Oh Dear Diaries…

I have spoken before about the trauma I suffered aged six, when my brother Chris decapitated my beloved Tiny Tears doll. It is fair to say that none of us were ever the same again:

- Chris realised he should never mess with his little sister – due to her nifty right hook.

- I learnt to hide stuff from my brothers that I didn’t want damaged / maimed / beheaded.

- Tiny Tears developed a new-found appreciation for polo neck tops.

I became exceptionally good at concealing my possessions after Tiny Tearsgate, 1989. Anything of value or sentiment was stowed away in a safe place, until I left home at the age of eighteen. This included, though was not exclusive to:

- A second-hand paperback copy of Roald Dahl’s Matilda, purchased for fifteen pence.

- My extensive Pog collection.

- One hundred high quality fibre-tipped colouring pens.

- Three mixed tapes of Boyzone, Peter Andre, the Spice Girls, and Backstreet Boys.

- My top secret, highly confidential, tell-all diaries, that I began writing in 1995, at the             tempestuous age of twelve.

With impressive foresight at just fourteen, I acknowledged that I’d probably look back on my diaries in years to come and laugh. I may have underestimated just how much.

Here are some highlights from the last seventeen years in the life of me.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent:

11/05/1997 SECONDARY SCHOOL: Everything in this diary seemed to have a point to it when I wrote it. That’s why I refuse to look back and cross stuff out. Even the really embarrassing stuff about fancying Dave from my Maths class and cutting my own fringe. Again.

27/12/1997 SECONDARY SCHOOL: New Year’s Resolutions for 1998

  1. I will slap the next person who says I fancy Dave, because I don’t.
  2. I will tidy my room at some point this year.
  3. I will keep my room tidy for at least a week.
  4. I will stop worrying so much about how I look.
  5. I will marry Ronan Keating.

30/12/1998 SECONDARY SCHOOL: New Year’s Resolutions for 1999

  1. I will cut down on chips and chocolate, eat my greens and drink more milk.
  2. I will either slap or kiss Smith for being such a git.
  3. I will snog any (well, just about any) boy who offers.
  4. I will not take my mobile to school for the sole purpose of showing off. Well, maybe.

11/05/2000 COLLEGE: Oh fudge. I tried to pluck my eyebrows to make them look better, but now it’s a case of “Eyebrows? What eyebrows?” Will have to draw them on with pencil until further notice. Note to self: step away from the tweezers.

11/03/2001 COLLEGE: 

21/06/2001 COLLEGE: Have opted to come down with food poisoning on Friday. Not actual food poisoning, but this is my brilliant plan to get out of work. I am brilliant.

30/11/2001 UNIVERSITY: Nothing to report apart from my slow spiralling descent into madness.

“I didn’t lose my mind; it was mine to give away.” Robbie Williams.

11/02/2002 UNIVERSITY: This afternoon was highly productive. I finally mastered the art of reading half a book and blagging the fact I read the whole thing. It’s a talent. One I am proud of and grateful for.

19/04/2002 UNIVERSITY: My plans to go into Uni today were scuppered by an overwhelming desire to sit at home on my bed and highlight stuff. Very important stuff; naturally.

22/04/2003 UNIVERSITY: 

13/08/2003 UNIVERSITY: Mental note: Everything happens for a reason and anything pants that seems to crush you at the time, just makes you stronger in the end. H’mm, that’s very phylosophical of me for a Thursday afternoon. Must learn to spell phylosophycal philospohycal philosophical.

19/10/2003 UNIVERSITY: Am so proud of me! Have spent the entire day doing boring Postmodernism coursework. All something to do with hyperreality. Very confusing. Despite having written 2,503 words, I still don’t understand it. This does not bode well for the ‘A’ grade I was hoping for.

29/11/2004 UNIVERSITY: Momentous occasion: Handed in my dissertation. *Takes a bow*.

03/10/2005 POST-UNIVERSITY: An ode to Tony: “When I fall in love, it will be forever”. Thank you Nat King Cole. 

Note to self: Must put prophetic talents to good use. A winning lottery ticket would be a great start.

To This Day, I Have No idea What We Were Thinking

I first committed fraud at the tender age of eleven, obtaining property by deception. The item in question: one child’s lucky bag.

Just to clarify – I did not steal the lucky bag; I merely purchased it under false pretences. That doesn’t however make this story any less embarrassing. Allow me to explain:

Lucky bags generally contain a mixture of vile tasting sweets, a miniature colouring book, one defective toy (usually a whistle or yoyo) and an extensive palette of three (yes, three) crayons.

At four years old, this would have kept me occupied for at least three days. I’d use the crayons for the Wassily Kandinsky homage on my bedroom wall, and then eat them for lunch. If there were any remnants left over – I usually stored them in my left nostril for later use. Beyond the age of eight however – lucky bags lost their appeal and suddenly seemed extremely lame.

At eleven years old, my best friend and I decided to be VERY cool and rebellious by purchasing candy cigarettes and pretending to smoke them in the park. The trouble was, we both also had a hankering for lucky bags that day – which quite frankly, at eleven, was social suicide. 

We took our chosen items to the counter and to avoid embarrassment, made a point of telling the cashier very loudly that the lucky bags were for our younger sisters and most definitely not for us, because we were like waaay too old for them. (I don”t even have a sister). Much to our surprise and delight – she didn’t bat an eye lid. It dawns on me now that this was because:

  1. We both looked seven years old.
  2. She did not care.

We paid for our items, and swiftly fled the scene of our crime. To this day, I have no idea what we were thinking. I certainly had no need for a broken whistle.

I’m sorry to say that was only the start of my life of crime. At sixteen years old, I managed to acquire a fake ID. I was utterly convinced that I could pass myself off as a thirty-two year old beautiful Latino woman called Carmelita Chiquita Estevez.

Apparently not.

When Did This Happen and Why Didn’t I Get the Memo?

Overlooking the glaringly obvious – like the fact I am a twenty-nine year old married graduate, with a mortgage and interest in current affairs, it hadn’t dawned on me until recently that I’m actually now a grown-up. When on earth did this happen and why didn’t anyone tell me? 

In my defence – I still know all the words to Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and the dance moves to ‘Backstreet’s Back’.

I was hoping this would be sufficient to keep me young, hip, happening and generally down with the kids, forever. Apparently not. It seems the following truths go against me:

I have no desire whatsoever to throw my knickers at Justin Bieber. A rock, perhaps…(Kidding, obviously).

I almost hyperventilated with delight when my brother gave me a toaster last Christmas.

My husband and I have an emergency fund, just in case: 

  • The boiler breaks down.
  • I flood the bathroom for a second time.
  • I accidentally leave a fork in the microwave again.

I have more fruit, salad and vegetables in my fridge than wine or beer.

I can no longer go out three nights in a row and function normally. (Or at all, in fact).

The deciding factor for all shoe purchases is whether or not I will be able to walk in them for more than three minutes without being crippled or maimed. I’m sure this was never an issue in my teens. 

I hugged, rather than swore at the cashier in the Poundshop who asked to see ID for my recent tin-opener purchase. Who knew you needed to be eighteen to gain access to chopped tomatoes?

I have an outfit in my wardrobe for every occasion – yet nothing to wear.

I own three houseplants, countless ornaments, roughly thirty-two spare light bulbs and a dozen scatter cushions. 

The latter, incidentally serve no purpose whatsoever and should be outlawed. I’m starting a petition. Who’s with me?

“Think Different”

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” John Lennon

There was a sweet little girl on the bus today, with big brown eyes, short curly auburn hair and a cheeky grin. She turned to her mother and said “When I grow up, I want to be a tomato”. What a brilliant suggestion, I thought. Why didn’t I think of that?

I had to admire her ambition. After all, many grown-ups have pursued far more ludicrous career paths, with moderate success. Take Kirstie Allsopp for example – she can neither sew, nor glue, nor stitch nor paint in any coherent fashion whatsoever. I’ve seen grasshoppers with more artistic flair. Yet she has 2 television series to share her creative arts and crafts ‘talent’ with the nation. By contrast – David Beckham once reported in an interview that “at school whenever the teachers asked ‘What do you want to do when you’re older?’ I’d say, ‘I want to be a footballer’ and they’d say ‘No, what do you really want to do, for a job?’”

Unlike Beckham though – the vast majority of us never achieve our childhood dream of becoming a superhero / astronaut / secret agent / world-class footballer / piece of fruit. Occasionally, this isn’t such a bad thing:

Sir Elton John (back in the day when he still had hair and went by the name of Reg Dwight) wanted to be a footballer. Just imagine a world without the ‘Circle of Life’…No thank you.

Fastest man on the planet – Usain Bolt thought he was destined to play cricket. I beg to differ.

Luciano Pavarotti – wanted to be a goalkeeper. Enough said.

Thanks to Elton’s mother, Usain’s cricket coach and Pavarotti’s brain for drawing their attention to the far more sensible career paths of rock star, lightning bolt and operatic tenor.

I would like to dedicate the following clever piece of marketing to the adorable little girl who wants to be a tomato:

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do”. Steve Jobs

Where’s Jimmy Savile when you need him?