I am embarrassed to admit that I painstakingly recorded my adolescence.
Some records lie in various journals. Others live in the form of perfectly folded notes from friends. Everyone once in a while, I’ll peek back at my teenage self, but it’s too mortifying to dive too deeply into my past behaviors, tastes and inner psyche. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hysterical. It just hurts.
Not everyone is as ashamed. Some ladies and I went to see Mortified last week at Beat Kitchen. In this national show, brave performers open up their diaries, personal notes, school papers or song books and air their contents, warts and all, before a room full of strangers. The show’s performers were funny, but mostly because it’s easy to see your own teenage awkwardness in their notes, diaries and poems.
Janet Davies from ABC7 read a note from a high-school friend. Like most teenage girls, Janet had a crush on the unattainable football star— but got stuck going to homecoming with her geeky friend.
Other performers included:
- Former goth girl with a morbid crush on Robert Smith
- Suburban girl who wanted to be just like Anne Frank
- Young Republican with strong feelings agains Dukakis
- Budding singer too confident in her abilities
- Young woman who channelled Ani DiFranco to discover her sexuality
My favorite performer of the night read an English-class paper entitled “Passion,” an assignment based on Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.” The gist of his heartfelt, four-page paper was that the movie Titanic’s powerful acting and dramatic plot inspired him to follow his true passion—acting. It was particularly funny because much the performer’s dream of becoming a starving actor, to his horror, came true. And the teacher who assigned the paper actually came to the performance.
Although I was afraid to look, Mortified made me curious as to what this little gem holds. I kept this diary (apparently a ripoff of Lisa Frank) between the ages of 9 and 11.
It’s funny. My childhood observations were in many ways deeply intuitive, naively shallow, overly dramatic and dead on. My 10-year-old self was actually a better writer because she was less self-censoring and used a more careful (read: limited) vocabulary. Pretty hysterical inside: short-lived crushes, short-lived best friendships, obsession with 90210 and dirt on my parents.
I’m truly mortified at the thought of what might be in my junior high and high school journals. I think I will just burn before reading.
Go see Mortified if it comes to a city near you!