I recently watched a documentary on Netflix while walking last week on the treadmill. The film is Mortified Nation, a movie about people getting up in front of other people and reading excerpts from their teen-age journals.
I was laughing so hard I couldn’t walk and focus at the same time. It was that good.
It was everything I love in a good documentary: clever, profane, real and genuinely laugh-out-loud funny.
But for all the raunch and hilarity it serves up, it also serves up some really tender moments about growing up.
If you’re here and reading this, you—like me—went through adolescence. And if you’re like me, there’s a lot of stuff that you really don’t remember, save for what you wrote down on the private pages of your personal diary.
I got my first diary in 1980 and I have kept one, off and on, throughout much of my life.
Yes. The names of boys have been blurred out to protect the innocent. I’ll never forget hearing from a friend in Washington that the wife of a man whose name appeared in my high school album, the one I shared in Clean & Simple Scrapbooking, was all, “Who the hell is this woman and how do you know her?” Or something like that.
(And see if you can guess what “QS” stood for back in 1980. I’m not proud, people.)
My first diaries were essentially records of boys and things I ought not to be doing. (Sorry, Mom.)
The inside front and back covers were hallowed ground for boy crazy. Apparently SCOTT was more special than the rest. And really into rainbow Cooper letter stickers. (Oh wait. That was me.)
I like how in the Memorandum section at the end I note the eruption of Mt. St. Helens (which I actually heard while I was in the shower, two hours north) but also how much I hated Jeff. And yes, my f-bombs flowed freely.
But just like that, the hate was gone!
Of course there were my college journals. They had much deeper thought and much better handwriting.
My writing dropped off sharply during certain periods. There’s not a whole lot I wrote in my 20s. There’s only a little I wrote in my 30s. And much of my 40s found a voice through blogging and scrapbooking.
But oh, how I cherish those early entries. The boy craziness. The stuff I was doing that I wasn’t supposed to be doing so I wrote it all out in code. The teen-aged drama. The deep philosophical musings of my 19-year-old self.
If you haven’t looked at your old journals in eons, I strongly encourage you to take a peek back.
And by all means, check out Mortified Nation.