Are You There God? It’s Me, Joy

I’m still experimenting with this “writing blog.” Just not really sure what its focus is going to be. I got the idea to go back and reread my old journals and see if I could find something to write about from them. Here is my first attempt at this exercise. Below are bits and pieces from my journals when I was about 12 going on 13. What’s funny about them is that what I am writing about in my journal at the time is not AT ALL what I remember about this time in my life. I’ll start off with the journal entries I actually wrote and then I tell you what I would have expected myself to have written at the time.

August 11,1988
Next Tuesday (August 16th), I will get my braces. I really want to get them. They don’t hurt that bad. Brett has them so I know. We will be going on vacation soon and I don’t want to because I don’t want anything to happen to Heidi (the dog) and Missy (the cat).

August 16, 1988
Well, I have braces. They do hurt, but not from putting them on. Tomorrow we pack. I can’t wait, but I just hope nothing happens to Heidi and Missy. See ya.

August 17, 1988
Last night’s sleep was not a pleasant one. My braces were killing me, they hurt so bad. Today they feel better but it’s hard to eat. I have to brush my teeth an go get some film for our trip. See ya.

August 19, 1988
Yesterday was a very long drive, but we finally got to St. Simon’s [actually St. George’s] Island. And last night we went in the ocean and stayed for an hour. It was fun. We already went on the beach once more this morning. See ya.

***

I’m sure it is true that I was super excited to get braces. This seems like an odd thing to want. Don’t most kids dread getting braces? I distinctly remember that I always wanted glasses and a retainer like my BFF Susan. I would take a paper clip, unwrap it and attempt to rewrap it to create a make-shift retainer for myself and walk around talking with it in my mouth. Weirdo. I was a dork in every sense of the word.

As for this particular vacation, I remember it so well, but what I remember is being sooooo mortified about wearing a bathing suit on the beach. I was Margaret straight out of the book and was sure I was going to see some cute boys my age and they were going to laugh at my mosquito bites. No, at my barely mosquito bites! Wait, could I even claim mosquito bites?!?! I spent a ridiculous amount of time in the bathroom on that trip staring in the mirror trying to determine if I there was any sort of protrusion from my chestal area that could qualify as breasts.

Thinking back on it, it’s embarrassing how much time I spent trying to reassure myself that I was normal and would get boobs and wasn’t going to be flat on into adulthood. I remember cursing myself that I had jinxed any chance of getting boobies on the day that my mom and I had “the talk.” Actually, it wasn’t so much a talk as it was her handing me a book tittled, I swear, Your Menstruation. Then she left the room and said to let her know if I had any questions. I didn’t know what questions I had before or after reading it, but I did know that asking her any of them was so NOT going to happen!

The only page I remember in the book was the two page spread of the girl to woman’s changing body shape. From stick straight to hips, thighs and chest. I was petrified. I absolutely, in no way, shape or form, wanted to go through this process. So, I laid face down on my bedroom rug clutching my chest and prayed to the Lord Almighty, or chanted rather, “I don’t want to get boobs, I don’t want to get boobs.” Over and over and over again. (Imagine the irony when a year or so later, I’m chanting the infamous, “I must, I must, I must increase my bust!”)

Yep, those are the real thoughts that were going through my head leading up to and during that vacation to St. George’s Island. I must have been really worried that Brett was reading my diary not to have mentioned that at all!

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