Mortified

Last week I received my contributor’s copy of Cringe: Teenage Diaries, Journals, Notes, Letters, Poems, and Abandoned Rock Operas. My friend, Sarah, put together this compilation of real teenage diary and journal entries, and it is screamingly funny in an OH MY GOD WHY DID NO ONE PUNCH ME IN THE FACE kind of way.

The entry I submitted is from the diary I kept during my freshman year in college, the year before I started taking meds for The Crazy, and there were so many choice excerpts that I had a hard time deciding which one was the most humiliating. Take for instance this entry from February 11, 1994:

It reads:

Ryan called the other night. I sent him a barney valentine card. Satan does live. He gets his vitality in Ryan. Satan himself called at the most vulnerable point of my entire semester yet. And how did Heather do? But of course she prattled to the tyranny of Satan and his servants. Without going into detail, I’ll just relate what I’ve learned: I need to justify myself to no one except me and my Heavenly Father. No one else. The only opinion that counts is that of God. All else is foolish. And Ryan/Satan is just that.

Ryan/Satan was my boyfriend in high school, the first boyfriend I ever had, who broke up with me after three months because, oh, I WAS INSANE? I think he was calling me when I was in college to see if maybe I had grown any alien appendages, like a tree trunk jutting out from my brain, because certainly that was inevitable.

Then there’s this one from February 8, 1994:

It reads:

Tuesday afternoon. But not by much. 12:38pm. I have a few before my daily carnal indulgence — Guiding Light. I think the weather has a lot to do with these complacent feelings I’m experiencing. Is it snow or just albino raindrops? Can’t tell. Okay, about yesterday. First off, I was walking to the computer lab at about 7:30am yesterday when *bum ba bum* the National Anthem began to resound across campus and the flag began to ascend its pole. I was walking with my head down and happened to look up. There were about 20 people out there on the quad that early. Every single one of them stopped dead in his tracks, placed his hand over his heart, faced the flag, and contributed to the silence of the moment. It was a goose-bumping experience — one I could experience no place else. Saluting God’s country at God’s University. Brother Hedengren was discussing the source of “numerous perceptions” in Phil 110. Do we experience these warm fuzzy sensations from God, from Satan, or from ourselves? He then related the story of his nine year old daughter bearing her testimony of Heavenly Father. She lost her rabbit and after a few weeks of fervent prayer, a kid in her class at school showed up with a rabbit he had found for show-and-tell. Her rabbit, no doubt. God lives.

HOLY CRAP. Saluting God’s country at God’s university. If that isn’t the creepiest thing I’ve ever written, right after ALBINO RAINDROPS.

Finally, the one I am most embarrassed over, from February 3, 1994 (that was a particularly bad month for The Crazy):

9:24am Thursday morning. Ooh yeah. I can feel the latent fatigue so eager to rack my body. Calculus is in a half-hour and since I don’t know how to use the table of integrals, I’m not going to waste my time nor my paper. I got about four-five hours of sleep last night — after seeing a movie like that sleep doesn’t come easy. Philadelphia. Homosexuality and aids. Poignant film, must say. Made me reconsider some of my hard-core conservative bias. These homosexuals with aids — yes, they choose the lifestyle, but not the disease. They, too, are human beings with real human emotion and real human moms and dads. One could say, and I probably would have also, that in choosing the lifestyle they choose the disease. But many of them do not have the protective agent of the gospel in their lives. Many of them genuinely don’t know that it’s wrong. How can justice be accounted for in these cases? These people are suffering for their wrong choices, but what if in the first case they don’t know that it’s wrong? How does anyone who is not homosexual know that homosexuals choose to have those tendencies? Yes, it is true that homosexuals can choose not to act on those feelings, but how can they choose the right of a situation they don’t know implicates wrong? Homosexuality isn’t any worse than blatant fornication, is it? Just because heterosexuality is “natural” doesn’t mean that heterosexual promiscuity is justified. Both cases seem equally wrong to me. Karen is coming to Utah on the 28th of this month to stay for a week. I really love Karen. She has been one of my greatest friends. It would hurt me if she was hurt. So many wonder how I can embrace the gospel and return her friendship at the same time. Exactly the way I return all of my other friendships — cliche, I know, but love the friend, not the sin. If we persecute homosexuals, we are Satan’s tools.

No, really. SOMEONE HIT HER. I cannot believe that I actually wrote such bullshit, and this should prove that whenever I make fun of Mormons, I’m just making fun of the Mormon that I was, the ignorant, intolerant, pig-headed adolescent who needed a big one up her pooper.

And because I feel so bad about who that person was, I’m just going to go ahead and link to No on Prop 8. Gay marriage has become such an important issue to me, as it should be an important issue to everyone. It’s a civil rights issue, period. And the only reason anyone wants to deny homosexuals equal rights is a religious one. PERIOD. Your God says it’s a bad thing. But what if my God disagrees? If you take religion out of the equation, THERE IS NO ISSUE. And don’t even get me started on the slippery slope end of the argument, because you know the only reason I’m writing this is because I want to legally marry my dogs. Both of them.

  • http://www.missoj.com Claire

    Wow, those are incredible. My earlier diary entries were cringe-worthy mostly because I was able to work myself into a righteous anger over pretty much everything, but hadn’t figured out how to express, except with a lot of indignant exclamation points and failed sarcasm. My early blog entries? Well, let’s just say it’s obvious I was fifteen and otherwise pretend they don’t exist.

    That book looks like fun, though. I’ll have to check it out.

  • Liz

    Hoo boy Heather, I recognize so much of my former self in your former self. I’m glad you are raising your child in a loving, accepting home.

    No 8, no on hate.

  • Logan

    I just had a huge paragraph written out, arguing the facts of my initial comment, when I realized that ya know what? The people who argue with me on my points of view aren’t going to change my mind, just like I’m not going to change theirs with whatever I say. So all I’m going to say is this: (like I said in one of my comments on the “hypothetical question” post) to those of you liberals who think we conservatives are crazy, or “brainwashed” (in the case of being a Mormon, which I am), we think and feel the exact same way about you! Good riddance.

  • http://www.ruthiebendor.com Ruthie

    Thank you. I grew up in California — my folks still live there — and I’ll be returning someday.

    With, God and voters willing, my future wife.

  • http://ferngoddess.blogspot.com/ Fran

    Yea, I think I would have had to have hit you. Might have even tried to choke you with your Bible. But, then I would have been the one to buy you your first beer. Us sinners love corruption. It is a goal to total word domination. One of you at a time till we have brain washed you all. MAWAHAHAHA

  • Badsanta

    I’m so happy you’ve changed over the years. It takes balls to post old diary entries like that. What a beautiful head of hair you had.

  • Heather

    I think we had the excact same child/youngadulthood!

    My favorite is “If we legalize gay marriage, then eventually our culture would die out because NO ONE WILL BREED!!!”

    Cheers!

  • http://stronger-visions.com Pepper

    It’s amazing how much our adult views sometimes differ from our upbringing, isn’t it?

    I still have a lot of my old journals too, but I’d never have the guts to post any of it lol

  • Marya

    I am so tired of the injured-sounding conservatives going on about how they’re entitled to have an opinion and how the mean liberals aren’t tolerating them. Hey, conservatives: no one’s trying to stop you from having an opinion. They’re just telling you that YOUR OPINIONS ARE WRONG. And yes, opinions can be wrong. There’s a difference between the sort of opinion that’s really a statement of personal taste and an opinion about what’s best for society. For example, if I say, “I like eating fish,” or “I didn’t like that movie,” that’s a statement of taste, and taste isn’t logical, and it can’t be wrong. But if I say, “All conservative Christians should be sterilized,” then that’s a political position, and other people should feel free to explain why my logic is screwed up. If I have nothing logical to base my political views on, then guess what? MAYBE MY VIEWS ARE WRONG.

    Furthermore, this whole “you’re being intolerant of my intolerance!” argument is absolutely idiotic. When liberals talk about tolerance, what they mean is that everyone should give everyone else space to do their own thing without interference, as long as they’re not hurting other people. For example, liberals want to make gay marriage legal, not mandatory. If you don’t like the idea of gay marriage, then don’t marry someone of the same sex! It’s that easy.

    However, when liberals tell you that you’re an idiot, it may hurt your feelings, but, sadly, it doesn’t prevent you from continuing to be an idiot. It doesn’t infringe on your rights, or your ability to continue spouting homophobic garbage, at all. If someone was trying to pass a law that prevented people from expressing their homophobic opinions, I would oppose that law, because free speech is crucial. But when you express your holy, God-dictated opinions? OTHER PEOPLE GET TO EXPRESS THEIR OPINIONS IN RETURN. That’s not intolerance, that’s free and open debate.

    Lastly: #128, you are loathsome. And Heather, you are awesome and hilarious and have gorgeous hair that I envy. That is all.

  • http://dharmamomma.wordpress.com Manda

    Right on.

  • Know-It-All

    Ah, yes. Your diary entries reminded me of myself when I was nineteen and had that dangerous little bit of college in me. I thought I knew it all and was just as judgemental. And I wasn’t even Mormon. It’s so interesting how things change once you are actually thrown out into the world and get some real living under your belt.

  • janet jackson

    friggin’ high-lar-i-us.
    you rock, heather.
    can’t wait to read your writing in 30 years..

  • Marta

    #11 Kristin> But you can see how pushing your beliefs impacts those who do not share the same beliefs, right? You’re restricting what they can do just because it’s wrong to YOU.

  • http://www.csquaredplus3.typepad.com chris

    I’m with you on Prop 8. Glad you’re linking – you have a loud voice.

    The Mormon thing… I live in Alpine, UT – am not LDS, and struggle with finding balance here. Please tell me not all of my neighbors and friends who are sending their kids to BYU aren’t like your journal entries. I’ve read the Book of Mo twice (just to learn about my peeps down here) and am able to politely discourage those who are concerned for my lost soul. Your journal entries don’t help my effort in acceptance of my neighbors and not judging. Complicated.

    No on Prop 8. That’s what’s important.

  • http://www.naptimepolitico.com Rachel

    Thank you Heather. I don’t know how you can not blog about politics everyday with all that’s going on. I had to start a blog just because when my toddler went to sleep I had to organize my thoughts on politics somewhere. There’s just too much information to let it fester in my head.

    Anyway, my point is that I recently wrote a post about Being a Christian and a Democrat because for some, these two things can’t coexist. That’s so weird. Here’s that post if anyone is interested:

    http://www.naptimepolitico.com/?p=291

    Love you Heather!

  • Jen

    THAT was incredible.

    My favorite line. “They [homosexuals], too, are human beings with real human emotion and real human moms and dads.”

  • Genelle

    What most people who support bans on gay marriage fail to see is that our civil liberties are based on our right to disagree. In fact, I would argue that the definition of liberty in America is supporting your right to do that with which I do not agree. So I may not agree with your religion but I will defend your right to practice that religion. I certainly don’t agree with those who think that gay marriage is an abomination but I would support their right to think that. But, like my right to swing my fist ends at your face, conservative’s rights to have the opinion that gay marriage is wrong ends when they would interfere with another person’s life because of that opinion.

    Also, if “marriage” is at its heart a religious concept and not a legal one, then all states should cease issuing marriage licenses and only issue licenses for civil unions. If you would like to have the union consecrated by your religion, go for it. The idea that heterosexual couples should be allowed to marry and homosexual couples should be allowed to have civil unions is this generation’s separate but equal. That concept was wrong then and it is wrong now. There is simply no logical justification to deny a law-abiding subset of the American population a right that everyone else enjoys.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Heather,

    I too, would like to marry both of your dogs.

    Love,

    A loyal reader

  • Ty

    Oh holy crap. You are a braver soul than I am. It is suddenly incredibly distressing to me that my journal from high school is not in my possession. Never, never do those words need to see the light of day!

  • http://www.lulusaysit.com/ Lulu

    Holy shit that’s funny.

  • Anonymous

    huh? I’m not religious and I don’t think homosexual marriage should be legal.

  • Emily

    Hi Heather,

    Thanks for this post. As the lesbian daughter of lesbian parents, raised in Utah, the issue of gay marriage hits close to home. I (obviously) wasn’t raised LDS, and have no true capacity to understand where they are coming from. Oh, the irony to be found in this–not too long ago, they were persecuted for their choices, and now here we are seeing the church foster and spread a very similar persecutory message.

    I know you have a lot of readers, so I’d just like to say–two of my moms, and their beautiful son and daughter, live in California. One of these moms is working every single day to prevent Prop 8 from passing. To all the readers, please initiate conversations with all of your California voting friends and family, so that in 19 days, my siblings will know that their parent’s 15 year relationship is supported. Thank you!

    ps–seeing how charming your dogs are, I’d marry them too!

  • Anonymous

    Do you think God saved you from these hideous attitudes :) ..or was it therapy ?

  • janet jackson

    omgmarya i wanna marry ya.

  • http://meandyouandellie.blogspot.com/ Jacquie

    Ach, the teen angst. The crazy and the God squad cheers give extra flavah. And WOW, what HAIR! With the same exact expression as your masthead photo.

    Prop 8 is insulting in that it even gets to be a big issue. Why do I get a vote on who anyone else marries, unless one of the twosome is me?

  • Anonymous

    So how does one get over having such feelings? I don’t recall changing my attitudes or politics that much since my teenage years. How did you do it?

  • http://liberalmormonthatcould.blogspot.com Lisa

    EXACTLY.

    All of the arguments for Proposition 8 are flawed. Every single stupid one of them.

    And people, churches, those of authority, continue to perpetuate half truths and lies as a means to a supposed righteous end.

    I’ve been sorting out my feelings on this issue on my blog (click on my name) and…I am still a member of the church, perhaps more fringe than not these days, but DAMN.

    It’s ridiculous.

    And uh, Heather, I could totally beat you at the embarrasing journal entry thing.

    “Sunday is my favorite day of the week.”

    And I had non-member family’s souls to worry over, too. As a “golden convert” I had all the vocab down pat, and I used it like a weapon.

    Trust me, you’re not alone here. Thanks for sharing, though.

  • http://doniinthecity.blogspot.com Windy City

    I cringe whenever I think of the person I was in my teenage years. Thankfully I don’t have a journal/diary to look back and read through. But when I remember some of the ideas I had back before the age of reason and before leaving the church, I want to travel back in time just to kick the shit out of myself.

  • Katie

    What I want to know is, was your journal secretly a drinking game, and every time you wrote homosexual you took a shot? Yes, I know. It SO wasn’t.

    What I like, though, is that clearly you were thinking about things and assessing your beliefs–how else could you have become the badass you are today?

  • Scott

    Heather,

    I remember these same thoughts in my own past-adolescent-evangelical-BYU life. The only reason I don’t have to endure my own words is my laziness on the whole “write stuff down” dimension.

    Thanks for your courage to post these excerpts. While I can’t agree with the past me on these same issues, I can accept the past me a bit more with your example.

    Thanks

  • sunny

    Are these really your journal entries or did you hack into Sarah Palin’s personnal blog?

  • Mark

    That last entry was good. Why’d you disapprove of it?

  • Lauren

    I want to slap you in that picture: it just screams hoity-toity bitch.

    And I say that with full love and appreciation for who you are now. Proof that a logical, intelligent mind can overcome anything. The meds probably helped too.

  • Sarah

    Thanks, Heather. I think you’re right- that the issue is entirely based on faith, and if we really are going to have a separation of church and state in our society, which is no more biased to one religion than another, then this is a nonissue.

    Not to mention, if you don’t believe in gay marriage, don’t have one! End of story.

  • Officerlove

    If we shouldn’t impose our relious beliefs on anyone then we also shouldn’t impose our beliefs of gay marriage on others. And why is it that you have “come a long way” or you’re such a “better person” now that you’ve changed your views on things? It doesn’t mean you were wrong then or now or right to feel that way. You just had different beliefs and were a much younger person without your own “world experience”. Not that I agree with your beliefs either way, but you weren’t necessarily wrong back then and changing your beliefs certainly doesn’t make you a better person.

  • http://bettycrockerass.blogspot.com/ BettyCrockerAss

    I’m not sure if I would call what you wrote crazy..or rather what your state of mind was.

    I would call it more brain washing.

    From someone who knows.

  • eouio

    Kudos and agreement to Kristen (#11) above.

    I love the blog and enjoy following your family a bit…

    Couldn’t disagree more about most things political, social, or religious though.

    Homosexuals should certainly have rights equal to any other human suffering from a mental disorder.

  • Jess

    Wow! First off I love your site. I can’t understand why people (haters) who don’t like your site, don’t agree with what you say will post comments here. It seems fitting since so much of what’s been said back and forth on the comments are about tolerance/intolerance. I just really find it ironic that people who have an opinion that’s the polar opposite of yours have a forum via your website to discuss this. And that my friends is tolerance.

  • http://zokai.blogspot.com Shannon

    As a Californian, I have to say thank you.

    No on Prop. 8

  • http://www.pseudoshrink.com TPS

    Nevermind the diary content, your hair was FABULOUS!

  • Anonymous

    Heather,

    Thanks so much for sharing this. It’s extremely heartening to realize that peoples’ minds can change. I think this is very powerful stuff, as cringe-worthy as you may find it. It shows that young people have their own minds, their own opinions, and that religion and dogma is not one-size-fits-all. I’m glad you found your own way.

    No on Prop 8.

  • Natasha

    Hi Heather,

    I wanted to take a quick moment to thank you for your writings. I began reading 3 years ago purely for entertainment, and boy oh boy did you deliver! But I have come to appreciate your site for more than your crafty writing style.

    My back ground is in Political Science and something wonderful happens on your site when you touch on certain topics. Discourse. One of the fundamentals of a functioning democracy that has a population that is evolving and growing is discourse.

    I am not commenting in order to jump into the debate, rather to congratulate you on your ability to bring people together and afford them the opportunity to disagree.

    It is not easy to do. Comments and attacks areoften hard on you personally as you have shared in the past. So I offer Kudos to you the ‘Utah Princess’, and please know some of us really value the forum you have provided.

  • Anonymous

    That was great but also kind of scary. Thanks for sharing with us. oh and that is some interesting hair you were sporting…..

  • Lynn

    It’s amazing how much your mindset can change. Thank the gods yours did. How scary is it to think that there are grown ass men and woman walking around thinking that way right now.

  • Beth

    I’m a Christian, and I’m against gay marriage – primarily because of the definition of marriage (one man, one woman). But I’m not necessarily against gay parternships, unions, whatever. I know most of you can’t understand my reasoning, and that’s ok. I think #157 is right: the problem began when the government obtained jurisdiction over marriage (a God-ordained institution) instead of the church. But of course that won’t change now. I don’t know… it’s tough.

    Heather, I love your blog, even though our ideologies are very different. But even though I disagree with you on many things, I don’t feel the need to attack your character. It’s just depressing to read blog after blog, comment after comment that attacks the very core of who I am just because I believe in God.

    My best friend is a bisexual agnostic – needless to say, we disagree about most things. But our relationship is important to me because we’ve worked so hard to maintain a mutual admiration and respect for each other. It hasn’t always been easy; there have been times when we’ve been really ugly to one another. But I love her with all of my heart, and I value her friendship more than anyone else’s in my life. I guess I just wish I saw more of that here – mutual respect, despite differing viewpoints.

  • http://theunlikelyschoolhouse.blogspot.com/ TheUnlikelySchoomarm

    Heather, as always, you rock. Thank you for sharing.

  • anne cunningham

    “No, really. SOMEONE HIT HER. I cannot believe that I actually wrote such bullshit, and this should prove that whenever I make fun of Mormons, I’m just making fun of the Mormon that I was, the ignorant, intolerant, pig-headed adolescent who needed a big one up her pooper.”

    Okay, right about there, that’s when I laughed out loud and shot coffee out my nose!

    Takes guts to go back over the pages, takes guts to reveal, and just imagine what an amazingly tolerant child you are raising!

    Rock on, Heather!

  • Jessica

    The slippery slope argument cracks me up.. a slope to where??

    Before we know it they’re going let those negro’s marry white girls or let those simple minded women have the vote? People.. sheesh..

    And we were ALL crazy at that age!

  • Nancy

    SWEET JESUS!
    But your hair looks great.

    Nancy
    (formerly of Idaho, now the free state of IOWA)

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s kind of backwards. You were more on track in the journal entries. Without religion (the one and only God) you’re right, there is no issue. But there is also no hope.