If you are not already familiar with the comedy performance series called Mortified, then you should check it out.
But, for the sake of time, let me sum it up for you here: Real, average, everyday, normal people like you and me bring in their old pre-teen and teenage journals (you know you had one) and read excerpts from them live on stage (because they have serious cojones). Because, you know, nothing is funnier than how seriously we took ourselves and our “problems” at that age.
I have no doubt that the stuff people read is 100% real and not written recently, because you cannot fake that kind of sincerity in writing style as an adult even if you try really, really hard. The reason that these journal entries, old letters, rap lyrics, and poems are so hilarious is because they have that distinct whiff of “truth” about them. Our old selves believed the stuff in that journal wholeheartedly.
Recently, I’ve been going through my old things and I found an old journal from my first year in college. It’s some pretty good, terrible stuff. I’m going to share a few excerpts below because I’m braver now than I used to be.*
Background: I was 18. I was a newly-cool freshman in college who had been a total nerd in high school (no dates, no parties, no life whatsoever outside of calculus homework). In my dorm, I met and “fell in love” with a defensive lineman on our football team. These poems are about him. Enjoy.
“He Returns” – written on Sept. 18, 1990
After a long absence he returns,
Ending the solitude which was mine -
To keep the memory inside and to wither away,
To meet the world with feigned beautiful smiles,
A little less bright and content with each day -
But the loneliness has ended; he returns.
And if it is fate to no more receive his caresses -
To linger within his smile and feel warmth,
To receive his gentle attention,
Mother, sister, lover as he needs them -
Then the change must be endured
For the fragile new bond to be preserved.
A new happiness which is mine
After a long absence her returns.
(Note under the poem reads: “I am unhappy.”)
No Title – written on Dec. 16, 1990
I watch you more these days.
I watch for a sign that will tell.
It will speak for itself -
No, no need to explain.
It will tell me of your thoughts;
They linger on your mind,
Never passing your lips -
Never speak of the pain.
Your Eyes – written Dec. 18, 1990
I look into your eyes,
But the truth eludes you.
The words pouring from your lips
Are not sincere.
Something hides behind the
Cold stare of those eyes,
But the truth eludes me.
The tears falling from my cheek
Are in vain.
I wonder at those eyes,
The truth stabbing me
With blue icicles through the heart
Filled with love.
Turn away your beautiful eyes,
They lie to hurt me.
Sorry coming from your sweet mouth
Has meant nothing.
Let me give you a more “accurate picture” of this “love affair.” We “dated” for about two years. He punched his hand through a dorm window one night; I ripped up his football jerseys because I found out he was “dating” other people; he carried me over mud puddles like a doll; I made him a poetry chapbook; he nearly ripped my dorm room door off because I refused to talk to him; I flirted with his best friend from high school as revenge. Um, yeah. That kind of stuff happened with us on a semi-regular basis. All I can say in my defense is that we were young, there were hormones involved, and I have a tattoo I regret of a broken heart and his football number as lingering proof of my stupidity. Is that mortifying enough? I think so.
*(Contextual note: I signed up to be in a Mortified show, and then backed out because I felt strange making fun of my teenage self. It felt like I was betraying something. But then again, the material was more personal, about my family, so maybe that’s it. It’s easier to make fun of lost loves than your mom.)
For some reason, this song seems appropriate for this particular disclosure: