September 27, 2008


I'm just going to keep going through the diaries until I get bored with it. Who knows how long that will be, considering how long I maintained interest in WRITING these awful things. You may want to go do something else for awhile. Like, okay, go make these brownies, but instead of salt, put in a bag of Andes mint baking chips and 1/2 t. peppermint extract, and add a few minutes to the baking time. MMMMMmmmmm.

Swistle age 12
(just got my braces off that very day)
(notice haphazard bangs: DOUBLE COWLICK)

I'm continuing through my journal from age 11-12. Here's an example of what a little planner I was:
Some things I'd like to do or have or whatever when I'm a teenager are: Have one thing I eat when I'm upset. I read a book about a girl who ate pistatios when she was upset. Maybe I'll eat saltine crackers. I also think I want one boyfriend (some freckles on him would be nice) who is my best boyfriend, and then I don't care if that's all the boyfriends I have or if I have seven more.
I think that was pretty flexible of me, don't you? Pistachios are expensive but saltines are cheap, and I was okay with ANY number of boyfriends up to and including eight. And I only had physical-attribute suggestions for the FIRST one.

I remember the very book I was referring to there. It was called The Pistachio Prescription, it was by Paula Danzinger, and I see they reprinted it in 2006. I liked the lead character's name, which was Cassandra.

Let's skip ahead to a couple of months after I announced my crush on David.
I am hopelessly in love (at least I think I am) with David. I don't want him to kiss me or anything, but I want him to like me for what I am. I think he might like (or maybe love!!) me already but he's trying not to show it. He smiles at me a lot and when he's grumpy and I get mad at him, he always apologizes VERY quickly.
ZO-kay, well obviously this was the early days of Female Delusion Syndrome, in which men who show zero interest are presumed to be hiding that interest. We are talking about an 11-year-old boy here. Considering he was outnumbered by girls and a good half-foot shorter than the shortest of us, I'd say the quick apologizing was a smart tactical maneuver.

Then there is page after page after PAGE of fantasy valentines and fantasy notes---and, most agonizing of all, fantasy SCRIPTS in which I have David confessing his secret love for me and only me, and in which I explain that I had been afraid to tell him I felt the same way until I was sure of his returned feelings. In each script, he brings a flower to the conversation: a daisy, a pink rose, etc. WINCE, GAG.

Okay, and then there is a gap of FOUR MONTHS, followed by this entry:
I think I'm going to crack. David doesn't love me. David doesn't even LIKE me. I think I'll just have to give up on him. Maybe he once had a crush on me, or maybe he'll love me in the future, but right now he thinks I'm a flirtatios, ugly brat. (Unless he's just pretending, which I dought.) I'll probley still love him for awhile though.
Well, gosh! What happened? I don't remember at all! Notice I still allow for the possibility that he's just HIDING his true feelings under a FALSE FRONT of dislike. Also: notice my misspelling of "flirtatios" is similar to my misspelling of "pistatios," above.

Luckily the heart mendeth with time, and within days I'm announcing a new crush, the new boy in school:
This time I think I've finally found a boy who loves me back. On the first day of school he said that he liked girls. I really would not be surprised if he kisses girls. I think that my love for him is different from my love of David. With David, I was in love with his appearance and not his personality. With Christopher I really do hurt with him and laugh with him. I think Christopher would make a good husband for me.* If I were to marry David I think I'd live to regret it.
ACK. FLINCH. BLUSH. The asterisk leads to this note at the bottom of the page: "*But I have no intentions of actually marrying him." Ermmmm-kay, noted.

This is all of two weeks after meeting Christopher, and I could not have been more wrong about his husband potential. Rookie mistake: thinking charm and good looks equal good person. He sure did capture the imagination, though. My old classmates Jen and Heather can back me up on this: was he THE CUTEST, Jen and Heather, or WHAT? I think every girl in fifth, sixth, and seventh grade liked him, and probably even the fourth-grade girls raised an eyebrow in his direction. Tall, blond, blue eyes, VERY FLIRTY in a group of kids where all the other boys were still going, "Huh? What?" Plus, he had a SPORTS INJURY:
Today Christopher broke his arm. He was being so brave about it that I could just cry. I could tell that the pain was agonizing because he was occasionaly making agonized faces, but he didn't cry like I would have. If he lets us sign his cast, I think I'll dot my i with a heart.
Excellent plan. A couple of weeks later, a newsflash:
CHRISTOPHER LIKES ME! So, you don't believe me, do you, Diary? We went through this all before with David, didn't we, Diary? Well this time I have a note to prove it.
Well, and as it turns out, I DO, and it's taped to the page. In the note he explains why he asked another girl to couple-skate at the roller rink (SHUT. UP. The roller rink was SWINGING), and his explanation includes the fact that he WANTED to ask me, but was "in a bind" because the other girl's sister asked him to ask the other girl. The best part of the note, though, is the end.: "P.S. Remember I only like her as a friend. You on the other hand." ZOMG is that HEADY STUFF or WHAT?? I write:
It's a strange thing, love is. It's very strange to be wild about someone, to wish on every star, and pray every night that that person will love you, and then they tell you that they do and BANG! you're in a confused world that probley every teenager has once visited. That's how it is with me and Chris. It's like he's a stranger; he's not the same boy I loved before, and yet, I can still see the same qualities. Right now I'm just confused. I'm sure, though, that it will clear up soon.
HA HA HA HA HA! Oh, YES, dear, love just clears RIGHT UP. (Also: BARF, WINCE, FLINCH.)

I'd forgotten how this little relationship between 12-year-olds ended, so as I was reading along I was thinking, "Well? WELL??" And geez, it's not pretty, so I'll make it quick: He asked to sit next to me every day at lunch, he gave me his last M&M, he told me "someone" was in love with me. Then he wrote me a note asking how I felt about him, and I risked it and wrote back that I loved him, and he wrote back that he'd been asking because he wanted to know if he'd hurt my feelings if he asked another girl out. He wrote: "So things were going fine and I thought I was falling in love with you, but a couple days ago her friend told me she liked me, which I had figured but I took it as good news. I still like you a lot but not as much as someone else."

YOWK. Do you know, that still makes me feel gaggy, well over twenty years later? What a nasty set-up that was, huh? I don't look back on that and think, "Ha ha, funny little puppy love!" I look back on that and think, "That was BRUTAL."


Leeann said...

Love these diary entries. Love, love, love.


Psuedokim said...

You think it's pathetic having made-up scenarios with boys in school? MY 11-year-old diary contains a made-up relationship with CHRISTOPHER REEVE!!! Yes, I had a thing for Superman in a big, big way. The fact he was twenty years older than me made no difference whatsoever.

Omaha Mama said...

You are so poetic at twelve. Now I must go compare my 12-year old angst, for kicks. Mine ALWAYS involved drama with the boys. There were 6 boys, 6 girls and we all traded each other around like pokemon cards.

Astarte said...

What a little sh*t he was, huh?! Geeze! Although, being a boy, that was probably the best he could think of.

I wonder what boys think, looking back? DO they think?

I don't remember this Christopher person. I do remember Bobby Carter, though, who everyone was in love with, and who broke his back during football in 8th grade. Half the girls in the school were completely apoplectic for about a month (he was fine in the end, in case you don't remember, since you were a year ahead of me and would have been a freshman then). I wasn't in love with him then, but he's one of those guys that, looking back, I should have been rather than the idiots *I* liked!!! He actually turned out to be a totally decent guy, even in high school.

edbteach said...

I loved Paula Danzinger's books! Thanks for the memories. I have to go try and find them now.

euqort said...

Wow. You had me on the edge of my seat. This entry was amazing.

desperate housewife said...

That WAS brutal. And see?? This is exactly why I was terrified of my high school reunion! Because one person might be looking back on youthful indiscretions and thinking glibly, "Ah, what silly little babies we were!" But the other person is still nursing a tender scab which will be ripped open to bleed afresh if they so much as see the person who hurt them! AND THERE'S NO WAY OF KNOWING which way they feel!!

Jess said...

I loved that pistachio book too! Except I never understood why she had to eat those weird red pistachios that dyed her fingers.

Also, that IS brutal. In fifth grade, a classmate told me that my fifth-grade boyfriend (we went on our first, and only, date to the roller rink, too) only asked me out after asking her out and being rejected. I never liked her after that, and I still don't.

Erica said...

You were much more poetic and verbose than I was at the same age. My diary pages would read something like "I will totally die if he doesn't like me. I totally swear it! P.S. Madonna Rules!"

Jessica (a.k.a. Mom) said...

You had me laughing so hard...keep 'em coming.

Mandy said...

LMFAO, these are hilarious, but also make me so grateful that I burned all my diaries after a bad junior high break-up... I mean..c'mon, it was the mature thing to do. Keep these entries coming, I love them!

notthelifeiordered said...

I LOVE these!! I so have to find my journals from when I was 8 and up. I can't imagine the kinds of embarrassing things I could find in there.

Its funny how early the female delusional syndrome starts. AND how quickly we move on to the next boy.

PS. I agree with Erica, I was no where near that verbose at that age.

drowninginlaundry said...

You know what is fun? Looking those guys up on facebook. Let me tell you I looked up every single crush I ever had. Some are still cute and crush worthy - other meh, not so much ;)

Misguided Mommy said...


In fact I think you need a whole new blog where you just transcribe every page of your diarys because this shit is too good!

i want to dig mine out now because this is so awesome


Whimsy said...

Oh the humanity. It's just... so real, the flashbacks to TWELVE. The notes. The m&m-sharing! Yikes.

Also: please post more, this stuff is AWESOME and so much better than a soap opera.

Nowheymama said...

I have been trying to think of the title and author of that book for years!! I can die happy now.

Stimey said...

Amazing and honest and WINCE. My diaries from that age are remarkably similar. I think my diary included props. Like a packet of sugar Toby (Tony?) gave me once. WINCE.

d e v a n said...

That was brutal. My heart aches a little for your 12 year old self.
I was laughing and wincing along with you.

SLynnRo said...

I really REALLY cannot get over that you wrote this when you were 12. Obviously, the feelings are kind of silly, but like intellectually, you were about 15 years older.

Lawyerish said...

These are the greatest blog entries in the history of the world. I have many comments:

(1) As I read the first excerpt, I was all, "The Pistachio Prescription! I remember that book!" Brilliant.

(2) I must have gone to the local Skate Inn about 5,643 times between fifth and eighth grade, and never ONCE was I asked to couple-skate with anyone. I remember sitting on the carpet-covered benches, looking forlornly out at the rink as people skated by holding hands or with their arms around each other to the strains of "Never Say Goodbye" and "Hard to Say I'm Sorry." Still hurts to think about it.

(3) With Christopher, you hurt when he hurts! AHAHAHA. Oh, what an empathetic soul you were.

(4) Christopher was a douche.

Michelle said...

Oh these are so fun. I don't think I could ever get sick of these! The innocence of youth is so sweet.

My personal favorite is how you love the boy but don't want him to kiss you. I wonder how long that one lasted....

So how did you end up in a school with only one (and then two) boy(s)?

Swistle said...

Michelle- It was a teensy little start-up private school. We were in a combined classroom with the grade beneath us (but they were BABIES), and there was just one 6th grade boy. We got a couple more boys the next year, and a couple more the year after that.

Jenni said...

Christopher was a total jerkface. Good thing you didn't marry him.

Pann said...

Good god! It's like you and I wrote THE SAME DIARIES!

Shelly Overlook said...

I knew which book you meant immediately upon the pistachios reference.

Uh, yeah, I'm sure Christopher was quite the player as he got older, but he's probably bald and hairy and ugly now. Twice divorced.

Your diaries are just as mine were and many others, it seems, based on others' comments. Which leads me to wonder - do you think all teenage girls share one gigantic boy-obsessed brain?

Angella said...

I have a box full of journals from my high school years that I am afraid to open.

You are far braver than I. I LOVE these!

Hairline Fracture said...

Ouch. That WAS brutal, the way he set you up and then stabbed you in the heart. (I guess I'm still melodramatic!)

I'm ashamed to admit I suffered from Female Delusional Syndrome until I met my husband (at 21). Before that, I really believed that whatever guy I liked might be hiding his feelings from me. They're GUYS. They're not that complicated. I hope to teach this to my daughter, but she probably won't believe me.

Jen in MI said...

Oh my gosh, he was so cute! And so experienced and worldly to us-dangerous! I remember when he was trying to teach me to skate board, I kept falling off on purpose, of course, so more teaching would be needed...last I heard, though, he was traveling around the country following some band...good you didn't marry him, after all...tell Paul I think you made a smart choice,even at age 12!

Farrell said...

Have you read Sarah Brown's book Cringe? Read it. It's all about this stuff.
I thought of one good reason to keep these journals: when Elizabeth is in middle school and she comes home wailing because so and so looked at her the wrong way and OMIG I JUST CANNOT LIVE ANOTHER DAY --THE HUMILIATION! And you're like "get over it" (in your head, not to her face) because you've got you know, other kids to deal with and a house and husband and bills and etc., you could read an exerpt from your journal and then remember: Oh yeah, that's why she thinks it's the end of the world!
At least, I might employ that plan with soph.

Mairzy said...

Subject matter aside, I love your writing even as a 12-year-old. But good heavens, you were boy-crazy. Or maybe it's just that you wrote it all down. I once wrote down a boy fantasy, then went back about a year later and scribbled it all out with brown marker. I was smart.

Mairzy said...

P.S. August agreed: David was definitely the cute guy in class... until Christopher came. He said he didn't bother envying them all the girls, they were so out of his league. Lucky me. :)

Jen in MI said...

Mairzy-now I'm curious, did you go to school with Swistle and me?

anna said...

These are *awesome*!

Bertino Verse said...

Reading your blog brought the memory of my first date flooding back to me. Yep...7th grade, at the roller rink. He wouldn't skate with me either, and my aspirations for holding hands were firmly squashed by his refusal to step away from the Centipede machine. My evening was pretty much spent standing behind him, watching that damn video game. I later dumped him at the lunch table in front of everyone, and he proceded to crush an apple with his bare hands so hard that the juices were dripping from it. Hmmmm....anger issues at 12. Guess I could have been a little nicer about it. I think he eventually forgave me.

This trips down memory lane are classic!

darren said...

Jen in MI:

Actually, I'm Darren, the one who went to school with you and Swistle. I'm "August" to my wife's "Mairzy." I was one of the 5th grade "babies" - thanks, Swistle :)

You're right about Chris. He was definitely cute, in a dangerous sort of way due to his skating (which is NOT called skateboarding, as I found out quite loudly several times). But I soon tired of trying to be his friend, because he was such a rebel against any authority whatsoever. Even now, with my rather priggish middle-school self 20 years in the past, I can't stand people like that :) Probably why I ended up a lawyer.

I still pray for him and his family occasionally, when I think of it. A lot of potential, but not a lot of fulfillment that I could see.


Swistle said...

Mairzy- I was big on doing what I was supposed to do, and I knew from YA books that this was when I was supposed to be boy-crazy. But I also WAS a little boy-crazy! I used to deliberately create crushes if I didn't feel I had enough of them going on!

Hee! David and Christopher were no cuter than August: the only issue was that NONE of the boys in the lower grade were even on our RADAR. It's funny that a single grade makes such a difference: we thought of them as WAY younger.

zandor said...

I really liked reading that. It was interesting.

Missy said...


That was captivating reading. What will happen next?!

Jane @ Amazing Trips said...

When I was 12, I had just read "Forever" by Judy Blume and my life would NEVER be the same, again.

Even 20+ years later, I feel like I need to send you flowers. Gah. That WAS brutal.

Tiffany said...

Swistle meet Anne. She has a show called Mortified.

Please check it out. I think she may be able to put these journals to good use.

Mairi said...

I am SO digging out my old journals. Right. NOW.

Jen in MI said...

Hey Darren, I get it now! I did see Chris's parents at my mom's funeral, but didn't get a chance to talk to them for too long, so I didn't get any updates. I had more fun with you and your family than any of the other boys', anyway! I remember fondly my family coming to your house for dinner and scattergories!

cedarwaxwing said...

Heh -- I've transcribed a few of my teenage diaries online.

Because I have a teenager now, it is really helpful to read what I wrote back then.

Bird said...

I think that Flirtatios would make an awesome name for a breakfast cereal.

el-e-e said...

I think we all need to eat some brownies after reading that sad little tragedy! Poor Swistle's HEART!


Sarcy said...

Swistle, don't throw 'em out!

I kept diaries, too, from about ages 8 to 16. Most entries induce the same kind of cringing you've mentioned, but I still think it's neat to be able to revisit oneself as a kid.

Heather said...

So, I have to agree with Swistle... at the time Christopher was a very cute boy. He's probably not so cute now though!! I am a little sad that I didn't keep such a fun diary when I was in 6th grade... these are so funny and bring back interesting memories!!

anne altman said...

oh yes! you must submit your teen crap! you need to share the shame!

yours in angst,