Last week I had a conversation with a co-worker about why some people seem to have no self-awareness. We questioned why some people don’t pick up on social cues; why they can’t tell when they’ve intruded on a conversation; why they don’t read the faces of those who are negatively receiving the words they’re delivering. We puzzled over some people’s inability to read the unfavorable reactions of others.
We both confessed to hoping our self-awareness was on point and felt like—as a rule—it was. We ended the conversation feeling pretty darn good about our ability to read social cues and self-regulate.
My self-awareness confidence took a mighty blow later that night when—for reasons I can’t remember—I peeked into the first journal I ever owned and saw something wholly mortifying.
Unbeknownst to me, I was a first-rate floozy.
Let’s unpack these shameful years.
This was my first diary, and it was given to me by my sister. Many months ago, we discussed a few of the entries in this journal, related to the rigorous crush I had on one of my middle school teachers, Coach McCahon.
That was but the tip of the iceberg.
You’ll see that this is the first of many professions of love. Apparently, I had a lot of it to give as a kid. Also, please note—I am nine. This will be an important detail as we move along.
I wonder what good things happened to me? Was it the fact that we had company? That my autograph was coming along? Time will tell.
I’m not sure what’s more shocking—that I felt Groundhog Day was worth two mentions or that I love a boy “very much” when I’m still drinking milk with my supper.
Here we are. And because this simply cannot be said enough—I’M NINE. Okay, I kind of understand how I could think I love him; but it’s shocking to me that I’m eager to kiss him. It’s more shocking that I want it to be “for a long time.” It’s jaw-dropping that I’m going to take the bull by the horns, when I don’t even have enough years under my belt to spell lips correctly.
Great. I’m ready for marriage. I’m simple-minded enough to think a definition of spring is warranted, yet I’m contemplating the rightness of nuptials and monogamy.
Still hoping he pops the question. I wonder where I thought it would happen? I have vivid memories of playing inside the big tractor tires on our elementary playground with him—I bet that’s where I hoped he’d drop to one scabbed knee. Oh, and if the suspension is killing you, I did get Mrs. DeShields—so my appalling punctuation was her gift that year.
WHAT?! What the hell is, “well, you know?!” No, I don’t know! WHERE ARE MY PARENTS?! So again, I think it’s worth pointing out—I’m ready to get serious, but I only manage to get the first and last letters right.
Side Note: I actually remember writing this. I was listening to the Top 9 at 9 on KQTY. I hate to tell you this, but it was when, back-to-back, they played Endless Love by Lionel Richie and Feels So Right by Alabama. This is not cute, y’all—it’s capital T Troubling.
Still love Billy. Still can’t spell for shit.
Side Note: This kind of enduring love shouldn’t be plausible when I’m young enough to still enjoy puppet shows.
Hmm, wonder when this happened—a new dude. You will see that this is the beginning of my downward spiral into tramp-ville. I’m 10 now—apparently approaching womanhood—and want some skating rink lip-locking.
Side Note: I remember this entry too, and he was there. We couple-skated to Hard To Say I’m Sorry by Chicago, and the song was especially meaningful to me because, while Brandon was a “hunk and a half,” I felt like I owed him an apology for coveting his speed skates.
More love in the air. I love God and I love a new boy, Kevin. I found my watch a week later in a pair of shoes—so I’m sure I double-loved God that day, but just didn’t get it documented.
Still love Kevin.
I’m going with Daxton, but I’m not sensing much love. Maybe it’s because I’m in love with a man 18 years my senior. No big deal. Oh, and I’m still struggling with basic spelling.
I guess Coach McCahon was a gateway drug to Paul McCartney. Let’s see, I was 11 and he was, what, 70? Seems natural that I would love him and write about him in my diary, along with my grades, my Christmas gifts and an unforgivable spelling of the complicated word, “for.”
Side Note: The super clever initials are, Anna Christie BFFs … I love Paul McCartney (because one mention wasn’t enough) … I love Daxton Patterson (guess I did love him after all) … I love Scott McCahon (so, two men whose combined age was approximately 100) … I love my family … and Heaven only knows what BMOA stands for. I shutter to think.
And we’re back. Yes, these entries are in order.
In case anyone forgot.
Whoa. Daxton is out of the rotation.
Enter: Donny Griffin. Sure doesn’t seem like I’m very judicious with my love. If I spent half as much time on learning to spell as I did on acknowledging my love for anyone with a Y chromosome, we’d be in good shape.
There’s a lot going on here. Apparently I enjoyed learning about Anne Frank. I also worried a lot about our income tax return. I thought my TV debut—for something related to basketball and a telethon—would catapult me to stardom. I still loved Coach McCahon, and his body—despite his snotty behavior—but it wasn’t reciprocal. Spelling is still out of my wheelhouse.
Spoiler alert: I still love Coach McCahon, and Christi and I did not remain best friends for all of eternity, as I predicted—but hey, my grades were on point and I spelled some words right.
So much love to be had here. I’m still in love with a fully grown man, and Donnie (a new Donnie) is romantic. HOW? How is a 12-year old romantic? I have to know. Can someone remind me what pre-teens do to be romantic? Seems as if all that romance is fleeting, since I’m still with Donny G, but would also be down for some Donnie W, or Scott or Mike lovin’ on the side. Well, at least I also love my family and God—so some morsel of me remains honorable.
Sheesh, what’s with this income tax return? And why was I on TV again? I didn’t profess any love in this entry, but I can tell you that I wholeheartedly loved DQ. And it’s almost worrisome that I was so attached to my diary that I thought it could join me in prayer.
A new player: Mike Hammonds. I see no mention of love, so I must be taking things slow this time around.
Aww, poor Mike—I still don’t love him. I guess I’m just passing time until Coach McCahon and his “good body” get with the program.
I loved IZODS. I wonder if that’s why I was so obsessed with our income tax return?
I love God. I also love Coach McCahon, Mike Hammonds (although I question my sincerity on this one), God again, my family—and as a bonus, the w/w/w (whole wide world). That’s you—you’re welcome.
No love here, but I include it to tell you that my friends and I tried out for the talent show by dancing a choreographed number to MJ’s Billie Jean. On the opening beat, our backs were to the judges—as we stood with our feet shoulder-width apart—and one by one, we spun around and pointed out across the auditorium dramatically. We wore white tennis shorts, IZODs and Gilligan hats. I can’t make this up—nor would I want to.
Side Note: We didn’t make it.
I was single? How did I survive? Oh I know—on the “total” love I had for Scott Frederic.
Really diggin’ this Scott fellow. Let’s not allow the misspelling of his name to negate the obvious depths of my love.
But for now, Layne Moffitt will do.
I’m now going with Steven Moore, but love Ricky Schroder. Where’d Layne go? That was fast. I can say with confidence that I was more devoted to The Ricker than Steven, as I had approximately 104 pictures of him wallpapering my bedroom.
My love for Brad (yes, this is a new guy) is making me question my feelings for Steven.
Annnd I’m back with Daxton. Enough time has passed that we’re now making out at dances. The first time around, we probably just played in the sandbox.
Oh hey, Travis. When did you get here? Have you met, Ricky?
I think kids who call people and chomp ice as their prank are totally mature enough to juggle a dozen loves in a few years.
I hope my diary was a way for me to work out all this angst and longing in a safe place—and that away from this time of reflection each night, I was out having fun and not drooling nonstop over these dudes. I have exponentially more memories of friends and laughter, than yearning and solitude, so I guess it was just an outlet I enjoyed. I must have, because I have stacks of journals from most of my life.
You should look back at your old stuff. Hopefully you’ll get some good news about your past ways, and not be confronted by the surprise news that the journal of your youth was actually a little black book housing enough names to field a pee wee football team.
The bad news? I only shared a fraction of the journal—and professions of love. The good news? Spelling is no longer my undoing.