Adult Responses to My Childhood Diary

Childhood wasn’t a breeze. In the words of my pediatrician on a medical report I recently discovered, “Carly is a delightful 10-year-old. She is moderately obese.” Despite my adorable case of obesity, matted hair that could very well have been mistaken for a bird’s nest and hand-me-down Siegfried and Roy t-shirts (in three different colors), my diary entries were almost annoyingly positive. I called myself ‘popular’ and listed all of my friends, I was positive the boys I had a crush on felt the same, and I was basically a D.A.R.E brand ambassador.

As an adult, a big part of me admires how positive and confident I was for a girl who peed herself during the grand finale of an ice skating competition. But another piece of me wishes someone would have been there to give me a hefty (pun intended) reality check. So, I thought about what I would tell myself as an adult. I wrote responses to a few diary entries as a warning, or maybe as guidance, and for the love of god, maybe I would’ve like brushed my hair or something.

*Names have been changed because social media is a thing now and I don’t need my middle school crushes messaging me to tell me how hot I am now. Duh.

Dear Carly,

This is in response to a diary entry you wrote dated November 2, 1999 titled, “Drugs are Bad.” First, I’d like to clarify that marijuana is spelled m-a-r-i-j-u-a-n-a, and not m-a-r-a-j-e-w-a-n-a. Although, your parents would wholly appreciate any revised spelling of a narcotic that includes a nod to our Chosen People. I would also like to point out that you’re being such a huge hypocrite. Yes, I know it was a bit shocking to find out your best friend’s older brother smokes weed ‘on the reg’, but why, you’re just a mere four years away from trying it yourself. The first of many times I might add. And let’s be honest, you won’t even do it with much dignity either. Your friend Joe will ask you if you’re going to, “toke up or not dude,” and you’ll immediately cave to the extremely light peer pressure. You’ll then pretend to inhale from a makeshift pipe that’s actually just a hollowed out pen, and continue to chill on a playground like the white, suburban pre-teens that you all are. You’ll go on your merry way, pretending to be “so stoned dude” for the next two hours. And to be perfectly honest, I think that huge drawing on the bottom of the entry of a joint with a slash running through it like a no smoking sign is a bit much. I’ll argue you should be more concerned when your best friend shows you his brother’s secret stash of porn.

With love and concern,

You in fifteen years

P.S. Sex won’t happen for a verrrrrrry long time.

Dear Carly,

This is in response to a diary entry you wrote dated January 26, 2001, you titled with three poorly drawn hearts. I hate to have to break this to you, but Tom doesn’t have a crush on you, nor will he ever. Furthermore, you’re embarrassing yourself every time you tell a new girl in the fifth grade class because secretly one of them is telling him and he’s made it his business to stay as far away from you as possible. Sure, your best friend Anna said he looked sympathetic when he found out you vomited all over the girl’s bathroom after eating bad cheese, but who wouldn’t? And I know he’s cute right now, with his blonde hair, spiked up with gel in the front like Ricky Martin but one day you’ll end up going to the same college as him, and he’ll be nothing more than a beer-bellied business student and Ricky Martin will be happily homosexual. Maybe you should pay more attention to the soft-spoken, computer nerd, Mitch, who sits in the back, or the short, chubby Micah who will one day attend rabbinical school, boy that would make your mother real happy. If there’s one thing you should take away from this, it’s that your best friend came up with a brilliant little tune to accompany your crush on Tom that will be stuck in your head even as an adult, and it goes like this:

Washington Washington avenue
Carly moved there and her dreams came true
Across the street from you know who
Washington Washington Avenue

Hoping you take my advice,

Yourself in fourteen years

P.S. When cheese tastes “sour” you stop eating it.

Dear Carly,

This is in response to a diary entry you wrote dated December 2, 2004 titled “I Hate Everything.” I would first advise you to stop crying on the pages and smearing the pen all over for dramatic effect. Anne Frank had it much harder and she never did that to her diary. Second, I want to tell you that one day your bat mitzvah won’t matter at all, not even the “super lame” t-shirts your mom ordered in XXL for all of your friends (far too large to wear at school the following Monday, completely obliterating the entire point of Bat Mitzvah Swag). Be excited you chose a super original theme! Instead of sports or Britney Spears (yes, that was a theme), you chose Saturday Night Live! Well actually, Live with Carly it’s Saturday Night! I’m sorry your mom can’t afford to have more friends invited, but let’s be honest, did you have any more to invite? You should be much more concerned that your best friend is dating your new crush, Bobby. It will suck. You will find out during an awkward slow dance with your friend Chris. He’ll look you right in the eye and say, “Carly, I can’t lie to you on your bat mitzvah, but Bobby and Anna are going out.” It will feel like someone smacked your stomach with a hammer, but know that one day Anna will still be your best friend and Tom will be balding and married with two children. But mostly know this: You’ll never see a dime of any of that money everyone gave you because it went to paying for the party. You’ll resent your mother for that until further notice.

With love and sadness,

Yourself in eleven years.

P.S. Sex is still basically like an eternity away.

*This originally aired as a podcast on Nerdologues: Your Stories.