Cringe Binge re-visited

Ready for a cringe binge? Just now I was reminded by the lovely @hannahkaty about Sarah Brown’s book Cringe, a collection of hilarious and embarrassing teenage diary extracts.

I blogged about the book back in October 2008 and even posted a couple of extracts from my own teenage twaddle – still cringing at the weirdness of it all, so here I am re-posting here for all to see…(by the way, the Ashton Kutcher crush was well and truly over by 2009…)

Cringe Binge

In amongst all the Twitters about what people had for dinner, or my general ramblings about how much I need to buy something before I physically explode, there was a little tweet from Aubrey Sabala (@Aubs) about her being published in a book called Cringe! Being the fangirl I am, I hot-stepped it over to Amazon and found the book itself…and ordered it.

It’s a book of

Teenage diaries, journals, notes, letters, poems, and abandoned rock operas

compiled by a woman who started the whole thing off by holding a night in a Brooklyn bar where she, and others, would read the most embarrassing excerpts from their childhood diaries. Reading the book was probably the funniest week of my life, purely because we can all relate to a bit of teenage melodrama! Stories of boyfriends, parents, sex, best friends, and music being the only thing that keeps you alive at the age of fourteen just made me snort with laughter and at the same time tut and “ohhh” at the things that had also happened to me. Accompanied by pictures of scrunchie-clad teens and their diaries inscribed with their everlasting love for Fox Mulder, the book has some classic teenage feelings and experiences that are so innocent you can’t help but take in a breath or “nooooo!” at some of them. One of my favourites has to be from Sarah Kelly, whose page goes a little something like this:

My mom is a total PSYCHOTIC. Seriously all she cares about is grades, its not like she cares about us at ALL! Yesterday she threatened to take away my boombox AND my synthesizer. Doesn’t she know how important they are to me?? I HATE HER! ! ! BYE!

I can totally relate to the whole “music is my life” thing, my poor Mum had to put up with my Slipknot induced ramblings about how much Iowa meant to me. So, after reading Cringe (click HERE to see what it’s all about) I dug out my old diaries and tried to find some truly horrific entries from my teenage years. I can tell you now there were plenty of cringeworthy entries from the neurosis that was myself aged 13-16, some just too embarrassing to put out there as there might be a few people who would either get offended or think I was a stalker! (Which really I wasn’t, I was just super desperate…). Here is one extract which sums up my relationship with my Mum vs. my taste in music from 5th February 2002:

I’ve been thinking and I won’t buy a choker ‘cos Mum’s freaking out because I bought black nail varnish

For years my parents fought to put some colour in my clothes and I railed against it because black was the only colour that could show how deep, dark, and utterly frustrated I was. Yeah? Get a grip!! Everyone has to go through the goth stage and I’m not ashamed about it, I just wish I could have been better at it than I actually was!

Another problem I had was boys. Boys boys, all those times I wanted to just say “Umm I like you” but couldn’t because I was so damn shy! No-one ever told me they fancied me so I thought I was destined to be alone forever, the old woman with the cats and the brown fur coat. So I just ranted away in my little diary, telling it how much I loved one boy this week and another the next. How awful I felt when my crushes fancied someone else, or got girlfriends and totally ignored me. This happened many a time so eventually on the 19th March 2003 I scribbled the immortal lines:

Its not fair! I’m in love and he has a girlfriend! I am totally over Patrick now, totally. Him going out with her has put me off for life!

I was devastated, how could this guy who I loved so much but had only ever said ‘Hello’ to go and betray me like that?! I soon got over it though and moved onto the next poor soul. I was a girl who had crushes on anyone that paid the slightest bit of interest, forget about standards I just wanted someone to hold my hand around Queensgate shopping centre! So if you’re male and I knew you from 2001-2004 I probably fancied you. Celebs didn’t escape my clutches either, I used to write how much I loved Sean William Scott and Ashton Kutcher, man if only I could have married one of those two…

Going through my diaries has given me the biggest laugh, and taught me to not take myself so seriously. All those crushes I went through, the times when my Mum wouldn’t let me go on town leave because she didn’t want me to buy anything to do with studs or Slipknot, wishing my boobs were bigger, wishing I could get a boyfriend, wishing I could move to Canada! Life as a teen was so hard :)

originally posted on deja-vu, all over again – October 2008

please note: some header images are from