I'm joining my #Gr8blog buddies as we post letters written to our younger selves. However, instead of writing a letter to my younger self, I'm sharing excerpts from my younger self through a journal I began decades ago as an as an insecure adolescent. (Gulp.)
It was startling to remember that I addressed my journal as a letter to older darlin’ --- ME! How did I know that capturing my thoughts like this would offer incredible insights that shaped the adult I am today?
It’s not easy for me to read Teen Cat’s journal. She (I!) poured her heart out. And I can’t tell you why she wrote in slang, but I transcribed excerpts, warts and all, as written. The entries bring back my painful high-school years as if they were yesterday, when my middle-class upbringing and father’s occupation as a middle-school teacher put me on the wrong side of the popular clique tracks in an affluent Connecticut suburb.
The timing of this journal, started days before my youngest brother’s birth, also offers context for my confusion and seeking solace in journaling. I hope my journal demonstrates that teen angst can lead to developing a fairly well-adjusted adult, and those fears are just part of growing up.
There could be the basis for a coming-of-age book here, too --- if I can find the rest of my journal stashed somewhere in the attic and steel myself to page through so many tender memories.
Please read on to meet Teen Cat. Then visit links at the end of the post as my blogging buddies post their letters in our Letter to a Younger Self #Gr8Blog hop.
November 1, 19xx
Page 1 - Introduction
Let me tell you about myself. I’m 15 ½ years old, 5’-1” tall, 113 lbs, brown hair and eyes, a big mouth, but that’s not all. I’m starting this account of all these events for two main reasons.
1. I can’t tell everybody my problems and
2. I’ve got to have some way to let out my emotions.
When you finish reading this, older darlin’, if you do finish this and there is an end to these unrelated tales, you can finish the but that’s not all business yourself.
Oh, I suppose that in a few years from now when I read this, I’ll think what a dope I was to feel like this. Remember, older darlin’, in all your wisdom, don’t knock us younger kids. We have feelings, too.
Where did it all begin? I suppose I started the change from a quiet, shy, fat, intelligent girl into a noisier, still shy, and not so fat and not half as intelligent young lady. No, I dislike that word intensely- young lady. I’m young, but a lady sounds so old! What am I really? I’m not that young, but certainly, in the eyes of parents, I’m a mere babe in arms.
Parents…Now there’s a word. If there’s any one thing or any people, who have complete lack of understanding, they’re it. “Do this!” and “Do that!” “What did you say? I’m your mother, not she!” Know what I say? To h…. with parents!
I gather you think I’m angry. Well, you’re right! Parents think this new generation is so wild and rotten. They go around citing statistics on juvenile crimes, teenage car accidents, and illegitimate pregnancies. Got news for ya, all you parents: it’s all your fault! Who can kids turn to if they have problems? Parents? Don’t be crazy!
Had a usual Sunday. Went to church and Sunday school. I was really quiet today. Muriel kept askin’ me what was wrong. I really think this thing [journal] is helpin’ me.
Oh yes, I saw Scott [at church] today. I think he thinks I like him. Maybe I used to and I could, but not now.
Why do I make such an ass out of myself? I’ve got a big mouth, but it gets me places. Is it good for helpin’ ya be popular? Maybe I should try bein’ quieter.
I wonder what everybody’s opinion is of me? Do they call me giddy or boy crazy? I don’t want that. They must say, ‘Oh, God, here she comes again!” Maybe I should try to act older, not too terribly old. Or I just would smile and shut up and don’t say or do crazy things?
I’m in a snot mood. First of all, I went off my diet. Yesterday, I went shopping and bought a black sweater that doesn’t fit. The only good thing that happened was “The Diary of Anne Frank” was on Saturday Night at the Movies. It was absolutely terrific. I couldn’t stop cryin’ at the end when the Gestapo came to get ‘em.
Lynn came over yesterday, and we went for a long walk and got lost. Then she gave me a perm last night I guess it came out OK, but my hair smells of that Alberto VO-5 junk I put on it to make it less frizzy.
I have no desire to go to school tomorrow. There’s nothin’ for me to look forward to. Maybe if I fixed up my hair really pretty and wore something really sharp, I’d feel a heck of a lot better. My black sweater and knee socks with a gray kilt should be okay.
I just decided to have a mad, passionate, silent unrequited crush on Vinny E. Now wait, maybe I could just go to school for once and not like any fella, couldn’t I, older darlin’? Sure, why not?!?! Go to school with a free mind. Maybe I’ll just happen to like somebody and he’ll like me back.
That’d be really sharp!!! What ya say to that, older, darlin’? Think I could?
Yes, indeed, insecure, desperately searching for identity and belonging, Teen Cat. Yes, indeed. You can do that and tons of even-more awesome things. Sending hugs, kisses, and oodles of affirmation that you’ll turn out just fine.
Your Older Darlin’
_Thanks for stopping. For more letters to a younger self, please visit these #Gr8blogs today.
Auden Johnson, Dark Treasury
Auden encourages her 15 year old self: "You may not see daylight now, but it's coming."
Corrina Holyoake, Venturing Into the Unknown
Listen to your heart!
Julie Gorges, Baby-Boomer Bliss
Julie shares ten sage pieces of wisdom with her younger self. She is assured that what she reveals to a teen Julie about her future life will astound her – but in a good way.
Leigh Shearin, Leigh Shearin, Writer
Listen to your inner beach bum, younger self!
On 1 February, more #Gr8blogs share their letters to a younger self:
Carmela Dutra, A Blog for Your Thoughts
Who says being stubborn is a bad thing?
Karen Emma Hall, Kid LiteratureBlogspot
Karen crafts a letter to her younger self AND a fable about a chicken. Free coloring page, too!
If you're interested in hopping onto Letter to a Younger Self blog, just link your post back to me or any of these #Gr8Blogs, and we'll give you some blog love in return.
Please join the conversation in the comment section.
Writing a letter to a younger self is surprsingly cathartic.
What would you tell your younger self?
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