13 again

*Updated with blog link

Someone recently pointed me towards the blog of her 8th grade daughter and I was instantly transported.

maybe it was the way it was written with all lowercase and no punctuation except in random places

Maybe it was something about the brooding expressions of faux pretension, the description of “unliveable” days and a week filled with “adventure and fabulous outfits.”

Maybe it was the combination of Disney jewelry and heavy black eyeliner on the authors, that decades-old symbol of the weighty straddle between childhood and womanhood.

In any case, I had hardly read three posts before I was hurled back in time a quarter century (eek) with Lysa and Rachel and Hally and Terri and other assorted adolescent misfit friends, memorizing the words to Rapture, trying to decide if we’d let boyfriends feel us up, and pretending to get high off the smoke wafting from incense sticks.

It seems so long ago. It seems like yesterday.

The days of circles over i’s. The days of sorting MnMs into piles before we ate them. The days of making out with short boys (hi Steve!) next to the bike racks behind school and hoping we wouldn’t get caught–but actually hoping we’d get caught. The days of Midsummer Night’s Dream rehearsals with the single greatest English teacher of all time ever (hi Dee O’Brien!). The days of testing limits and experimenting with identity, sexuality and blue eyeliner.

And of course, the single greatest joy any thirteen year-old girl could ever hope for: Being told you look 15.

“Ok, this is gonna sound very old of me,” Hally wrote me after I shared the blog with her, “but I can ‘t even fathom what we would have been like as 8th graders in this modern age.”

I imagine we would have been pretty much the same. Tortured and awkward and hormonal and creative, exploring our feelings through writing and art only with one major difference: We’d be putting it out there for anyone to read.

I imagine the exhibitionists in us would have liked it; even if our adult selves would have been mortified so many years later.

What are your strongest memories of thirteen? Do you think you’d have been blogging then?


52 thoughts on “13 again”

  1. I would SO TOTALLY have been a blogger. Oh, Lord. I actually <>shudder<> to think. Thank the sweet lord I endured the teen years prior to the invention of the Internet. Al Gore, thank you for waiting until I was a (semi) mature adult.Talk about dodging a bullet.

  2. I absolutely would have been a blogger. And I would have updated a heck of a lot more often than I do now. Hopefully I wouldn’t have typed Lyk dis tho… u know? lol n e way wut up nah I’m J/k whatevs PEACE!

  3. Oh Miss Grace, of course the internet will have imploded by then and so I won’t have to make that decision! At least that’s what I’m counting on.

  4. My strongest memories involve green eyeliner and green mascara (I had a thing for green, then). Being totally boy crazy and writing horrible angst-ridden poetry. I totally would have blogged, and I would be completely mortified now, 20 years later.

  5. Oh, I don’t know, Dee was good, but Duke rocked my world.Thirteen was when my bipolar disorder manifested, I now know. Looking back, things seem to make a little more sense. Not much, but a little more.

  6. I still have my “diaries” from that age and its agonizing and hilarious to read. completely mortifying.

  7. I was a late bloomer, so change the age to fifteen, and I’m there. Purple eyeliner. Hours with the curling iron. Spending hours discussion the meaning of a wave from a cute boy. Thank god I’m not a teenager any more.

  8. Oh, 13!After college, when I collected the last of my belongings from my parents’ house, I discovered some of my old journals from middle school. They were replete with so much cringe worthy insecurity that I threw them out. I remember distinctly thinking, “If I get hit by a bus NOW and these get discovered, this is not how I want to be remembered!”-Christine

  9. Boys, clothes, NKOTB, and drama. I loved being 13! I faithfully wrote in journals so I definitely would have been a blogger. 🙂BTW, this reminds me of that movie 13 Going on 30, it was too funny.

  10. I had journals, too, and would totally have blogged. I was so sure that I was, in fact, deeply insightful, poetic even — but the dorky boys around me just couldn’t see it. If the internet had existed I would have blogged so that insightful, poetic 13yo boys could find me.Eek.

  11. 12 was the most miserable year of my life, so 13 was a breath of fresh air. Fresh air and huge crushes (there was no making out for me until, gosh, 15? 16?), black eyeliner, cords and huge honking glasses.I’m not sure if I would’ve blogged—-probably, given my tendency even back then to write stuff down and want to preserve memories. I can’t even look at my diaries from those days though—too cringe worthy.And, Miss Grace—my oldest started a blog at SEVEN! But, it’s not public and frankly she has no interest in it after an initial burst of excitement. At 13, I think it’d still insist it be an invite-only blog and be really strict about pictures (if any). But, maybe Liz is right and the internet will have imploded by then and we’ll be back to passing notes in class.

  12. i would like totally have had a blog.I used to work in a middle school and was transported back to adolescence every single day I worked there. And I told myself, and on occasion, my students, that I’d never go back to that time for all the money in the world.

  13. I have dozens of journals from junior high and had the internet been available I would uploaded every word. I’m glad I didn’t get that chance.

  14. I used to rush through after school chores to get to my typewriter time, clicking away at poetry of pain. Every couple of years I go through the envelope of my Stevie Nicks wanna be years and throw out more and more of the evidence. I’d be mortified if it was all out there in cyber foreverness.

  15. My strongest memory is of life turning completely upside down. But, I would have been a blogger then. I was a writer then. Now, it is just a hobby. I kind of miss it being my “job.”

  16. I’m not sure I would have blogged then. On one hand, I don’t know if I would have had the confidence. On the other hand, knowing how anonymous it all is, that might have helped me get a lot of shit out of my head!

  17. Not sure I would have blogged because my diary was PRIVATE. I was devastated when my little sister found it and read aloud my entries on middle school dances: who danced with whom, who was “going together” and who cried. Every entry was illustrated with an annotated drawing of the outfit I’d worn.

  18. I was a journal keeper in middle school so I guess I might have blogged if it had been available. But then again, I would be afraid my mom would find it on the internet.

  19. I was chatting with my friends on IRC when I was thirteen. It’s what geeky exhibitionist Gen-X/millennial cuspers did before LiveJournal came along.Also, my high school friends and I bought a huge empty PAPER journal one time, and turned it into a community journal, where we all wrote our thoughts and fears and adolescent rants and shared them with everyone else in a group of about 30 people. We left the book out all the time on a public table, so that anyone could read it. We even commented under one another’s entries. It’s like we knew we needed blogs <>before the technology was even there.<>

  20. I’m finding it really interesting that most of you are equating journaling to blogging. Don’t you think that you’d have written differently on a blog knowing it would be read than you would have in your diary?(Or maybe you’re all bigger exhibitionists than I am)

  21. Oh, also, I think that maybe the reason a lot of people are comparing their private journalling to blogging is that every 13-year-old girl who keeps a diary secretly hopes it will be published and become a literary sensation after her tragic and untimely death at some indeterminate point in the future. I think most people who write a journal write it imagining that SOMEONE will read it, someday.

  22. I would have blogged. I would have regretted it. I burned all my journals once I met my husband. Best to leave all that behind!

  23. I burned all my journals when my mother sold our family home. I wish I hadn’t but I agree with Jaelithe that we all hoped to be discovered and read and wept over our far-too-early demise.

  24. I wouldn't want to go back to being thirteen for anything. Separating M&Ms made me snort, I forgot about that. I have two memories about that period, first one was dying my best friend's ponytail with blue food coloring. Who knew it wouldn't come out. The next one was an overdose I took at 13 and my physician mother saying the night I was admitted to the hospital “I can't believe you did this in my hospital.” I'd never go back to that period of my life for anything, it has taken me years of therapy to even talk about it. I now have a 12 yo girl and I have to keep reminding myself that her reality will be different than my own. Thank god!

  25. It’s funny, but the first memory that pops up happened at a family gathering. My uncle asked how old I was now and I said I was thirteen.– Thirteen, huh?My dad laughed and put his hand on my head. He said something to the effect of “what would you give to be thirteen again?”Then they both looked at each other, LAUGHED, and swore they would NEVER do it over again, no matter what, not if someone promised them a million bucks in return.Lol. Outside of that, my strongest memory is probably finding what my friends and I called “the boob balance.” We would try to stick out the mosquito bites at school and understate them at home. That’s a hard balance to figure out when your mom drops you off at school every morning!

  26. Sarah that’s awesome! One day I’ll have to write about the traumatic first bra shopping experience when I was 13.

  27. This makes me think of the movie, “Thirteen, Going on Thirty.” Because I struggled with weight issues a lot as a child and teenager my blog from those days would probably be mostly about that topic. Oh and boys and zits. : )

  28. Getting a seat at the back of the bus was the most important thing of the day. And, I cared so much about what other people thought. I remember wearing a beret to school one day. I thought I was so cool. Someone told me it looked dumb and, very assertively, I said, “I like to start new fashion trends.” Of course, I was crushed. I would’ve been blogging, but only if my friends were doing it. 🙂

  29. I’m almost afraid to comment. I almost wish I could have blogged as a teen. Maybe it would have helped in some way, making all that torment public. And I agree, secretly I was sure “they” would all be so sorry to mourn the untimely death of such a brilliant poet/writer when they discovered my journal.My strongest memories are so associated with my struggles with mental illness, I hesitate to make them public. I, like most everyone, would not do a single day of it over again. But at the same time, there is a wistfulness when thinking about it. Humans are certainly funny creatures.

  30. I definitely wouldn’t have been blogging at 13. I wasn’t nearly confident enough.

  31. Thirteen was six kinds of awful. I will do whatever I can to make it easier on my girls. If blogging gets them through, so be it. I’ll insist on a pseudonyms, though. “RottenMom is being soooo unreasonable about my curfew. OMG!”

  32. My biggest fear when I was 13 was that I would die a virgin (shudder). If I knew my 13 year-old self, I would have smacked that girl in the head.Would I have blogged? Only if none of my friends were doing it yet.

  33. No one wants to know my strongest memories from age 13. Which is why I’m so desperately relieved that all I had back then was pen and paper.

  34. The blog you refer to here belongs to my daughter: http://www.crumpetsandt.blogspot.com. And, that’s a firm yes to blogging during my teen years. How I wish I could have had the benefit of the WWW as a teen – I would have let my alter-ego soar while remaining my parents little girl…BTW, I’m linking your blog!

  35. Suzanne – am happy to link it with your permission. I couldn’t find an email or contact info on your site.(And your daughter is gorgeous btw)

  36. Nope! I would not have blogged about any of the crap I was doing when I was 13, are you kidding me??? I was a horrible teenager and my parents paid the price for my actions! When I was 13, lets see, I started smoking, drinking, probably sneeking out and meeting boys…..geez! I am the mother of a 13 yr old girl, and i KNOW she is not anything like me! Thank GOD!

  37. Wow, dude, where is the end of this line?I totally would’ve been blogging, and it would’ve ruined my life. I used to where “Smile if you’re not wearing underwear” t-shirts in 8th grade. If I am filter-challenged now, I was a sewer grate then.

  38. Vicki, that’s just hilarious.And Rita, I hear you. You’re bringing back cringe worthy memories of the buttons on my handbag: “Good girls to go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.”I was a winner.

  39. I man, I remember more than I want to about 13. I was fully converted to BAD ASS by that age. It’s funny to think what was so “bad” then. I hope I wouldn’t have blogged. Imagining the shit I would have written makes me cringe.

  40. Hmmm… would I be blogging, My Spacing, or Twittering about my purple Gloria Vanderbuilt cords and matching fuzzy purple sweater (with purple eyeliner and caked on purple eye shadow) during that slow dance with Andrew Jablonasky at the 7th Grade Dance? Probably all three!I think when I’m home in June we should search through all the boxes in my parents attic (and whatever you have) for all the plays, notes, etc. and publish/share some of them. It would be great fun… like blogging as a 13 year old when you are 41.

  41. I just remember how horrible the other girls in middle school were. I can’t imagine being brave enough to blog what I was feeling for fear one of them may read it and use my words to crucify me later on that week at school.I just wonder what middle school will be like for my daughter in 13 years. I can’t imagine it will get any easier…

  42. I remember getting braces the day before the first dance I was allowed to attend, and practicing smiling in the mirror without showing my teeth. I remember the feelings of anticipation and tension about meeting up with the bad-boy who’d actually asked me to go. Would I have blogged about this? No, the real stuff I’d have kept hidden. I would have blogged about how so-and-so got her period and when would I? The stuff we talked about was different than what I grappled with privately. But then, I suppose that’s still the case — or is it?

  43. Being 13. Neve, ever again. The most hideous years of my life. Would I have blogged? Possibly, I used to write in my diary all the time and it makes me cringe. I am so thankful I have a boy. How my Parents didn’t kill me, I’ll never know.

  44. I discovered grunge at 13 so I think I’d have had a really interesting blog 😉As for boys well they were part of the problem…VP

  45. I hate the idea of my daughter blogging before she’s old enough to understand internal filters. Ugh.She’s just turned 13, and she’s sweet and honest and really OK, at least so far. I know she’ll be going through a lot in these next few years, just like I did, but I hope she’ll be great. I’m not sure that someone that age needs the brutality of the internets.

  46. …I’m fourteen. I blog. It’s terrible fun, really. I think all teenagers should at least have the possibility to express themselves, in one manner or another, be it on paper or on the interwebs. The Internet hasn’t “warped” my personality (as of yet).

  47. I did “blog” them in this very old version called a DIARY. 🙂 I wrote ALL THE TIME. But in public? I boy I hope not… because I was about 25 when I found those diaries again and I BURNED them. There’s no way I wanted anyone to read that angst and trampy behaviour. Typical “absent father” misbehaviour, heavy on the flirting with older men… SIGH. I know I would have blogged. (I’m a writer, afterall.) I know I would have regretted it.

  48. 13 was one of several miserable years in the early teens for me. I remember enduring gym class when I was not athletic. I also remember a couple of girls who would run their fingers down my back every day checking for a bra, then teasing me for not having one yet. (I had no breasts to put into a bra yet.)

    I also remember begging my mom to get my ears pierced, and finally being allowed to do it. I felt like I’d aged 10 years that day.

    And I would have totally been a blogger, because I was already a geek with my state of the art Tandy HX 1000 computer.

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