Sunday, March 14, 2010

Adventures In My Middle School Diaries

I'm in my childhood bedroom right now. Sometimes when I'm here I'll pull out one or two of my old diaries to remember what it felt like to fall in love for the first time, take my first couple of big solo trips, first meet the people who mean the most to me now, etc. As I've said before, people with FOMO tend to write about themselves a lot (look at all the cool things I did! Look at how I am drinking life to the lees!).

The first diary I pulled out tonight was from creative writing camp, age 14. Turns out I was kind of a bitch.

One or two people told me I was a bitch back then. I never believed them. I thought I was maligned. I thought people just didn't understand me because I was awkward. *I* could never be mean. Oops.

God, 14 was such a hard age. So much rage and drama over such stupid things. Now I'm looking at another notebook from December of that year--I never could get through a whole blank book before wanting to start a fresh new one. There are a lot of rants against my parents. "She and Dad nearly grounded me for not picking up laundry a few days ago! They've never grounded me before, and they want to ground me now for shitty reasons like that???....I think they want to stop me from going out with [thoroughly disinterested 9th grade boyfriend]. ...Though I would never ever consider it myself (I can't stress that enough--I love life way too much), I now understand why some teenage couples commit suicide together after encountering friction from their parents."

Seriously?

Then there's the Christmas entry a few pages after that. Christmas was tough for me that year and probably baffling for my parents. It's really embarrassing to think about now: how I opened my presents with a mounting sense of dismay, looking at earrings and sweaters I judged unsuitable for a cool ninth grader like me and toys that I knew would end up with all the stuffed animals I'd just hidden in the attic. How I tore into one present in particular--a long rectangular box from the afore-mentioned boyfriend--thinking it was the first piece of jewelry I'd ever received from a guy, and found a pen. How after everything was out of the wrapping paper, I went up to my room, put on my new Billy Joel CD, hissed along to a few lines from "Piano Man" (And the piano sounds like a carnival! And the microphone smells like a beer!)...and sobbed. My parents saw the tear stains in my eyes shortly after that. I think we all shed more tears before the day was over.

Here's what I wrote in my diary two days later: "Got lots of new stuff...I loved a lot of it." I had spent the whole day with a heart that felt broken for no reason I could figure out, and then I went to my diary and smiled for posterity because I didn't want God or my mom or me in 10 years to see.

I'm almost crying again now. I am so glad to be grown up. I want to hug my parents. I want to hug 14-year-old me.

P.S. Have you heard about this play, Mortified? There's a DC chapter.

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