My diary from 1984 spans most of my 11th year (6th grade). I turned 12 and started junior high that fall. I wrote fewer than 3 dozen entries – several of them being nothing more than declarations of hatred for my mom or my sister (sorry guys) or love for who ever captured my hormones imagination that day. I hadn’t yet discovered my wild side. As a matter of fact, this first entry mentions just having finished a Nancy Drew book (loved her!).
I find the entries difficult to read because I can feel myself editing even in what was supposed to be a private space. I never wrote about my inner thoughts – I mostly prattled on about how boring school was or how cute some boy was. I make only 1 passing mention to my sister who had died 3 months prior to the beginning of this book. I make no mention of the turbulent weekends spent at my dad’s house where things were falling apart since Kelly’s death. I make no mention of the story I worked on for months to enter into a writing competition at my teacher’s urging. I don’t discuss a whole host of things that I remember from that year. I read the words and can feel my 11 year old self making sure the words inside couldn’t be used against me. (By whom? Who knows? Eleven years are sure they are the center of the world and that world is out to get them.) And that makes me sad.
I even apologize in this entry about my diary being boring. I blocked out the names – no one else needs to suffer the embarrassment of my sharing this silly diary. There is a well documented crush in my diary. I remember loving this boy as only an 11 year old girl can. He never liked me in return but that didn’t stop the crush. I remember lying in bed listening to Lionel Richie “Hello” on my clock radio and crying over this boy. I can’t believe I admitted that to the whole internet. *Awkward!*
About halfway through the year, I declared utter contempt for my former love and moved on to coveting older, even less attainable boys. Boys who would likely have been hard pressed to know my name.
Then junior high started. I got a jam box (goodbye clock radio!) for my birthday – I was cool. There was also an entry about my first pair of non-snow boots. I will forever remember those stupid boots. They were slouchy, ankle high black suede – as were all cool boots in 1984. My mom tried to talk me out of them because suede doesn’t do well with snow or rain but I wasn’t to be detered. (Mom if it makes you feel any better, I learned my lesson and have never purchased suede boots again.)
With junior high came dances and a crush on a boy who liked me back. We went together (today’s equivalent of “hanging out”) for a few months. That basically meant we largely ignored one another in public but spent hours on the phone each night.
In addition to dances, junior high started the boy/girl parties featuring the old favorites: spin the bottle, 7 minutes in heaven, and anything else that encouraged kissing.
Reading it reminds me how awkward that age was. I choose to remember the good so my brain often glosses over the rest. I had a pretty average existence in school. There were a few kids everyone gravitated toward, a few everyone shunned, and then everyone else. I was part of everyone else. I had friends. We had fun. But even with that, I can feel the awkward oozing from the pages. Now do me a favor and don’t tell my mom I kissed a boy!