I started writing in a journal when I was in the sixth grade. My sixth grade teacher presented everyone in the class with a Mead notebook and told us that she wanted us to write at least a half page every day. After the first few weeks, I was writing at least three pages each day, and every time I finished a notebook, my teacher would present me with a fresh one.
I wrote in my notebooks all through high school and all through college and I’m sure if I was able to stack them, they would hit me above the belt. (Sadly, many of them have been lost along the way and a few were damaged beyond repair in a flooded basement.)
Here’s the weird thing. For many years, I’ve been telling people (and when I say “I’ve been telling people” I’m not really sure that I’ve mentioned it to anyone other than myself) that I burned my college journal, mainly because I didn’t like who I was back then—not focused, not very bright, too worried about what everyone else thought about me, etc.
This morning I was clearing out some of the final boxes at the old house, and I came across the journal that I thought I had burned. (I actually have memories of burning it. What in the hell did I set on fire that night?!) I brought it home with me, and this evening I read over 100 pages of it. It’s horrible. HORRIBLE. I actually considered sharing some of it here with you, but there is honestly nothing to share. As I read I kept thinking, “Where is the funny part? Is there ever a funny part? Is there even a HAPPY part?” Every single page of that thing is filled with jealousy and insecurity and ugliness and self-pity and when I first saw it at the house this morning, I actually gasped and smiled and thought about how I’ll share it with the girls someday.
The girls will never see the inside of the journal. In fact, I’ve already put it aside to feed our first fire when the temperatures start to cool down. (I’ll remove the plastic reflector from the front cover first because I Love The Environment.)
I always say (not always, but sometimes) that my high school years were my worst years (I rarely left the house and spent most of my free time practicing for piano competitions) and my college years were my best years (I rarely stayed in my room and spent most of my free time dipping French fries in ice cream and going on adventures with my best friend). The college journal is not about ice cream and shenanigans. The college journal is a story about a girl who desperately craves attention that she honestly doesn’t feel she deserves.
I’m not sure what else to say other than: I’m glad the Fluid Pudding thing happened. I still puke ugly into a notebook when I need to release steam, but I mainly collect the good stuff for you. I’m bummed that I didn’t collect the good stuff from 1988-1993. There really was a lot of good stuff from back then, and it sucks that my memories are fading as the years speed by.
I *did* write a poem (as one does) titled The ABCs of Angie back in 1990. I can’t share all of it (because I NAME NAMES), but here are some highlights:
A is for Angelic. I should be a nun.
B is for Boys. But why? I have none!
G is for God. He thinks I am neat.
H is for Ho-Hos. My favorite treat!
I is for Immaculate. Pure beyond compare.
J is for Jolly. Happy everywhere?
Q is for Quality, and mine is okay.
R is for Reality. It gets in the way.
U is for Understanding, whether happy or battered.
V is for Vomiting on the way home from Shattered.
W is for Wanting, and it never pays.
X is for Xerox. Don’t copy my ways.
Y is for Yes. Something I want to say.
11 thoughts on “Even Morrissey wouldn’t put my words to music.”
Z is indeed for zebra
Classic — that poem is *so* you!
This is fascinating because I definitely see you as a superior sort of human in a psychic sense. You seem mostly undamaged and unhorrible and all the things I wish I was.
So maybe everyone is like that in college?
Or maybe I have a wrong opinion of you?
Or maybe you evolved in a super duper way?
But I kind of think it is the first one. I’m not saying you don’t have problems or flaws or anything. Just there’s some gaping wound people display on blogs on a fairly regular basis and you do not display it. I’ve been reading your blog for years so I’d figure you’d have displayed it by now!
Z is for zamboni.
Were any of your good times spent at the Shack, or was the Shack even still there when you were at the Zoo.
Have you seen Mortified? It’s on Netflix — there’s a doc and I think a series too. Basically people reading passages from old journals — most are “wow, I’m glad I’m not like that anymore” funny. It almost makes me wish I didn’t shred the journal that I kept in high school! The angsty poems may have been worth it…but then I wonder if it would just be too icky to re-read.
Take a deep breath, give a mental hug to that girl who wrote the journal and then high-five the woman you have become. You’ve come a long way, Baby. (And I mean that in an empowering, appreciative sort of way.)
It’s so interesting that the interior dialogue you were documenting in your journal is so different from the acted experience and what you remember. I totally understand the impulse to burn and as a sporadic and bad journal writer, I have struggled with keeping or tossing. There’s one I’ll always keep from an important time in my life, but I’ll be dead before anyone reads it. Old journals are so mortifying to me.
I would never want to be judged on the girl I was in college. But I couldn’t have been completely toxic then – the best man I ever met fell in love with me then.
“Somewhere in my wicked, miserable past, I must have done something good.”
Name that tune.
V: you are not alone.
I don’t want to sound judge-y, but I just threw up in my mouth. I’m glad you turned into you, is what I’m saying. Everyone wins!
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