Isolation Life – I found my Teenage diaries
I can see from social media that many of us are having big de-cluttering sessions in these current times of isolation. Sorting out the cupboard of doom, the loft or the garage. It is cathartic and good for the soul. Our entire contents of the garage are now in a skip!
Another random attempted de-clutter was to have a search through the loft for the two boxes of beanie babies I collected in 1999/2000. The boys wanted to see them and play with them. We found the 120 (yes 120 beanie babies) and right next to them was a box of old photos and I found my teenage diaries.
Three Years of diaries from 1992 to 1995
From 1992, aged 15 to 1995 aged 18 I wrote 9 notebooks of heartfelt words. I summarised the events of the Saturday nights in the Benbow pub in Penzance. I wrote about the boys I fancied, the boys that sometimes became boyfriends, sometimes not. There were arguments with friends, visits to the beach. I was constantly worried about exam results and that I was too fat.
I decided to read the first 6 months of 1993 this week. Reading it felt like watching a movie that I had watched several times over. I knew what was coming but yet I was saying in my head, no Lynn don’t do it, make a different decision, and then reading the fall out, the torment of that decision.
1993 was the year that I turned 16 in the March. It was a year of all night parties every weekend at various empty parents’ houses. I was sitting my GCSE exams, from my diaries it felt like I was overloaded with study and revision but still managed to spend an hour every evening on the phone to various friends or boyfriends! It was also the year that my mum died, in the June.
Two Diary Posts
I am sharing two of my diary entries, one hugely positive and one hugely life changing and sad. Trigger warning, the second post is me talking two days after my mum died suddenly.
I spent two months of 1993 with my first proper boyfriend, this is my diary entry from the night that we got together (I have had to replace the word ‘getting off with’ with ‘kissing’ I can’t bare the former phrase!!). I remember this night as being one of the best parties that year, I remember us playing Kiss – Crazy Crazy Nights repeatedly. And Guns N Roses, my favourite band of the time, Don’t Cry.
Friday 16th April 1993
Well talk about something unlikely happening last night. It was the party. Guess who I ended up kissing, none other than Gary (Gary was a boy that features regularly in my life from 15 to 18, we were boyfriend, girlfriend for a few weeks at the end of 1992).
Nothing seemed particularly unusual that day, Gary invited me personally to the party whilst I was stood waiting for a bus to take me home to Penzance from Long Rock, where I had spent the day with Becky (Becky, my forever friend who I still speak to pretty much every day!). He stopped on his bike and asked if I was still going to the party. I was definitely going but didn’t think anything of the short conversation.
Fast forward to the party in Marazion. I must admit that I had my eyes on Joe J for the evening. Anyway, me and Joe had a play fight, I thought great, things are going well here. We got very close, but then he just laid back and dropped a bomb on me, ‘Do you like Gary? Would you go out with him again?
I was shocked, I still can’t believe it. I liked Gary for so f@cking long this year and he hated me. Now I finally like someone else and Gary tells me that he likes me. I was drunk so I thought I will see how it goes with Gary. We walked down to the beach and kissed by the sea in front of St. Michaels Mount.
We spent the night on the sofa just kissing until 8am (!!). I fell asleep from 8am to 8:30am, that was all the sleep I got. Now I am stuck, he likes me and may ask me out again, but do I want to go out with him again. I am sat here listening to the same music that was being played last night. I am so tired its unbelievable. I’ll just leave everything until Monday.
Fast forward to Monday 19th April and we were officially going out with each other. Gary has come over to my house where we watched Wayne’s World. At 11:15 PM he said, ‘so are you going to go out with me now?’ He lent over and kissed me.
We were boyfriend and girlfriend for a grand total of two months, long term when you are 16. I messed it all up by kissing another boy, a 17-year-old from college. It was a moment of reading those diaries, shouting at myself, Lynn what are you doing.
And then my world fell apart….
Sunday 27th June 1993
These past three days have been the worst in my whole life. On Friday night my mum got ill, very ill. She had a big heart attack. She was taken straight up to hospital to intensive care and we followed. Me, my sister, my dad was there until about 11:15pm. By then she had stabilised, and she knew we were all there when we went in to see her.
I thought everything was going to be alright then. I always look on the bright side of things. Sure she would be better by morning and be back to her normal self. We all went home, and I felt confident that she would be alright.
On Saturday morning at about 8am, my sister came into my room. She told me that mum had died. I can’t believe it, I couldn’t then, and I can’t now. It all seems like one long terrible nightmare. It is but its real. I cried all day yesterday.
Sophie and Hannah came over at about 9pm, we went out to the pub and to a nightclub. It was totally **** but I was able to block everything out of mind, maybe it was the drink. I saw Gary when I was out but ran away and hid.
I went up to Heathrow today, we got back this afternoon. We collected Gary (another Gary, but this one was my 18 years older brother). He was very upset, just like my sister. The funeral is on Wednesday in the morning, perhaps that will help everyone.
It’s just so unfair, why should it happen to me, us. What have we ever done so wrong for God to punish us like this, two days after her birthday as well? Life is so unfair. I am only 16, I can’t carry on without a mother, it’s just so unfair.
I need to phone Becky tomorrow; she won’t take it well. I want her parents to be there when I tell her. It just came so suddenly. If only she had seen the doctor months ago, she may still be here. Its no use however dwelling on the past.
Hannah and Sophie (two more of my best friends at the time) are being really good about everything. They made me forget everything last night which did help an awful lot. Today wasn’t too bad until my brother arrived. As soon as I see family upset, I just burst into tears myself.
I am trying. It was for the best, thank you God for not letting her stay a vegetable for the rest of her life. If she had survived, she wouldn’t have been able to do a thing, mum would have hated that.
I saw her on Saturday in the chapel of rest in the hospital, I just kept expecting her to open her eyes and be fine, but she was co cold and white. I must be strong, especially for Emma and Matthew (my 2 and 5 years younger niece and nephew).
Please God look after her up there and make sure she is there for all of us when we reach there as well. I don’t mean to blame you God its just I’m Lynn, only 16, still at school. How can this happen to me? I don’t understand.
I had to write all my feelings down, I hope you were listening God, you can read this anytime anyways. Bye
A Tough Read
It’s such a tough read for me and probably for anyone who knows me, or who has experienced loss. The raw emotion I was feeling immediately after my mum died is a difficult read, I just want to hug my 16 year old self and tell her everything will be okay. The confusion, yet the acceptance. The talking to God, I wasn’t a particularly religious person then or now. The ability to just shut off my feelings and go out with my friends was so telling of a child in pain. One hour crying, the next hour laughing. I was so young, it was a life changing moment.
I listened to a brilliant podcast today, its was Brene Brown speaking to David Kessler, who is the author of a book about death and grief. Wow it was incredible and it made me reflect back to my mum dying, the worst moment in my life, too much for a 16 year old to cope with. But yet the words I wrote, there was feeling and power and acceptance behind those words.
David Kessler said a hugely important thing. He said sure its awful it happened, and don’t ever try to change those feelings. But be grateful for the time that you had together. That I had 16 years with a mum who loved me and wanted nothing more for me than to be happy, to have freedom and independence. Thanks mum for the short time we had together, Ive done good, there is so, so much more to come but you would be, and am sure are very proud.