25 September 2009

A glitch in the matrix...

So. Here. We. Are. All atremble. So much so we have to interrupt our regular programming (again).

Apologies to all those looking forward to the final installment of our current Introducing... series. But who doesn't love a good dose of antici...


Stay tuned next week for our final (for now) welcome to the House of Onion.

Instead join us on a nostalgic* trip down memory lane (made in a desperate attempt to distract ourselves from the BIG GAME).

As Steph Bowe so eloquently puts it, sometimes: It sucks to be a teenager.

Sure, I remember times when I was all, "Be still my heart and cease thy frenzied beating..." because the Object of My Desire tossed five syllables (yes, I was a syllable-counter) in my general direction. And yes, I am fortunate enough to be able to recall occasional triumph on the sports field and the odd quiet moment of academic pride (as long as nobody else found out). And, it's true, I was soothed by the obsessive satisfaction of songs on repeat in my mind.

But I also still have in my heart the memory of that terrible, terrible despair, the loneliness, the fear, the almost incapacitating self-loathing and the red rage that found its way to my very fingertips.

And yes, I kept a diary. And I'm sure many of the entries would have had the same feel and tone as these heart-achingly raw diary entries extracted from Cringe: Toe-Curlingly Embarrassing Teenage Diaries, Letters and Bad Poetry (Sarah Brown, ed).

I'll never know though. And not because I destroyed it, which many people do once they surface and find themselves on a more even keel. No. I'll never know because I wrote in CODE and I am now completely unable to decipher it.

And I was so excited when, during the clean-up before the sale of my family home, I found my fat, well-thumbed, red-and-white diary with a broken lock. Pages and pages of cramped writing squashed into every line. I was insatiably curious to revisit that time of my life, even though I knew so much of it would be excruciating. But when I opened it, I was devastated to discover my heartfelt outpourings were lost to me. Impenetrable.

It's hardly the matrix, in fact there are no numbers at all. It's all coded-abbreviations and made-up words. And recognisable cross-references and cross-outs. Lots of cross-outs. And it seems to be in the third person. Sigh.

And, I wonder if this inaccessible code is actually an appropriate representation of my teenage years because, often, that's what it felt like - that there was a code to life, and everybody else seemed to be in on it, and I just couldn't quite decipher it. Or if I did have moments of clarity, they were fleeting and then the code would slip suddenly from my reach again.

Oh, I am so glad I never have to re-live those years, and I'm also glad I can remember with empathy. And perhaps that's one of the reasons why this Onion landed in a world where YA is celebrated.

* Ha! The power of nostalgia, hey? The best days of our lives? Sure.

No comments: