Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Burn Before Reading: I do not recommend you re-read your childhood diaries

Going through my childhood journals (Vols. 1-26) at age twenty-five was perhaps not one of my greatest ideas. My dad shipped me a collection of journals I’d written in at various awkward stages of my life which I had requested in order to review, and if the desire struck, burn. While I had expected to find angsty poems over lost spelling bees and sweaters purchased at full price right before they went on sale, what I actually found were feelings (I have been searching for an adequate synonym for “feelings,” and I’m afraid it can’t be done so the word will have to stay put) I had done a damn fine job of shoving into a corner of my mind which collected a lot of dust over the years. In other words, I had no idea I’ve had such a hard life … ?

Naturally, I shared this discovery with my parents so they could feel equally bad about my ruined childhood. I also occasionally alluded to “what I had been through” without specifically mentioning what this actually was, which leads me to believe I might want to check police reports to see if I had survived childhood imprisonment/torture of any kind. I might have been referring to braces.

What is evident:
  1. The high quantity and variety of clubs, teams, and activities joined and almost immediately dropped out of stays at a pretty consistent level throughout my entire life
  2. The sheer number of boys mentioned from the moment I learned to write onward is astounding, and I have no idea who over half of these people are
  3. My confusion surrounding the word “boyfriend” becomes pretty evident in earlier monologues, particularly in grade one when various (remarkably senior) male actors are mentioned
  4. I changed the spelling of my name three times.
Of course there were still some valuable entries that withstood the test of time and continue to amuse me, such as:
  • “I LOVE VOLLEYBALL! VOLLEYBALL VOLLEYBALL VOLLEYBALL!!!!!”
  • Oh no my pen is dying I have to find oh here I found a new pen sorry it’s blue!”
  • “MY MOM SMOCKED ONCE [sic]!!!” (She continues to deny this allegation.)
  • “I don’t understand how I can live in this house. There are bugs everywhere. A jaguar can’t scare me, but bugs can.” 5/17/? (I had encountered many jaguars in the wilds of Highland Park, Illinois, none of which scared me at all.)
  • “Things to do every day: 1. Floss teeth 2. 8-Minute Abs 3. Look for guys 4. Practice guitar”
I no longer do 8-minute abs, play guitar, or repeatedly try out for cheerleading squad. I am no longer on yearbook staff (one meeting attended, for free cookies), Spanish club (one meeting attended, free pan de muerto), or track (one event attempted, hurdles - last place. free pizza.). On the other hand, I have not had braces for over eleven years and I look forward to many years to come of not having braces. I cannot stress enough, unless you want to lie awake half the night wondering who you are going to eat lunch with tomorrow, until eventually you realize that you don't even have a cafeteria, maybe it's best to just let yourself assume that you wrote about puppies, Christmas, and attractive celebrities who were way way too old for you.

1 comment:

stageoflife said...

Ashley,

I came across you blog today. I loved it!

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Please reach out to me. My contact information is below.

ET

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Eric Thiegs
CEO/Founder
Stage of Life
www.stageoflife.com
You can reach me through my blog or the website's Contact page.