Secrets & Sequins: Seeing Myself in 20 Years of Diaries


photo-13Sorting 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. 2000_1108_CurrentEvents_GrowingUp

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.

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. 2012_0214_Theatre_ACL_Scan 0

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.

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.