Have you heard of Mortified? It is essentially performance art where adults read their childhood diary entries, usually to hilarious, though sometimes to profound, effect. There is a documentary on the project, and an enjoyable podcast.
After watching the documentary, I went back to my old adolescent diaries expecting to be amused, and I was to an extent, but it was also a very disturbing experience. Flipping through volumes and volumes of journal entries, one overall theme emerged: depression. I wrote in my journals sporadically, and it seems, when I was feeling down. I still do this. There are gaps in my journal writing that span years, and these are the years when I was generally content. But I wish I would have written on the days I felt good, because looking back it appears as though I lived my entire life under a constant cloud of doom.
Still, there are some amusing bits. Take the following entry, which is the earliest entry I can find (I know I wrote some entries prior but they’ve been lost). It dates from May 15, 1991. *I’ve changed the names of all the people I shit on because duh.
I hate life and I love life, the world is so screwed up! But I guess that’s what life is. A bunch of meaningless ups and downs. That’s the meaning of life: to live, to enjoy life and to hate life, simply to know life. Pretty deep, huh?!
Yeah, wow, deep. I’m so impressed that I’d cracked the meaning of life at such a young age. I jest but actually I think that is a fairly grounded view for a kid.
I just turned 15. I don’t feel older physically but in a slight way I do emotionally, not mentally, like I’m still the same with school work, but I’m older emotionally. Which is good but also depressing because I’ve never had a boyfriend.
I’m dying. I don’t know what I meant by “emotionally older” but ok. Honestly though, I’m just glad I’ve reached a point in my life where getting a boyfriend is no longer the most important thing I can think of.
Jane has a steady boyfriend now and has had 2 other steady guys before. And she has gone to 3rd base with 2 guys she hardly even knew!! She’s a slut but I’m still jealous.
Wow, slut-shaming at its most hypocritical. I also have no idea what 3rd base is referring to here.
I hope I have a boyfriend at BHS next year. I hope I’m popular, it would be nice for a change. All the god damned losers I hang out with now are driving me mad. Isabelle is such a following wannabe. She is never included in anything but always tries to be. If only she could think for herself. It’s like she doesn’t even have her own soul.
I cannot for the life of me remember who Isabelle is.
Cathy is so loud, always singing (she can’t sing) always laughing for shit reasons and always repeating herself and of course always shoveling down food, the fat broad!!
And now the inevitable fat-shaming.
Allison is the worst, a bitch in grade 7, now she’s a cow! So loud, so crude, so rude. She has no consideration for anyone but her own fucking self. She never thinks before she speaks nor does she think before she acts. And she is such a fucking hypocrite!
I actually do remember Allison and she was sort of annoying but it was coming from a place of deep insecurity. She was bullied a lot if I recall. I also recall that bullying was no big deal in the early 90s. Just a part of life.
Jane, oh, how I could go on about Jane Smith. She was my friend (along with user Jennifer, bitch) in grade 5 when I no longer had the caster of me, (the shadow) Genevieve my best all-time friend. Anyway, then in grade 6 when we were no longer good friends I hated Jane, she was to me a copy cat, mean loser. Friends again in grade 7 and now she bugs me but she’s ok.
Wow, high praise. I don’t know where all this hostility was coming from. There was nothing wrong with my life. I wasn’t bullied and had no problems that weren’t self-inflicted. Why did I hate all these girls so much? I can only imagine it was self-hate misdirected. On the other hand, at this point in my life I didn’t realize I was an introvert with social anxiety so I could have simply been extremely stressed out with all this socializing. The funny thing is I don’t remember hanging out with any of these people except for Jane (and Genevieve, who I’d been friends with since we were 2-years-old, but we were going to different schools at this point and were drifting apart). All I remember from high school is loneliness. But apparently, if this diary entry is anything to go by, if anyone tried to be friends with me I’d just reject them because I was a massive jerk.
(Supper’s ready so later.) FISH & CHIPS!
I love that I felt compelled to include this detail. I still have a tendency to take note of rather superfluous details in my record-keeping. Some things never change.