Sorting through 20 years of diary entries can be daunting. It can also be hilarious, insightful, and hard-to-face. But, that is exactly what I am doing in the name of my upcoming cabaret, Secrets & Sequins at the Venice Theatre on July 11 and 16.
I started writing in 1994 and I never stopped. When I began, I was quite prolific, recording almost every day about events (like the journey of my 11-year-old self to winning third place in the county for the Tropicana Speech Contest), to my emotions (like my 15-year old self’s fear of French kissing for the first time).
It’s hard to explain what it’s like to look back over the years. But these are a few of my biggest discoveries.
I’m Still Me
I haven’t changed much over the years. Yes, I’ve gained wisdom and confidence, but as I read through my entries from 11 or 21 years of age, it’s still me behind the swirly writing and self-realizations.
Current Events Matter
Alongside my life, it was fascinating to see how I chronicled current events from recordings of the OJ Simpson case, the tragic death of Princess Di, and even the 2000 presidential election between Gore and Bush.
Situations Can Easily Sway Self-Esteem
As we grow up, there are many peer groups we move through. In a period of a year (or a day), I easily went from feelings of self-loathing and insecurities to marvelous self-confidence and strength. The only differences in those situations were the people around me and how I viewed myself through their eyes.
And yes, I called my diary “Rifka” which was deemed my Hebrew name in Hebrew School.
This Too Shall Pass
No matter how stressed or worried I’ve grown over a certain part of my life – not getting a role, recovering from a bad break-up, or struggling to make friends and feel accepted – everything eventually resolves itself and life moves on. What’s more, most things are not as terrible as we make them out to be.
As I prepare for my cabaret, I’m doing my best to share entries that I hope audiences will find particularly amusing or those they can relate too. Growing up, as we experience everything for the first time, moments can easily feel like life and death. I think the key is to not take yourself too seriously and celebrate those things – awesome and awkward – that make you unique.
Photo by Mark Palmer with Mars Vision Productions.
Has anyone else kept a diary and re-read their entries years later? I’m curious what you’ve discovered about yourself.