Be Your Own Hero

I brought a box of books back from Hungary, and it contained a few of my old diaries. Not the full series, just a selection from age 8 to about 22. They are probably of interest only to me; I have spent the last couple of nights alternately giggling and horrified at the things I have written down over the course of my life. I have just pulled out the few phrases that might be fit for public consumption:

The first couple of years consists of oneliners about who is currently friends with whom, and the welfare of my guinea pigs. We then move on to a wealth of schoolgirl crushes, which are all pretty much characterised as follows:

Today in science RC used MY pencil. I was the very second person he asked!

There are several detailed reports of dreary family camping holidays, the most thrilling of which is a trip to the Peak District where I spent all the journeys sharing my side of the car with Mickey the dog; my airbed had a puncture, the lens fell out of my glasses, and my ancient third-hand Brownie camera died. Luckily the whole thing was redeemed when I uncovered the Bumper Biggles Book in a book sale and read all five stories before we got home.

It's easy to spot the point at which I turn into a teenager:

I hate everyone. I want to die sometimes. No-one would notice. No-one likes me. I'm going mad.

Music was an important feature of my teens. Not the sort of music you would approve of, I'm sure; I used to listen to Tommy Vance's Friday Rock Show, and I wrote about ten pages on the first concert I ever went to, which was Bruce Springsteen in Roundhay Park, Leeds, on 7th July 1985. In February 1986 I recorded my disgust and horror at the Frankie Goes To Hollywood version of Born To Run. I probably needed to get out more.

Then there's all the horrible bit where my parents split up, bad hair for a decade, first boyfriend, and first experience of getting drunk, which is graphically documented, in very big letters. In 1988 I weighed 8.5 stone.

I studied psychology at university, and the contents of my course seeped into every aspect of my existence. Even my dreams:

2/6/90 [Pages and pages written about one dream]
F [my sister, who would have been two years old] was saying words and sentences. I told her she should only be in the holophrastic stage [of language development]. She seemed to understand.

I move on from dreaming about linguistic development, to reporting fascinating facts about stress and anxiety...

Buzz Aldrin was chronically depressed after landing on the moon. Probably because of the stress.

... to diagnosing the reason for the placidity of an acquaintance's baby:

Apparently she never cries. Well, she was a Low Birth Weight premature baby, and both parents smoke, so perhaps she's a bit retarded.

I spend a summer au pairing in France, and go on and on and on and on about how lonely and how bored I am. There is also much discussion of a novel that I'm writing, of which I now have absolutely no memory. I wonder what happened to it.

Towards the end of my three years at uni, I develop the scale of Boring-Bastard men, where a score of 0 means the bloke is dull on a stick, and a 10 is utter cad. At that stage in my life, I considered a 5.5 to be ideal.

I conclude that "I love you" is a very overrated phrase anyway. If it is true, you don't have to say it.

One is so very wise, aged 21.

Karen · Thursday September 18, 2003 10:59

Can I nominate you for post of the month?

qB · September 18, 2003 11:19

The entry for 4/3/85 sounds like lunch with Sally.
Today's lunch, in fact.

sue · September 18, 2003 11:52

Then at least I can provide you with cold hard evidence that this is a passing phase. 18 years on, I no longer feel that way.

Karen · September 18, 2003 12:00

I also used to feel like 4/3/85.

You might have rubbed shoulders with K on 7/7/85 - if he hadn't turned down the offer of a free ticket, that is.

I still feel like 8/4/92.

This was an absolutely lovely post, BTW.

mike · September 18, 2003 12:19

I've been trying to feel like a writer all day.

[snorts with laughter at her own pretentiousness]

Karen · September 18, 2003 12:29

I love 2/6/90! I am damn sure that I must have equally intense degree-related entries from the same stage!

Yeah ace post!

Gert · September 18, 2003 13:00

Just imagine if we'd been blogging this rubbish!

Oh, we do.

Karen · September 18, 2003 13:07

I can't bear to post any of the drivel I found in my one and only diary, which chronicles the years between 13 and 15 in sporadic, but in places, cringe-inducing detail... yet, I've probably blogged far worse in the last three years.

Oh, the shame.

pix · September 18, 2003 13:20

"Met this young man from paris, oo is he scrummy, I get all gooey at the knees when he talks to me"

D · September 18, 2003 14:11

Whatever happened to that young man?

Mark · September 18, 2003 14:59

Vaughan breathes sigh of relief that he never managed to keep any decent sort of diary until he, um, started blogging. Phew.

Vaughan · September 18, 2003 15:44

"Apparently she never cries. Well, she was a Low Birth Weight premature baby, and both parents smoke, so perhaps she's a bit retarded."

Sitting here, crying with laughter. Post of the month? Post of the decade! Bravo the honesty. And more please.

Daisy · September 18, 2003 19:37

I've often wanted to nominate Karen for a potm, but alas, alak, and alaska, as organiser she is illegible.

Pete · September 18, 2003 20:47

Then someone else is going to have to do a one-off, ne'er to be repeated potm - any takers?

Daisy · September 18, 2003 22:11


Karen · September 19, 2003 09:16
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