I stayed at my parents house this weekend and woke up early, looking for a book to read. Instead, I discovered three journals which I kept from ages 15 to 17. I sat in the same bed I wrote them in and read.
The themes surprised me.
I expected a lot of angst and frustration about my parents, but they were scarcely mentioned. Out of the hundreds, there was only one entry in which they were the focus and that was to say that I wanted to be free, which is pretty unoriginal.
I also anticipated a great deal of bemoaning the fact that I didn’t have a boyfriend because, when I look back on that time, I think of that being the center of my miserable high school existence. However, most of my discussion about boys was really that I wanted to befriend more of them because hanging out with girls had become tiring and petty. I even recounted an entire romance I had completely forgotten, in which I was the one being pursued but I just wanted to be friends. I did mention boys that I ‘liked’ but, in retrospect, it seems that I was the fickle one. There was a new boy about every single entry and I changed my mind about my feelings every other day. This was eye-opening. Previously, I had been convinced that, at that time in my life, boys did not like me.
Perhaps the most surprising of all themes was the tremendous pressure I had put on myself to succeed. Almost every single entry refers to a test, a race, a match, or a recital, to which I was ‘sick to my stomach’ over. They are entries begging, please God, please, let me win, let me come in first, let my teacher praise me, let me get the solo, let me be the best. Honestly, this obsession was a little shocking because it is something that I do not recollect at all.
As I learn to write for a teenage audience, I find these journal entries invaluable. Obviously, I have a lot of misconceptions about my teenage life as a girl who was ‘angry at her parents’ and ‘sad about not having a boyfriend’. In actuality, I may have just been a compulsive overachiever breaking boys hearts with wild ambitions to be free.
Interesting. Very interesting indeed.