Please refer to Britney Spears’ classic love song, “Dear Diary,” if you are not familiar with this post title. It’s okay if you can’t make it past the first 30 seconds, I sincerely understand.
Speaking of 1999, have you ever gone through boxes at your parents’ house and been completely transported back in time? Most of my old poetry, school projects, and stories just make me giggle – just this summer I laughed until tears came when I read my “autobiography” from when I was 12 to my parents and sister. But some items, especially the journals, actually put me in a weird mood because they take me back to some topics that were pretty serious for me – if I would ever learn how to drive well (no), if we would ever finish the yearbook (yes), if my manager at the seafood restaurant would ever realize I was good enough to waitress (yes), if the Laurens would ever stop making fun of me (no), if a boy I liked would ever like me back (eventually). I’m sure you had similar issues growing up, although you may not have written about them as intensely as I did (I’m *almost* ashamed to admit that most conversations I had with cute boys from 1999-2003 are analyzed in my journals).
Enter Mortified – an event similar to The Moth, where a few brave people share stories on stage to strangers. One difference between Mortified and The Moth is that these stories are straight from the performers’ childhood diaries, artwork, original stories, and more. My friend let me know about Mortified about a year ago. Em and I went to an event soon after and loved it. Kat and I trekked out to Littlefield, a great performance space in Brooklyn, for the most recent event a few weeks ago.
At this particular event, Kat and I did not go thirty seconds without cracking up hysterically. One woman (Lori Baird) had written an extremely “adult” play when she was 10. Instead of reading it herself, she called two volunteers from the audience to act it out. Just watching them keel over with laughter as they turned the pages of the script and realized what they had to say and do next was well worth the $10 ticket price. Cheryl Calegari read her made-up memos from when she used to play pretend that she was the President and CEO of Chanel. Selections from Sarah Sandusky’s diary were shared where she wrote (but didn’t send) letters to a crush who had moved away. Christine Gentry had written an angry book about how to deal with parents and siblings. And G Scott Morgan read from his high school journal where he was more dramatic than the entire third season of Dawson’s Creek.
The thing about Mortified that is so special is that all have had some kind of drama in our lives that occupied our thoughts and that we’d have never believed we would survive. And when we look back at how we felt at these moments, we’re able to laugh. It puts today’s problems into perspective as well and helps to remind me that a decade from now I will forget about the bird who lives across the hall and squawks every ten minutes and other issues that are currently stressing me out.
Mortified Nation is an amazing documentary made from clips of different Mortified shows across the country. Look out for it on the Sundance Channel and see the trailer here to get more of an idea of what you can experience from a Mortified show:
I would love to share something from my awkward amazing childhood at some point on the Mortified stage. The question is if it will be the superhero movies I made with my frousins at Thanksgiving, selections of my original poetry, samples of writing from my ‘N Sync website, or maybe something even more embarrassing from my actual journals. There’s really way too much to choose from. But whenever I figure it out, you’re all invited to support me.