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True confessions of a real-life high school student on the cusp of a new millennium. On the eve of the year 2000, high school student Giselle struggles with spirituality, ambiguous friendships, a family dealing with the aftermath of substance abuse, and deepening feelings of attraction toward her English teacher, a married man more than twice her age. Over the course of one school year, she shifts from seeing Lawrence as a father figure to falling obsessively in love. Is Giselle making a total fool of herself, or will her teacher return her affection? Having an affair with a student would easily cost Lawrence his career, his wife, and his kids, not to mention his sanity. Will a by-the-books teacher sacrifice everything to indulge Giselle’s teenage crush? LIKE IT’S 1999 is the actual, unabridged, honest-to-goodness diary of a teenager in love with her teacher.
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LIKE IT’S 1999: Diary of a Teenager in Love with a Teacher
© 2014 by Giselle Renarde
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Cover design © 2014 Giselle Renarde
First Edition 2014
LIKE IT’S 1999 | Diary of a Teenager | in Love with a Teacher | Giselle Renarde
LIKE IT’S 1999: Diary of a Teenager in love with a Teacher requires an introduction more than anything I’ve ever written. Why? Because unlike everything else I’ve written, this is NOT fiction. It is the actual, honest-to-god diary from when I was 18 years old.
In the summer of 1999, when this diary bursts into being, I was just heading into my fifth year at high school, called OAC—Ontario Academic Credits. At that time Ontario’s school system required an extra year’s education if you were planning to attend university. The OAC year doesn’t exist anymore, for those of you keeping score at home. Everything changes.
I was an intelligent teenager, but also a bit hippie-dippy, as you’ll quickly discover. As you’re reading these diary entries, feel free to laugh or shake your head or roll your eyes, or all of the above. Trust me, I did, as I transcribed my hand-written journal. Seems like I spent so much time being introspective that I’m not sure how I accomplished anything else.
And yet, for all my introspection, I’m actually incredibly dense. I can’t see the forest for the trees. You’ll likely learn more about me from the dreams interspersed throughout this book than from the diary entries themselves. They work together to paint a more fleshed-out picture of who I was on the cusp of a new millennium.
If you start reading and think to yourself, “Ugh! I can’t stand this girl!” trust me, you are not alone. That’s how I felt, reading this diary fifteen years after writing it. Just hold tight and keep going. Soon enough you won’t be able to put it down.
When you can cast aside the New Age veneer, you’ll find beneath it a naïve, inexperienced young woman who is deeply infatuated with an English teacher. I started writing this journal in the summer of 1999, while waiting on a letter from this man, whom we’ll call Lawrence. He was away with his wife and family, visiting his in-laws. He’d already written me one dull letter, with promises of another. I was so sure he’d profess his true emotions in that one.
Seems like forever ago that we actually put pen to paper to convey our thoughts, then sealed them in an envelope and pressed a stamp to the corner. Nothing was quite so instantaneous as it is now. We had to wait.
And that’s where this diary begins: me, waiting.
Reading back, I shake my head at how off-the-mark 18-year-old me was in interpreting my own life, not to mention my dreams. You’ll see what I mean when you read my take on the first one, about receiving a birthday card from Oprah.
If I could say anything to this younger version of Giselle, I’d tell her, “You are a silly and self-involved child, and you won’t realize it until you re-read these words in another 15 years.” I doubt if she’d believe me, though. She’d probably slam her door, cry on her bed, and then write a journal entry about it.
Just a note that names have been changed to protect the guilty and innocent alike.
Okay, enough procrastinating. If this reads like a 60-year-old huckster imitating a teenaged girl, sadly it’s not. These are unmodified journal entries, apart from the name changes. Even the punctuation is original—I would never use so many semi-colons now.
You start reading. Enjoy your time in my mind. See you on the flip side.
A thought occurred to me today. It came in the form of a little voice that said, “Write it!”
Another voice—the clarifying voice—then asked, “Don’t you mean ‘Paint it’?”
Again, the first voice said, “Write it!”
At the time, I was thinking about a letter I have yet to receive, and one of my dreams started making more sense. This dream:
Dream: Birthday Card from Oprah!
-This dream is about a birthday card from Oprah, hence the name.
-she and I are friends
-Oprah gives me a birthday card covered in blue writing
-I am delighted at receiving this card, but I don’t read it
-the card is in my hand and I think to myself, “I really wish I had read that card!” but I still don’t
-The blue writing, although printed directly on the card, is a personal message from Oprah
-her name is signed in black pen, along with a little message I also don’t read
I am now able to apply the Oprah Birthday Card dream to my life. You see, the reason I don’t read the card is not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t have it yet.
Patiently (LIE!), I await my second missive from Lawrence. He’s away from the city, visiting his in-laws, but in the first (rather dull) letter he sent me he promised another was soon to follow. I have a strong sense that this second letter has already been written, and perhaps even sent, but because of the time restraints the world has placed on us I cannot yet read it. Now I sit with the anxiety of waiting for something that is sure to happen—and soon. But when?
In the dream, I know Oprah’s card exists because I’m holding it in my hand, but I can’t read it because it’s not really here yet. It will come... in time.
Beyond this place, there is no time. Time is something we must deal with because we are human. Without time, though, the wonderment of Earthly living would be decreased. With time, I can only guess as to how the story ends... or begins.
Months ago, Christie said to me, “You’re waiting for the day your mum says, ‘That’s it, Giselle; get out of this house!’”
Today was the day. Of course, my mother’s words were more along the lines of, “I wish you would move out,” in her “pity me, I’m so weak” voice. (This is a judgement; I own it.)
Funny that the problem and the solution should be found in one person...
Today’s mantra: I refuse all fear and all worry, for I stand in the Grace of God.
Lots of reading to do. I was amazed, today, by how strongly I felt Lawrence’s presence at the library. I felt almost as though he were watching over me, peeking over my shoulder as I opened each new tome.
I Love, I Love, I Love, I Love... I laugh.
I couldn’t stop smiling, although why would I want to? It’s O.K. to appear somewhat insane every once in a while—and even when I left the library, the books under my arm encouraged me to smile some more.
I realized today that labelling her husband as my Platonic Love is a great insult to Victoria. Well, perhaps not to her individually, but certainly a great insult to their relationship. I really shouldn’t go around parading as some expert in the teachings of Plato.
I blame Gillian Anderson.
I wish I could find myself a copy of the Upanishads. Even a copy of the Ramayana would make me very happy right now. Any Hindu holy document. Anything!
Why is it that the Religion shelf at the bookstore is filled with every conceivable copy of the Bible, but not even one Baghavad Gita?
I am becoming convinced that my previous life was lived in India.
I have, since I was a child, felt that I was supposed to have been born earlier, but there was something I had to take care of in the world beyond before returning to Earth. The number 56 resonates strongly with me. Perhaps I was stillborn in 1956. I feel that I did not take even a single breath in that incarnation.
Is this intuition, or am I simply making up stories to tell myself? Will I ever know for certain?
Today, I am a manifestation of peace, for I stand in the Grace of God.
Dream: Cards and Letters
-I am at Home Hardware buying packages of cards. I was going to get 3, but decided on 2
-back at home, I decided to watch T.V. in the family room, because dad was watching T.V. in my room. I didn’t mind at all because I was so happy to finally have a real father again
-when I later go to my room to watch Star Trek, I notice dad has cleaned a bit. There were letters he’d sent in various place, including on the floor
-I notice he’s arranged papers on my desk, some of which are rough drafts of letters to Lawrence
-I wonder if my dad will mind that I’ve found another father
I am grateful for the word ‘missive.’ It may only mean ‘a letter’ but it reminds me of Man of La Mancha. The missive Don Quixote sends the Lady Dulcinea is a very elegant Love letter.
Today, I am at peace.
I received a letter from Lawrence’s lovely little daughter Bess, which could almost be classified as a missive, itself. She is very romantic. I wonder where she gets that from... certainly not from her father. (I’m sorry; that was a judgement.)
I wonder if this is something she even realizes. I know that I have encouraged freedom of expression in her, but I don’t think that’s the same as romanticism.
Although Bess was subjected to ‘Giselle Stories’ as she calls them (tales of things I’d done or said in English class when Lawrence was my teacher), the first time she encountered me in the flesh, I was reading the role of Juliet—a romantic figure. I suppose it would make sense that she should continue to see me in this way. Before becoming ‘Giselle’ I was the archetype: The Lover; The Empress; The High Priestess, in a sense.
And, before that encounter, just imagine how her father must have presented me! I was initially introduced to her by a person for whom I do hold these archetypal qualities, whether they be realized or not. Venus, elle-meme. I now see why Lawrence’s son Kennedy should be so suspicious of me. He’s the same age as Leslie and he’s got eyes in his head, that one.
How now, Ophelia!
Oh, this makes perfect sense, all of the sudden. I mean, it always did make sense, but now it makes spherical sense. Kennedy, I am assuming, was never tormented with ‘Giselle Stories.’ Good move. So his first encounter with me was as Juliet. Oh, to him there is no separation. Giselle is Juliet. Giselle is the threat. Giselle is the Lover. Giselle is the woman who rejects society’s opinion and follows her heart.
Giselle is the one who falls in Love with the man she can’t have. Giselle is the one who has him anyway.
Oh, Kennedy! And to think that I played with the suspicions you held about me and your father before even understanding them...
Today, I just had to dream. Honestly. I went to bed at noon because I felt compelled to make some sort of addition to my dream journal.
Rama and Sita Dream
-Rama, the virtuous king in Hindu scripture and seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was betrothed to someone other than his rightful wife, Sita
-we were in a very beautiful open concept palace, with tropical gardens inside and everywhere you looked
-the flooring and pillars were made of white marble, but I don’t recall a roof on the place
-Rama was supposed to marry me
-I loved him very much, but when Sita came into the picture, I knew that she was the one he must marry
-I went to the bedroom, knowing that’s where the two were
-a very small part of me thought, out of fear, that I would prove Sita less pure than the gods had proven her, but a more enlightened part of me hoped this was not the case
-I opened the door to find the couple on the floor in the corner of the room
-Sita was in Rama’s arms, weeping uncontrollably that she should not marry him
-I told them I wanted for the two to be wed. This was entirely true
-as I sat in another room to prepare for the intimate wedding, I felt completely at peace with myself
-I was overcome to see the beautiful couple together
-I felt such joy and Love, knowing that I had carried out the will of the gods instead of fighting against it to achieve my own will
-this dream was a blessing
Oh, I am pathetic.
When there was no mail in our mailbox today, I checked my neighbour’s. I’m becoming just slightly neurotic, but I’ve been waiting oh so long for this letter.
I just Love being in Love!
I asked that little voice in my head if I should phone Lawrence, now that he’s scheduled to be home from Victoria’s parents’ retreat. The voice said I should be sensitive to the “flow.”
When I asked again, it said, “Sure! Why not?”
“Why not?” I responded. “Because you told me to be sensitive to the flow!”
“Do you feel any flow?”
“Well, if you’re going to be this neurotic about it, just phone him!”
The little voice also said that Kennedy would answer when I called...
But I’m getting ahead of myself, here.
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