I’m not a hoarder, but I have hoarding tendencies. For years I dragged around the debris of my former life from apartment to apartment. I packed the detritus into closets and garages, boxes and bags. Occasionally, I’d dip into the memories and laugh or cry myself to sleep. The junk brought me comfort somehow, it was the only witness to the things I had lived through or the people I ‘d met in my life.
That all began to change when I met my now husband. We’ve been together almost ten years now, and he’s taught me to simplify and live a more minimalist lifestyle. I’ve learned that you can appreciate the past without having to drag around a bunch of stuff. Subsequently, I’ve managed to pare down my mementos from closetfuls to a single box. That means I’ve had to be selective about what I kept and what I tossed.
The most notable item to make the cut was the only diary I’ve ever kept in my whole entire life. The notebook was part of an Easter basket my sister had given to me. The journal covers the span of five years from March 31, 1991, to September 9, 1996; I went from a nine-year-old to a fourteen-year-old. The entries begin pretty tamely, describing what I ate that day or what I watched, but then things heat up with my detailed descriptions of who I was crushing on at the moment. Even then I was a creature of habit, and after reading hundreds of pages of adolescent angst, a few themes arose as I read.
Target was life, even then
There were many times throughout this diary that I referenced going shopping or going to the store. But every time we went to Target, I specifically referenced that we went to Target. Apparently, even at the tender age of nine I already knew that this place was special. What other place existed that allowed you to buy a snack, medicine, and blockbuster movie all under one roof? Keep in mind this is before Wal-Mart, Costco or Sam’s Club became a thing.
Movies and TV were crucial to life
Throughout the journal, I mention every time we rented a tape or went to the movies. There was one entry in which I was super annoyed because the O.J. Simpson trial was being televised on every channel and there was nothing good to watch. These films and shows were my babysitters, my best friends, my confidantes, and my therapists. They were there for me when others weren’t, and they profoundly influenced the young woman I was becoming, in both good and bad ways.
I became a vampire for several weeks after watching Interview with the Vampire. No, really, I was biting people and everything. The movie prompted me to read the book by Anne Rice, and then I got sucked into the Vampire Chronicles. In retrospect, those books coulda been the cause for my sexual awakening.
Here I am describing, in detail, the movie Tales From the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight. This was the first time I really noticed Billy Zane, and boy did I notice him.
I REALLY LIKED BASEBALL
I went through this Dodgers obsession which was fueled by my Mike Piazza fixation. Again, tween, hormones, sexual awakening! I used to watch every ballgame that was televised, I cut pictures out of newspapers, I collected baseball cards, and on the rare occasion I got to go to a game, I took as many photographs as possible. The wall of my room was covered with posters and plaques, I bled Dodger blue, and then one day, just like that, I was over it.
I was mad boy crazy.
HORMONES!!! The last third of my diary is mainly me talking about boys. Every month I was falling in and out of love with a different dude. Looking back on it, it’s clear that I actually didn’t really like any of these kids, all I wanted was attention. I was actually kinda funny.
There were several times that my diary made me LOL. I actually went through and annotated it so that I could remember the people and places that I reference. Although I never got petty or mean in these pages, I see that I was learning to through some expert shade.
All in all, the diary is fun, sweet, young innocence. There were a couple entries that dealt with more serious issues, like when my mom had to get an operation for her gallstones, but even then I approached the matter with levity and strength. There were never any emotional collapses, and even through periods of doubt, I maintained my cool. It’s pretty impressive to see how even as a youngster I was learning to deal with crisis and stress.