Heater, Mother of Lance


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.

  • JK

    2008/10/16 at 8:08 am

    Holy crap, Heather. Was your hair REALLY that long?? That was all I could think about as I was reading your journal entries.

    Love to see how much you have changed your thoughts and beliefs over the years. I love the way you write–you even had the same style back then!

    I enjoy your site and read it every day!

  • Rebellious Arab Girl

    2008/10/16 at 8:06 am

    I wrote crazy stuff when I was 10 or 11 in my first diary ever. Then I found the other day one from high school. I look back and think that maybe crazy people only write in diaries. And in this day and age, blogging is the tool. 🙂

  • Lula

    2008/10/16 at 8:11 am

    At least your hair was really pretty. I like how you’ve showcased it over your shoulder, like a good Southern girl.

    (I’m a Southern Girl, too, I know what I’m talking about.)

  • Laura

    2008/10/16 at 8:12 am

    This is amazing and not unlike much of what I was writing in my diary at the time but with less Satan. (It’s like you were the church lady with all those references to Satan).

    One of these days I have to get the courage to share my own journal entries. I burned the one’s from junior high and high school much to my chagrin but still I was just as clueless in college but had matured enough to realize I wasn’t going to marry Joe McIntyre. Anyway, I have one particularly cringe worthy entry after seeing Schindler’s List.

  • Beth

    2008/10/16 at 8:12 am

    WOW. Those are awesome, in an awesomely bad kind of way. I’ve definitely found there’s nothing like a little “myself at 19” to put things in perspective.

    I love your writing!

  • Tina

    2008/10/16 at 8:12 am

    Growing up over here in the Northeast I truly led a sheltered life… I had no idea that people even THOUGHT THAT WAY until I went to college. But perhaps I was too busy smoking pot and drinking beer and discussing Herman Hesse and other authors I can’t remember very well with my friends- some of whom were homosexual or even Jews. I am glad you escaped from that world, Heather.

  • Anonymous

    2008/10/16 at 8:13 am

    Now, Heather,

    …if gay marriage is legalized across the board the next thing you know people will want to marry goats!

  • Libby

    2008/10/16 at 8:14 am

    This makes me very glad I burned all of my diaries…

  • grimsaburger

    2008/10/16 at 8:14 am

    You’ve brilliantly illustrated why, on many occasions over the years, I seriously considered going back through all of my old diaries (which date from 5th grade) and re-writing them.

  • Kristin

    2008/10/16 at 8:15 am

    “If you take religion out of the equation, THERE IS NO ISSUE.”

    But for those of us who base our lives and morality on our faith, we cannot take religion out of the equation. It’s part of who I am, the thing on which I try and base every choice, every motivation. Telling me to just forget what I believe in regards to this subject is in its own way, intolerant.

  • MrsB

    2008/10/16 at 8:15 am

    I have a video that my friends and I shot when we were sixteen. We went on a ‘Donut Run’ (but we called it a Vietnamese name – which I have no idea how to spell and am embarassed to try and sound out – as we had a friend obsessed with the Vietnam War. Not in a nerdly way. In a scary, I know all the makes of the guns used to kill Vietnamese people type way. So, yeah, not friends with that guy anymore.) to ‘Dunkin Donuts’ – natch – and what is absolutely fascinating to me are the offhand racist, sexist and homophobic comments that we tossed around like nothing. The crazy thing about the video is that, when watching it, I am looking at myself, then, and I can almost remember looking through those eyes at the camera recording the idiotic tripe belching out my mouth – but I cannot remember that brain that created those comments.

    Probably a good thing, too. I know I would have a few choice words to say to myself. Most of them are not nice at ALL.

  • emmysuh

    2008/10/16 at 8:16 am

    What? Who would have thought that liberal Heather was such a conservative God-fearing Christian?!?

  • Elizabeth

    2008/10/16 at 8:16 am

    This entry is exactly why I am addicted to this site! I think its important to look back on who we have become. Thanks for sharing. Im going to try and work ‘albino raindrops’ into a conversation today! 🙂
    Yeah for gay marriage!!

  • College Totes

    2008/10/16 at 8:18 am

    Early writing skills very impressive.
    High courage to share this.
    Everyone matures over time.
    Thought provoking – “Your God” & “My God”

    Thanks Again

  • Claire

    2008/10/16 at 8:18 am

    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.

  • Ruthie

    2008/10/16 at 8:18 am

    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.

  • Heather

    2008/10/16 at 8:18 am

    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!!!”


  • Manda

    2008/10/16 at 8:20 am

    Right on.

  • Marta

    2008/10/16 at 8:20 am

    #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.

  • Jen

    2008/10/16 at 8:20 am

    THAT was incredible.

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

  • Ty

    2008/10/16 at 8:21 am

    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!

  • Emily

    2008/10/16 at 8:23 am

    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!

  • Jacquie

    2008/10/16 at 8:23 am

    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?

  • Windy City

    2008/10/16 at 8:23 am

    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.

  • sunny

    2008/10/16 at 8:26 am

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

  • Sarah

    2008/10/16 at 8:26 am

    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.

  • eouio

    2008/10/16 at 8:26 am

    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.

  • TPS

    2008/10/16 at 8:27 am

    Nevermind the diary content, your hair was FABULOUS!

  • Anonymous

    2008/10/16 at 8:27 am

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

  • anne cunningham

    2008/10/16 at 8:28 am

    “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!

  • Anonymous

    2008/10/16 at 8:28 am

    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.

  • kerry

    2008/10/16 at 8:29 am

    at least you had nice handwriting.

  • Jawnbc

    2008/10/16 at 8:29 am

    Hi Heather,

    While my Oirish Catlick upbringing didn’t feature the same…interesting…turn of phrase, it did lead me to register as a member of the Right to Life Party when I turned 18.

    And now I”m the poster child for same-sex marriage:


    Shame they didn’t include the photo from the print version of the magazine: most people would find my husband and my’s balding beaming countenances more doughboy than demon.

  • Amelia Sprout

    2008/10/16 at 8:30 am

    I just recently threw out all of my diaries from high school. So very very glad that I did too. It was before the crazy meds for me too.

    My god says gays should marry. She says so, so it must be true.

  • April

    2008/10/16 at 8:32 am

    “[Homosexuals] are human beings with real human emotion and real human moms and dads.”

    When I read that I wondered if prior to watching “Philadelphia” you maybe thought homosexuals were alien robots immaculately conceived by the Virgin Boy George and Xenu. 🙂

    I really must find my teenage diaries and burn them…

  • InfamousQBert

    2008/10/16 at 8:32 am

    okay, terrifying as all that 19/20 year old angst is, i wanted to say that your thoughts in the last one were actually pretty interesting. while i don’t dig being “tolerated” or the whole “love the sinner, hate the sin” thing, i do like that you were already starting to see the humanity and inherent hypocrisy in what you’d been taught.

    and, to kristin, that’s what the whole separation of church and state thing is about. taking religion out of our laws. no law can make you recognize a homosexual marriage as “right”, only legal. Christ said “give to caesar what is caesar’s”. this wasn’t just referring to taxes, but to the laws that the government imposes. your beliefs are inherent to your life, just as mine are to my life. i would never try to make a law that forbade you from worshipping in the way you believe, so why would you want to make a law that keeps me from expressing my beliefs in the way i see fit?

  • Mark

    2008/10/16 at 8:32 am

    Wow. Just Wow.

  • Anonymous

    2008/10/16 at 8:32 am

    I don’t know if you read my comments (I’ve never really posted many) or if I’ll ever hear back from you. But, again, I want to thank you for your stories on your fight with depression, your experiences in family life, and the world around you. I read this blog and, while I know it does not represent/discuss everything about your…you have been one of the only bloggers that has kept my attention for as many years as you have. Thank you. Your stories resonate.

  • Dana

    2008/10/16 at 8:33 am

    Ah…teenage angst has paid off well.

    I have looked back over all of my teenage writings on occasion…and I always have the feeling that it wasn’t me that wrote all of that crap…but some alien being that took over my brain for several years…how could I have ever been so shortsighted? So bratty? So concerened with such trivial matters? So concrete in the thought that I was right and everyone else was wrong?

    Just goes to show what a little age and experience can do for a person. Everyone and anyone can change…but you’d never have been able to be the person you became without all of that angst and turmoil.

    And I personally think it was the weight of all that hair that was pulling your brain in a weird direction.

  • Stephanie

    2008/10/16 at 8:33 am

    You look back on your former life and think it was misguided, but it’s only because you have different opinions than you do now. I thought your writing and your thought process was good, so you weren’t ignorant. You were doing what every college student should do . . . searching out the opinions that you grew up with and figuring out if you really believe them.

    Please don’t reduce other people’s opinions to ignorance, pig-headedness and intolerance. Being a Mormon does not automatically mean that you are any of these things.

  • Carrie

    2008/10/16 at 8:34 am

    Actually I think that last passage is very interesting — we can see you challenging your own bias and thinking it through. You can’t blame a young person for believing what she has been taught — on the contrary you can be proud to see your young self begin thinking for yourself and challenging what you have been taught.

    Most people who are taught bias and hate stay right where they started.

  • Maxine Dangerous

    2008/10/16 at 8:35 am

    1. WHOA.

    2. Cool hair! 🙂

    3. Thank Goddess you don’t think like that anymore. 🙂

    4. Thanks, as always, for sharing. 🙂

  • Velma-NotDaphne

    2008/10/16 at 8:36 am

    It is so comforting to know that other women went through this period in their lives. I was brought up in Kentucky, in a strict Southern Baptist religious environment. (Fundamentalist, much?) Throughout my teenage years I struggled with what the church and “God” were teaching, and the way that I felt, which led to tremendous guilt and shame. Growing up and in the process becoming more educated, coupled with the absence of weekly endocrination, I was able to escape that way of life…hopefully, emerging as the open-minded, thinking individual that I am today. What we are taught as truth, during those all-too important formative years, is never as genuine as what we are able to learn for ourselves.

  • Courtney P

    2008/10/16 at 8:36 am

    It is amazing the contrast between your current self and that crazy person! I am still chuckling because it is unbelievable. Glad you really took the time to figure out who YOU were without continuing to accept the beliefs that were being forced upon you. Thanks for sharing!

  • Hilary

    2008/10/16 at 8:36 am

    When I first read those entries, I thought you were already mocking your faith — the rabbit as proof that God lives, Ryan as Satan, the goose-bumping flag salute. You could have written those same words today, with only a slightly different spin!

    Makes me terrified to re-read my 15 years worth of diaries, yet I can’t bring myself to throw them out. Someday I imagine myself bedbound, helpless to stop my children from reading them out loud.

  • Jen

    2008/10/16 at 8:36 am

    Wow. Your gay rant made my head spin! Hilarious entries! I can’t tell you how amusing it is to read this from you. I had the impression that you were always the rebel. So it gives me hope for a Catholic friend of mine who condemns her own father for his homosexuality!

    P.S. What exactly are albino raindrops anyway??

  • kd @ A Bit Squirrelly

    2008/10/16 at 8:36 am

    I am amazed how people can completely change and learn to be better. I too hope that this intoloerance and discrimination and attack on civil rights can be overturned!

  • the dalai mama

    2008/10/16 at 8:37 am

    You have made me think about my teenage journals. I can admit to you (and your million readers) that I kept all of the notes my girlfriends wrote me in high school. I too had a little bit of crazy in me. I would be hard-pressed to put my journal entries out there for all to read. I am sure my self-loathing and destructive behavior would speak to many others out there, but don’t know if I am fully embraced myself enough to share.

    I applaud you and your raw honesty. It is what keeps us all reading. I think I can say with some confidence that you are the kind a person we would all be lucky to have as a friend.

  • Casey

    2008/10/16 at 8:37 am

    I am so glad I threw out my old diaries. I can only begin to imagine what mortifying things I wrote in them.

    Thank you for linking to No on Prop 8. I wish more people would just see how ridiculous it is to deny equal rights to people based only on their sexual preferences.

  • Ben

    2008/10/16 at 8:37 am

    1) This showcases the exact reason why I threw most of my old writing away. Might be worth something some day, you say? Not likely unless I’m paying to keep it all a secret.

    2) As for the gay thing, as a proud, card-carrying, able-to-marry who I please, Canadian member, I wish I could start a slow clap but I don’t know if that can happen on a blog comment….

    P.S. All of Canada has fallen apart as a result of allowing gay marriages. We all just dry hump maple trees and curse a lot not.

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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