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Dear Journal,

Wow. it's been a long time since i've written that. handwriting has gotten much less legible tho. Time flies i guess? I dunno.

It's Eric, by the way, in case you've forgotten. Truth is my therapist is making me do this. Mom's busy with work and stuff and i'm now entering high school as a softmo sophmo sophomore. God that's a pretentious word, soph-o-more. wheres the second o, huh? i dont pronounce it.

anyway im entering public school as a soph-o-more and I can just feel that that's gonna end real badly. best case mom hates the school system and tries to homeschool me again. worse case…? i dunno. but a lot is changing and i dont know how i feel and my therapist said you should keep a journal, so im talking to you again.

i used to think you were real. Well, I mean, you are real, but i mean i used to think you were like living or could think. How crazy is that?

almost as crazy as asking you a question even though I'm old enough and smart enough to know that you are not a living thinking thing. Jelly needs feeding. I'll write when I have something to say.

Dear Journal,

I don't wanna say that school was exactly as bad as I was expecting it but it was bad. Now, I knew better than to trust like school movie stereotypes, and I was right in that matter, it wasnt that bad. But really the problem wasn't people being mean it was just… apathy? I guess? Everyone is too tired to care. I was real tired too. Nobody went out of their way to talk to me today and I didn't go out of my way to talk to them.

High school is weird. I don't go to every class every day? I wasn't expecting that. They call it a "block schedule" I think? I dunno, im not a fan of it. Another weird thing is that I don't have the same classes with a lot of people. Even if I wanted to talk to people I barely have an idea of who I'll really see.

I ate lunch alone on the stairs. Does that make me a loser?
I think that might make me a loser. Well, Jelly likes me, and that's the only opinion that matters to me.

Dad was quiet today, I guess he's happy. I know that he doesn't like me being around the house but what the hell else am I supposed to do? It's not like he does anything when he's home. He'll yell at me for things and then turn around and do them. He yelled at me this summer for watching too much tv. I watched tv about half as much as he was watching golf or hockey or whatever. ugh. whatever. I'll write tomorrow

Dear Journal,

I had the rest of my first classes today. Plus 5th period. Is it just me or is that weird? I feel like that's weird. 1, 3, 5, 7 on Monday and Wednesday (another stupid word, btw), 2, 4, 5, 6 on Tuesday and Thursday, and Fridays are apparently whatever the hell the school thinks they should be. Usually one of those two schedules supposedly. Sometimes all 7. who the hell know. I don't. I don't even know when lunch is, i guess both before and after 5th period? I don't know, I just know I go to lunch and then to 5th period.

Anyway something happened in 6th period. I guess I got in trouble except I didn't?

Basically I was in 6th period and I had to pee, so I raised my hand and asked the teacher because for some dumbass reason they dont let you go to the restroom whenever you want???? weird. but the teacher said no???? and I was like "… well why not?" and he was like "because its disruptive. [sidenote: bullshit] Besides, you should've gone during the break. [sidenote: ?!?!?!?!]" and i was like "seriously?" and he was like "hold it." and in a not so proud moment, i said, in front of the whole class, "or i could just piss on the floor."

ughhhhhhhhh kill me.

yeah everyone was laughing at me, and the teacher told me to go to the office and get a citation for being disruptive or something?? i dunno. so i shrugged and left the classroom, but I got about two steps into the hallway before realizing i have no clue where the office is. so I just went to the restroom and then back to class. The teacher looked angry when i walked back in but he didnt say anything. I booked it out of the classroom when the bell rang.

You know what, there was one person who was more laughing with me than at me. This redhead guy. I think we have 5th period together. He smiled at me when I came back in too. Maybe Im just making things up so this will seem less embarassing to me.

and embarrassing has two r's as it turns out. ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Dear Journal,

Katherine says I'm supposed to write in you every day but like nothing happened today. It was basically Monday 2: Electric boogaloo. Jelly's hanging out at the foot of the bed. I'm trying to figure out how to get some self reflection done. I'm looking back at old entries, seeing where I came from I guess, and

Okay, scratch what I said about nothing happening. Dad came in my room while I was writing, so naturally I closed the journal. And he was like "what are you writing that I can't see?" and I was like "its nothing, just my therapy journal" and he wrestled it from my hands and started reading as I tried to get it back. I guess he read monday and tuesdays entries because he got really mad and went on this whole tirade about getting in trouble and "contributing to the household." [sidenote: Im 15. its not legal for me to work yet.] he started yelling about something stupid and hard to follow and basically said he was taking the journal, despite my saying it was for therapy, and he took it to his room.

I tried to talk to mom about it but she wouldn't listen, just kept saying she was busy. I think she just didn't want to dealt with dad. He fell asleep watching golf again and i straight up just went into his room and grabbed the journal back. Not like he'll remember taking it.

Maybe I should consider hiding my journal.

Dear Journal,

Therapy today. And not that I mind it, but like why am I in therapy again? I'm not sure I understand. My parents said something about the developmental years of teenagers but I dunno.

Anyway I told Katherine about my week. She asked if it bothers me that I haven't made any potential friends yet and honestly, yeah it does. It occurs to me I was never quite good at making friends, but that I was more content with fewer friends as a child for… some reason. My head is foggy when I think back to then. I told her school was about what I had expected it to be but it wasn't the worst thing, just kinda achingly terrible. I don't know how to explain school to an adult.

Katherine asked about the journal and I told her I'd been writing, and about Dad freaking out yesterday. She said I deserved that privacy and I responded that basically that's a nice sentiment but it doesnt stop my dad from trying to invade it. She asked if I was using my encounter with dad yesterday to not be emotionally honest in my entries. I dunno.

On the one hand, the thought that my parents might read this goes through my mind every time I write. On the other… I still write whatever I feel like talking about, right? That didn't stop me from writing the thing about Dad. & on a third alien hand, i maybe phrased it nicer than I was truly feeling at the time.

I dunno, this journal is supposed to be my private property, right? Like, I'm writing this so that I can express how I feel, but if my surroundings are making me not do that then whats the point? I remember being able to write more when I was a kid

Like remember when I would try and make my own magic toys? I would write a whole thing about how to turn something normal into something like magical? or just straight up impossible. And at the time, I thought it worked. Glitter glue everywhere. Doing dumb things and ruining perfectly good calculators.

Just those dumb little rituals, trying to make the world a little better, or magical. Wonderful, even.

I was a pretty stupid kid, huh?

Dear Journal,

Friday finally. I'm really not looking forward to five day weeks and two day weekends. This one sucked as it is.

But something weird happened during lunch. I had to get lunch from the cafeteria bc I didn't have time to pack one last night, and as I was walking through the tables to get to the stairs some guy grabbed my shoulder. I think I have 4th period with him. He was like you're new right and then invited me to sit at his lunch table. He didn't seem mean and the offer seemed genuine, but when I saw his table was piled high with a bunch of muscular jock-type dudes messing around, I really didn't wanna sit with him.

At that point somebody behind him was like "actually he was gonna sit with me and Liv today, Jake. Hope that's cool." and Jake and I looked behind us and it was that redhead kid from 6th period. 5th period too. and Jake the Jock [sidenote: is it just me or does that sound like a kids book title?] was like "yeah totally, see you in history Martin" and left. I sat down at the table with the guy (Martin) because it seemed weird to walk to the stairway at that point but I kinda awkwardly sat there for a few minutes before saying anything ughhhhhh

Anyway I finally was like "is there some reason you told me i was sitting with you?" he shrugged and said "i just cant stand to see the jocks grow in numbers." and i couldnt tell if he was joking so I said "but is there something I should know about that guy or?" and he was like "jake is more of a one-on-one friend. like he's nice and everything, but if you put him in a group with anyone else he suddenly becomes this typical meathead jock." and i nodded because I figured that made sense. Martin introduced himself and I did the same and we were coexisting, making small talk. Eventually this other girl came along and spent like an entire minute talking to Martin before she realized I was there. But she was very apologetic when she did realize! Her name is Liv and she and Martin are really close friends and they usually occupy the end of another busy table but this time they were lucky enough to eat with someone else.

Why anyone would wanna be friends with me, I have no clue.

Oh shit, that's why I'm in therapy, isn't it?

Dear Journal,
My dearest Journal,
How's it hanging, nal?
Yo, DJ,

I dunno. I'm bored. Went shopping for school supplies with Mom. Dad went through my room while I'm gone. He thinks I don't know, but I know how I left things. I think he was looking for this. You. My journal. Ugh. journals are confusing. I'm gonna have to do something about dad.


By Eric

(To keep your father from snooping through your stuff)

1. Paint the outside of your journal with a repeating pattern, preferably with colors that match the area you plan on hiding it.

2. Grab some material from the place you plan on hiding it (e.g. a scrap of fabric from the pillowcase, thread from a rug, chipped drywall from the closet, etc)

3. Place the material and the journal into a large plastic bag together

4. Submerge the bag in cold water (filled with glitter, obviously)

5. Regret sticking your hand in glitter water

6. Suspend the bag above boiling water (not the glitter water) so that the bag catches the steam

7. Tell your parents you're doing a project on the water cycle when they come back home and find you holding a bag above a stream of steam

I know that's not going to make the journals actually invisible, but they're hidden better now and it gave me something to do. It was nice to relive my childhood sense of wonder and the magic of glitter for like an hour. And I loved painting the covers actually. Anyway now I have multiple journals in case dad tries to steal this one again.

What am I gonna do with all of them?

Dear Journal,

Okay I'm really starting to see why that annoying orange cat hates Monday. Weekdays were like a thing while mom was homeschooling me, but they were more suggestions than anything else. If I was in a good headspace I could go through all my classwork for the week in a few days and have a long weekend, and if I was having a rough time we could take a few extra days to get through things. This weekly schedule is just unrelenting.

And it's so early. I have to be at school before 7:30. ????? I was literally just researching circadian rhythms and how they shift during adolescence this past year for science, and now the education system that insists I know that science is not going to listen to the science that they're making me know.

It's gonna get worse, I can just feel it.

Turns out that girl Liv is in my 3rd period. She invited me to sit with her and Martin at lunch again, so I said sure. Martin seemed happy to see me cool with me being there. I really can't assume anything of these people I've just met. But for people I've just met they seem really nice.

Dear Journal,

God I miss Jelly so much during the day. Literally in the middle of class I nearly got up to go and pet Jelly and then I realized Jelly was at home and I couldn't take a break to pet my own dog. Is this why teenagers are so angsty? They don't have dogs to pet? I think I've cracked the code.

Sat with Liv and Martin again. That jock from friday Jake came up at lunch and offered me to hang out again. Well, sort of? He was asking for my social media handles and I just kinda had to awkwardly tell him I don't really use social media. (Well, I still use the chatrooms, but that's a secret I take to the grave.) He didn't believe me at first, funny enough, asked to see my home screen. He finally believed me when I pulled out my dumbphone that was supposed to be a play on smartphone but it didnt land bc my phone isnt dumb and i honestly dont really want a smartphone.

Point is, Jake finally believed me after he saw my phone, and Martin and Liv were very clearly trying not to laugh at me. Jake thought for a minute then decided we'd see each other in class all the time anyway, then went off to take his throne in the jungle of jocks. [Sidenote: mean joke, I know. I thought it was funny] I can't tell if he's trying to be my friend or just being nice. In any case, Martin was right. I have one class where he's sitting next to some friends of his and one class where we are two of like maybe five boys. I much prefer his quietness in the latter class.

Dear Journal,

I think Martin and Liv have adopted me into their friend group.

I don't know why I say "i think" because they explicitly told me they have and they used that exact verbage. Adopted. what a weird way to say it. In any case we're sitting next to each other any time we have a class together, sitting at their lunch table is officially a standing invitation, etc. So I guess it's cool I have friends now. I think? I dunno, maybe they'll decide it's not worth the trouble. But they're really cool and nice and they're super funny, so I hope they keep me around. Is that desperate of me?

I found glitter on my nightstand today. I don't know how it got there, but it's definitely the glitter I used to make the journals invisible. I forgot that glitter gets everywhere if you're not careful. Why did I stick my hand in glitter water? Dad hasn't searched my room since Sunday. I'm being very careful right now, but I can't let his inaction lull me into a false sense of security.

It feels like a lot happened at school today, but I swear I can't remember any of it. It was just so unimportant. Liv and Martin asked me if I wanted to hang out after school, they were talking about something called "GSA," and I wanted to hang out with them but therapy is right after school on Thursdays, but I couldn't tell them that, so I just told them I had to get home and apologized. At least they want to hang out with me more. Maybe.

I told Katherine about Martin and Liv today and she got pretty excited. She hid it real well behind her professional demeanor but like. I knew. And she knew I knew and was trying to convince me my knowing was wrong but it wasn't. She was excited and bad at pretending she wasn't in the point. I talk about how I'd been journaling every day and sometimes it got hard because I felt I was repeating myself. She explained that I didn't necessarily have to write in it every day but that it was a good way of keeping progress for myself.

Honestly, hearing that it wasnt a daily requirement is such a relief. I've been worrying myself recently over what to write, there have been some days where it felt like nothing happened but I forced myself to write anyways. That's not to say that I'm gonna avoid writing in here but just to say that I'm an adolescent whose teachers are convinced their classes are the most important thing happening in my life and get pretty mad if I don't work on their homework they've assigned.

I told Mom about how people have been kinda sorta making fun of my lack of smart phone. She tensed and asked if I wanted a smartphone. I just shrugged in response. I don't really need one. The only thing is it would be nice to be able to listen to music. And I told her that, but I followed it up with "but I guess I don't really need a smartphone to do that." I'm torn on whether I even want one honestly. She said she wold think about it since we still have a while left on our current phone contract, but if I really wanted one she would work something out. I told her it was fine, like I said I didn't really need one. She got a smile on her face like she had a plan. Im kinda worried, but kind of excited.

Dear Journal,

I finally feel comfortable calling Liv and Martin my friends now. Obviously I'm not as close to them as they are to each other, but when they hang out they always invite me along. Mom and Dad have even met them. Mom loved them, and appreciated that I'd found friends. Dad… I dunno, he liked Liv well enough, but he was real dismissive of Martin. I'm not sure why.

School is bleh still. But when I came home a few nights ago and said I got an A on my first test, she got excited. She said we should celebrate my hard work, and I was like what but she just excitedly hurried off and came back a minute later holding something behind her back. She mentioned the whole smartphone thing and for a second I was like did she get me a smartphone because I'm still not sure if I want one and it would suck to get one only for me to not use it but it was actually a cassette player/recorder. Which honestly I think is really cool. Most artists don't really release on cassette anymore and for good reason, but there's something kind of retro about it that tickles my… whatever the excited version of a funny bone is. She said it was hers when she was younger and she managed to find it and it was still working so I should have it.

I'm actually listening to it right now. It's really hard to not get distracted and accidentally write the lyrics. Whatever, I'm too excited to stop listening.

Dear Journal,

So Dad was an asshole today.

Okay, background: I was invited to a party today. Jake came up to our table at lunch today and was like hey, there's a party this saturday and you three should come to it. I was uncertain, but Liv said sure so Martin said sure so I said sure. So I guess we're all going?

I got home and Dad was there so I was like by the way, liv martin and i are going to a party on saturday and he kinda grunted in that way of his that means "okay but im not happy about it." But hes been this way about a lot of stuff lately and I just got sick of it so i was like "what? whats your problem with me going to a party?" and he said "I don't want you hanging out with martin anymore." And I was like ?????? "and reduce my total friend count from 2 to one? I thought me having friends was a good thing." and he tried to interrupt me and i was like "hes a good student, he's nice, hes the first person to give a damn about me in this school, hes a good influence on me" and he finally yelled in that way he does when hes like "do whatever the fuck you want but youre gonna regret it." He's so obnoxious when he gets that way.

And then when I got to my room, it was clear that he had been in there and snooping through my stuff again. The fuck do you think you're going to find dad?

So much happened tonight.

Wait. Shit. I'm supposed to start this with "Dear Journal"

Dear Journal,

So much happened tonight.

The long and short of it is I went to that party and everything is different now.

shit, where do I begin?
ok so

ok so Martin and Liv came over to take me to the party and my dad was grumpy as usual but i didnt pay any mind because I was hanging with my friends.

So we got to the party and immediately i get this gut feeling like i should turn around and bail, but Martin, Liv, and I press on. And I'm there surrounded by people I barely know, and everyone's drinking and stuff. So the three of us are just kind of chilling for like two seconds before Jake finds us and before we can even answer any of the myriad of questions he's asking he's somehow gotten each of us a drink. I think it was beer? it didn't taste any good so i just didnt drink it.

But there were these brownies, but we were only allowed to have one a piece, and i bet you can see where this is going. Turns out I really like weed.

But thats just the first development. Because as the brownies started, Liv took me aside and told me that she liked me, like like liked me and basically had this giant crush on me from day one, and asked if I would go on a date with her. that had never happened to me before. And I like Liv, she's sweet and outspoken and not bad to look at at all, so I said okay, and we kissed a bit. kissing her was nice. she was also only the first person I kissed that night

Because for some reason, a few hours later I found myself playing some weird variation on spin the bottle? It was, like, slapping or kissing and everyone else decides which but thats not the important thing

the important thing is that i spun and the bottle landed on martin. and after the deliberation whatever, we kissed. and kissing liv was nice but this… was on a completely different level. i cant even begin to describe it. It was like

Fireworks. Inside of me.

Thats stupid. And it was probably just the weed. And liv and I are trying to date and I like her so



a lot happened tonight.







There's a word for it! How did I never know? Bisexual. There's a word for it.

Okay wait, let me explain.

So Martin and Liv are always doing "GSA" on Thursday afternoons (which I politely pretended to know what it was, like friends do) and Mom always takes me to therapy right after school. Except today my appointment was pushed back an hour, so I was like "might as figure out what the hell GSA stands for." after today, I asked Mom and Katherine if we could have appointments one hour later from now on.

Apparently GSA stands for Gay-Straight Alliance (well, officially it's Gender and Sexuality Alliance but Liv kept saying the first so). There were flags all around the meeting room and different students with pins matching the flags colors and I was like ??? and Martin was like you know how the rainbow flag is for gay people, to which I nodded like a liar, and he explained there are other flags for other sexualities and even genders and I was like what?

And he explained the rainbow one, and this like cotton candy colored one (trans I think?) and a few others and there was one that was pink and purple and blue and he said that one was bisexual, so i was like whats that, and he said it was when you were attracted to girls and boys and i was like "THAT'S A THING?!?!?!?!?!" which got a laugh from everyone but I didn't know

I didn't know I could be attracted to boys and girls.
I was right. I'm not gay.

Dear journal,

Hi. I'm Bi.

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