Nathalie Reads her Teen Journals and Wishes She Had Burned Them

journalI grew up as a TCK.  Third Culture Kid.  We didn’t have a fancy name for it back then, of course.  The closest thing was “military brat,” and who wants to be called that?  We did have second families in schools that housed other kids like us, though, and I will be forever grateful for the international schools that made all of those transitions bearable.  When more than half the class is new each year, it makes it much easier to start over and over and over again.

Anyway, long story short, none of my juvenilia survived the eight country-to-country moves I made before I turned  15.  Photographs of me in hideous outfits, yes.  Evidence of my early literary brilliance, no.

Once my treasured possessions could travel under my steam, which they did when I left for university, my shit stuff traveled with me.  Therefore, the only remaining evidence of my younger writing self is the box full of journals, beginning with myself at 14, that lives under my bed.

I so very much wish I had left them there.  I so very much wish that I had just made up the post that was due for today.  I sit here feeling rather traumatized and thinking that no deadline, no sense of pride in our publishing record of five posts a week for five years, no adoring audience of three friends and several thousand strangers, nothing on earth, in short, could have made it worth wading through so.  many.  pages.  of.  crap.

I put it off until the very last minute.  I assured myself that something funny, something wry would appear in some of those pages.  I have a treasure trove of material under that bed.  How hard can it be to find something funny?  It will be fun, I said.  It will be a hoot, I said.  How bad can it be? I said.

All that and worse.

On the bright side, I will suffer no writer’s block when I sit down tonight and make today’s entry in my gratitude journal.  I am immeasurably grateful that I am not a teenaged girl.  I am also grateful to my very poor memory, and to the empty glass of beer that sits on my desk, that I will soon forget having had to wade through so.  many.  pages.  of.  crap.

After all of that, I leave you with a mercifully brief selection of entries from the journal I kept when I was 15.  Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

::

The ABCs of Teen Love

September 1985

(Please picture big bubble letters, artfully shaded, and little hearts floating around them)

I love Andrew.

October 1985

(Please picture even more elaborate lettering and floating hearts and, God help me, butterflies.)

I love Benjamin.

December 1985

I had decided I needed to type my love.  I filled an entire page with this:

I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  Does Christopher love me?  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.  I love Christopher.

And for some reason, I saw fit to keep it.

Beth-Anne and Carol, good luck to you.

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11 thoughts on “Nathalie Reads her Teen Journals and Wishes She Had Burned Them

  1. Ha! This sounds like my teenage journals. I’ve been journaling since the fifth grade; I’m sure one day I’ll read through them and wish I hadn’t!

  2. This really, really made me laugh. It also makes me really think that the box of (mercifully unread so far) teenage diaries in the basement needs to be burned…

    • I taught adult literacy in my twenties, but I also had a few young students who came after school for extra help. One of them gave me the gift of a story about Arf the Fish Who Met a Shark. I found the story last night, and I’m sorry to say that I was tempted to plagiarize it just to avoid looking any further for material for this post. Bear this perfidy in mind before you go down to the basement for that box.

  3. I can so relate. My husband and I were gathering some of my belongings from my grandma’s (really my second mom) house. I seen my diary and my heart sank. I knew what was in there. Mostly my undying love for a boy along with some heartbroken entries about my father. IN THE TRASH IT WENT! I couldn’t bear to read it, let alone have my husband be curious to read what went on in my heart at that age! I look forward to reading more of your work 🙂 I’m a newbie with a fiery passion for writing and expressing. Take Care!

  4. I started journaling before I even knew how to read I have a few notebooks that look like they have a few sentences on the first ten or so pages, but in reality they are indistinguishable attempts at writing my first words with only a few recognizable letters. I’ve often thought I should just get rid of these younger attempts at writing since there really is no telling exactly what they say. As I get older though the change is definitely noticeable in my ability to form words, sentences, thoughts. Though a few of the pages are filled with ramblings of how I loved this boy or that boy at certain points of time the rest are filled with the thoughts of a very confused and lost little girl that really make me question the happy childhood I so often picture myself having. I try not to look at my diaries often because they more often make me sad vs. wanting to just burn them.

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