Yesterday's urgent cleaning task was a box marked Memory down in the basement storage. CLEARLY that box needs to be sorted out RIGHT NOW; it will make ALL the difference in the overall cleanliness of the house! I'm tossing out my old diaries, the ones from my teenage years. I've saved them for two decades on average, and I'm still not interested in reading them. Furthermore, when I DO read a little bit of one, it's excruciating. Not ha-ha excruciating, just excruciating. I went through and pulled out the photos (my family's living room in 1986! the boy I had a crush on for four years!), but the rest of this crap is getting pitched.
You may wonder if I am not being a bit hasty here. Perhaps in my crazed-bumblebee cleaning frenzy I am making rash decisions. But no: I've been thinking for a few years that it's time to stop saving the diaries, and I waited this long only because I wanted to avoid being hasty and rash but couldn't bear the necessary task of going through them first.
I'd thought, back when I was writing these drippy, emotional, overly self-aware tributes to self-absorption, that as an adult I'd want to go back and read admiringly about my younger self, but in fact I would pay CASH MONEY not to have to. It's not JUST that I was so lame, it's that I was so very sure of my non-lameness. This is the sort of thing that causes a person to wonder squirmingly how she'll feel in twenty years about her 30s.
Oh, hey, here's what I was looking for in a husband at age 15:
- nice eyes that show inside emotion
- a very sensitive sense of humor but can be serious
- never (or at least rarely) late
- likes to take walks
- likes to hold hands
- likes to shop
- not a male chauvinist
- sends me flowers and balloons and stuff
- doesn't like football or baseball
- generally cheerful
- good hygiene
- strong but not too macho
Here's the timeline of my first romantic relationship:
- August 12 - asked me out
- August 14 - called me long-distance
- August 20 - visited with his parents
- August 27 - took me to see Abyss and for frozen yogurt and a walk with his parents
- September 22 - broke up with me
One highlight from a college journal: "I am a difficult, irritable, cranky, critical, complainy person. How can I change this?" GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, college girl!
Here is a list:
FRIMPINGIt's all in caps like that. What does it...mean?
Here's a poem that is better than all my other high school and college poetry by merit of being SHORTER:
so you say
you love me.
Here is my high school prom budget:
$100 prom dressPlease note that this was for an IMAGINARY prom: I had a crush on a junior boy I'd never even talked to, and was imagining how much money I'd need if he invited me to his prom. Which he did not do, and that was unsurprising because we'd NEVER MET.
$10 chewing gum for crash diet
$40 dyed-to-match shoes
$5 silver ankle bracelet
$4 two pairs of nylons
$4 nail polish
Basic composition of high school journals:
50% boys boys boys boys OMG boys!
25% lame, self-conscious sarcasm
20% song lyrics
Basic composition of college journals:
40% boys boys boys boys OMG boys!
25% lame, self-conscious sarcasm
25% lame introspection
10% song lyrics
Clearly this is not information to preserve for the ages, and I am speaking from the point of view of someone who has just paged wincingly through hundreds and hundreds of pages of "I LOVE JIMMY!!!! He is SOOOOOO CUTE!!!!" with hearts doodled all around. FLINCH.
I'm remembering how my mom saved her old journals "for her daughter to read one day," and she finally let me read them when I was in my teens, and I suffered through about half of one journal before handing them back. I really DIDN'T want to read about my mom pining for some boy, and reading MYSELF doing it is if anything EVEN WORSE. For years I regretted my impulsive decision to burn all the diaries of a 2-year high school relationship that ended badly, but now I'm GRATEFUL: those diaries are so much better in my imagination.
I did have a couple of good finds. One is a note from my high school physics teacher on an assignment:
You have convinced yourself that you are going to get these exercises wrong no matter how many silly mistakes you have to make. Why do you insist on making life hard for yourself?
I'm saving that. The other good find is lists of my favorite baby names from 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1988. I'm going to post those over at the baby names blog.