The Opposite of Popular

The online home of alleged author Victoria Leybourne

Things I Wrote When I Was A Kid – Part One: “Precious Memories”


I’m not going to tell you how long I’ve spent playing The Sims 3 over the last couple of weeks, mostly because that would involve calculating it and thereby finding out myself. I am prepared, however, to admit that the run-up to Christmas is not my most productive time of year. I get excited about Christmas about a month too early and, by early-to-mid December, I’m overwhelmed with present-related panic and desperate for the whole thing to be over. There’s also the thought of a nice shiny New Year dangling just out of reach, and if I start being a productive and energetic member of society now, what will my New Year’s resolutions be? I’m not lazy, I’m just thinking ahead!

This is my unnecessarily long-winded way of saying that I couldn’t think of anything to blog about. Even the Fictional Experiences post was one I wrote a while ago and then abandoned in a fit of apathy. In the absence of new material, therefore, I have decided to unearth for your delectation some of my older works. Much older.

I’ve been writing journals on and off forever and, while my motivation in the early years remains unclear, as a teenager I was definitely writing under the assumption that the carefully-recorded minutiae of my daily life would one day prove to be a fantastic resource for an incredibly insightful novel about what it’s like to be 13 and not have any real problems. Sadly, it has dawned on me in recent years that the world may not be ready for a work of such unmitigated genius, so I’m cashing in this treasure in blog form instead.

You know how some people who’ve been blogging for ages recycle old posts now and then? This is like that, only cringier.

So, here it is. Diary number one.

A pink hardcover book with "Precious Memories" written in the centre of the cover. There are dark pink shadows were decorations used to be an one pink plastic jewel is still stuck to it.

I think it came in a box with some ribbon and plastic jewels and the idea was to decorate it yourself. I probably enjoyed that, because plastic jewels were pretty much what got me up in the morning in those days. Obviously most of the decorations have flaked off over the years but that one jewel is really hanging in there. It used to have a padlock and I seem to remember taking the security of the keys very seriously – so seriously, in fact, that they got lost and I had to resort to opening the lock by just squeezing it a bit.

Between you and me, Internet, I’m not convinced that the contents of this volume will deliver on that “Precious Memories” promise, but let’s take a look inside.

Wow. I had no idea what a budding super-spy I was back in the day. Not only was I busting my way through locks intended to protect secret information, I was also communicating in code. Grown-up super-spies probably don’t write out the code key next to the secret message, though.

The alphabet is written in a circle with corresponding numbers. The whole thing has been half-scribbled out.

Unfortunately, I can’t share the secret message with you because a) then I’d have to kill you and b) it’s “I hate [names of girls I was at primary school with]”. Because… if I didn’t write it down I’d forget that I hated them? Or something?

Instead, let’s take a moment to enjoy what is evidence either of an immense respect for the manufacturers of cheap toy padlocks or alarming disdain for the intelligence of my fellow humans:

Ten-year-old me's best joined-up handwriting reads "if found (and opened, which I doubt) please return to...

I’ve written “2000-2001” inside the cover but, for reasons that will become clear shortly, I’m guessing this first entry is from 1996, which would make me 5 years old. Note the annotations from ten-year-old me, who decided my diary should have a name and went through the rest of the diary changing every instance of “Dear Diary” to “Dear Trixie”.

Dear (Diary) Trixie, I went to the summer fair I had lots of fun. My mum held a (stool) stall. It was loveley. The end. (squiggle)

I was still going back and correcting old diary entries when I was 13-14, suggesting I have always feared the judgement of my future self. Given that I’m now laughing at myself on the Internet, I suppose that’s fair.

Anyway, I’m glad ten-year-old me didn’t try too hard with the crossing-out. It would have been a terrible shame to lose this gem:

see caption

“Dear Diary, I get a copy of animal action evrey two months (or dailey if you profer).”

Me: trying to sound clever by using words I clearly don’t understand since 1996. (Animal Action is the RSPCA’s magazine for kids, and it’s nice to see that it’s still around.)

Here’s a sad one from 1997 (which is how I’ve managed to date these early entries):

31st August. Dear (Diary) Trixie, Princess Diana died last night in a car crash. I cried and cried and cried.

I didn’t know much about Diana except that she was a princess and everyone said she was nice, and a lifetime of Disney films had failed to prepare me for the possibility of a princess dying. I remember watching the news sitting next to my mum on the sofa, and then burying my teary little face behind her back.

The poignancy of this entry is damaged a little by the perfect ridiculousness of the one that follows:

September 26th I've just been to a disco it was hatful the music was far, far too loud and the man played spice girls twice. Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! Also it was just when I had had a lovley week at school!

Sometimes I tell people what an abjectly uncool geeklady I am and they assume that I’m exaggerating for comic effect. Sometimes I think I am. Then I remember that I was once a six-year-old who felt that a “hatful” school disco had put a serious crimp in an otherwise great week of learning.

Also, I forgot how much I hated the Spice Girls. I’m pretty sure it was purely because of how much everyone else seemed to love them. Apparently I was hating mainstream things for being mainstream before it was mainstream to hate mainstream things for being mainstream. Mainstream doesn’t look like a word any more.

Anyway, I’m now pretty neutral about the Spice Girls. No strong feelings one way or the other.

Next time: ten-year-old me hates going on holiday, reads the fourth Harry Potter book and discovers sparkly scented gel pens.

If anyone else has a diary like this, I’d love to see it! Please post a few choice excerpts in the comments or trackback to this post or something so I can have a read!


12 thoughts on “Things I Wrote When I Was A Kid – Part One: “Precious Memories”

  1. This is perhaps the most delightful thing I’ve seen in weeks! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am that you’re sharing these gems. (Both written and plastic, clearly.) I’m not sure what pleases me more – your past unmitigated loathing of the Spice Girls and discos or the fact that you went back years later and edited. 😀


  2. Isn’t it funny what we carried on about as kids. I mostly daydreamed about going postal at school – but didn’t write it down (too risky I guess). Nice blog title!


  3. Pingback: Things I Wrote When I Was A Kid – Part Two: “Now much more sensible” | Victoria Leybourne: The Opposite of Popular

  4. Pingback: Things I Wrote When I Was a Kid: Bonus edition | Victoria Leybourne: The Opposite of Popular

  5. So I just found your blog and I HAD THAT SAME DIARY and seeing the picture thrust me into a straight up nostalgia time warp.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Disclaimer | Victoria Leybourne: The Opposite of Popular

  7. Pingback: Happy Blogiversary to me! | Victoria Leybourne

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