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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