Kelly's Teen Diary: 'I Feel Like Bridget Jones, Except Without the Alcoholism'

I spent a huge amount of high school wishing I had a boyfriend and self-consciously pretending I didn’t care about boys at the same time. Boys’ disinterest in me was near total, and I told myself not to sweat it because I was just wise beyond my years or perhaps intimidating to them, neither of which was remotely true.

All of this changed when I met “Peter”—who grew up into a nice man whose real name is not Peter—the summer after 11th grade. We went on a few “dates” to a big pile of wood chips in our hometown that everyone called, yes, “woodchip.” I liked Peter because he was sweet and smart and seemed to exist outside of our high school’s social ecosystem, which played perfectly into what I thought I was: somehow exempt from the normal trials of high-school social life.

Pretty much immediately, though, I became exactly the kind of high schooler I thought I wasn’t when, at the cast party for our school’s spring production of a student-written play about race (yikes), I hooked up with another dude, “Marshall,” who was basically the opposite of Peter in every way except that he was also very nice. I remember judging Marshall harshly for writing “your [sic] awesome” in a text message to me, which is so awful of me I want to slap myself.


Everything spiraled profoundly out of control when I told Peter this, and even though we were “on a break” so I could focus on college applications or something like that, he was understandably hurt. We made up, but things were never the same. When we broke up it was for good.

A few days after Peter and I stopped talking, my mom found me crying in my bedroom (I cried a lot then, as now) and gave me some great advice: “This relationship didn’t matter all that much, but in your life, you will have relationships that do. Think of how you feel now as practice for when it really matters.”

I think my mom was both right and wrong about that. This was my first and last love triangle. I am now almost 30 years old, but I still feel guilt about how I treated Peter and think about him regularly. He was nice to me, and I wasn’t really that nice back. I didn’t technically cheat on him, or lie to him, but I was indifferent to a person I liked for basically no reason other than I didn’t know how to be a nice person yet. Peter, I’m really sorry. I offer as my penance this deeply embarrassing video.

Kelly Stout is Jezebel's features editor.

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I wonder if “Peter” reads Jezebel and is all “oh Kelly is pretty smart and awesome!”

Anyways, it’s interesting to see people who you, like, admire their work and stuff, and to see that they go through the same things that us less eloquent people also go through. The “basically no reason other than I didn’t know how to be a nice person yet” is so true! Haha it’s hard learning how to treat people well. Teenagers suck at that