Flashback Friday

Snow day. No school.

Ergo, chaos. (Yes, Pam, I chose that word special for you.)

If I could somehow bottle the energy and the noise in this room, I could probably market it as some kind of psychological warfare. How is it possible for them to actually enjoy making that kind of noise? Wouldn’t your throat start to, I don’t know, bleed after screaming with that much joy after a while?  I know my ears are…

I was forced to do the only thing proven to capture the attention of toddlers: what could possibly compete with all out auditory and large scale chaos? That’s right, Kimber got out the mixer and started making bread dough. Which morphed into sweet roll dough and then cinnamon rolls. I had rapt attention from five toddlers for almost three hours this morning. (And the infants had free reign of the floors, with nobody to shriek when they touched the block towers, etc.) Nothing competes with making your own mess like watching an adult make a big mess.

But anyway… on to our daily topic: Freestyle Fridays.

Yeah, so essentially, Fridays are whatever I want them to be. Although, as I was reading through some of my old journals, I wanted to try transcribing some of them here. So I went back twenty years to January of 1991, when I was fourteen years old. Egad, I know. Is there a worse mental age to expose to the public view?

I’ll spare you a voluminous word for word transcription–it would take you twenty more years to read it–and give you an edited version of the week’s entries.

Jan 1-Jan 7, 1991

(This journal is a padded three ring affair (I think I made it at a Beehives activity night) covered with pale green fabric and edged with–I kid you not–pink lace. Give me a break; our leaders were fresh out of the ’80’s. The looseleaf pages are falling out and unfortunately I wrote some of it with a pencil, so it’s fading fast.)

Ah, yes, in this journal I documented my first New Year’s dance. I had sewn my own dress for this thing. It’s one of, if not the, only thing I have kept from my teenage years. It’s pale pink (shut up, Pam) with pearl buttons and a sweetheart neckline. The upper sleeves are enormous–like bigger than a loaf of bread–and the pleats I put in the skirt were so deep that I used six meters of fabric in the skirt alone. It was possible to wear an enormous crinoline underneath, in order to achieve the illusion of my upper body emerging from half of a large pink sphere. I wrote that the crinoline was almost nicer than the skirt, and it was a shame to cover it up, but I felt prettier, just knowing it was under there somewhere. If all these kids leave here on time, I might get a chance to dig it out and take a picture. I’m sure it’s not at all wrinkled…

Seems like yesterday I sewed the entire bodice and skirt wrong sides together (as in the seams were exposed) and had to pick it all out and start again. In my fourteen year old vernacular, it was “neat” and I “survived” the making of it.

I also survived the dance–mostly because I was having a good hair day–and “I managed to even throw three stupid streamers.” I came home in the same funk I’d apparently been living in since Christmas, or before, and wrote this: “I try really hard and I just feel like I’m trying to drag myself out of a black hole, GOD, something’s wrong and it’s not just depression no more if this is possible, it’s something worse.” (Written in the same paragraph in which I crowed over my beautiful hair, yes.)

During this time, I reorganized–and diagrammed–my bedroom to try to claim sole proprietorship of some small space. I was sharing with you, Nena. Apparently you were a brat.

I was also introduced to the cartoon Calvin and Hobbes, and received a bizarre package from my biological father and his wife. Garfield pajamas, out of the blue. I wrote, “I guess its the thought that counts, hey?”

I spent pages on pages contemplating everything from the wisdom of my Grandfather and Jesus Christ to the occurrence of thoughts that popped into my head upon first awakening. And yes, I wrote those all down. In excruciating detail.

At one point I waxed eloquent on how much I loved reading;  I calculated how long it would take me to pack all my belongings and move out (I decided everything would fit in one or two boxes); I entered a poetry contest and ranted against my older brother for mocking me when he found out; and griped about the problem of finances–in which griping, for the record, I used the word “gay” flagrantly, and in no way politically correct.  And I quote:

“It was pretty gay. We stood out in the freezin cold gas station counting pennies and dimes and nickles to see if we could put any gas in. We pumped exactly $2.74 into our stupid car. Wow. At more than 63 cents a litre plus GST, that sure does a lot. We almost got home; ran into a solid snow drift and took out the license plate. There are drifts 8 &10 feet high in some driveways! We don’t have a driveway to worry about; just an alley.”

I do find it interesting that we measured fabric in meters, gas in litres (yes, spelled that way), and snow in feet. Huh. I griped about the GST (a new Canadian sales tax) and the cost of Ginger ale, which was the closest thing I remember to medicine in my childhood; if you were sick, you drank Ginger ale, and in 1991 it was $4.19 a bottle. I assume that means a two liter bottle.

I also let the reader in on bizarre revelations about the shaving of legs and new scars from a car accident I’d been in the previous year.

I find this little tidbit shocking–I tried to paraphrase it, but I really can’t, because I, well, can’t believe I wrote them: “I just love ballet. I want to be able to dance like that. I sincerely believe I can. If only we had enough money for lessons, but in Reality, I musn’t hide my fear behind that excuse. I am scared I am not fit, flexible enough. That I’m too old to start now. Every time I get psyched up that I’m gonna really do something, I try to get flexible and ‘in shape’ and it just seems to get worse. Am I sick or just lazy? I dunno.”

Seriously? Man, I wish I could take that spindly little fourteen year old kid and shake her; show her the thirty four year old who gets on the treadmill and wants to die for the first 37 minutes all so she can feel that last 23 or so of pure exhilaration. Too old, yeah… that was probably my biggest obstacle to ballet fame. (Ballet? Really? Where in the world did I come up with ballet as a life ambition?)

On the first Sunday of the year I wrote really early in the morning; my father had woken me to make breakfast for my four year old brother. It was fast Sunday, which in Mormon parlance means that people over the age of twelve do not eat or drink for twenty four hours and donate the monetary equivalent of those meals to the poor. Underaged siblings, on the other hand, had to be fed. I didn’t complain about this task and I probably felt quite virtuous about that, too. Although… I hated porridge in all its varieties and since that’s all we ever had for breakfast, I probably wasn’t all that tempted by its aroma. Maybe that’s why they had me cook breakfast. Don’t remember. I did however proceed to write EIGHT pages of serious philosophical thinking. No wonder I was a weird kid–what fourteen year old writes eight pages about moral and ethical concerns?

7 responses to “Flashback Friday

  • Jayne

    You were a 14 year old that seemed to really think about your existence. Me? My journal went from one bad hair day to the next mingled with boys and every excruciating thought i had about each one I semi- encountered. I used to think I’d one day share those journals with my kids. Not happening until either they are grown and gone, or I’m dead. Probably the latter. If I haven’t burned them by that time. It’s good to no longer be 14.

    • kimberlybbert

      Yeah… I really can’t imagine my kids going through my journals. That’s why I’m thinking about doing a synopsis of all of them. There are a few good things there, but ugh… getting through the rest is excruciating.

  • psphoenix

    At the beginning, your morning sounds like our dinners(except the snow). We have a lot of people clammoring for the spotlight. We laugh a lot, but by the end I normally have my ears plugged. Manners? What manners?
    anywho, I laughed out loud in your post! The descriptions put such clear pictures in my head, Thanks!
    I think it’s interesting we find our “true” colors only after trying out the whole rainbow- your pink adversion cracks me up.
    I think my Journals were probably more like Jayne’s. The thought of going through my old journals— well- let’s just say I am not so sure I want to go down that rabbit hole without a very good shredder…

  • ladywise

    Oh my Lord! I am so glad I DIDN’T write journals of the things I thought and did when I was growing up. They would definitely have had to have been shredded.

    As always, this is so well written Kimber. You had me laughing out and yes, I had a clear picture of what was going on too.

    I don’t know how you do it with the kids. That many babies and toddlers would so make me run the other way. The great thing is, any time I get a little frustrated here with the 11 and 14 year old girls I have, I need only pull up a couple of your posts about the babies and toddlers and it brings an immediate sense of peace and tranquility back into perspective. We have it easy compared to you. It’s a good thing that God is there to see you through every day.

  • Alicia

    It’s amazing to see how much we’ve changed through journal entries. XD I don’t even like my current journal entries. 😛 I loved how you showed us this little bit of your life. You wrote in the journal entries into this post so well!

    • kimberlybbert

      You know what though, the amazing thing is in how many ways we don’t change–I’ve been surprised at how many ways I’m exactly the same, struggling with the same tendencies, etc, as I did twenty years ago.

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