Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dear Diary,

Before there were blogs there were diaries. Diaries scribbled in purple glitter pens and #2 pencils. I was a diary kind of girl. I remember having a Holly Hobby diary with a tiny gold key when I was a kid. That key was pretty flimsy so I knew better than to write anything damning in it. By damning I mean anything about boys, my older brother, or my parents' constant fighting. I did write about how that neighbor girl Anne stole my turquoise and silver horseshoe shaped ring. Instead I even left the diary open in front of her in hopes that she'd read it and know that I was on to her. I also wrote about inane things like what I wore to school. I chronicled every outfit I wore for a full year in fifth grade. I know, I know. Boring. Imagine if that were my blog. Even my own family wouldn't read it. But that was only the beginning of my diary keeping.

I have been fortunate enough to travel through much of Europe and India. I kept a travel journal on every trip. On one trip through Germany, Switzerland, and Italy I jotted down every meal I ate. Thankfully I didn't count the calories. On an annual Key West trip I used to capture funny quotes that anyone in our little foursome said. Most of those are not fit for blogosphere consumption. We still read those quotes when we get together and bust a gut, our guts a bit bigger than they used to be.

My mom happened upon a travel journal I started 24 years ago to the day. The first entry is March 8, 1985. I was 16 years old, traveling alone from boarding school to visit my mom in Washington, D.C. Here's a taste of my high school junior self.

"I'm on the train now so this is gonna be pretty messy. There are a ton of CHAUD guys in today. I played my moves cool and ended up sitting beside a good catch. From a distance he looks just like Scoot (minus the braces). Close up he looks like a cross between Scoot and Michael. Not bad! In front of me is a tall, good looking golfer and skier (he had one helluva time getting on the train with golf clubs and skis!). A couple of seats behind me is a real sexy guy who is a chich dresser. He kinda resembles Stephan but this guy is plus chaud. Scttered around up front are various fellas, most of which are rated as at least an 8.5. This is great! Well, I better aller. I wish it wasn't raining. Tres depressing!"

Now for the writer's scalpel.

I told you that tidiness has always been paramount. I even felt the need to justify messy handwriting. Notice my fine use of French. I'm certain Madame Pealer, my high school French teacher, would be proud. I love how I thought I had any moves, much less cool ones. I still don't have any moves, at least any that don't embarrass my kids and Mac Daddy. As for Scoot and Michael, I have no idea who they are. Did I really know a boy called Scoot? Was he named after a verb or a dog? And exactly how much does a 16-year old girl know about sexy? I mean, it was 1985, before girls shopped at Hoochies R Us. And again I ask, who was Stephan? Was there a foreign (s)exchange student I've forgotten? Clearly those hot guys made a lasting impression. I'm also curious what constitued an 8.5, much less a 10. Clearly the hot boys were not enough to perk me up from the rain.

Suffice it to say I simultaneously cringe and crack up reading this. A peek into my 16 year-old self sure makes me damn glad to be 40. We'll wait and see how these blog's words make me feel 24 years from now...when I'm 64. Cue the Beatles.
Dear Diary,SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Anonymous said...

You are so brave to post your diary entry! I think I've destroyed any and all evidence of my diary days.

Anonymous said...

Cue the Beatles, that's funny. Isn't it amazing how we grow and change as writers? I read papers I did in high school, and I'm like "whoah, how was I so smart sounding back then?" Of course, when you're trying to impress the teacher, the big words and high concepts flow right out.

I never kept a journal on a regular basis. Blogging has been good for me. And I keep the big words to a minimum!

Convertible Girl said...

Just found you through Marty -- enjoyed the blog. So how long do you hold onto those old diaries and journals? I have an old stack and keep thinking I should throw them away, but somehow it feels like throwing out part of my brain.

Anonymous said...

I was (and still am) a diary girl too. I've kept them with some regularity since fourth grade and I have them all at my apartment. I also cringe when I go back and read entries from my 16-year-old self. I assure you that, while they too were filled with thoughts on cute boys, the entries weren't nearly as descriptive as yours. I write in my journal less and less now that I spend so much time online. But I still make time to write in my journal at least once a month (usually when I'm premenstrual and want to vent).

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