Diary of a Mad, White Teenager aka My Xanga Years

If you really want to have a cringe-worthy and altogether mortifying experience, then look no further than your own old Xanga blog. It is an embarrassment of riches…emphasis on embarrassment.

Well, at least mine is.

If you were anything like me in high school, you probably had MSN Messenger, an affinity for the movie Mean Girls, and a Xanga or MySpace page on which you posted all your tortured teen thoughts like you were Winona Ryder in basically every movie Winona Ryder has been in (minus maybe Edward Scissorhandssince she was more “girl next door” and less witty, self-deprecating teen diary-writer a la Heathers).

When ISN’T Winona manically scribbling in some diary in a movie?

Also, if you were like me, then you probably thought you were above silly high school drama, but upon re-reading your old Xanga entries, you discovered you were just as dramatic as every other high school girl ever to exist on the planet in the history of time.

I started my Xanga back in the olden times aka 2005.  Facebook was only about a year old and still exclusive to college students and a few lucky invited high schoolers (myself being one of them!).  Myspace was the leading website for social media.  Here in 2012, this whole scenario is just laughable as Facebook essentially put Myspace out of business in the last seven years, and most of us who had Xangas have moved on to better blogging websites like this one (or become Scientologists as Xanga sounds suspiciously like Xenu, their principal alien deity; the fact I know this information leads me to believe I spend entirely too much time on the internet).

SIDE NOTE: Justin Timberlake is the new face of Myspace and is trying to help the company re-vamp and bring itself back from the internet graveyard.  Justin didbring sexy back, so I will be interested to see if he can make Myspace happen (again) in a world where “fetch” wouldn’t (Sorry, Gretchen Weiners).

“…and none for Gretchen Weiners. BYE.”

ANYWAY. The office where I’m working this week is a quiet, cubicle’d land where the reception phone hardly ever rings, so I just sit on Pinterest all day and email with my mother (Oh god I sound like I’m about 100 years old so I probably shouldn’t mention I spent an hour the other night watching Bea Arthur in Maude episodes online).

Today, however, I decided to take a trip down memory lane, so I headed over to Xanga, input my username and password, and let the hilarity/mortification/shame begin!  I decided to start with entries dated for today, October 2nd.  That was a good way to dive into the cesspool of drama, emo song lyrics, and sometimes extremely witty dialogue I wrote between 2005 and 2010 (when I stopped writing regular entries there).  I ultimately decided to spare myself some humiliation and not re-read every single entry as it would be too much horror to bear for one day.  So what did I write about?  Like any respectable, normal teenage girl, I wrote about boys.  And school.  Did I mention boys?  But in reading it and knowing how so much of my life has turned out since then, I see how truly clueless (paging Alicia Silverstone!) I was on so many levels about so many different things.  I was interested in all the wrong boys (I still might be; that remains to be seen) who weren’t interested in me.  I took a lot of things way, WAY too personally.  But isn’t that what being a teenager is all about: making mistakes, feeling like the universe has it against you, and crushing on unavailable guys?

“Searching for a boy in high school is like searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie” Couldn’t agree more, Cher.

Not to mention being a bit narcissistic and a bit of a know-it-all.  Oh and on Xanga, there was this totally rad feature where you could put what you were currently listening to or watching for maximum blog emo-ness (lots of Coldplay lyrics, kids, something for which I do not apologize as they are still my favorite band).

I’ve never deleted my Xanga account even though all of the other people I know who used it have long deserted theirs; their introspective adolescent memoirs collectively buried six feet under in some internet cemetery where bad blogs and once-funny YouTube videos go to die.  Some of those people have asked me why I haven’t deleted mine, and I always sort of shrugged and said, “it’s not like I use it anymore; I just haven’t.”  The truth is that deleting it would feel like throwing away the Lisa Frank dolphin diary I wrote in during fourth grade when I was very in-fourth-grade-like with Paul Matthews who was very in-fourth-grade-like with me (The 1990s were SO wondrous weren’t they?  It was the only decade when environmentalism met rainbow-colored, psychedelic school supplies art!).

Lisa Frank: purveyor of rainbows, unicorns, endangered species, and rapping bears aka my first brush with things my gay friends love

It would feel like throwing away a part of me and pretending like it never existed.  I did all those things, I said all those things, and no matter what I do, I can’t change them, so I just have to embrace that girl even though she embarrasses me now albeit in a sort of endearing way.  There, I said it.  I find that clueless yet witty former self endearing because I know that despite all her complaining and yearning and facepalm moments, she turns out okay.

And I know when I look back and read this a few years from now, I’ll be okay then too.

So to close, I’m sharing an excerpt from one of those silly surveys everyone used to fill out in the 2000s and including my answers to those same questions today.

My answers from JANUARY 12, 2007 ABOUT YOU
1. What do you wish you had been named?  I am one of the few people who actually LIKES their name as is
2. What is the nickname most people call you? EPo
3. Do you plan to change your name when you’re 18? If so, to what?  Um, I AM 18, and no. Although, Ponchitta would be a funny name.
4. If you could become any age you wanted, right now, what age would it be and why?  25. It just sounds like a good age to be.
5. Why is (insert your favorite color here) your favorite color?  Because I got smart and figured out that BLUE is five bajillion times better than pink…and I look pretty damn hot in blue.
6. If your first choice of careers doesn’t work out, what would you choose as a “backup?”  Eh. I’ve always wanted to be a figure skater in another life, but that won’t work out either. I suppose I’d go into music or become a writer for a magazine.
7. What holiday could you easily do without?  Hanukkah, but only because I’m not Jewish. haha.
8. Assuming you have a crush on somebody, what is it exactly that you like about him/her? If you don’t have a crush, what is the one quality that the person absolutely has to have?  I have a boyfriend, but I like him because he’s funny and sweet.
9. What singer or band can you imitate the best?  Cher
10. If your life were a book, what genre would it be?  Jane Austen…because it would be so terribly romantic.
11. Do you worry about finding your soul mate and getting married?  Not really.

PRESENT DAY…

My answers from OCTOBER 2, 2012  ABOUT YOU
1. What do you wish you had been named?  Emmy Lane Potter
2. What is the nickname most people call you?  EmPotts, EmPo, Em
3. Do you plan to change your name when you’re 18? If so, to what?  Ooh honey, eighteen came and went almost six years ago, and my legal name is still very much the same.
4. If you could become any age you wanted, right now, what age would it be and why?  The age I am now, because there is no time like the present.  Although I wouldn’t mind being in third grade for a day so I could go to a Scholastic Book Fair and buy a bunch of Baby-Sitters Club Books without shame.
5. Why is (insert your favorite color here) your favorite color?  Blue is a calming color, and as someone who falls to the perils of stress quite frequently, I need something calming.  And I just like it?
6. If your first choice of careers doesn’t work out, what would you choose as a “backup?”  Call me if my first choice of careers doesn’t work out, and I’ll let you know what I’m doing.  I’m still trying to make my first choice happen right now.
7. What holiday could you easily do without?  International Fanny Pack Day (it’s a real thing; Google it) because the last thing we need to have 80s/90s nostalgia over is an unattractive Velcro purse we strap around our waists.  Like mullets and rat-tails, it was a bad idea from the get-go.
8. Assuming you have a crush on somebody, what is it exactly that you like about him/her? If you don’t have a crush, what is the one quality that the person absolutely has to have?  I like that Michael Fassbender is so…well, Michael Fassbender.  He’s his own category.  Oh…you mean non-celebs?  Okay, then I like that he’s smart, quick-witted, and sometimes challenging to me.
9. What singer or band can you imitate the best?  The last time I did this I said Cher.  That probably remains unchanged.
10. If your life were a book, what genre would it be?  Something in the vein of Capote and Salinger with some Louisa May Alcott thrown in for its girl-power tendencies.
11. Do you worry about finding your soul mate and getting married?  When I’m in my thirties and potentially still unmarried, then my answer may be different.  For now, at almost age 24, this is still a no.