7 07 2014

I spent a rare evening alone with my daughter, the new college graduate. She’s been busy waitressing, bartending, picking up some film production work, making jewelry, getting her business cards, polishing her resume and thinking about what she’s going to do next. Her future is hers to create and it looks bright and shiny. The momma in me only worries occasionally over her career path, most of the time I’m OK with the reality that her career is going to meander and she’s open to where it will lead. I admire the fearlessness she has at her age.

dear diary

She earned a minor in film and there was a documentary she has been wanting to watch with me. So after dinner and a glass of wine, we settled in to watch Mortified. Mortified is a documentary of adults reading from their teenage diarys. We laughed loudly, we teared up, we cringed, but mostly we laughed. The guys who created this have been doing this for a few years. They go to different cities and collect people and their stories and have them share their readings in a stage performance. The movie is a collection of these performances.

The diaries were written when the adults were teens. The diary writers have at least doubled in age since they bared their soul to Dear Diary. The stories are filled with such awkwardness, angst, longing for love, confusion and ultimately bravery for standing in front of an audience sharing those very private thoughts. Their teen selves would have indeed been mortified. The language and the feelings are so raw that the laughs and moans from the audience are because all recognize themselves in those teen diaries. What was an intensely personal and private thought shared only to Dear Diary becomes feelings that are universally understood. We all have to go through that wall of fire that is the transition from childhood to adulthood.

I loved watching this with my 24-year-old baby girl, my only child. I treasure our relationship. We have always always been able to talk—even through those tumultuous teen years. She was a guest writer here with her own teen story of learning to drive, that is now almost an urban myth. I could have given her away her 16th year and I’m now glad I didn’t. I can only imagine what she would have written in her own diary during that time (if you’ve watched the movie, the term “butt crust” comes to mind). The movie opened up a great dialog between us. She told me what a good upbringing she had and she realized that her tough times weren’t really that tough. This was affirming for me to hear as a parent. Her dad and I divorced when she was 14. He and I agreed that our daughter’s best interest would always be our best interest. I am grateful our agreement paid off.

If you’re the parent of a teen, I DO NOT recommend watching this with them, no matter how mature they are. It’s a gentle reminder, however, of the inner turmoil that all teens go through. Teens and parents do indeed survive those years.

The adult authors of those teenage angst-filled diaries held their young selves lovingly in their memory and were able to tenderly laugh at them. As it became time for my daughter to go back to her own home she said, “I believe my young self would approve of where I am right now.” I believe she’s right, I know her mom is.

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10 responses

7 07 2014
Carol Cassara (@ccassara)

Oh God, if I made those public! I love this idea, though.

7 07 2014

Carol, you must watch this movie!! It is wonderful on so many levels!

7 07 2014
Lisa Garon Froman

Hey girlie, I love that you could share that moment with your daughter. I found one of my diaries a few months ago…it was filled with poems I had written as an angst-filled teenager. Yikes. I cringed. MOstly they were so dramatic….ugh. But a little part of me realized some of that still existed in me…it’s just been a bit….refined. lol.

7 07 2014

Lisa, I think we need a girly movie night and watch this!

8 07 2014

Sounds like a great Mother/Daughter time. I can’t imagine what as a teen I thought so horrible in the scheme of life now as an old adult.

8 07 2014

Haralee, I remember refusing to go out in public with my parents when I was a teen. I’ve no idea why I was so embarrassed by them.

9 07 2014

So glad you were able to share this moment with your daughter! My kids are much too young for me to explain Mortified to them. I’ve been reading my old diaries and terrible angsty poems with Mortified for a few years now, but I think keeping a diary is so important for kids that I don’t want to quite share exactly what I’m doing when I tell them I’m “going onstage” in fear of discouraging them from their own writing (there’s a whole lot of laughter at what seemed IMMENSELY important to me at that time!) …until they’re older teens or adults, like your daughter. For now they just think I’m mysteriously famous, so I’ll take it 🙂

9 07 2014

It is so brave of you to share your teen self to the world. I would LOVE to attend a performance. Maybe someday they’ll come down south close to where I live. New Orleans would be a great city for Mortified. Thanks for commenting!

11 07 2014

I didn’t even know about this movie. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Now I really want to see it!

11 07 2014

Janie, I would have never heard of it had it not been for my daughter. Let me know what you thought after you watch it.

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