Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I came across this website yesterday, beseeching people to send in snippets of their old journals and diaries: the more cringeworthy the better. Always willing to exploit my youth for a laugh, I turned to that which documents the cringiest of cringeworthy years in my life: My City Year Journal.

There are two things you need to know.
1) I took a year off before I went to college and did City Year in Boston. So while most 18 years olds were firmly ensconsed in a freshman dorm, I was living in my own apartment with a few other 18 year olds in the city, volunteering during the day in the Boston Public School System and spending my nights becoming acquainted with the city and with vodka.

2)Right before I went into City Year I broke up for good with my high school boyfriend, Ben. We continued to torment each other throughout next few years and it is insanely and hilariously documented in this journal, among with my other interactions with the opposite sex.

Now, when I was 18 and 19 years old I suffered from a condition known as Chronic Ridiculousness. I thought my love life was WAY more complicated than any other girl's had ever been or ever could be and I thought that everything in the world could be described as either "so cute" or "sooooo weird". This makes for some interesting journaling, believe you me.

Early morning walks of shame, late night phone calls, throwing my first "kegga" at which someone got stabbed, becoming a stalker, being stalked, my first ever drunk email, getting my tongue pierced, getting my first tattoo, breaking hearts, having my own heart broken

And those stories are interspersed with comments about volunteering in a second grade classroom/working as a teacher's aide.

The juxtaposition is poetic.

The fact is: my City Year journal is so epicly ridiculous in it's scope and content that a few Valentine's Days ago, at a sleepover with friends, I passed it around and let people read it cover to cover, occasionally pausing to read aloud the most dramatic of passages.

It's a page turner! And totally and emphatically cringe worthy. While searching last night for an appropriate passage to submit to the Cringe Book, I ended up reading the entire thing while engaging in a sustained, full body cringe.

Perhaps I will share a little insight into my 18 year old mind with you.

What better way to convey the "ironic" cuteness of having your ex boyfriend sing N Sync to you over the phone than by following it up with a Brandy quote?

It makes me think of all the 18 year old girls out their pouring their hearts into their livejournals. I know they must take themselves as utterly dead seriously as I once took myself. Do they know that in less than 10 years they will read what they wrote and cringe so hard they give themselves a cramp?

Then again maybe when I am 36 I will do the same thing with this blog.


jenny said...

AMAZING. we should have another reading.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE tell me that you are going to post more of these?! How addicting...I imagine it's a great read. I have a few moments of that cringe when I flip through some older xanga stuff..
p.s. i've tried to post this comment four times. dammit.

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOD....I have some seriously sappy stuff like that too....hell, I wrote an entire blog about it just in November. ;)

Nicky said...

You are brave!!! Before I die, I think I'll have to set fire to an entire bag of journals. Lest the only memory of me to remain on this planet be one involving angst-ridden quotes and nasty comments about how I hate my mom and am going SO FAR AWAY the minute I turn 18.
I found some cards from my high school boyfriend when we moved out of my childhood home and promptly tossed them before they could be used as evidence against me in a stupidity trial. Guilty as charged.

Anonymous said...

Haha, me too, Sarah! I still have a number of journals, from age 12 through probably 22. Some of the teen angst/boy drama is so hilariously ridiculous! I'll see if I can dig up some gems and post them myself soon. :)

kim said...

awesome. i saw that site, too but unfortunately my journals are in german so i don't think i can a) share any of it with you or b) submit something to the site (even though i'd love to). but let me assure you, teens' journals all over the world are probably pretty much the same and hilarious to read no matter what language :) that's a great project...

Sarah said...

I'm definiely going to post more! Maybe I'll do one a week or every other week... you guys think that quote I posted was bad? You ain't seen NOTHIN' YET!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

awesome. i heard of this site as well and , like kim, would love to submit something... but translating a journal that was written 10 years ago into a foreign language would probably not be the best idea [and probably wouldn't be half as a good as the original]. too bad.

Anonymous said...

I'm no doctor, but i think the correct term for Chronic Ridiculousness is actually "Ridiculitis". =)