Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ruthlessly Making Fun of My Past Self (And Her Embarrassing Journal)

Probably one of my biggest fears and nightmares as a thirteen-year-old girl was somebody finding my journal and reading the whole thing and finding out all my secrets, and then making fun of me for it. So, naturally, as I gracefully mature into an adult, I've decided to make that fear come true by exposing all the stupid stuff I wrote in that journal.

Now, to be clear, I didn't have just one journal in eighth grade. I kept several kinds of journals: the "school journal," which I took to school and wrote my everyday activities in; my "home journal," for personal reflections and secrets that I didn't 't want people to accidentally read over my shoulder in math class; my poetry/writing notebooks, where I wrote poetry and creative things; and my miscellaneous notebook, for doodles, to-do lists, etc. I still keep journals, but now all of that stuff is in one horrifying notebook. But back in eighth grade, I needed the different kinds, because OMG, I couldn't write about my deep dark secrets in my SCHOOL journal!

You're not really going to find out any of my deep dark secrets because I was really disgusting and kind of anti-feminist a lot (there's at least five different instances of "I'm pooping right now, I brought my notebook to the bathroom to write about how girls who like Taylor Swift are dumb"). But you will get to read what I'll call an "inside front cover" summary of quotes from my "home journal." You know how in books written by celebrities, it'll say on the inside front cover, "Here's what Famous McFame thinks about... ROMANCE 'Guys are just so silly!'... JOBS IN NEW YORK CITY 'They pay terribly!'" Stuff like that? I'm going to do that with my eighth grade self. Now that I think on it, I would have loved that. I was pretty sure my journal was the kind of writing people would buy as a celebrity memoir at Barnes and Noble.

Here's what Eighth Grade Ariel thought about...


"They have made it their life’s goal to tell me “you need to: straighten your hair, shave your legs, use more makeup, buy designer clothes, stop writing, ‘do my homework for me’”… Every. Five. Minutes. To which I would like to reply with, “I don’t conform to society’s needs, thanks,” and then strangle them. To which I usually reply by trying hard not to crack up at the sincere, Justin-Bieber-adoring looks on their faces."

Wow, you sure were a badass, young me! Imagining such a witty comeback!


"I wrote this moving memoir. I was going to post it on Teen Ink but I’m not going to lie, it’s REALLY good, and I’m afraid it’ll get published and then people will know my secrets."

"That Jekyll and Hyde essay I wrote for English is worth the Nobel Prize, I tell you. Besides, I’m the best writer in the grade, no question. Not meaning to show off or anything."


"Ke$ha can sing but her songs are trashy and they’re getting trashier. If she doesn’t reform a little soon, she’s dead. Justin Bieber sucks- wannabe rapper, prepubescent voice, cliché lyrics. Miley Cyrus is looking very promising as aforementioned and Lady Gaga is, plain and simple, the most brilliant thing to hit music since the Beatles."

I made that part bold so you could see what a musical genius I was at age thirteen.


"And then *OH THE HORROR* dress shopping! No God, why me! Why me of all Earth’s creatures… oh never mind. [Mom] better pack chocolate to make up for this. And it better be JUST dress shopping, not “You really need new bras, look at this tee-shirt isn’t it cute, how about some pajamas.” [Mom] tends to forget I’m a nerd writer, not some idiotic Idiot Wannabe Justin Bieber Fan."

Yeah! Only idiots like shopping! But I... I was special. I liked chocolate.


"BEAST! Nope, I just do not sound natural using slang. Back to 16th-century nerd-ese."

I know, you were all thinking it while reading these excerpts... this doesn't sound like a regular teenage girl, it sounds like William Shakespeare! (also, LOL, "beast." 2009 was a fun time)


"16th-century Rome is like middle school. “OMG Julius, Michelangelo SO does not deserve this tomb job. Just give him the stupid fresco. He has, like, zero experience compared to me.” “Oh, I see how it is now! If you’re gonna be that way, I’m fleeing the city. BTW, Bramante, you suck. Oh! The pope wants me back now? Well tell him I better get about a billion florins if he wants me back in his palace!”"

Yeah, I had a summer assignment about Michelangelo.


"“What is Love” is on the radio. Love that song. Reminds me of sixth grade… the days of innocence."

"In gym today, we returned the locks from our lockers. It was sad, saying goodbye to the lock I’ve had for three years. I never imagined, when I got that lock in sixth grade…"

I didn't say what I never imagined, I just started talking about all the plastic bags I had left in my gym locker.


"The only real, non-wannabe girls in the school!"


"I deserve one of those Medals of Courage they give out in the army."

I think that's a good place to stop. I could have gone on for a while- there are a lot of hilariously awful parts- but I've decided to spare you that. I also skipped huge sections where I talked about boys (so much, dear God, why) and angsted about the woes of my life, because those parts involved specific people and I don't want to drag them into this. But they were really terrible and funny and it is a shame you don't get to read them.

So, I know this stuff makes thirteen-year-old me sound pretty terrible. But actually, I was pretty great. Sure, I was annoying, I thought I was the best person on the earth, and I shamed other girls for doing pretty much anything. But I was unique and kind of daring and smart. Eighth grade was the year I finished my first novel. It was about as terrible as this journal was. But I still wrote it. Not that many other thirteen-year-olds can say that (OK, I know that some of you reading this blog can say that, but shush). I guess what I'm saying is that people go through embarrassing, ridiculous phases in their lives, especially when they're in middle school, but that doesn't mean those parts of your life are useless. You just have to be willing to do things that sound crazy, whether that means saying that Lady Gaga is the best thing ever, or writing a novel in three months.

Anyway. Yeah, yeah, you didn't want to read something sappy, you wanted to read embarrassing quotes. Well, you got both of them. Thus is the nature of a post about the wonders of puberty.

Hope you somewhat enjoyed this. I'll see you on Saturday to talk about my new experience of the week.



  1. "Thus is the nature of a post about the wonders of puberty." I CANNOT. This post is fabulous. I love you, Ariel.

  2. How many eight graders would think about keeping several journals... smart.

  3. Sorry to disappoint you, but I was there and you were anything but annoying. You shamed other girls? Did you really? or did you just think about it in your head? Like everyone else... The 'annoying' ones were those who shamed other girls out loud. Like telling other girls to "shave their legs, use makeup, wear designer clothes". (and by 'annoying' I mean 'horrible, insufferable pieces of crap')
    I agree with Julia, this post is fabulous. How many people can look back on their awkward young teen years and rise above enough to find the humor in it?
    I also kept a journal. You know where it is? I burned it. So that there will be no reminder of my awkward younger self. I admire your bravery.