an 11-year-old's thoughts and feelings

the holidays are a time when family comes together and go through old photos and diaries of yours and send you pictures of their findings. of course, it's also a time for cheer, love, togetherness, fighting, old issues arising and the need for more alcohol than usual, but let's focus on the happy parts first. this Thanksgiving, my sister stumbled upon my old journals and diaries from my youth and, let me tell you, there's probably enough material combined from each to last you years, inspire several lifetime movie plots, and either gain or lose respect for the human i've become. i've always loved to write; i was actually sickeningly obsessed with handwriting for a good period of time. it haunted my dreams. all i ever wanted was that perfect girly handwriting with big bubble letters, and for some reason, my hand just couldn't produce it. i remember distinctly i practiced my "a" for MONTHS trying to get it to look exactly how i wanted. and what did i end up with? this incredibly slanted handwriting with an odd combination of capital letters mixed with lowercase where they shouldn't be. go figure.

anyhow, the journal my sister found was from 1998. i was in 5th grade and had just moved from connecticut to dallas. it was my "language arts" journal. we had a question we had to answer each day in it. what's that you ask? you want to see the cover of my journal? of course!

yeah. that's a sticker that says "RIGHT ON." so what who cares? i was an 11-year-old hippie. don't hate.

my very first entry was on February 23, 1998 and read:

i have a very close family member that is very special to me. that is my 21 year old cousin Jason. I am not very sure if he is 21, but i know he is his 20's. anyway, he has visited us 2 times already.

one night, my mom went into kinko's, and my sister and i stayed in the car with Jason. i was really hyper and he liked it. he said i was very entertaining. :) my sister was very quiet, which isn't like her. we asked him what his favorite bands were. it was a great night. if i could i would marry him but he is older (much older), and i don't think he would cheat on his girlfriend.

i don't think these entries need much commentary after them. not to toot my horn, butttttt they pretty much speak for themselves. i will say, though, that i didn't know until a later age (like 12 or 13) that you couldn't marry your cousins. just call me Karen from "Mean Girls."

the next entry occurred February 24, 1998. the question of the day was: what makes you happy? my answer:

reading, going on vacation, writing, eating, singing, going to the movies, talking about Titanic. making me happy is easy and make me laugh is very easy too. the big thing that make happy is... southpark.

i have no idea why, as an 11-year-old, i was watching southpark??? and it was making me happy??? not cool, little emma. not cool. and not cool, parents! WTF? but all those things that made me happy at 11 still hold true at 24, minus the Titanic talk plus a healthy dose of Seinfeld every week.

next entry, march 19, 1998:

(my friend) is coming over on sat. and we might play spice girls. it is a fun game. she is going to be baby and i will be sporty. if my sister plays, she will be scary. maybe we can play school, and write stories. i can't wait. i can't wait until the academy awards either. i hope kate winslet wins. but, she may not be as good as others that are nominated. like judi dench. i wish i could go to the oscars.

a follow-up entry on march 23:

(my friend) did come over sat. we had a great time. we played spice girls. she was emma (of course) and sissy was sporty and i was geri. it was cool! we went to a mexican restaurant for dinner. a waitress said we were so cute. she REALLY liked me. we pretended we were friends who hadn't seen each other for a long time. we drank a lot of coke. we pretended they were margaritas. i had a fun time.

i still play the "omg you're a friend i haven't seen in so long!" game when i meet strangers for the first time. and i still pretend to get drunk off of non-alcoholic things. so. there's that. people don't change. my breasts grew and i finally figured out what to do with my mess of hair, but other than that i'm the same old emma. or so it seems.

shortly after, another mention of Titanic is made on march 31:

at recess today we were playing "Titanic" and there 8 players! some wanted all the attention and others didn't get any. it was horrible! then, 3 other girls wanted to play! that would make 11! ah! it was a very bad day at recess. i got really exasperated.

my friends and i played Titanic every. single. day. we used the jungle gym as our ship and it was constantly sinking as we tried to save ourselves and each other. i don't remember much except a lot of screaming and fake crying.

this one i wrote on april 1, 1998 and have NO idea what it means:

i regret A LOT of times i wish that i listened better. if anyone looked at my reflection they would say "wow! gosh emily!" (which people have). it's really horrible!!!!

what??? i don't understand. can someone tap into my 11-year-old brain and let me know what the fuck that even meant? i mean, i get listening better but i don't understand the mention of my reflection and people's reaction to it? i must've been super cracked out on candy or in the deepest part of my brain that otherwise stays untouched even til this day. creepy 11-year-old shit. i wonder if i wrote this before or after i set fire to my trashcan in my bedroom...

on april 9, our teacher asked us what day it was. just kidding. i need to stop with the "Mean Girls" references. this day, our teacher must've asked us what we want to be when we grow up. this is an epic response:

first off, i am still a child. i don't plan to be older soon. but i do have some ideas in mind. well, my first choice is obvious. an actress. i was made for it. the second is a singer IF my voice is still good by my 20s. i'm not so sure about a teacher with all the grading and bad kids. it would be a huge responsibility. maybe a plain mother. oh well. i'll be a something. not a nothing.

that's right. I'LL BE A SOMETHING. NOT A NOTHING. and only a singer IF my vocals are still decent by my 20's, because everyone knows you've either made it or failed for life by your 20's and might as well consider yourself old and washed up with a lack of vocal chords. jesus. kids have NO concept of life and age. i used to think all my 16/17-year-old counselors at camp were like 35 and so mature. HA.

on april 13, i wrote what i would do if i were principal for a day:

i would make recess for an hour and thirty minutes. then, i would take all the 5th grade for Burger King and we would chow and buy anything we wanted. then, i would drop all the boys off at speed zone and all the girls and i would go to the mall. everyone would love it.

a few things to address. burger king was my go-to growing up in connecticut (or rather, i should say my parent's go-to). it didn't take me long to realize it's NOT  a southern thing whatsoever and there's maybe one location in all of Dallas. also, the use of the word "chow." what is that? lastly, "buy anything we wanted." where? at burger king? not the mall? syntax, emma. syntax.

i will leave you with this entry from april 22. our (probably) lonely and desperate teacher asked what we think teachers do in their spare time at home when they're not at school (probably to give her ideas of what she should actually do). my answer:

i think that they talk about what their lessons were like, and what the kids did. maybe about their husbands or really personal stuff. maybe they like to sit back and enjoy a cup of joe. that's what i think they do.

speaking of, i need a lot of cups of joe right now. oh, little emma. you're such a character.

- big emma

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