I Was A Live Journal Addict

Before LJ I was on a few mommy n’ me boards, but that got to be boring, as I didn’t want baby number two and I was just not a fit. Then there was the ivillage, which was a bunch of sanctimonious people, hence the i. Then I found chickclick. There I could be me, a thirty year old recovering from her sorority experience, unhappy that my marriage wasn’t like that of my friends and wondering where my lofted ranch in the burbs and when I could buy new clothes… However, livejournal was different. No moderators to cut me off saying, “Hey, there’s a thread to this up here, so I am killing yours…” It was also sort of nice not having a “credit expert” talk down to me and how It was MY fault I could not pay (well it was my fault — one day I will talk about credit)…

While looking for a very good friend, I found out she had an Lj. I HAD to join and it took over my life for almost TWO decades. Lj was fun, because at work I was the dumb waitress, at home I was the wife who was supposed to put out and be happy, and I was the dumb daughter who made poor life choiced, but for the first time on LJ, I felt heard. People told me it was going to be okay, and that the people I worked with sucked. LJ was a great community and instead of spending Sunday afternoons cleaning, there I was peering into the worlds other people. I was shocked how freely people talked about sex or smoking a joint. However, LJ showed me what I SHOULD have been doing with my life at thirty and I should have not been a waitress. I saw the girl who drove down the PCH in her Benz and had an amazing and for the first time I was disappointed in myself. I was also impressed with the girl with the “wall of fine perfume”, and I wanted that as well, but what really started me coveting what others wanted was a BEAUTIFUL French Canadian who had a body that wouldn’t quit. Abs of steel after two kids, WOW! It made me look at my body in a more critical light, my saggy boobs, big belly, and funny looking ass after one child. It was the first time I REALLY felt inferior. When people lost weight, and here I was eating (my other addiction) and reading everyone’s lj’s wishing I could be them. Then I went on a diet because someone I read lost a ton of weight… Also, my friend was an open book and I modeled my writing on hers. Letting it ALL out, from horrible childhoods, to admitting I had a crush on my gyno (he was so nice to me when I was pregnant and gals like me think guys being nice means attracted), and what I thought about the servers I worked with, and what I thought about my husband.

However, for me it WAS addicting because for the first time I felt HEARD!! When I had a bad day at work and management and servers treated me poorly, I had my little audience, as my husband was a manager at the same restaurant and “didn’t want to get involved” so he ignored me. My parents felt this was another life lesson to grow from, and online I had people who said I had every right to feel the way I did. It was amazing, BUT lj wasn’t always that amazing, but I was riding the wave. I call 2002 to October 2005 the Salad Days Of Lj… It was then I discovered my photography skills and I LIKED my body and I even took selfies and at the time I was gorgeous. I was encouraged by many responses of how pretty I was, as in real life I wasn’t one who walked down the street with admirers a plenty… However, online, I ruled the world… However, it attracted less than savory people. However, in 2004–2005, I was riding the wave, appreciating the support and love lj’ers gave to me…. These were the days when I got lots of *hugs* and support, but the wheels were going to fall off the cart and in a BIG way….

I had a cake job, a day waitress at a pizza place. Sure I hated the job, the servers, but it was easy money. However, the franchise I worked for was going south and a few stores closed, and I LOST that cake job, and that day was when the salad days ended. Growing up, I felt I never was going to amount to much and it was the first time I freaked on lj, and someone told me I was being “childish and that working at McDonald’s was a job and to stop bitching.” I had undiagnosed ADHD and I panicked, as it was hard for me to do ANY job right and well. I sucked as a server, and servers are not your friend like on “Alice” and I was a “Vera” for sure, so to save their asses, I got thrown under the bus and was told I was working NIGHTS and weekends, which did not jibe with me. I felt I had NO friends, so I went to the internet for reassurance AND food (another addiction) those things soothed me and I ate it up those days I felt like a failure, still had my figure, and I posted lots of pictures of myself. Well, until someone posted “Well, someone sits around taking pictures of themselves in hopes of feeling better about themselves.” It was right, but it hurt to the core. My life was turned upside down and the fear of NOT having another job lined up made me depressed and lj calmed it. Well, until my clothes did not fit and it became a place for me to bitch…

2006 was day after day about being fat, and I did get the placating, “but you are beautiful”. Also, the scantily clad pictures attracted a new breed, ones who were creepy and expected those pictures more and more…. One even privately messaging me, calling me “baby”…. I hated my life at that time. I mean the routine I had was torn into pieces and familiarity is essential in my on the spectrum ADHD life.In 2006, our world fell apart. There were legal issues, including jail time, and the lj army wanted me to leave. I didn’t lose many friends, yet, but it was a lot to process. My self esteem went to shit. I had a husband who was a jailbird, for the first time in my life, I was fat, and I didn’t have anyone to turn to. Even my “bestie” who was going to work for counseling didn’t listen as a friend and told me, “I sure hope you get help for that depression. Therapy and meds wiill help you be normal.” Yeah…. I needed a friend who would listen, and not people preaching at me, and one day it got so bad because the night before a customer I thought was cute, thought I was “a five at best”. I had people screaming at me saying, “Why does that matter? I mean you aren’t pretty, so be okay with it.” True, but at that moment in my life I felt the lowest and my “best friend” now was my therapist and I just felt so alone, and for a lot of years I came back for more.

However, in 2020, during the pandemic, I took a step away from Lj and began working on myself, and it made a difference. Yes, I am still on Lj, but I post when I want. I love me again, and I am as happy as I was the summer of 2001, when I first began the journey on Lj!!! I have learned being online should accentuate your life, not BE your life and that I had a lot lacking in my real life if I was on Lj, for at one time, three hours at a time, twice a day….

  • Thinking about making this part of a novel…



I like to do journal prompts and you should, too. Picking various ones and doing them towards my own healing….

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Helen VanPatterson-Patton

I like to do journal prompts and you should, too. Picking various ones and doing them towards my own healing….