My 10-Year-Old Christmas Journal Is Ridiculous, Y'all -- Do You Still Have Your Childhood Journals?

I've recycled in my life: high school yearbooks (even though I was the editor-in-chief), wedding albums (that I made after I decided I was getting divorced) and countless letters from childhood friends. But my diaries? Aw, hell no.
Publish date:
December 26, 2012
diaries, grandmas being boring

I love how brutally honest and to-the-point 10-year-old me was about Christmas time in 1985. "My grandma is here. She is getting boring."

I also love the meticulous documentation of every present that I had received.

There was: the coveted mice sweatshirt (what kid doesn't want one of those?), Electric Battleship (I pretty much shit my pants over that one because the sinking boats made real explosion noises and it was super rad), Howard Jones and Arcadia cassette tapes, a harmonica, a yo-yo, "little tea things," a Nike shirt, and a PLAY car I was careful to point out was PLAY, lest future me think that I had received an actual Hummer or something.

At the time I kept these diaries, I would find that my older sister would often find and read them, a fact that I first discovered when she would quote things back to me, so I started to ask her to sign if she had read the entries. (I have scrambled out her name in the above diary entry pictures, as she is a far more private person than I am.) So, my sister would then comply with my request and sign the diary entry after reading it. After which point, I changed my written request in the diary to: "If you have read this, please sign. Thank you. DON'T READ IT, BITCH."

Politeness to a fault.

As the year progresses post-Christmas, other keen observations include that one of the neighborhood girls was "acting hot." Which is an absolute portal back into that particular insult and maturity level if ever there was one. I think I'm going to bring back "acting hot" as an insult I levy, actually. "Hey, how were your holidays? Is that a new dress you're wearing? A Christmas present, maybe? Yeah, I could tell. BY THE WAY YOU'RE ACTING HOT."

In that same entry about "acting hot," I report on going to church with this timeless, Dickensian anecdote: "This lady with black hair was staring at us. Just like last Sunday. I finished my 'Great Americans: Past & Present.' Yuck."

Best book review ever.

Come fall, I reveal a moral dilemma with a friend: "First day of school. Yuckeroo! Me and [my friend] are going to the janitor's office place to sell chocolate milk. Which is empty. The janitor comes in sometimes. But not during recess. [My friend] was thinking of stealing some of the books. I said, 'OK' at first but then I said, 'Uh, uh.' She is a bitch."

Starting to see a theme here? Maybe this entry will help.

On a day marked "Who Cares" I write: "My mom sent me to my room. She's a real bitch sometimes. I love her, though. I think I like [this boy]. He's ugly, but. I rode my bike to school. On the way home I had to go the wrong way because the light wouldn't go. To top that my backpack broke. PS Depressed."

Then there was this intriguing turn of events: "I'm going to the Math fair. I can win all kinds of junk. Expensive, too. I have a secret place where nobody goes but me. Up on this roof. My dad's worried about and I don't blame him but I can go. I named it 'Terabithia.' Me and Maureen are writing a book called 'Secrets.' We've written a lot. We're really serious."

The summer brought more drama, scribbled in crayon: "Oh let me die! No one will come to my funeral anyway."

Well, OK then.

At least the B-word was avoided that time.

Which leads into the next Christmas, where I dutifully list my friends for those keeping score at home: "Gwen, Marti, Bisrat, Hanna, Shannon, Missy, Becky, Brittany, Karen, Kari, Diana, Tara, Maureen and Brian. Well gotta clean my room."

Actually, that's not a bad directive to 2012 Mandy either. I would end this post by listing my current friends, but thank God Facebook was invented.

I'm so glad I'm no longer 10.

Do you keep your old diaries? Did you call people "bitches" as much as I did? Were you allowed to swear as a kid, too? Why the hell was I allowed to swear as a kid? Oh, right. Hippies.


Find Mandy long-form at