Monday, February 1, 2010

Dear Diary...

When I received an email this week announcing the dates for my 25th high school reunion my initial reaction was “Impossible, I’m too young.” High school is where I met some of my closest friends today. It’s also a place where insecurities, acne, and raging hormones were in full swing. I realize you can’t fight the ticking clock, but over time you can certainly do your best to erase some of those uncomfortable high school memories. Or can you? To me, high school truly tests Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection. It highlights every teenage stereotype: from the bullies to the jocks, to the burnouts and the preps. In high school unrequited love is as common as name-calling. None of the boys I crushed on and thought I’d marry ever asked me to a dance. And my circle of friends was sometimes referred to as The Smurfs, a name we detested probably because of its association with pure wholesomeness. Considering all the angst and hormone surges, it’s a wonder any of us survive the petri-dish experiment those high school years really were.  

Like many girls back then I had a diary -- a book that held my deepest darkest secrets. I’m not sure what happened to it or even what I wrote. But when I was invited to a party this week where people read excerpts from their diaries, I was excited to be part of it. The gathering was an offshoot of Portland Mortified, a big event where people step on stage and read their diaries to strangers. This party was much more intimate and engaging.  

The moment the readings began it was obvious they would be juicy. There was the woman who at seventeen tried to convert the boy she loved to Christianity, and the woman who lost her virginity at fifteen and wondered in her diary why semen smelled like chlorine. Another woman wrote how she’d been grossed out after her mom had wrongly accused her of looking at porn. Story after story, people stood bravely revealing a side of them from long ago. 

Who we were in high school isn’t necessarily who we are today. But you can’t help but wonder if that teenager we once were lives on inside us forever. Perhaps this glimpse of our younger selves serves as a reminder of how far we’ve come and how much we’ve invested in ourselves over time. And if I had a diary today, I’d probably write something like: 

“Dear Diary, I’m so glad I was a goody two shoes in high school. It made college all the more fun!”

Your friend,


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