August 01, 2012

Autobiography of My Former Self

I've been digging through the archives of my old journal entries - dating back to fourth grade - as part of my casting sessions for Mortified LA. Because I was so devoted to journaling throughout my childhood, together these diaries form a sort of autobiography of my former self.

I'm supposed to be selecting entries that embarrass me - that I find most mortifying - that make me cringe and say, "I can't believe I wrote that."

But the thing is, even though some of those old diary entries may sound comical when read onstage, reading them in the privacy of my bedroom, as a 36 year old adult woman, just makes me sad.

I was a really sad, troubled little girl. I was lonely, and I wasn't afraid to say it. All I wanted was to be loved - a simple request, I thought, but one that seemed impossible to satisfy.

And the unsophisticated words of a 9, 12, or 14-year old prior version of myself still resonate. I don't really feel any differently now. In many ways, I'm the same exact person. I still wonder what's wrong with me.

But the difference is, I've stopped asking questions like, "Does he like me?" or "Is it love?" or "Was it love?" Because I know that regardless of the question, the answer is probably "no."

With age, I suppose, comes acceptance of a harsh truth, or failure, or reality.

It doesn't mean I want to be loved any less.

I've just stopped monopolizing my time by thinking about it.

There are other themes that emerge from the cloth-bound, lined paper books that I scrawled my cursive in various ink colors in, drawing illustrations of my moods and trying to keep spirits lifted despite school ridicule, physical abuse, and verbal assault. I was obsessed with lipstick colors and the prices of their tubes. I compulsively chronicled gifts I received and items I purchased. I recorded dreams in great detail, though redacted elements I found embarrassing or particularly upsetting (not giving me much material for Mortified). And I repeatedly exclaimed, in written form with ALL CAPS and double underline - that I HATE MY LIFE or, conversely, I HAVE NO LIFE!

And, in 1989, I was forever in search of something "momentous" to happen.

I am appalled at the things my mother said to me - telling me I was to blame for all of my problems, and that I ruin everything, calling me an S.O.B. and a bitch and a sadist and any number of horrible things I can't imagine saying to a human being much less a child - which I chronicled tearily in between documentation of Earth Science class antics and other schoolroom conversations. I regret letting so many boys touch my butt and being happy about it. I wish I'd valued myself more.

I don't remember liking gym class, but at one point, I said I did.

I don't remember being popular, but at one point, I said I was.

I don't remember wanting to try out for volleyball, but I wish I had.

I don't remember getting $2 to do some boys' homework, but I should've charged more.

Twenty-five years later, I am proud to say I never ran away or committed suicide as I threatened to do, I graduated top of my class, and I finally got away from the house and the family that pained me so much for so long.

I still haven't found romantic love or figured out why I haven't, but I'm finally living life on my terms. And I'm no longer flattered if you touch me uninvited or txt me at 1 a.m. after months of silence. And frankly, I'm glad to have my problems shift from "never been kissed" to "have kissed too many."

Related Posts:
Am I the Same Girl?
Excavating the Ruins
What Have I Become?
Put the blame on me, if you want to...
Another Sort of Anniversary

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