The Teenage Experience

First off, let me just say that I have had so much fun with Teen Writer Week this week, and I want to thank Kody, Steph, and Weronika for their contributions! You gals are amazing 🙂

Secondly, yesterday was Teen Lit Day and Scholastic, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and ReaderGirlz have some really great posts on it. Go read!

As Teen Writer Week comes to a close, I thought I’d share some of my own writing from my teen days. Since I was not nearly as creative or motivated as the lovely ladies mentioned above, these little snippets come directly from my old diaries. I promise no editing has been done. (It makes me cringe that I cannot correct my grammar!) So, enjoy the raw teen angst. To me, these quotes best represent my adventures in adolescence, and I think (hope) most teens and former teens can relate:

Age 13: “Today I got contacts! Finally no more glass. I hope I look a little more attractive than before. Maybe [major crush!] will start liking me. But, if he only likes me because of the way I look, then I don’t want him anyway. Well, OK, I still do.”
Age 14: “I’m sitting here watching Dawson’s Creek and everytime I watch it I get the urge to write in my diary. They’re fifteen on the show! That’s like me in like 9 months. I’ve never had a conversation like these people ever!”
Age 15: “I’ve been thinking about college lately, mostly about how I don’t know what I want to do w/ my life. I got my DAT results back, which is a test to see where you should pursue a career. They told me I should work w/ the fine arts or music, which is basically my dream job, but realistically I don’t see that happening. Oh well. I don’t really know what I’ll do.”
Age 16: “If 16 is supposed to be this great and wonderful age, and I don’t feel any different, then what the hell is 17 going to feel like?”
Age 17: “I hate high school. Every little thing that’s ‘a major crisis’ is just stupid shit no one cares about.”
Age 18: “I’m beginning the phase in my life where I’m just freaking out. The fact that I’m leaving and going out into the world alone is hitting me. I mean, I was aware of this before, but ever since I decided on Ithaca and they’re sending me more and more stuff, it’s like ‘ok, this is actually happening now.’ And I am completely terrified.”

Also, in the spirit of Teen Writer Week, I ask you all to leave a quote – whether from a diary you have handy or from a moment in time that’s stayed in your memory – in the comments that you think sums of your teen years!

9 thoughts on “The Teenage Experience

  1. I love what you said in your diary, Sarah, it reminded me how it used to feel like. Life was sharper in those days. So hard, black and white. Blood and wine.Yes,like others who have commented before me, I don't want to go back either and, unfortunately, I've lost all my notes (didn't do diaries – just note-keeping)…but they wouldn't be of any use, they were all written in French.

    One thing, though. I am several decades later into my life, and in some basic way, I feel – no, I'm convinced! – I haven't really changed. Deep down, I'm still me! I guess that's how I can relate to a teenager today. The teenager in me has never died!


  2. I thought your diary entries were endearing, Sarah. What a terrific kid you were! Do your parents know what a great kid you were (are)? Anyway, I didn't keep a diary but I did write songs. So here's two verses to a song written for the first boy I ever loved (I was fifteen–and all we ever did was kiss but boy, did I love him):

    Sharing songs, make me laugh when I'm lonely
    I'll love you till my song can't be heard
    Restless mind, there's a peace now and only
    Now that you're mine

    Drifter, sleeper, wanderer keeper
    All these things has my love been of yours
    All the while growing softer and deeper
    Time after time.

    (Thanks for the memories, Sarah. I'm verklempt!)


  3. Teenagers are amazing, special people. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I am still one of them. But honestly, there is no amount of money that could entice me to go through that hell again. Never. Not ever.


  4. So angsty, though! It can be hard to read that sort of thing now without feeling a bit of the pain from back then. That's one of the things that I love about writing about and for teenagers–how emotionally raw they are, the urgency of everything. But it makes me glad that I'm no longer one!


  5. These are great, Sarah! So undramatic and astute. Looking back, there's not much in my high school diary that I'd call either. I wrote poetry, so it was all dramatic. But I might as well be brave and share. This is from senior year, when I was seventeen. And angsty (original spelling preserved for honesty)–so very representative of that period for me:


    Now let me dream of
    two thousand kisses never shared,
    the taste of your saliva, warm,
    like cigarettes.

    In your arms I was inconsistant,
    fingers grasping at your soft shoulder blades,
    I felt your body move and heard your breath,
    heavy between pale lips.
    The stars pulsed in and out of existance,
    or were there stars?
    Perhaps the sky was dark and lonely.
    Perhaps all I saw was the porchlight in your glasses,
    highlighting your chin hairs and
    your worried, invisible brow.
    Perhaps I never cared to look.
    Occupied. I tried to remember the moist, burnt smell
    of Indiana on your shoulder, neck, where my chin
    was resting.
    I have a confession.
    I was listening.
    I know the answer now, already, too little.
    Too late.


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