Monday, June 28, 2010


September 11, 1985 Wednesday

Dear Ophelia,
"I have a lot of English homework. I have to prepare a 5 minute speech on a controversial issue. I chose animal cruelty. I have to read a biography. Tomorrow, in German, we have a test on was, wir and the day after, a dialogue test. Yea! I finished my condo report in Interior Design, plus I made a floor plan of this condo.

Today during 2nd period, we had a J.A. meeting. I might join it, it depends on how much "at home" work we have to do. I also might become a candy-striper at a nearby hospital. Jennifer is applying too. I saw John today before the J.A. meeting. I wonder if he'll ever ask me out? I hope so. I think.

I'm still kinda nervous in some of my classes. I always am that way 'till I get to know people better. Right now I'm in the process of writing Luke a letter. Damn, I wish he'd write back, but knowing Luke, he probably won't. I hope this Christmas we all go on a ski trip and I hope Luke and Allen go too.

I really don't like Dad these days. But recently, in the last two weeks, I've decided that I should try to be nicer to him. I think he is a good person and he seems to have good intentions for me. He wants the best for me etc. I don't want him to die with us on bad terms, not that he's going to die.

I told him in California that I hated him and that he had no right to be my father. I even kicked him in the stomach during one of our fights. I don't really want things to go on that way so I'm going to try now to not let Dad get on my nerves etc. 

I do feel I need a psychiatrist for the bad things I've done. plus, I'm paranoid. Sometimes I wish and hope I'm insane so I can be put in a hospital and not have to deal with life, plus it'll shock my friends and family. Maybe somehow I'm looking for recognition but mostly, I think I'm always running away trying to find the easy way out of life. 

I used to think of suicide every day, or whenever things started to get bad. I have to be careful with myself so I don't talk myself into killing myself, or stop caring about how my life goes. That may be one reason that I have my main goal in life, being a zoologist and serving animals. It's the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. My job is to take all the paths that lead to the light and not to stray. Then I can assure myself of life and, hopefully, a successful future. I think I also look for things to blame for just about everything. More later. Love forever, Jennifer."

The date, 9/11, will never be the same for my generation. The images of the planes crashing into the buildings are burned into my memory forever. Even this entry, 16 years before the terrorist attack, brings the events of that day in 2001 right back to me just because of the date on the top of the page, September 11th..

 September 11, 2001

Anyway, it was not lost on anyone that 9/11 consists of the same numbers that all Americans call in case of an emergency, 9-1-1. Jennifer's 9/11 entry is her own 9-1-1 call to herself. She's terrified to live and terrified to die!

As a parent, I find it alarming that Jennifer is having suicidal thoughts and NO ONE around her has a clue. She's a middle-class, straight A student. She's applying to volunteer at a hospital. She has dreams for her future. She just needs to survive high school!!! Even Jennifer is aware that she just needs to get through. High school is the long dark tunnel. She knows there is light at the end. She can see it! Yet she has no confidence that she will make it there.

Jennifer also knows she needs help. This is the second time she's mentioned wanting a psychiatrist. Jennifer, reading this entry now, is not sure why she didn't talk to her parents and ask for help. She remembers thinking that they should just know. They knew when she needed clothes, when she needed a doctor appointment., when she needed to go to bed, when she needed to clean her room--dependent children don't always realize when they need to take care of themselves. Jennifer was also shy. She didn't want to talk to her parents about WHY she needed a psychiatrist.

I think we should all offer our children someone to talk to privately--a trusted friend, a professional, a youth pastor, a relative--just somebody that the parent trusts--and more importantly--someone that the child also trusts!!! Offering the wrong person won't do any good at all.

Jennifer went from being daddy's girl to not getting along with her dad for many, many years. He was Mr. Spock--rigid, unemotional and logical--classic Silicon Valley computer programmer. Jennifer was passionate, sensitive and irrational--classic teenage girl! She kicked him in the stomach to get a reaction out of him. It didn't work. He didn't raise his voice, never shouted, never hit--he frustrated her to no end! Looking back, these aren't bad traits to have! However, Jennifer craved a relationship that was more dimensional.

BTW--I googled "J.A. high school meetings" because Jennifer couldn't remember what J.A. meant. It seems to be a national Junior Achievement program.

I like Jennifer's quote "My job is to take all the paths that lead to the light and not to stray. Then I can assure myself of life and, hopefully, a successful future." Jennifer is still on this path!

Did you have someone to confide in when you were a teenager?

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