For most girls (and some boys) a diary is a staple part of being a teenager. You’re brimming with so much emotion and thought and the overwhelming feeling that NO ONE UNDERSTANDS YOU – so confining your innermost struggles to a private confidante who won’t judge you seems like a necessity of teenage life. I kept many diaries over the course of my tween and teenage years, although I never fully finished one. I guess the allure of a newer shiner notebook (whilst I was already writing in one) was too much too resist and so my teenage saga has been spread out over a few different journals. These journals are very important to me. Although they’re full of some of the cringiest things you’ll ever read, they’re also an interesting insight into my values and thoughts during my most impressionable years and something no one else can accidentally delete on me. I own them in hard, original copy (and occasional gel pen). So without further ado, let’s delve into my hilarious teenage years:
*As I will undoubtedly have referenced people in these diaries over the years, all names will be changed to random keyboard symbols for privacy reasons.*
The earliest diary we’ll begin with is one I started while I had just began my 2nd year of secondary school and was enjoying my last few months as a 13 year old. To give you an idea of the kind of person I was at this stage, I genuinely thought Paris Hilton was someone to idolise – I had two of her books and her perfume. I loved watching The Simple Life and Mean Girls and anything else that depicted that blonde airhead American dream. This whole influence can be seen throughout my entries; I seemed to think I was living within this kind of American high school subculture – not the actual standard Irish all-girls catholic school reality. I looked like this complete with braces peeping out through my smile:
Love those horizontal brows. The diary – which I had collaged myself – looked like this:
Tributes to Mean girls, Betty Boop and Finding Nemo; inspiring quotations such as ‘It’s a girl thing’, ‘There’s no time for bed’ and ‘Super Sassy’; the word ‘Sleepover’; a load of photos of an iPod mini (which I didn’t even own) and the hoi-polloi clothing tag off a fleece I got in now liquidated clothing store ‘D2 Jeans‘. I guess I thought it was a cool enough clothing brand to save the tag from and stick it on the front of my diary – it really wasn’t.
I was even calling my Diary ‘Paris’. Sigh.
”God I’m so angry at ***. She’s been acting really bitchy lately. She told me that yesterday she and ** didn’t feel like going to Irish last class so they just stayed in the bathrooms. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT. I would never ever ever skip a class EVER. I really hope they get caught when Ms. S checks their roles. HA HA HA HA that would show them. Then *}* gave me her Bliss mag and *** said that she gave it to her. No she didn’t!! AHHHHHHHHHH.”
So it seems my best friend at the time was causing me a considerate amount of (teenage) distress. SHE SKIPPED A CLASS. WHO THE FUCK EVEN IS SHE. I love how serious I think that is. She ALSO TRIED TO CLAIM A BLISS MAGAZINE ONE OF OUR FRIENDS HAD GIVEN TO ME WAS IN FACT HERS? WELL IT FUCKING WASN’T! Do you remember how expensive Bliss magazine seemed back in the day? So expensive I guess, that they retained their value indefinitely and were a precious element to own or be passed on.
Looking back on this now, I know it was just because this friend had formed a close bond with another girl and was spending more time with her than me – staying in the bathrooms when they should have been sitting in Irish class with me. I was jealous. I feel like having a best friend was so important to you when you were a young teenager. It’s such a awkward time and having a person to tread the murky teenage waters with you and always acknowledge you as being ‘cool’ to them – no matter what happens – validates you in a way. When I was 13 I wasn’t bold or brave enough to skip a class, and I hated that my then best friend had outsourced to another girl that would.
”This is gonna sound really stupid but I wish *#* was my BFF. She’s exactly like me!”
There was a girl in my class I wanted to be my friend so badly. I had a huge girl crush on her, I just thought she was so cool. We were friends, but not BEST friends. Which was what mattered at the time.
”….I’m going to text her tonight during the toy show, it’s a good excuse for conversation..”
Aww, that is so sad. I wanted this girl to be my new best friend so badly that I decided I would use the excuse of the ‘Toy Show’ as a means to strike a conversation up with her. I think I actually remember doing that and waiting patiently for her response – which was a few words long, unenthusiastic and sent around 3 hours later. Suffice to say we never did become best pals.
The best part about this entry is that it was initially written in blue pen, but I’ve gone back over the same entry and added things in silver gel pen. I know this is because the friend I was upset about in the first place and I used to read our diary entries to each other. Should we have made up a few weeks later (which usually always happened) and then read our entries aloud, I could read the added in bits so it wouldn’t have seemed like such a scathing rant about her. In this case I have written:
“I know I’m being such a BITCH and I’ll regret saying all this but that’s just hormones 4 ya! Luv ya! Ash xxx”
“P.S: *** If u see this I’m SORRY.”
Smooth Ais, real smooth. As long as she doesn’t cop that you’ve used two different colour pens you should be fine.
The next entry of note is one written on the 10th of January, 2005:
(Seemed to have dropped the use of ‘Paris’ here)
“..Well it’s 2005! I have not written to you in ages, sorry. I am writing to you in red because I am soooooo angry”
…Did writing to my diary in blood like Sideshow Bob seem a bit much so I settled for a red pen instead?
I love how I specified how long 28 days was two different ways. I actually remember how badly I wanted an iPod mini and €250 was a LOT of money in those days. I’ve then gone to the trouble of cutting out a picture of some iPod minis, sticking it in under the entry, drawing an arrow to the pink one and adding additional unnecessary star bullet points to each already bullet pointed piece of information.
“…When I wuz lookin on Ebay Niamh wuz all jealous and I was all SHUT UP. I mean she’s getting her room painted pink and cream and she is apparently gettin a ”fairy light” border even though that is like really impossible. It’s like duuuuuuuhh! She thinks she’s so great but she is just JEALOUS. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.”
The sibling rivalry here of my sister knowing there was no way I’d get an iPod for my birthday and me getting really annoyed at this and hitting back with ‘well she’s getting her room done up and it’s going to look crap.’ The ‘It’s like duuuuuuuuuuh’ is a perfect example of that whole ‘I’m American’ thing creeping in – as is the way I end the entry with ‘Gotta go, luv ya!’ à la Regina in Mean Girls. Cringe. I never did get the iPod mini for my birthday – but I did get an iPod nano for Christmas later that year, back when LimeWire was in it’s prime.
The next entry is January 11th – the next day – which was pretty rare as I usually wrote so sporadically.
”Dear Diary, Paris came 2day..”
Ah okay, so I’ve stopped calling my diary Paris, and decided to give that name to my period instead. Nice.
”….I had really really bad cramps so mam let me stay off so I lay in bed with a hot water bottle. Ahhh it was so warm and cosy while it was windy and cold outside, hee hee hee. I STILL really want an iPod tho. No I don’t want one, I NEED one! I really hope I can get one”
I know that what happened here was I had got ”Paris” for the first time the month before, but was too embarrassed to tell my Mam. I instead waited until the following month and then told her “Paris” had arrived so I could also get a day off school. WIN. Also still obsessing about the iPod mini.
”I went 2 ***’s 2day cuz I felt better..”
What a miraculous recovery Aisling! It seems I had also made amends with my friend from the entry before and went to hang out at her place later that day.
“..We did our usual: read diaries, bitch about people, eat crap, watch dvd’s and talk about school blah blah blah..”
Lucky I counteracted those bad entries about her with the silver gel pen, huh?
“…I got 12%, a F in my maths test so I have 2 get grinds. Mam didn’t mind but she was all ”your gonna have 2 cut out all this MTV crap and work out your maths hmwk….BLAH BLAH BLAH. I was all SHUT UP! ahhhh. Sometimes I feel like I’m just not important and how I do in school is!”
I have always been woeful at maths – that never changed. I am not a left sided brain kinda gal, the right side is more my thing. I love how my Mam said I needed to ‘‘cut out all of this MTV crap” – that’s such a Mam thing to say. There’s also no way I would have had the balls to say: ‘SHUT UP’ to my Mam at that age, this is me acting out the scenario again my head complete with my ‘American teenager’ response.
Also a classic angsty: ‘Sometimes I feel like I’m just not important and how I do in school is.’ Just because my Mam suggests I get grinds (for my non-Irish readers, ‘grinds’ are just what we call extra tutoring lessons. No idea why) Teenagers, man!
”**** had 2 get like 5 teeth taken out ( ha ha ha ha ha ha ha) mean girls quote ‘I’m sorry for calling you a gap toothed bitch, it’s not your fault your so gap toothed’ Well she is a bitch so whatever, she thinks she’s so great anyway.”
The reason why I had such a vendetta against this girl was because she was going out with the boy I used to fancy in primary school (and I’m pretty sure I still did fancy him at the time because I went to an all girls secondary school and there weren’t any other boys to fantasise about) so I decided to once again go all American teenager stylised on this and write something really over the top and bitchy.
”So I have €20 for the Sq 2morrow. I have 2 buy:
Spot cream thing
hair lightening cream…”
‘The Sq’– or rather, The Square – was my local shopping centre and this was my shopping list. ‘Hair lightening cream’ reminds me that I was obsessed with having a moustache – or girltache – when I was that age. I had braces at the time and during one appointment the orthodontist held a mirror up to my teeth while I was lying down in the chair and the fluorescent light she was using showed up the slightly darker hairs on my upper lip. I just about died. I was convinced everyone could see my HUGE AND VERY EVIDENT MOUSTACHE. Now we ladies add whacking some removal cream on it or waxing that shit off as part of our usual beauty routines – even in front of your significant other – girltache maintenance is perfectly normal; but NOT WHEN YOU ARE NEARLY 14. To your developing pubescent mind you are basically Ronnie Drew (pun intended).
My to do list also specifies I had a disposable camera (relic) to develop and also an envelope and 3 stamps to get! Exciting.
”I’ll bring €25 just in case. I have 2 bring my passport 2 so I can get a new post office book. I have €60 in there. Hello?!!!
Niamh’s room is all painted and I hav 2 say it looks gorgeous!”
Wow, remember the days of post office books? The ONLY way to save your Communion and Confirmation money as an Irish kid. I’m guessing that €60 was the dregs of this money I had forgotten about. ‘Like HELLO?’ I also seemed to have gotten over my sister getting her room done up pretty quickly.
“I don’t know if I’m fighting with *%* or not. Well me and *** are undecided anyway. She dyed her hair and OH! MY! GOD it looks really really gay! I mean she has red, well orange hair and she dyed it black! I mean come on! BLACK? Hello, get a colour chart! The top of her hair, well her roots are showing and they are like orange and her hair is black. She looks like a tiger. It’s like grrrrrr! Oh and her eyebrows? One is black and the other is orange with a little bit of black on the end. It looks really bad. She’ll probably decided to get a crap fringe like *^*, then she’ll look like *^* but with a crap fringe! I bet +=+ told her it looks good because +=+ is colour blind.”
I actually winced re-typing that. Stop being such a bitch tweenage Aisling! You are not in an American high school! You are not a mean girl! So what if *%* wants to ignore the presumably high maintenance of dying red hair black, that’s her prerogative and you’re just being mean. ‘Hello, get a colour chart!‘ is not a legitimate diss. *^* may have also got a crap fringe in the past but once again that’s her business. And +=+ is definitely not colour blind – that’s an egregious claim to make. Also you really don’t realise how harmful it is to say something looks ‘gay’ when you’re 13 – you’re just blindly repeating what you hear in films and on TV. Glad I grew out of that.
“Well I really hav 2 go to sleep! To Do 2morrow
Photographs – developed
hair lightening cream
Spot cream thingy
envelope + stamps
post office – book
bring in calculator + pen 4 business
Okay I really have 2 do all those things. Night Night, Luv ya, Aisling’
Love how important it was for me to do those things that I stated I had to do them three different times.
The last entry of note is for the next day, the 12th of January. I stopped writing proper entries in this Diary after that and didn’t start again until I got a new diary for my 14th birthday, a few weeks later in February.
“Dear Diary, I got highest in my German test today. Ha ha ha ha in your face *$$*!”
She who will be known as ‘*$$*’ was the German teacher’s pet and I was clearly loving that I had got the highest test result.
“I hav 2 go 2 the orthodontists 2 morrow. Oh joy + I have Drama. I went shopping with *** best laugh I’ve had in ages! We bought this hair colour. IT IS CRAP MY HAIR IS THE SAME COLOUR! GRRR! we bought these spot wands 2, they’re sooo cool.”
The hair colour we were talking about is from the now discontinued Loreal Colour Pulse range. It was a concentrated colour mousse that washed out in 8-10 washes. I somehow thought the ‘Cool Blonde’ one was going to take wonderfully over my mousy brown hair but it obviously didn’t. I remember how excited I was buying at the time; I wouldn’t have been allowed dye my hair but this seemed like a sneaky loophole. I wouldn’t have told my Mam either way. I was raging it didn’t work though – I obviously wanted to be blonde like my then idol, Paris Hilton.
The spot wand was one of those double ended wands from Boots with a solution to put on spots for day and night. The applicator was the same as a lipgloss one and it was a bit like putting stingy tea tree oil scented lipgloss on your face. I’m not sure it ever really worked but it was a staple at that time – I think they still sell it in Boots today.
As a bonus there’s also a list of ‘Possible Sleepover Candidates’; featuring nominations between my girl pals and I – as to who would be able to host a sleepover – with completely made up odds.
I have no idea where I’m getting these ‘odds’ from – they’re completely fabricated and not based on any real data whatsoever. ‘1 in 7’??
The best one at the end says:
“*girls name*: Odds 1 in 3
Asked already : YES
(Her mam was in a bad mood when she asked her so she thinks she might be in with a chance)”
There’s also a plan for Halloween for later that year; the last year we ever trick or treated. We were 13 and definitely pushing it – but I LOVED dressing up and so did my best friend at the time. The rest of the “cool” teenagers we knew were going drinking by the bonfire – which we were specifically NOT allowed to do and still very innocent – so we decided to embrace Halloween one last time and go trick or treating with my pal’s younger sister. Brace yourself for the drawing.
WHAT IS THAT. Okay so the idea was that we would be some kind of cool ‘meals on wheels waitresses’ and wear our rollerblades around and carry trays….. I just can’t. That drawing looks like a day shift hooker who works also works a night shift at a restaurant. Why did I draw in boobs? I didn’t have boobs when I was 13! I was a double AA cup.
Here is the awkward reality of that night:
Wow, looks just like the drawing huh? Such cleavage!
I remember one lady – who’s door we trick or treated to – actually said: ‘Ah jasus girls, yiz are a bit old aren’t yiz?’ and we were collectively mortified. We knew we were too old to trick or treat – but also too un-cool and young to be drinking by a bonfire – and having this lady so bluntly verbalise this to us just reinforced how awkward and uncool we were at that age.
I do not miss being a tween.
– Aisling Abbey