My 11 year old diary

Have you ever kept a diary?

I’ve always liked the idea, I’ve just never had the dedication. I’ve written things, on and off, in various notebooks, but not consistently and not for a long time.

The only diary I have is a small, blue Snoopy diary from 1990. I would have been 11 years old at the start of 1990, in my first year of secondary school. I only managed about a month, and the entries are each only a sentence of so long, but I think it gives a valuable insight into who I was as a child and, if I’m honest, who I am now.

January 24th for example – I can still remember the annoyance and injustice I felt when I discovered Vicky hadn’t done any work on that hat. In Vicky’s defence she wasn’t the brightest button in the sewing box and I’d been away the lesson before with some kind of undefined illness, (my attendance record at secondary school was poor, mainly due to my mum quite liking the company I think). I’m guessing she felt a bit overwhelmed by my complicated fruit design. (Vicky not my mum.)

I love the simplicity of my 11 year old mind though. ‘Went to town in the rain so I bought an umbrella.’ OF COURSE! Why would you not buy an umbrella? So obvious, so straightforward. Bish bash bosh, life done for the day.

I think you can get a sense though of why I didn’t have many friends. I was an acquired taste for sure. I don’t remember the French spelling test but if I close my eyes and imagine it I can conjure up a little surge of adrenalin at getting full marks.

For a long time I thought on and off about how cool it would be to go back and do school again, knowing everything I know now, but honestly, I don’t think I would change it. I may not have been popular, but I was authentic. If Instagram had been around in 1990 I could have been the poster girl for living as your true self and that has to be the best foundation for anything doesn’t it? You can only be yourself.

Here’s a little insight then into how my brain works. You’re welcome.

Jan 2: Went to town in the rain so I bought an umbrella. Both Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe tapes are broken. I am making Teddy a knotted hankerchief. Had fish and chips for tea.

Jan 5: Mummy stayed in bed until 5.30pm. I played Sylvanian families with Annabel. I made a map of our house and to make it look old I painted it with yellow water.

Jan 8: Back to school. School was quite good, but I forgot my dinner money again! Rubbish art lesson. Vicky doesn’t do anything to help. I have to do all the work.

Jan 12: Cross country today. I was almost in a state of collapse at the end. Time was 9mins 36secs. I was second from last.

Jan 21: Went to Bristol for Grandma’s birthday. Everyone was there. Even Auntie Jill.

Jan 24: Went to textiles to find Vicky hadn’t done anything towards our hat. Took it home to finish. Went to Grandma and Grandad’s for tea. They had beef!

Feb 5: We had a French test about the weather and we had to be able to spell them! I got 18 out of 18. In textiles we did drawing. I drew some brill shells and Miss Newton said I was a very good drawer.

Feb 8: Had a big fight with Leann in physics today. I have a massive bruise on my shin where she kicked me. Me, Paul and Michael got some special homework because we were so good.

Feb 12: Drama – we had to go to court. All the boys were the judges so none of the girls got a chance to do anything. I am making Teddy some clothes.

Have you ever kept a diary? Can you hear yourself now in your childhood writing?

childhood diaries



  1. Christine Hutchins
    2 October, 2020 / 7:27 am

    Oh yes, I remember the diary days – they started in my Girl Guide diary (such a useful one, and it was one with a pencil in the spine!), and then went to bigger diaries. I think of them now, and cringe a bit – just like I did 20 odd years ago when I read through them. If I didn’t have a diary to write in, I wrote on A4 paper and kept the sheets on a folder. I would write about dreams as well. I may still have the diaries somewhere, or I may have got rid of them, not wanting to be reminded of some things.

    Of course, these days we have social media to remind us what we were doing, including blogs. I do still write by hand, in a notebook journal – but only when I feel a need to write. These days it is more about having something to share, or something to get off my chest / off my mind – I find it cathartic to write down my thoughts, feelings, frustrations. That way they are gone from my mind, and I can get on with the rest of my day.

    I was impressed with your cross country time! That is something I use a digital journal for – my running progress (my 10 or 11 year old self would not dream of voluntarily running longer distances – she was more about the 100m sprint).

    • Jo Middleton
      2 October, 2020 / 9:59 am

      I wonder if I fudged my cross country time to be honest Christine, if only for my own benefit, or if there was a mistake, because cross country was NOT my thing – I would be at the back behind the kids with asthma, sweaty and bright red in the face…

      I do the same with writing by hand – it tends to be when I’m going through a difficult time or have a situation I just want to process, and writing it down helps to clarify my thoughts and let it go.

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