Ceaselessly into the Past: A Look at Journals, Pt. 1

I’m in the process of moving out of my parents’ house. Going from an actual house to a two-bedroom apartment is proving a challenge for my hoarding ways. I started “downsizing” a few weeks ago, and it’s been a little tricky trying to decide what should stay and what should go (cue The Kinks.)

Of course, when one cleans stuff out, one finds things. Like old AP Government notes from 12th grade. Or an award you got in middle school for taking out the trash (don’t start on millennials getting rewarded too much. Middle school trash is disgusting.)

And you find journals. In my case, lots of journals.

I first started journaling in 3rd grade. It became an almost daily practice for me through middle school, and then it kind of fell by the wayside when life got busy. I tried picking it up in college, but turned to blogging instead, and you know how that’s going.

So, for fear of belaboring the point, I’ll cut to it: for the next few weeks, I will be reading through my old journals and extracting the juiciest (?) bits from them. Maybe I had some wisdom to share as a child that I’ve forgotten about. Or maybe I can just give you the scoop on Audrey’s 3rd grade crush.

In other words, dis gon’ be good.

JOURNAL #1: Circa 2004-2006

Context: According to the first page, I started writing on December 24, 2014 (I got the journal from my cousin for Christmas, as written by 8-year-old a. w. in the first entry, see below.) At some point, I went back and added to them. (Dangit younger self, why are you ruining the memory of posterity for me?!)

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Seems innocent enough. I still have no idea what “Angels on Assignment” is. Stickers courtesy of American Girl. I was into that kind of thing.
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Okay, I’m literally asking my brother to read it with all these warnings. Also, I really want to know what I wrote on Thursday February 9. Did I murder someone?! Also I like that I crossed “crushes” out like I was above that or something.

I took a no-holds-bar approach to privacy as a youngster. Ain’t no one was going to crack open that journal, apparently. I even wrote “TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED” on one of the pages. Geez. Calm down, small Audrey. The IRS is not after you for what you wrote in that book.

Let’s take a look at the first entry, for reference (completely unadulterated, with spelling mistakes and all):

December 24, 2004

Dear journal, 

My cousin gave me a jornal for Christmas! Well, a day before Christmas. I am in 3rd grade. We do cursive. Tommorow is christmas, and I cannot wait. And I got a barbie. 

This is all well and good, lil’ Audrey, but what’s your lead? None of this is very interesting. Also, your syntax is horrible. The first few entries are a bit clunky and formal because I was getting used to the idea of writing my thoughts down on paper.

LET’S FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED ON FEBRUARY 9, SHALL WE?

. . .

Upon further investigation, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING happened on February 9. Small Audrey, you sly dog. It was a TRICK.

She may have been talking about December 29, 2004, which has some very strict warnings on that particular page. Little Audrey talked about how she wanted to make a cartoon when she grew up and she didn’t want anyone taking her idea. (I STILL don’t want you to take my idea, so I’m not gonna tell you.)

I talked a lot about how I wanted to be a cartoonist (affectionately spelled “cartoonest” in my weirdly round handwriting) I dressed up as a cartoonist for career day. How do you dress up like a cartoonist? I don’t know. I just kind of went with it. And I was hardcore into career day, let me tell you. I have at least five journal entries about it in this journal alone.

The first few months are BORING AS HECK. You’d think I had no social life at all. (I didn’t. Because I couldn’t drive and I was eight.)

Sometimes lil a. w. waxed poignant. Skip ahead to “Thursday evening of April 2005” (I even came up with really good stream-of-consciousness poem titles.)

Dear journal, 

I’m just sitting on the driveway, dreaming and writing. I just like time alone after the hussle and bussle of the daytime. (Once an introvert, always an introvert.) I just like sitting here and listening to the birds and looking at God’s wonders. I like it here in the caldisac. It’s always pretty, There’s a whole bunch of nature around it. I hope we never move away from here. 

Spoiler alert: We never moved away from here.

And now we go to fourth grade where THE DRAMA GETS TURNED UP A NOTCH.

I had a crush in fourth grade, and it was the stupidest crush I’ve ever had. Wait. Every crush I’ve ever had has been stupid, but anyway. The first of many. Let’s take a look at Tuesday February 7, 2006.

Dear journal, 

Today was like any normal day. I’m working on a new book, it’s called, The Map to Treasure! (note: could have been the next great American novel, but I never got passed page two.) Tommorow (I didn’t learn how to spell that until I was like 18) I have piano lessons, yesterday I had GEMS. As you know (I guess my journal is sentient) Valentine’s day is coming up and I like someone. His name is Zach (last name withheld). I’m going to write him a love note. 

Sinceraly, 

Audrey W, 4th Grade (Cuarto Grado)

 (I was learning Spanish and couldn’t spell.)

The drama intensifies. Will Zach say yes? Will he accept my Sweet Tart Valentine with a really bad “roses are red” poem in it?

Spoiler alert: everyone in fourth grade got wind of my crush and I never dropped a crush so quickly in my life. He then fell madly in love with someone else in 4th grade (guess what? It didn’t last.) and then again in 5th grade (still didn’t last, sorry to disappoint.) I’m not proud.

We will wrap up this segment with Sunday April 2, 2006, since this journal isn’t super interesting. The young, doe-eyed girl is still developing her voice.

Small Audrey is very excited about her birthday, which is over a month away. But this entry will give you a good picture of what I was like at the age of 9.

DJ, (oh yeah, I should tell you that at some point I abbreviated “dear journal” to DJ to be hip and trendy like the hip and trendy kid I was.)

We have plans for my birthday. Here they are. 

MAIN THEME: SPYS

(after 3rd grade, I really wanted to be a spy.)

Scedule: (Small Audrey is organized.)

1.Go bowling

2.Come home

3.Play games

4.Cake and pizza

5.PRESENTS! (I have priorities.)

My birthday is May 16. Du big 1-0!

Audrey

After I read this, I laughed for a solid five minutes at “du big 1-0!” I remember how big of a deal that was.

Isn’t it weird how “big deals” change as we get older? When we’re little, big deals are crushes and sleepovers and birthday parties. Now they seem like small blips on the radar, don’t they? There’s going to be a lot of “blips” on this journey – “best friends,” friends moving away, loves I thought would last forever, and all that jazz.

Don’t worry, friends. There’s more sass and threats to come. It only gets better (and more hormonal – middle school is coming!) from here. Stay tuned!

a. w.

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