Whatever the Hell This is Supposed to Be
You don’t know me, and I don’t know you. My name is Andrew, and for reasons I have yet to grasp, the guidance counsellor at school says I have to write about my feelings. She doesn’t want to see anything I write. She doesn’t want me to show anybody else. It’s the sixth of January, school just started again, and no one wants to be here.
So, yeah, it rained today. I was told not to just talk about the weather, but you know what? The weather sucks. Like, really sucks. We lost the last few days of our holidays to the rain, and then it just kept on raining today, so we didn’t even get to step outside the school building except to go between classes. I feel like we’re prisoners in the school, like we’re just supposed to let them lock us away in the classrooms all day with people we don’t even like.
I’m supposed to talk about what it feels like. I don’t know where she got the impression that I really needed to talk about anything, but she says that she wants to see that I’ve written something every week. I can write it any day I want to, but she says that maybe, just maybe, I’d like to write on Mondays. It’s supposed to help me focus on what’s coming ahead in the week.
In other words, it’s supposed to make it glaringly obvious that I have exams coming up. I’m supposed to be overly aware of the amount of homework I have to do, on top of the study I allegedly have the time for. I’m supposed to be able to decide what to do with the rest of my life during all of this, and now I have homework from someone who isn’t even a teacher.
Great. Just great.
Apparently I’m stressed. Apparently the school suspects I have emotional problems. Apparently I’m supposed to be able to talk to people my own age at this point in my time in the school. Because five and a half years of the idiots I have to deal with on a daily basis is supposed to teach me something about communication. You know what I learned about teenagers the entire time I’ve been here? We’re supposed to give back cheek. We’re supposed to turn over tables in a bitchy little hissy fit because an adult caught us texting in class and wants to take our phones. We’re supposed to hate the idea of poetry, spit on cars over a bridge, drink every weekend, smoke behind the bicycle shed, and throw coins at old ladies.
Basically, being a teenager means being an entitled little dipshit, and I don’t think I want to be one. Why would I want to talk to anyone whose idea of fun is not remembering anything they ever do? And not just that. I get the appeal of drinking. I’ve tried it. It feels nice. But every weekend just for the sake of it? And all the cheap crap?
I said all of this to the guidance counsellor before she said I should keep a diary. She sighed. She always sighed. I don’t think she really likes teenagers. Or maybe she’s just used to the ones whose problems consist almost entirely of too many dead brains cells from a combination of alcohol and downright stupidity. That was when she said I had to accomplish a few things in the last semester of school.
As if I don’t have enough to focus on at the moment, right?
Anyway, here it is. Her grand list. Ready, Whatever?
Numero uno, learn how to talk to people my own age, face to face. Apparently, and this is going by what she’s said, I’m shy, but not uncharismatic. I’m introverted, but not so introverted that casual conversation is beyond me. Because I’m supposed to be so smart. Great.
Uimhir a do,* I have to choose what it is I’d like to do with the rest of my life. At some point in history, it was decided that the appropriate time for a man to settle down on a single career path was when he was eighteen years old, with no real life experience, no previous employment, and no life outside of formal education. My parents agree with that estimation, minus the back-chat that comes with it. Because apparently I’m a bad influence on myself when I start thinking like that. Thanks a million mum and dad.
And number three, I have to connect with myself on an emotional level. Three words, Whatever: that. Is. Bullshit.
I just read that back. I swore in my homework. Repeatedly. And no one can say anything about it, because no one is supposed to read this. I can swear liberally, and to hell with the consequences. I can say what I want about anyone I want, and no one can ever get hurt by it.
Epiphany alert: I just connected with myself on an emotional level, and I’m a fucking asshole. Great. Worst homework assignment ever.
Except, well, this isn’t the end of it. No, I have to do this every week. I can do it whenever I like. I chose the rather convenient time of Religion class, because sixth year students can’t get enough of that when the teacher is perpetually out sick with a liver infection or something, and we don’t even have an exam in it.
Maybe someday, Whatever, I’ll figure out why they put us down for so many Religion classes. Maybe someday I’ll know why I haven’t told everyone in my class to kindly shut the fuck up for three minutes. Maybe someday, Whatever, I’ll know why a diary is supposed to be of any fucking use to me.
(*Author’s note: that’s Irish for ‘Number two’.)