Dear Old Journal: Why So Dramatic?

Over the holidays last year, my mom told me the inevitable – that I really needed to clean out all my old stuff.  Let’s be clear: I’m 31 and haven’t lived at home for a long time.  So I was sure the boxes of stuff in the basement from high school would be filled with junk that could be tossed.   Little did I know that what I would unearth was about forty childhood journals.  Yes, journals that are scribbled and doodled and tear-stained.  And yes, they’re fairly priceless.   The following is an excerpt from my brain, age 11.  It’s the earliest one I could find.  In CAPS are my thoughts now.

Dear PJ © (Yes, I added a copyright symbol to my journal’s name. Also, I think “PJ” stood for “personal journal”. SO CLEVER),

Let me introduce myself.  I’m Audrey Wauchope, age 11, red hair and in 7th grade.  (Very formal introduction, Audrey. Also, you can see I’ve always identified with my red hair.) I have straight red hair with 2 stupid cowlicks that stick up straight in the back of my head.  (Ahh, the hair again!) My face is stuffed with freckles that blotch up during the summer. (Thank you, Freckle Juice! It’s amazing I have any confidence now.)

This journal is where I’m going to write my personal thoughts and experiences. (Experiences? I was eleven!)

My family consists of mom, dad, Vanessa-10, Katie-9, Clyde-6, Calvin-4 and Sparky (our dog) – 2.  We used to live in NYC but we moved to Westport CT when I was 6. (Here, I drew an “I ♥ NY’ graphic.)  But, I like Westport better. (Hmm, no illustration on that one.) I like to go to NYC still but I like all the fresh air and freeness here. (Wow, good sales pitch, parentals.)

(Here’s where it gets juicy!) Now, I’d like to tell you about my friend Kristie Meyers (Name has been changed to protect the people I recently found on Facebook) – we started a prolonged friendship that is now in jeopardy.  (I always liked fancy words.)  We used to play for hours together.  In 5th grade she moved to Australia and I gave her a best friends necklace. (Please tell me they still make these!) We decided anytime we saw each other we would exchange halves of it.  After about 1,000 letters and 1 year she moved back to South Africa.  At Christmas of that year, we saw each other  when she visited.  But since then, we have not written to each other.  These have been confusing months. I’m just not sure what’s going to happen.

(I think I just found my first post-break-up letter! Why do I sound like I have a broken heart? Oh my God, this is amazing. Why was I so dramatic?)

This journal entry is about five hand written pages longer so I’ll save those amazing tidbits of 11-year old insight for later. Just know that Kristi and I never switched back our BFF halves. I did, however, find her super hot older brother on Facebook fifteen years later.  I now  have a new best friend who I don’t share a BFF necklace with, but am starting to think that I should.

Women of all ages – never throw away those journals!  These are the stuff that midnight laughter is made of.  Plus, who doesn’t want to rehash the drama of middle school?

  • Janine Monasterial

    I actually am going through my high school journal right now and am laughing my heart out! :))

  • Amalia Pantazi

    Whenever something funny or just odd happend at school, I’d write it down on my journal, but not just write it, you know. I got theatrical. With dialogues and everything, and even some details that make a difference, like for example that my friend’s mum (who’d got involved in the incident) had come to pick him up from school in her slippers (true story). I’m so glad I did that, this stuff is priceless! 😀

  • Sílvia Juncà

    I will certainly put myself through this hilarious (I hope!) experience when I get back home! I’m sure I’ll find overrated drama in my diaries, I’m a drama queen still… :) Maybe in ten years we will think that in 2011 we were still oh-so-dramatic don’t you think? 😀

  • Audrey Leihser

    I love going through my old journals from junior high and high school. Even my old LiveJournal blog from my freshman and sophomore years of college is a wealth of melodrama. Lots of tears, exclamation points, and pointless worrying went into those journals! What a great reminder that the things that seem so HUGE now will probably seem silly and even hilarious ten years from now. Also, I definitely introduced myself in the same way in my journals (and my name is Audrey too — it’s the best name ever).

  • K.D. Cox

    I went through two of my journals from middle school/early high school. The way I wrote was total drama queen-academy award winner material right therr. It is so funny to read about old crushes and how I thought the world was ending every time something bad happened. :)

  • Patricia Serrano

    I think I would feel ashamed of myself reading my thoughst from years back… that´s why I have never had a journal…. mmm interesting. I should tell this to my therapist!

  • Elisabeth Miller

    I LOVE my old journals/diaries! I totally named my early diaries, as well, because Anne Frank named hers.

  • Iris Casarez

    I never kept my journals but I did keep notes my best friend and I wrote on our first job together in a telemarketing pace..sometimes I stumble by them and they still crack me up..

  • Angie Marie

    I am horrified of my old journals. I kept them, but I still feel ashamed when I read them. Ugh so embarrassing.

  • Alexis Kate Levin

    I have all of mine too! I used to lie to my diary so when the daughter I will eventually have will think I had an exciting life at 6 years old. I’m seriously thinking about taking the best entries from 1985 until about 2006 and “writing” a book…

  • Ryan Dowler

    Hilarious Audrey! This same thing happened to me last time I went home. I found 6 journals filled with things I can’t believe I wrote. Unlike your clever words, at 11 I figured out how to swear. Totally must have been cool at that age to say the “B” word. I was totally boy crazy and really into hanging out with my friends. Some things never change. Thanks for sharing. Love your writing. xoxo

  • Karen Datangel

    Haha I have about 16-17 handwritten journals I’ve kept since I was ten years old (I’m now 23). I definitely get embarrassed reading those things but it’s amusing to see how I’ve grown over the years. I’ve gone with the times and now use LiveJournal to gather my innermost thoughts, but I would definitely like to try the good ol’-fashioned writing thing again!

  • Heather Mckown

    i had one from when i was 8…it was so adorable.

  • Katie Daniels

    I recently found old poems I had written when I was young, and they are so dramatic too! You would think I had the most serious relationships followed by terrible heartbreak, and I was like 12. Haha!

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