makes me so glad that I made that choice.  

I can't drop out completely. I still feel some bad feelings when someone doesn't return an email. I still have moments where I feel rejected. But the feelings are mild, and for the most part, I stay far away from all that shit.  For example, I hardly even write emails, so it's rare for me to have to wait impatiently for the other person to write back.