Heidi Barlow and Shaina Kasztelan
March 3-24, 2018
Hatch Art Hamtramck
Is it still common for young girls to have diaries? Growing up in the 90’s/early 00’s scribbling down your hormone fueled rage was commonplace (think From First To Last’s song “Dear Diary My Teen Angst Bullshit Has A Body Count” which is a nod to a line from the 1988 movie “Heathers”). Diaries were being marketed to us as this magical technology where you could whisper your secret password and only you could access it. You could decorate it with Lisa Frank stickers, hide it under your pillow, shut your bedroom door and spend hours anxiously over thinking whether “Brad” just likes you or LIKES likes you. You poured your heart and soul into this journal of angsty thoughts until your parents read it and sent you to therapy against your will. Privacy is one of the most important things to have ownership over as a young person growing up in a place where nothing you have is actually yours. You probably didn’t buy any of it yourself and it could definitely be taken away as punishment.
Your bedroom was a sanctuary picked out from a catalogue and personalized if you were lucky enough to have parents that approve of your personal style. If not, you lived vicariously through friends and babysitters much cooler than you. There was the neighbor down the street with a collection of JNCO jeans gathering dust on her temperature controlled waterbed, the girl with a Prada backpack filled with every color of Hard Candy nail polish, “Little Miss Perfect” with the turquoise Macintosh desktop and the confidence to talk to strangers in chat rooms through AOL instant messenger over the dial-up connection. Our bedrooms had rules. They had wallpaper, figurines, nice furniture- a wooden desk we would inevitably stab and carve into out of anger instead of our skin so our boyfriends would stop asking us why we were wearing long sleeves in 80 degree weather. We turned our closets, the only space our parents didn’t touch, into small altars where we would plaster the walls with pictures of clothes and boys we would never have. In between the ugly clothes our mothers made us wear and our secret stash of Hot Topic fishnets we would hide makeup we barely knew how to use. We would get dressed up, listen to Linkin Park on our Walkman and take selfies at terrible angles to put on our Myspace page and copy/paste emo lyrics as the caption. We would ALWAYS delete our browser history.
You spend so much time in your bedroom developing (a mental illness), changing (into your studded belt), crying (because you got grounded for breaking curfew), screaming (that you’re not sedated on drugs). Your bedroom was an incubator for your thoughts to grow into the demons that carry on to your adult life. A space to accumulate and amass a bunch of shit you don’t need but HAVE to have. To be cooler than that other girl. To feel better than the loser you know you are. To replace your sadness with stuff.