First, let me get it out of the way by saying that yes, I have kept a journal/diary/whatever you want to call it every year since the third grade. I've never actually looked back or read over these journals after I'm done with the year, until now. My mother boxed up all of my childhood belongings (which primarily included my books, diaries, and failed attempts at creative projects) and sent them to me as a symbol of my last crossing the bridge moment into adulthood. Upon receiving this box of memories, I forced myself to read everything I've ever written, and the results included a large amount of Captial C Cringe, laughing at my own angst, and many fond memories. Here's a look into some of the memorable, angst-filled, and laughable pages I found and felt the need to share!
1. Santa IS real
Just hold on a second! Why was I in FOURTH GRADE and still getting offended by my classmates not believing in Santa Clause?! But honestly, I remember this so well. I got the idea from The Polar Express (obviously) to write 'Santa' a letter asking for some sort of proof that he exists, naturally. I didn't let anyone in my family read the letter, and I put it under our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. To my excited surprise, when I woke up, my letter was replaced with a letter from 'Santa' (in my dad's handwriting...but I kind of just ignored that then) telling me to always keep believing despite what my peers say. With the letter came a little box with green jingle bells. You want to know what I did after I got this, very special, present? I cried. Yeah, I cried happy tears, and wore those jingle bells all year long. I was that kid.
2. Declarations of love
Oh those good childhood days: when love was as simple as the cute boy in class picking you to be on his team for Freeze Tag, and quietly holding hands under the desks while your girlfriends smiled in jealousy at your success. Yeah...none of that happened. Instead, I was that creepy little fourth grader that wrote about the cute boy in class in my DIARY until, like, eighth grade when I realized the truth: it was never going to happen! I was always the boy-crazed weirdo, and I'm SO GLAD I've grown out of that... ha...
3. An introduction to my first "book"
Okay, there are SO MANY things wrong with this page, but let me start with the obvious first thing. What third grader writes "(enter YOUR OWN NAME) is a pretty girl." Like, excuse me, but Third Grader Ava, please send some of the confidence for Present Day Ava, please!!!! So this page was actually the introduction or synopsis to what was going to be the first book I would write. How narcissistic was young me to write a book about myself? Come on, Ava! Also, this is so funny though because what little kid has a "passion" for a boy. And why was I so angry that he didn't love me back! YOU WERE EIGHT YEARS OLD! And 'so the story begins' is no way to start a book! Try again when you're old and mature... like now.
4. Song lyrics?
Okay Little Miss Ava with the young words of wisdom! Although these lyrics are nowhere near the songwriting GOLD they were inspired by (Avril Lavigne and All American Rejects), I have to give Little Me props for being so wise. But this also leads me to the question: Who hurt you?? I mean I can't even remember what this could have been about. But hello here's me, always bringing the drama to the creative writing game!!
5. Angst-y eighth grade art
And now we enter the truly angsty years...If you can't read what's written at the bottom, you're lucky, but I'll write it out for you anyway so we can all revel in my teen angst. Along with a truly terrifying drawing of myself, I wrote "They only know what they can see. Nothing more. If they only knew what's inside." Please, tell me Angsty Ava: what's inside??? This is embarrassing solely because I didn't realize just how ANGSTY and most likely ANNOYING I was in middle school, jeez.
6. Fan art?
I really shouldn't call this Fan Art because it's just a bunch of words that describe Percy Jackson, but like, why Ava? Why?! I will never deny or be embarrassed about my absurd fictional love for Percy Jackson, but I will be embarrassed about this sad attempt at Fan Art because thinking about myself just chilling in my room on Tuesday, June 26, 2012, doodling and thinking about Percy Jackson. Weird, dude, just weird.
7. My fifth journal introduction
So. Many. Questions. For starters, why did this year's Diary need an introduction page? You ain't fancy! Your diary is written in a composition journal, girl! Also, what secrets did you personally have at this age? Your life was not that juicy at ten years old! Whose is?? WHAT SECRET LIFE DID YOU HAVE? All you did was fangirl over books and go to ballet class. You weren't/still aren't that cool! Also, why was I writing as if someone was going to read this when the whole point was that no one was supposed to? Why didn't I just save the page and keep my journal to myself like a normal person? And why did I write in all caps as if that makes a difference?? And, of course, what is with me writing out things like "hahaha lolzz". Help her!
8. A fifth grader's dream date!
So....long story short, I never had my first date with him, and my 'first date' was way less glamorous than this. I actually think my first 'date' happened my first year of college, but at least I had dreams! This just goes to show that I was always a romantic, and maybe that's not the best thing to be especially at this age.
9. Ninth grade fan art....
Not only is this fan art, but it's fan art for The Fault in Our Stars. Yes, I was that teenager. I was even the fourteen-year-old that went to the premier of this movie dressed as Hazel Grace Lancaster. Am I a little bit embarrassed? Sure, now I am, but I definitely wasn't back then. This is only one of the pieces I made for John Green, and I'm not even going to expose myself for the fan letters I wrote him....Oh how much one can love YA fiction.
In conclusion, I found it fun, extremely telling, and comfortingly nostalgic looking back at the "old me." But it really isn't the old me. I still keep a journal every year. I am still completely lame, a tad angsty, and able to make fun of myself un-ironically. If anything, these journals made me realize just how I became the person I am today, and I'm proud of her for accomplishing almost everything I set out to accomplish in my life, constantly being myself (whoever that is), and continuing to write-although I really hope I'm a better writer now than I was then!