Oh, man. I don’t know what was going on with me the winter of my fifteenth year, but I was wrestling with some serious hormones.

20, Jan., 1991

Look at me. Look into my eyes. Let me look into you. Let me look beyond that mask you wear into your real feelings — your real fears, your real worries, your real joys, your real sorrows, your real wounds, your real pride, your real goodness, your real honesty, your real gentleness, your real peace, your real turmoil.

I’m truly worried I’m writing to someone who doesn’t actually exist.

And look, I know Alanis Morrisette cornered the market on songs that are really just lists, but as you can see here, I was way ahead of her.

Let me push aside what you want me to see, and examine what you’ve been hiding from yourself. Why are you trembling? Is it because I found it? Is this the door that unlocks your secrets?

Oh, no. I am probably writing a love letter to a fictional person.

Will you share them with me? Don’t be scared. All I need is the key. Please. This door is worse than Pandora’s box.

Jesus.

Open it. I want to learn about you. I want to feel your mind. I want to hold your fears and take them away from you. I want to know about your happy memories. I want to comfort you during your sad ones. Don’t close those eyes. Those tears won’t wash the pain away. You need me.

You need me legally enforced to be at least five hundred feet away from you at all times. My god. Needless to say the letter abruptly ends here as I threw my journal aside, too upset with the fact that nobody will let me feel his mind. LP most likely went to go find herself a bag of Doritos — which is way worse than Pandora’s box.

I wasn’t done that day. I somehow found the strength to write again. A warning: this one’s pretty rough. If you were ever in your life a fifteen-year old girl, this might trigger some PTSD flashbacks strong enough to re-sprout your breast buds.

20, Jan., 1991

I think that this is called depression. I’m not sure. Maybe. I thought you were supposed to cry when you are depressed. How come I’m not crying? I’ve been sitting here for over to 2 hours now feeling completely empty. I’ve been listening to old sad songs and just singing along.

Don’t worry, LP. In about fifteen years you can do the exact same thing and it’s called being drunk.

I wrote several unsigned love letters. I carved things into my skin. I contemplated telling my parents to fuck off. I re-arranged all of my cassette tapes. I counted how many times I inhaled in one minute.

I feel the need to reassure all of you that I’m probably exaggerating, if not flat-out lying. If I carved “things” into my skin, I probably scratched at my ankle with a safety pin, because for some reason back then I thought it would be super cool to have a scab on my leg in the shape of the Red Hot Chili Peppers symbol.

I officially tell you guys too much. But that is true. I’m telling you so that… I don’t know, maybe one of you out there has a kid who’s this age and you don’t understand why she’s a lunatic. Or maybe you’re still ashamed of the time you thought it’d be a good idea to safety pin an asterisk on your inner ankle that would leave a faint scar for about six months. No, just me? Well. Then I’m here to constantly make you feel better about yourself. Superior. You know, like why you watch Hoarders or Oprah.

I mean, I obviously didn’t do anything too traumatic to myself, as I then had time to contemplate doing something I never ever did, nor would ever do (tell my parents off). In the end I opted to re-arrange all of my cassette tapes. Yeah, take THAT, Establishment!

I called you sixteen times and hung up. Well, I almost called you sixteen times. I could always dial the first six numbers, and then I got this uncontrollable feeling of fear, and my trembling hand would slam down the phone before the other one could finish calling you.

I would like to think that this is a lie, but the specificity of the number sixteen makes me worry that I did just this, allowing myself only sixteen attempts to call. But at least now I know this letter is to someone specific.

Hmm. That didn’t make me feel any better.

I carved your name in my bookcase.

Nor did that.

You’d think I’d remember who it was, if I carved a name into my bookcase, as that holds my favorite ice cream flavor, but I don’t remember doing that. I do remember a junior high friend of mine carving the name of the boy she liked into my footboard, and I’m still pretty pissed off about it. My bed is not your oak tree, missy. If memory serves, that’s the boy I eventually had my first tongue kiss with, which was awkward since his initials were carved into my bed by another girl who had long since decided she no longer found him to be “so fine it hurts.”

Is it harder to be a teenager in the South? I feel like it is.

I tried meditation. “Maybe this is boredom,” I thought, as I curled my legs out of the Lotus position. Then, as I stood up to try and put some excitement back into my life, I saw your picture sitting on my bureau, and I realized that this really was depression.

Um, I didn’t have a “bureau.” This letter is confusing me. Not because I have no idea what picture I could be talking about, but mostly because I know I didn’t try meditation. I couldn’t get my legs into the Lotus position. My family had KFC at least twice a week.

The fact that these damn tears keep rolling down my face was pretty much the giveaway.

LP forgot her opening statement.

That and this ripping, gnawing sensation that is tearing at my insides.

…which is probably the KFC.

Maybe that’s where my soul is.

Oh, GOD. Why is life so stupid at fifteen? Why did ANYBODY talk to me? Honestly.

Maybe that’s where my heart is. No, you know where my heart is, don’t you? It’s that crumpled piece of paper you tossed aside carelessly onto your desk. It’s written on the lines of that sheet of paper. It’s the ink that was used to write those three words that didn’t even phase [sic] you: I love you. Maybe

And, you know, it just ends there because I’d run out of cheese.

One of my friends from high school wrote to me and was like, “Who was Homeroom Boy? You can tell me, it’s okay! Was it [blank]? It was [blank], wasn’t it?”

She was wrong, but I swear to you my first thought was, “How did she know I ever liked [blank]?”

You guys, twenty years later and I still haven’t figured out how obvious I obviously was. That’s pathetic.

So what if I liked him? You don’t understand ANYTHING!

God! GET OUT OF MY ROOM!