Aside from mounting student loan debt, a revived love for vending machine coffee, and a free pass to use words like “prolific,” my status as a grad student afforded me the chance to unearth old diaries from my parents’ attic over the holidays. The time travel experience was sponsored in part by the southern equivalent of a snowstorm and a desire to remember the days before 21st century kindnesses like “delete post” and “remove tag.”
In addition to discovering a letter I composed to the president using only Bette Midler lyrics, as well as copious sketches of George Burns and Groucho Marx, I had the pleasure of remembering that my tales of a sixth grade nothing were not directed to recipients like “Dear Diary” or “Dear Abby” but to “Dear God.” As evidenced by an entry dated June 1994, my middle school exchanges with the Deity were as awkward as lunchroom conversations with the popular crowd:
Hey! It’s doubting Maureen!! OK, so that isn’t funny. Sorry. … So here’s the deal. If I keep my end of the bargain up, then you work in my heart.
Until next time,
The few times I wasn’t writing like a bookie to the Big Kahuna, I made brief departures to record vastly important entries such as this one in a notebook from 1995:
So, it’s like 1:40 a.m. and of all the times in the world, I can’t go to bed w/o writing something…
Are you ready for what had me sleepless in South Carolina?
I just finished watching this great movie called Sabrina. It sounds superficial, but I wish that some fashion-sensible, makeup know-how person would come along and transform me like Sabrina was. I wish I could know what makeup and clothes to wear to look attractive, but CLASSY and FASHIONABLE. For now I’ll just keep writing and dreaming.
Until next time,
Snowstorms and school breaks aside, the other reason I decided to search for my pre-teen confessions was due to learning about Mortified, a project that began in the late ’90s “in pursuit of personal redemption through public humiliation.” Adults, from amateurs to professional performers, use the stage, the page, and the web to “share their most embarrassing adolescent journals, letters, poems, lyrics, plays, home movies and art in order to reveal stories about their lives.”
It’s fantastic… and not because awkward is lamented, but C E L E B R A T E D.
Before flipping through the pages of my past, I anticipated giving thangst for growing older, wiser, and ever-so-slightly less dramatic. In truth, though, it made me miss the urgency and honesty with which I moved through childhood and adolescence… how I wrote and loved and lived and didn’t feel the need to self-edit. As adults, we might have a lot of things to be mortified by or ashamed of, but out of the mouths of babes? Fuhgeddaboudit.