Blast from the past?…, perhaps not

This week a very large package arrived on my front doorstep. My parents have just moved out of the house they lived in for 31 years and they put together a box of things to send me. It’s a veritable time capsule. I was particularly please to be reunited with a shoebox full of pictures and a photo album containing programs, newspaper articles, and pictures of me as a ballet dancer (I was a super cute cat in Peter and the Wolf, I have to say).

And then….

Then I found the bad poetry. This was followed by the notes for my “book” (this was a second “novel,” actually, as I had already written one 27 page tome in 4th grade). And then I came across a really really bad paper I wrote about literacy and the workplace (huh?).

But I saved the best for last….the journals. Three to be exact. Three crappy notebooks filled with the most embarrassing sentiments (and horrible spelling) that my earnest little teenage heart could imagine. Here are some of the things I realized about myself:

  • I had a paper and pen fetish early on
  • I apparently thought that Kelsey was my favorite name (my early diary entries begin, “Dear Kelsey…”)
  • I babysat a lot and thought it was something worth writing about
  • I thought waaaaaaaaaay too much about boys
  • I had a lot of teenage angst (hence the really, really, really bad poetry)
  • I am the queen of mixing “deep thoughts” with utterly banal comments about what I did during the day.
  • I loved writing lists even as a teenager

To demonstrate this last point, I’ll share one entry with you.  The idea for the following “self-improvement” list apparently came from a series of books that belonged to the little girl I was babysitting. I had read one of them because I was bored, and thought that creating a list like one of the main characters would be helpful. Without further ado, here it is:

My Self-Improvement List

  1. My looks–not my physical looks so much as how I present myself.
  2. What I wear–speaks for itself [Really? It does? Shouldn’t this be part of #1?]
  3. Pay close attention to guys [what the hell is that all about? Judging from the rest of the content in this notebook, that’s all I did!]
  4. Sense of humor–have one
  5. Be a good sport–lighten up
  6. Be confident–I like myself, I like myself, I like myself… [I love how this one comes after I point out things I need to “improve”]
  7. Be myself–don’t try to be someone else

That’s my list so far. I’m sure there’ll be more later on.

And to think, this is the least embarrassing entry….oy. At least my spelling got better.

13 responses to this post.

  1. hehe…fortunately, we moved a lot when I was growing up, so I trashed a lot of my journals and stuff when I was younger. I do still have my ones from college, though, and especially the one from freshman year already makes me cringe!


  2. Not only does reading my old high school journal entries make me cringe, but I’m usually depressed for days afterwards.

    My mother-in-law’s approach–she burned all her old journals right before she married–may have been the best one. 🙂


  3. Oh, I wish I could find my old journals. It would be soo funny (and instructive) to read them.

    This is a great post. Thanks for sharing.


  4. Eva: My mom also kept all of the emails I sent to her throughout college (back when email was a relatively new thing). I think those emails and the journals will have to be buried in a drawer somewhere!

    SFP: The only thing that kept me from being depressed about what I was reading was the hope that I had changed rather dramatically in the following years! Although we do have a fireplace now….

    LK: Glad you liked the post! It was a crazy thing to find these because I’d forgotten people’s names, the timing of things, and it was rather fun to look back on it. I’m just pretending that I’m reading somebody else’s journal when things get too embarrassing and I don’t want to claim those thoughts as mine (although I’ll probably keep them just to remind myself how far I’ve come!)


  5. I got rid of a lot of my old journals, although some remain — I can’t bear to read them, though — I’m like SFP with this — it would be too painful.


  6. Posted by Harleyman on October 25, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    Do want me to really embarass you by posting a lot of pictures i.e. bunny in the wallpaper paste…..


  7. Dorothy: That’s why the journals will soon be hidden from my sight. Right now they’re on my desk glaring at me….

    Harleyman: Don’t you dare! Or I’ll have to tell everyone about the trauma my parents put me through (i.e remember Nutmeg?), mwa ha, ha. 🙂


  8. I love #4 – so hilarious. You’ve obviously improved your sense of humour since then if you can post this and laugh. I was looking over some of my teenage journals this year and was also struck with the realization that it was nearly all about boys. And here I had this image of myself as an intellectual and not interested in boys in high school…ha! Perhaps that’s the good thing about keeping journals; despite the cringing it’s a good reality check!


  9. Melanie: I wholeheartedly agree! I had this idea that I was somehow a deep thinker in high school, but boy, was I wrong (although I did carry War and Peace around with me one year–never read it, but it made me look smart I thought). Here’s to many years of looking back and laughing.


  10. I never (thankfully) kept journals when I was young. About the only one I can remember was one of those little girl diaries with the lock and key. It was useless keeping it as I only used initials–who on earth was I talking about–LOL! My 8-year old niece cracks me up with the silly things she does and says and then I think–I was probably just like her. It sort of makes me cringe, but it looks like we all acted that goofy and some things just don’t change.


  11. ROTFL! I still have all my diaries too and they are heavy on the boys too. But I like to keep them to remember events I’ve forgotten. It has to be taken in moderation, though!


  12. Posted by Queen Mother on October 26, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    As your Queen Mother I can tell you that keeping the journals for future enjoyment/reflection is actually a good thing. I have a journal of mine that I started shortly after Harleyman and I were married. It certainly makes me wonder at times how the poor man stayed with me. But of course there were good laughs as well when I read the journal. History (yours included) should never be lost!


  13. So funny! I’ve been reading similar things myself that I found in the midst of our move. I had no idea I’d written so much throughout my life, most of extraordinarily embarrassing stuff.


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