"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
~~from Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Hi all,

So... I spent a lil too much time giving the web site a revamp and now it's crunch time with this newsletter.  Thus, I'm getting my younger self to help me.  :-)  After a lengthy hiatus, it's time to check in with myself in the early months after TBAA left the air.  When last I did this, I'd gotten to July 2003.  So let's see how August 2003 and beyond found me and my attachments to JABB, John Dye, Andrew, TBAA, and more!

Jenni and Jenni Write JABB: Senior Year Begins... Sans TBAA
August 18, 2003 to September 14, 2003

Well, it appears I just took quizzes, wrote up Christological theories (Theology student fun times!), and talked about plays I had seen for weeks on end and then...

9:40 pm August 18th, 2003
Subject: Theo's free!!!
Well, I finally did it. I'd wanted to write a "Theo" into JABB since the whole Zack thing fell apart. And with Aud's ok I finally got up the guts to do it. Somehow it just makes the whole Zack thing seem ok now. It's hard to explain but I guess I had to disassociate TBAA's God from SB. I hope no one gets angry because I realize writing even a fictional God into something is touchy. But in the end it was either I write that or I leave JABB. I chose the former. I could no longer write about Andrew when his God had the face of a ::redacted::. And now he doesn't. Now he has the face of the painting I've had in my room for years that has a calming effect, not one that just makes me angry. I don't plan to ever mention Theo again. Except maybe some sort of explanation that I'll prolly just put on the Author's Cut webpage. But just knowing the issue exists is enough.

I'm feeling: good

Me in 2015:

So I got a lil blunt with the name calling hence the redaction.  But otherwise... that's adorable!  2003 me would probably totally flip if she saw all that Joshua's gotten up to!  Theo may not have resurfaced using that name... yet... but he definitely got another mention.  Some 1000+ pages of mentions, actually!  :-)

3:25 pm August 19th, 2003
Subject: Grrr... JABB files

I don't know what the heck happened but I have people unsubbed that never unsubbed and I had people listed as still on list that I know have been gone for ages. So I was going to email people and ask if they intended to be unsubbed or not but so much of the Yahoogroups list is on No Mail and I don't know whether that means they just check mail on the Net or if they're totally gone and just forgot to unsub. Oh well, I guess I have it figured out as best as possible!

I'm feeling: frustrated

Me in 2015:

And I'm still not sure what to think of the No Mail people!  Hi if you're reading this!  But now you all know why I occasionally do those lurker checks!  And, actually, we're about due for one.  Otherwise, good to know struggling with JABB files isn't a new thing!

1:01 am August 27th, 2003
Uh oh! I need a new fav LOTR character!
Okay, Aragorn remains a very good embodiment of what I find physically attractive in a guy (of course I would add some soap and clean water and probably suggest some wardrobe work but I realize these are foolish considerations for a man in war). However... I have come to realize that emotionally he's not so much my type... I just want him to start crying. Or act really goofy or start screaming at someone mean. Or hit a nostalgic nerve and wax poetic about his version of My Little Ponies and the Care Bears. This is all movie based, btw. I may like Book-Aragorn better.

So I'm debating here. I really like Sam and Gandalf. But I'm not entirely sure if I really like Gandalf or if I just like him cause he reminds me of my childish image of God and has a really cool horse. And rose from the dead. But Sam... I think Sam seems like a very emotional person. But, unlike me, knows when to stop moping/giggling/day-dreaming when needed. Plus his speech about the great stories makes *me* cry. And I think I like people who bring out my emotions.

I will continue to work on this issue but in the meantime will remain devoted to Andrew even though I think its grossly unfair that I formed a re-crush on him only after the show was cancelled! In fact, entire LOTR-fav-character-finding mission is prolly all in vain because even massive quantities of Colin Firth movies have been unable to end pathetic Andrew phase. Feel like stupid Colin Firth character in "Camille" who refalls in love with girl only moments before her death and spends rest of time at her grave. Of course, Andrew is only a crush and therefore not as emotionally damaging as Colin Firth character's situation.

I'm feeling: quixotic

Me in 2015:

So apparently I once wanted to date a Brony...  Huh.  Awww...  I totally remember the re-crush.  See, I'd kinda fallen away from TBAA in Season 7 a bit but then more significantly in Season 8.  I mean I kept watching... just not rewatching and obsessing.  But with Season 9... I was in love.  And I don't just mean crushing on John Dye as Andrew although there was that.  I really started to love the show again.  I sobbed regularly during episodes like I used to in the early days.  Then it was gone...  I wish younger me knew we'd find a way to hang on.  Dyeland lives!

Oh... but it's not a pathetic phase, younger me! 

9:26 pm August 30th, 2003
Uh oh... What was that?
I was trying to find more stuff to add to the JABB prize list, particularly songs Della sang on the show. I'm not sure what happened but all of a sudden I had that feeling in my gut that you get when someone tells you bad news. Not sure why. I don't think I saw anything troubling. Now I'm kinda worried.

I'm feeling: worried

Me in 2015:

I have no idea what that was about...  Let's read on.

10:29 am September 1st, 2003
This is not good...
I was watching the TBAA episode where Tess gets alzheimers. I was getting really jittery and anxious as time went on. Then the preview for the second half came on and it was playing "Fields of Gold" and I'm not sure what about that song caused it but I flipped. I think I've made some big mistakes. I don't think I want to teach religion any more. I don't think I can. They warned us in my first education class that especially in Catholic schools your personal lives come into play. And I'm not sure I need that extra bit of something to worry me. I'm all ready overly critical of myself which could be why I never date. Not because I'm particularly worried about what a guy will think but whether the guy will be okay with everyone else. And supposing I do get married and he turns out to be bad, obviously I'd need a divorce. I'm talking adultery, dangerous behavior, etc. I'm not just talking about he won't do the dishes. You never know. My doctor was married to a guy for years and he turned out to be a pedophile. But that's just the future. There's also the past.

My parents weren't married in the church when I was born. So according to some die-hards I'm born out of wedlock.
Which doesn't bug me because their definition of marriage is not my own. But that's just it! How in the world do I think I'm going to be able to give a lecture about Catholic marriage being a sacrament and blah blah blah when I don't even believe it necessarily. If you want a church wedding, lovely. If not, well, then that's fine too.

I'm holding out hope that maybe I just overdosed on the Andrew screentime which in turn reminded me of how much I wanted to be a spiritual grief counselor and how that all came to a screeching halt. Just because it happened that time doesn't mean it will again. But I have to go. Apparently there's some sort of issue with the CD burner I need to look at.

I'm feeling: frustrated

Me in 2015:

So... my bad vibe was basically me predicting my own self-imposed flip-out, I guess.  Anyhow, I do not consider myself born out of wedlock... just so that's clear.  And, even if I did, I'd be in Good Company.  Anyhow, that actually sounds like something I coulda written recently.  Still angsty about Catholicism!  And yet still Catholic.  Happily, I'm pretty content with where I landed.  I don't think I could be a grief counselor and I know I couldn't teach religion in a Catholic school.  (Have ya read "The Carpenter"?  Yeah...)  But I feel like, somehow, I'm doing bits of both with my writing.  And, through it, I'm in contact with people well beyond a small classroom in a relatively small school.  Pretty cool!  And I like my current job quite a bit, too.  :-)

12:52 am September 3rd, 2003
I'm very frustrated right now. Not entirely sure what particular factor is causing this. Could be the fact that one friend is acting really irresponsible, drinking too much, etc. Could be that I really dislike going to class. Could be that I feel physically ill. Could be that I'm thinking the entire Andrew deal is massively unhealthy. Normally I would just cut that part of everything off but then JABB goes bye-bye and I'm just hugely unready for that right now. Oww...

I'm feeling: aggravated

Me in 2015:

Wow...  Gosh.  I guess I really was overly critical of myself back in the day.  And something of a follower...  I think I blamed Andrew for my not having a boyfriend instead of, ya know, the fact that deep down I didn't really want one.  Oh, don't get me wrong.  I wanted one in college.  But because having one was expected.  It was the fairy tale.  Meet a guy in college, fall in love, get married, get pregnant.  And that's awesome for those who want it.  Not so much for those who just think it's the thing to do.  Pretty glad I never pursued that!  Using people is bad.  And that's what I woulda been doing to some poor schmuck... and probably ignoring him in favor of writing.

10:33 pm September 5th, 2003
Latest dreams
I didn't have any last night that I remember, possibly cause I didn't get to sleep til 4 because of computer issues and coffee and Mountain Dew. But both nights right before I had really similar dreams.

Tuesday night I dreamed I was asleep. Which was weird. But it was light in my room and my bed curtains were tied back. There were people in my room. One was Andrew and I think the others might have been angels also but I only remember him specifically. They seemed to be talking to me as I slept. Almost like they didn't understand I was sleeping. I couldn't make out anything they said.

That same night I had another one that may have been part of the same dream or something else. I was still in my room but awake and standing in front of a biggish mirror brushing my hair. This is odd because I don't have mirrors in my room and usually don't brush my hair in front of one anyway. But I saw someone standing behind me in the mirror. I whirled around and said "What are you doing here?!" in an annoyed tone.

Then Wednesday night I had pretty much the same thing except it was just Andrew. Again I was asleep and knew he was saying something to me but couldn't understand what. Like he was speaking a foreign language but I felt like there was no good, practical reason like that for me to not understand. Very odd.

I'm feeling: confused

Me in 2015:

I used to drink Mountain Dew?  Maybe I meant the Code Red variety.  That I did like. 

Anyhow, those dreams were obviously a psychic prediction of Andrew and JenniAnn when they hit the seven year itch.  Just kidding!  They're way past seven years!  And I really don't think they'll get in a weird place where they don't know how to talk to each other and such.  I hope not...  I really don't have as much control as one would think!  Ideas just come into my head and I have to go with them or I just obsess.  In any case, I'm pretty sure those dreams inspired "The Scientist" in a roundabout way.  Cause originally I planned to have a scene wherein Andrew came up behind LJA as she was looking into a mirror and they each saw a different version of her.  Can't remember why I didn't go that route...  Oh well. 

11:07 pm September 8th, 2003
More blathering about TBAA/Andrew
It seems like, from what I've been writing lately, that the only important thing to me currently is TBAA, JABB, Andrew and related stuff. It's not. But for some reason it's what I keep wanting to write about. Possibly because its that stuff I get the biggest kick out of when I read these journals years later. Anyhow, for an assignment I was reading this article on Young Adult Faith. It reminded me of something but I couldn't quite place it. There was this part where the author talked about how, after being booted from the college's nest with graduation, she kept having former students show up at her house in the few years afterwards. Further, once there they didn't really seem inclined to leave. Just plopping down at her kitcken table and going slowly so as to miss their train and all. Finally, she had to drive them herself. And I've decided that's what I've done with TBAA. If Monica, Andrew, or Tess had a kitchen table, you bet I'd be plopped down in one of those chairs eating my cereal as slowly as humanly possible. That not being the case, I'm spending an excess amount of time plopped on my bed, my couch, my chair watching the show. I mean not a whole lot. But considering I hadn't sat down and watched rerun after rerun after rerun for the last few years of TBAA's run it is odd. I'm talking around 3-4 eps a week. And what was with my solemn walks through ::my high school, name withheld:: when I worked there over the summer? "This is where my friends filled me in on 'The Journalist' when I missed it." "This is where Megan told me all about Andrew wearing shorts when the blackout prevented me from seeing 'The Pact.'" "This is where I first thought my Grandpa had died and Andrew's 'On one side there is life...' quote came to me. This is also where I was when I found out my Grandpa did actually die, months later." "This is where my locker was, where I hung all the TBAA quotes and pics." "This is where I wrote a story and named the character Andrew." "This is where I sat with my then best-friend and told her I planned on still watching new TBAA through my Senior year of college." Geez! And I can do this at home, too. "This is where I scratched my back when my brother and I were joke-fighting about Andrew and I accidentally ran my back down the door hinge." How much more maudlin can a person get?!?

And then the more I think about it, why do I even like Andrew let alone feel the need to walk around commemorating weird memories? I mean he looks nothing like my "type". If I was going to pick an AOD, Adam is leaps and bounds closer to the "type" physically. I felt sorry for Andrew, plain and simple. He seemed like the neglected child of the bunch, by the writers and their God. By their God I mean the God written by the TBAA writers, obviously not the real God. It just seemed like Monica got all sorts of revelations and reminders that God loved her. Andrew just... went on with things. And I can't help but think he's not the one that started the trend, "I'll form a crush on him because I feel sorry for him!" I mean look at the list of actors I liked. Victor "I die and am betrayed in everything" Garber. Jeremy "I got crucified and burnt at the stake and went insane" Sisto. Christian "My fathers always ditch me and/or hate me" Bale. Colin "My wife left me... again" Firth. Oh and how can I forget the most recent? Dr. Perry "I went through a rotten divorce but still love my wife who I think just gave birth to some other guy's baby. In addition, I may have been abused by my parents based on one line I said last season" Cox. I mean obviously I'm talking here about their characters, not their real lives. I'm almost positive no one crucified Jeremy Sisto for real. :-) But what the heck does this say for my future?!

I'm feeling: maudlin

Me in 2015:

That's actually true about "my type."  John Dye defied "my type."  I tend to go for guys with darker hair and eyes.  More rugged looking.  That being said... unlike myself at 21, I totally get it.  Cause physical type is much less important than spiritual/emotional type.  And Andrew has that down!  Plus John was just so good in the role... so much compassion and gentleness shining through!  As for my penchant of being drawn to guys who I feel sorry for...  Nowadays I like to think it more has to do with those fellows having played a number of sensitive roles.  I like it when guys are comfy showing their emotions.  Those fellows did in the TV shows/movies I was watching back in 2003.  As for now... I've pretty much lost track of Colin Firth, Victor Garber, John C. McGinley (Dr. Cox), and Christian Bale.  I mean I know they're still acting.  I just don't make a point of watching.  Not cause I'm miffed at them or anything.  Just moved on, I guess.  I did watch Jereme Sisto's sitcom before it got cancelled.  But just not following actors' careers any more. 

And I do still sometimes reflect on places due to their TBAA/JABB/John Dye significance.  Of course, now that I have my own place and a laptop, basically every spot is significant since I can watch TBAA and write and such wherever I want!

I do wish my younger self woulda just chilled out and enjoyed.  Writing this after Mr. Dye has passed away, I kinda resent 2003 me for inserting angst where it wasn't needed.  While I am at peace with his passing and firmly believe John Dye is in a wonderful, exceptional place with the real Joshua; it would be nice to watch TBAA again without that twinge of sadness that now we know it's truly over.  No reunions, no movies.  2003 me still had that and apparently spent a good chunk of her time freaking out over it.  Don't borrow trouble, indeed.

11:48 pm September 9th, 2003
Oooh... meds...
Oooh... Everything's so peaceful. Could fall asleep right here. Andrew isn't Andrew, I don't think. Had sudden burst of energy and wanted to do so many things. Now just gonna go sleep. Cold/alergy meds good...

I'm feeling: oooh

Me in 2015:

Haha!  I was tripping!  And now I remember why I'm reluctant to take the heavy duty cold meds...

10:38 pm September 14th, 2003
How Andrew became my symbol for female adolescence
Okay, so I've hinted at the whole "friend acting really irresponsible" thing before. So more of that here and how I chose to deal with it.

Okay, so my friend is engaging in certain activities I would deem dangerous. With her boyfriend and with alcohol. I do not think she's a bad person, I am not judging her morals. But it does worry me, for her health and the safety of those around her. And it does make me mad that she thinks I'd hate her if I knew what was really going on and, therefore, I get everything secondhand from our other friend that she burdens with *all* the info. Basically I'm half-wishing we could all just return to the stage before boys and boose came into the picture. And that stage would be around ages 14-20. Interestingly, the same years during which TBAA was really big for me. Especially from 14-18. As I look at what's happening to my friend I also looked at what happened to me. And I did this all while reading "Reviving Ophelia" and watching TBAA. So they got meshed together.

First, I think I've really become loads more reserved. This may sound surprising since I've kept up a rather goofy appearance. But that's with you who can read this. I've compartmentalized. My friends offline have no idea what JABB is and don't even know that I still care about Andrew, let alone have any lingering crush. Half of them offline only recently found out about the Christian Bale parties and even now know only very limited things. Certain people know that I still like to play pretend. Certain people know that I still like to play dress-up. Only certain people get to see me dress like I really want to dress. Essentially, at age 14 a lot more of me became hidden because it just wouldn't have been cool for certain info to get public. And I think that's why, in season 3, I decided Andrew was *the* crush of
crushes. I mean season 2, which I did watch for the most part, he was all fun and dancing with umbrellas and had an earring and... He didn't seem to care what people thought. He was free!!! And then season 3... he got a little more subdued. No more earring. No more dancing. And suddenly I could relate to that. There were new people to impress. So put away the fairy tales, shut up about your emotions, and be what you should be. And then promptly freak out and go have crying fits in your room. And feel really, really sorry for Andrew. Cause it's better than feeling sorry for yourself. The one big fight a friend and I had in freshman year was because she told everyone about Andrew. And Andrew was private. Andrew was everything that was deemed uncool and had to be hidden. Andrew was fairy tales and crying in public and being what I wanted to be.

I do this a lot. I encode things into other people (fake or real), things, places. There's no really sure way to tell what gets what. Lightning bugs remind me of the Incarnation. So that Andrew came to symbolize the childish things I put away is not that odd.

I think maybe that's why Andrew's ever lessening screentime drove me crazy in 5th and 6th season. My time decreased then, too. If my life were a TV show, by age 16 you would no longer see me in the same shot as all my friends. They fragmented. I had to choose one person over another but never everyone together. More often I chose to be by myself, off screen aka at home.

The whole friends thing improved when I graduated and people fragmented again, but this time with good reason. They moved away. And I was left only with those people that really knew me. So I could be more of who I really was. Not like in the days before high school. But an improvement from high school at least. And I still watched TBAA but more of a token gesture. It was almost as if my connection to Andrew was inversely proportionate to how content I was with being myself. When I was myself at college, I didn't need him. So what happened with in a month that suddenly I'm watching several episodes of TBAA a week? And posting several posts a day to JABB?

I'm still working on that part. I guess maybe finding out my friend didn't trust me was a wake-up call. Apparently I've not been as open about my actual self as I thought I was being. If I had been, she'd know I wouldn't judge her right?

And I also think, developmentally, I'm right up there with the way I think of those angels. Childless, romanceless, and, hence, free from a lot of entanglements. At this point I think Monica would serve as a better symbol than Andrew. But, whether I feel like it or not, I'm 21 and guys are an issue. And the guy's cute so... He can just go on ahead and be my symbol. :-)

I'm feeling: melancholy

Me in 2015:

Aww.  Christian Bale parties...  I miss those.  I had two friends in high school who also loved his movies so we'd get together, watch those, and eat a lot of junk.  It was just fun.  Half the time, we barely watched the movies.  Just had em on in the background as we talked and played games and such.

As for the larger issue, I can all but guarantee that is exactly why I started crushing on Andrew in Season 3.  I related big time.  And I still do sometimes.  But now, unlike in 2003, I know why Andrew stuck even though now I am pretty content and can be myself for the most part (I still like to compartmentalize).  He was and will always be aspirational.  He sees ugliness but won't let it destroy him.  He faces terror and horror and the worst of humanity and still behaves gently towards humans.  That's why I think it'll be a good, long time before I bid adieu to Andrew and Dyeland.  Neither is as fluffy as they used to be on JABB.  But I think that's good.  I no longer need someone to relate to or mentally coddle to make myself feel better.  I need someone who invites me to focus on what remains, in greater strength and number, beyond the traumatic headlines and life events.  I need to write about someone who leaves Paradise because he believes there's still so much beauty among us.  And, as it turns out, I need to write about someone else who leaves Paradise because He believes that beauty is worth dying for... and because He loves us.

So, no, I didn't come out of college with a boyfriend or even a job.  (The latter came later, thankfully!)  But I did come out of it with two intense interests, one fictional and One not.  And it feels pretty good to be writing (and reading thanks to our other writers here!) about them both and still loving it. 

I think I'll hit pause here.  I thought I'd get further but I guess I was more prolific at blogging in 2003 than I realized!

God bless,

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for bringing to life a character who, despite my apparent dismay a dozen years ago, I still find endlessly interesting and appealing.  While a lot of folks' creativity and dedication went into bringing Andrew to life, John gave him a face and a voice and so much more! 

JABB Portal
JABB 429

(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from Touched by an Angel and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions except for the fourth which is from Promised Land.  They are not being used to seek profit.)