An abstract of my 8th grade LiveJournal would probably look something like this: “HAPPY WEDNESDAY!!! ME + C.W. = OFFICIAL <3. Finally! Would have been a perfect day if I hadn’t gotten in trouble for dress code. SO STUPID. I mean you can totally see the asst. principle’s THONG through her skirt so WHY do I have to make sure every inch of my midriff is covered when I raise my hand? It’s a fucking BELLY-BUTTON not a Playboy centerfold!! FUCK THAT.”
I shared just about everything. My “interests section” listed things like birth control, ear nibbling, and skinny-dipping. Though a major practice in over-share and solipsism, my blog was a form of catharsis. The cold moment before hitting “submit” gave me a sense of power over my day at school where I felt I had no voice. At least everyone on my Yahoo! Messenger friend list could read my final say.
But one day, I was called to the office of the very assistant principle whom I’d criticized for allowing a visual of her undergarments. There on her desk, she had printed out every single LiveJournal post I’d written and highlighted every instance in which I mentioned something about school, which was usually accompanied by a gratuitous “FUCK THAT.” Apparently, every staff member on campus had their own copy, too, thanks to an anonymous mass email.
Absolutely mortified, spit and tears were all I could muster as the assistant principle informed me that I would receive three demerits – one more and I’d be off to reform school – and a whole week in detention with good behavior manuscripts to copy word for word. I was also pulled from my office aide and dance team leader positions.
Post-LiveJournalgate, my falling out with the Internet was gradual. I deleted all offending posts and wrote infrequently through my freshman year before deleting my account altogether.
Then last fall I started working at a magazine where the interns were allowed to blog, but I managed to avoid that for the first four months. It never occurred to me how much of myself I was cutting off until I stumbled upon the ole LiveJournal several moths ago, a tombstone to what it once was. All that remained was one post explaining that I’d deleted every prior entry and, fatefully, my profile picture.
The image I had constructed on Paint in the 8th grade consisted of two friends holding up V-fingers to their tongue-out mouths with the caption “V is for.” I stared at it in horror as my thought process went from “In what universe…” to “What kind of child…” to “How did my parents…” to, finally, “Have I really changed that much?”
At 14, I had been unafraid to boast the Big-V hand sign in more than a public way, but here I was at 20, unwilling to post more than a news clipping to my Facebook profile. Though my LiveJournal musings were probably not age appropriate, if at all appropriate, I couldn’t believe I had allowed myself to become so timid.
I slowly trickled back into blogging. I like to think that events played out exactly as they should have. I was stopped before my over-sharing got further out of hand, but the relic of my spitfire past helped kick some life back into me. I’m here now, somehow, and so is this post. I’ve learned not to get all-caps happy and use emoticons with discretion. The undergarments of authority figures to prove a point, though? Not the most grown-up, but totally fair game.