So during our seemingly never-ending quest to organize everything in our house, I came across my old journals. One thing led to another and before I knew it I had read every entry – spanning from December 24, 1990 to January 9, 1995 (right smack dab in the epicenter of the storm that is Middle School plus about a year and a half of high school). Scary does not even begin to describe it. Maybe this will put it into perspective: the last time I read them was the night I graduated from high school and the next morning I thanked my parents for still speaking to me.
Its interesting how reading my silly, irrational, over dramatic ramblings from 15 years ago affected me so much. As one would expect, I spent a lot of time laughing. But, surprisingly, I also spent a lot of time re-examining old insecurities and feeling vulnerable and awkward and 12 years old all over again.
So I’ve decided to immortalize my over dramatic ramblings and present a story of progression through adolescence, as told by excerpts from my journal entries copied below, word for misspelled word.
Act 1: On the Cusp – The Twilight of Carefree Childhood
March 2, 1991 (11 years old)
“Today was so fun. I got to go to the mall with Mandi. I like her a lot. We need to get a best friends necklace. I am trying to spend more time dooing things like organizing my stuff, cleaning my room, keeping myself clean, and listening to the radio. I keep myself cleen enough, but I want to brush my teeth more, wash my face more, and stuff like that.”
-I love how random my list of things to do becomes once I throw in “listening to the radio”. I also noticed that at this age I have almost no thought continuity whatsoever – I just abruptly jump from subject to subject. Paragraphs? Don’t need no stinkin‘ paragraphs!
April 8, 1991 (11 years old)
“I need a boy that I can tell my troubles to. Stuff like that. I like my friends, but sometimes a girl just won’t do. I need a boy! My life needs it desperatly!”
–Uh oh, I sense the beginning of countless unnecessary hours of angst.
April 26, 1991 (11 years old)
” One of my dreames came true today. Mom and dad had to go to a dinner at 6:30. Well Kelli and I couldn’t go so we stayed home and ordered pizza from LaRosa’s! We ordered it at 7:17. We ate it while watching Full House, Family Matters, and Perfect Strangers. Tomorrow Mandi is coming to help with the garage sale.”
-Dream big, kids. Not sure why I felt that recording the exact minute we ordered pizza was important. Also – the randomness is still alive and well.
May 6, 1991 (11 years old)
I don’t know why Mom had to go and ruin this?! I mean, gosh it is just a dance! Mom won’t let me go to Mandi’s school dance! I can’t do anything. Practicly everybody is allowed to go to a dance.
I am so mad I can barely write! My life is so boring nothing ever happens! I barely go anywhere or do anything important.”
-Oh Mom – ruiner of dreams. If only I had gone to that dance, maybe my life would have turned out better! 🙂
June 9, 1991 (11 years old)
Kelli just broke my headband. She doesn’t even have to pay for it! It was my favorite headband! I look horrid without it. She is bragging it up to me that she doesn’t have to pay for it. Sometime I’ll break something of hers and refuse to pay and we’ll see how she feel about it then!”
-You just better sleep with one eye open, Kelli. Its coming….oh – its coming.
Act 2: Leaving Childhood in the Dust; The Descent into Middle School Hell
July 11, 1991 (12 years old)
“Oh gosh. Every time I think about or see Nick I get this weired feeling. Probably love. Mandi said she read in a book that when you are in love, you get a strange fealing that you can’t explain.”
-So matter of fact: “probably love”. And something else you should know – I pretty much thought of Mandi as the final authority on anything, so if she said it I knew it was true. Like the time she told me that Paula Abdul was 16% African American – I told my mom the news and when she said that didn’t make sense I simply replied: “But Mandi said she is” .
July 31, 1991 (12 years old)
“Guess what: James likes me! Today when I left the picknick he took Mandi over and said ‘there is something I need to tell you, but you’ll gab’. She said ‘no I won’t’. He said ‘well I kind of like Kim but don’t tell anybody’. Then at Bible School Mandi told me everything. I sort of like him. I want to say yes if he asks me to go with him. Sort of as a bridge between me and Nick. So I can say I have a boyfriend and be cool around Nick! Finally, someone decent likes me.”
-Wow. A bridge? I’d never even had a real boyfriend but I was already a cold hearted snake!
September 30, 1991 (12 years old)
“I don’t like Nick anymore. I mean, I like him as a friend, but the krush feeling isn’t there anymore. Its like he has multiple personalities, because when he’s with his friends he’s snobby, but when he’s alone, he acts sweet and responsible. I guess there’s no such thing as a 12 year old boy who’s nice, sweet, responsible, popular, not snobby, and a gentleman, and funny, and happy all the time. If there is, I’ve never met one. I’m getting a boy pen pal who’s 12 years old. Maybe he’ll cheer me up. I need it. He won’t like me. I bet he won’t write to me at all.”
-I don’t know whether to laugh at my specification that the boy be “happy all the time” or to be sad about the last two sentences.
November 11, 1991 (12 years old)
“Well, today was quite a day. I got all mad at mom because she wouldn’t let me have a pizza pocket. I started crying and everything. I don’t know why. All of a sudden my emotions went PLOP! My mood changed and I got histerical over lunch. I don’t know what my problem was.”
-I hate it when my emotions go PLOP. Ahh – those wonderful hormones.
February 29 and March 1, 1992 (12 years old)
“Mandi said James gave her a note to give me. I can’t wait to get it! This will be so funny! I don’t know why he didn’t just give up by now. Its been since July.”
“Oh my gosh! Mandi gave me a copy of the note! I have it but I’ll copy it down in case I loose it.
I know this may come as a big surprise but will you go with me. I’ve liked you for a long time and I figure whats it worth liking you if I never ask you. I mean your really pretty and nice and all, but I get tired of being asked who I like and saying you and then fealing bad because they ask me why I’m not going with you. I like you so much and for the first time its more than just being pretty its all the things about you. Just give me a chance and if you don’t like me then its over.
-That is actually a pretty mature note for a 12 year old boy – and very sincere. Apparently it did not impress me – and I’m feeling strangely guilty. But not too guilty – he has a wife and children now so his life turned out all right despite my cold-hearted-snakeness.
July 6, 1992 (13 years old, written from church camp)
“I hate this! Camp is so retarded! I hate the rules. I’ve been coming here for five years and the counselors never paid attention to the stupid rules before. Now we are totally bombarded with retarded rules. Like no headphones. Next year I go to be a counselor for the little kid’s week or I don’t go at all!”
July 16, 1992
“Okay – cancel everything I said in my last entry. I loved camp. It was one of if not the best years of camp. Probably the best.”
-Darn counselors and their no headphones at camp rules.
December 19, 1992 (13 years old)
I am so short. I hate being short. I have a terrible figure and disgusting skin. I am making a list of things to eliminate from my life:
-????? I’m still scratching my head over that one. And I guess I figured out that eliminating soap from my life would not help with the skin problem…
January 28, 1993 (13 years old)
“Why are parents so….so….I don’t know the word for it but whatever it is, they are like that! I asked my mom to take Lindsey and me to the mall after she dropped Kelli off at a birthday party. But of course, she doesn’t feel like going to the mall today. When does she ever? I’m not asking her to make a big huge sacrifice or anything. Just go to the mall. I think she can entertain herself looking at furniture or something for a couple of hours. I hate being 13. I want to be 16 so I can drive myself to the mall so I won’t be imprisoned in this house.”
-Yeah, Mom. Can’t you just look at furniture or something? I know you surely can’t have anything better to do! 🙂
Act 3: Light at the End of the Tunnel: Morphing Back into a real Human
November 11, 1993 (14 years old)
“I can’t believe I haven’t written in so long! I just never find the time anymore. Well its another exciting Friday night at my house! Me and Lindsey played the alphabet game and sang Rockin‘ Around the Christmas Tree all night. But my boring weekends don’t bother me anymore now that I feel like I have more of a life. I’m so tired! I have zillions upon zillions of things I could write about but I’m ready to fall asleep.”
-A breath of fresh air. I’m already sounding more coherent.
September 17, 1994 (15 years old)
Today Lindsey and I had fun just doing nothing all day. Then I went to a band competition at Campbell County High School with the flag team. We had a lot of fun. I can’t think of a lot to write these days: I think I changed a lot over the summer. Camp was great. School is okay. I think I like being a sophomore better than being a freshman. Having a study hall is very cool!
-I even recognize me now!
If you’re still with me after all those entries – thanks for indulging my walk down memory lane. As I read back through the excerpts I decided to post I can’t help but be struck by all that I purposely left out. I did bare my soul to some extent, but even now, 12 – 15 years later as a married, home owning woman with an awesome family and large circle of friends, I’m still embarrassed by many of the entries. I cringe at their uncomfortable dorky-ness and how obsessive I was about so many events/situations. Maybe we all have a 12 year old girl lurking inside of us, ready to come out and attack when she senses a vulnerability.
Anyway, my apologies to everyone I spoke ill of in my journal entries, especially Mom – remember, middle school kids and their brains are not completely human. I didn’t give you much credit back then but I could never repay you for all you selflessly did and continue to do for me. So once again – thanks to everyone I knew back then for putting up with me during my “wonder years”. Despite all the angst in my journal, I really do have so many fun, humorous, and fond memories of those times…..but I would never want to go back!!!