For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I’m pretty sure my first word was ‘book’. Okay, that’s actually a lie – I haven’t the slightest clue what my first word was but for the sake of argument, let’s just say it was ‘book’. For most of my childhood and adolescence, I wrote (and read) religiously. I kept diaries from when I was in Primary School, which I filled with my innermost thoughts, usually revolving around my arch-enemy, Donna, making fun of me for wearing the wrong style of Sweater Shop jumper. This was the mid-90s, just to clarify, and a Sweater Shop jumper was the height of cool, so to wear the wrong style of Sweater Shop jumper was social suicide. You could pretty much guarantee that if there was such a thing as the ‘wrong’ style of Sweater Shop jumper, I would manage to wear it, because I was possibly the least cool girl in my Primary School class, and then in my High School class, and so I became ultra-introverted, and bottled up my feelings which I then sprawled into elaborate satin-covered notebooks from the Stationery Box on Main Street in suburban hell as soon as I was old enough to go out and spend my own pocket money on them.
After the Donna-hating years came the angsty teenage years, and I must have filled about five diaries with my angst, of which there was a lot. Years later, I read back over them expecting to be gripped by the prose but instead found myself cringing horribly at my over-dramatisation of every single little incident. When I was 15, a boy finally took an interest in me, and I fell head over heels for him. He was the only boy I’d ever found attractive, with exquisite feminine pointed cheekbones, striking blue eyes, a long dark ponytail and a Cradle of Filth t-shirt. Our four month long, exceedingly complex and grown-up (yes I’m being sarcastic) rollercoaster of a relationship is documented in my lilac lacy-fronted diary, from the moment my friend Emma embarrassed me by telling this beautiful boy I had a crush on him, to my dumping him for an older, ‘cooler’ guy one night after school, and feeling remarkably calm about the whole affair, before realising two months later that I had made a terrible mistake and desperately trying to get him back.
My diaries were always my solace; the one place where I could say anything and no one could ever make fun of me or tell me I was a bad person for thinking those thoughts. When I began studying at University (English Literature, naturally), my diary-keeping moved into the technologically progressive era of the early 2000s, and I created and maintained a LiveJournal, a website which would provide a sounding board to me for years to come, until users deserted the once crowded blogging site for the more relevant forms of social media we all use today. The best thing about LiveJournal was that nothing was off-limits. LJ provided a safe space for anyone to write freely about practically anything, and we did – I did. Every guy I dated throughout my late teens and early twenties (mostly rock star wannabes with God complexes) got at least a small mention in my LJ. Every time I had my heart broken, I would scream and cry as I typed up a full damage report. When my first serious boyfriend, who I lived with in a tiny bedsit on Queen Margaret Drive, and had screaming rows with at 3am, drunk on vodka and thrills, finally got up the nerve to end our disasterfest, I called my then best friend, went straight to his flat, and immediately typed up an LJ entry documenting the whole mess, right up until the heartbreaking moment when my ex coldly told me, ‘You don’t love me. You can’t love anyone. You love yourself too much.’
I’m getting a bit off-topic here, I think. Like with my previous hand-written diaries, I looked back at my LJ years later and found myself cringing at my own hideous naivety and lack of self-awareness. There’s only so many of your own ‘WHY DOESN’T HE LOVE MEEEEEEE?!’ entries you can read before you need to log the fuck out and move on. As hilariously angsty as LJ could be, there was a reason I kept going back to it for so long, and that was because it gave me an outlet for the voice I kept locked inside of me when I was playing the ditzy drunk girl at parties, because I thought that was who I had to be at that time to make people like me. LJ was an avenue to show I had real opinions and wasn’t as much of an idiot as I had painted myself out to be at social gatherings. LJ was also a community of people just like me, people who loved books, didn’t know how to make friends, and were a little lost and unhappy at University, or in jobs, or unemployment. I made some fantastic friends on LiveJournal who I am still in touch with now.
It was at around the age of 23 that I realised it was time for me to get my shit together. I’d dropped out of University and was living and working for my Dad’s company in Manchester. I had no sense of direction and was in an unhappy long-distance relationship, and I realised it was time for something to change. I moved back to Glasgow, returned to University to complete my degree, and worked my butt off for two more years until they finally gave me a degree, and I was super stoked when they did. I then went on to study for two further years because I realised that social anxiety and lack of direction was not an excuse to ignore my love of learning.
Somewhere in between starting to get my shit together, and graduating from my second degree in 2013, I stopped writing down my thoughts and experiences. Part of this was due to me actually working hard for a change, which resulted in me having less disposable time with which to angst, but also because I found that the tool that had provided me with comfort for so long was now bringing me down, as I was indulging all of my most depressing musings while writing.
2014 has just begun, and I am the most settled and stable I have ever been. This seems like a good time for me to begin writing again. I am not promising that everything that I write will be of good quality, or even that anyone will want to read it. I am not promising to update once a day, or once a week; I’m going to settle for once a month, and if I don’t manage that, I’m not going to beat myself up about it, because I’ve done enough of that over the course of my life.
My name is Lauren Catriona McMinn and I am 28 years old. I have an M.A. (Hons) in English Literature, an MLitt in Victorian Literature, and I work part-time for a social history museum whilst volunteering with an Arts charity. I am married to a wonderful man named Bob and we live in a small, cluttered and colourful flat in the west end of Glasgow. I’m a leftie Buddhist Athiest pescetarian feminist nerd with a passion for fashion, the arts, Disney, Harry Potter, vintage things, yoga and leggings. This is my writing blog. I plan to write things in it. Oh, and this is me:
x L x