I was not a good teenager.
Now, I know my parents would probably say that, compared to a lot of teenagers, I was picture perfect. This is true to a point: I made good grades, I had a part-time job after school, and the most mischeif I ever got into was making a late night Wal-Mart run with my friends and buying 25 packages of toilet paper so that we could go roll some other friend’s house up like a mummy. And maybe Saran Wrap their mailbox.
And, if we were feeling particularly devious, we would dig a small hole in their front yard and plant some Kudzu.
So, no, I wasn’t that girl who drank in the Winn-Dixie parking lot or fed weight gain bars to my frenemies. I was a great teenager on the outside, sure. But my heart? My mind? My thoughts?
BLACK AS NIGHT.
(You’re probably starting to wonder if this has a point. I assure you it does, although when I’ll actually arrive there remains to be seen. Feel free to start placing bets.)
Anyway, this black-soul thing continued, expertly concealed under the guise of a cheerful, caring teenager, until 2002 – which marks the beginning of The Dark Years (previously known as The Train Wreck Years).
The Dark Years spanned from January 2002 until November 2004, and are so named because of the various and sundry Dark Decisions made by yours truly throughout those three years. This is when I dropped the aforementioned guise of cheerfulness and let my true Sinful Self out to play for a while. It was the basement of my existence. The time in my life when I saw who I really was – who I had the potential to be if left to my own devices – and it was truly horrifying.
One of the main things that I believe contributed to The Dark Years was my lax restrictions on certain unsavory character traits, namely: Selfishness. Pride. and Arrogance. Not necessarily in that order – they were pretty much all up there together.
I thought about Me. I took pride in Me. I watched out for Me. I was interested in Me. I cared for Me. I acted in My best interest. I did what I wanted to do. I loved Myself. And no one else. Sure, I would have said I loved other people, but I didn’t really. As far as I was concerned, the world was mine, and anyone who wanted to share it with me had better remember that I was Queen.
(Tragically, a portion of The Dark Years took place in Europe. Oh, how the turn tables.)
The end of 2004 brought the end of The Dark Years, and I found new joy in living outside myself. In allowing myself to be “reachable” to others by not flaunting my accomplishments (which I had previously done oh-so-subtly, of course) and admitting to my mistakes. In laughing more. In not taking myself so seriously.
By 2005, The Awesome Years were in full swing. And they have been ever since… until this month.
Maybe it’s just January (for those of you who don’t know, I harbor a deep and irrational hatred for the month of January), or maybe it’s my stress level because of these book revisions; but regardless of the cause, I feel myself slipping back into Darkness. Here’s why:
1) I don’t laugh nearly as much as usual.
2) Instead of brushing things off, I am taking everything personally.
3) I often feel overwhelmed about everything on my plate – not because it’s too much to handle, but because I feel like everyone is counting on Me to do all these things. And they’re not. Trust me. No one else cares.
4) I have started thinking and acting more like Joey Potter than Pam Beesley. (Do you remember Joey Potter? Katie Holmes’ character on Dawson’s Creek. Moody and brooding.) I don’t want to be social, so I cancel plans and just sink deeper into myself. I pity myself a lot. And did I mention the lack of laughter?
5) ALL I can see is this book. That’s it. It has officially taken over my life. And what does that mean if, say, IT DOESN’T GET PUBLISHED? Yeah… I can’t even think about it.
6) Currently, I am not concerned about anyone but myself. (How awful is that??)
So obviously, this didn’t have anything to do with writing, except for the last part. But if you were ever hoping for a glimpse inside my head, well… there you go. Ha!
I guess I would just really appreciate it if y’all could keep me in your thoughts and prayers, Dear Readers. It’s been kind of hard lately, for no other reason than the Darkness creeping back up. I think I know how to solve it, but it might take a while. Let’s hope things progress speedily back towards Awesomeness.