Notes from my ninth-grade self

29 Aug

Ever since Jade was born, and perhaps even for some time before, I have felt that I am a thirty-somethinger and have to remind myself that I’m actually only 28.  I guess I think of one’s 20s as a time for dating, partying, and school, whereas one’s 30s I identify with career, parenting, and, I dunno, board games or something.  University already seems like a long time ago and high school is totally ancient history in my mind; anyway, for all the clarity of my memories, it seems like a darned sight more than 15 years should have elapsed since I was in the 9th grade!

This past weekend was quite productive for me in that I managed to get some more of the house painted (after a weeks-long hiatus) and I finally managed to finish installing the closet organizer while Michael was out with Jade.  It has only taken  8 months to complete this task, which couldn’t be done while Jade was around because of the power tools involved, and couldn’t be done while she was sleeping because of the power tools involved.  We have lived without a place to hang up our clothes for all that time, and believe me, the results weren’t pretty.  But now (my side of) the room is all cleaned up and I’m hoping to be an angel and keep it that way for a while.

So what the heck does the first paragraph have to do with the second?  Part of the cleaning and organizing of our bedroom involved once again delving into a box of memorabilia that has been languishing on a dresser top since we moved from upstairs.  I think I went through it a bit when me moved, but this time I was determined to clean it out and keep only the essentials.

The essential item on the top of the pile was a journal that I kept in the 9th grade.  It was actually meant to be given to my best friend from Thunder Bay (hey Tanya!) and she was supposed to write one for me.  But after pouring so much of myself into it, I couldn’t bring myself to give it to her, although I think I let her read it.  I don’t think she managed to write much in hers, so I guess we were even.  I managed to fill 150 pages in about 7 months, and I had more than one laugh-out-loud moment on Saturday evening as I re-read my adventures from those days.  Better than many of the books I’ve read lately, though I’m sure no one else would get such a kick out of it.  It’s hard to believe how many boys I had a crush on, how insecure yet narcissistic I was, how dramatic every little disagreement was at the time.  I grew up often feeling like I didn’t fit in with the kids around me, but now I wonder just how "different" I was; doesn’t it seem likely that most of my peers were just as lonely, disgusted, thrilled, deprived, nervous, and self-conscious as I was?  That perhaps the fact I got straight A’s didn’t make me as much of a freak as I felt I was?

Also in the box were copies of letters I sent to a couple of boyfriends over my high school years, and letters I got from them.  Also, some pretty terrible poems from a guy who had a huge crush on me, even though I was already dating someone else.  I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away yet because it seems really mean to trash all those (long gone) feelings.  I’m not even in touch with the guy anymore, and yet it seems like a hurtful thing to do.  Perhaps I need to perform a little burning ceremony and send them back to him on the wind.

I had a couple of "Aha!" moments as I was sifting through all the paper, like what it is I’m really looking for when I’m shopping for clothes, or realizing how desperately we all were to be loved.  So I didn’t throw it all out, because I think it’s still good for a few more "Aha!"s down the road.  I did manage to pare it down, though, so I am growing up, a little at a time.


One Response to “Notes from my ninth-grade self”

  1. Tanya August 30, 2007 at 12:08 pm #

    You\’re right, I barely wrote anything in my journal, so it\’s probably fair that you kept yours and was very nice of you to let me read it!  By the way, I still have the tapes you sent me, remember instead of letters we used to send each recorded tapes of ourselves.  I was really waiting for you to become a famous pianist so that I could sell your tape of recordings for big money!  I still have all your letters too, although, my box seems to be getting bigger and bigger over the years.  It would be great to get together one day and look over the letters and listen to your tapes, aahhh the memories.

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