Tonight was a pretty special night for me. I read notes that my friends and I wrote to each other and passed around in high school. Yup, I am old enough to know days before Facebook, text messaging and non-dial-up internet. We would tell each other anything (our hate for math class) and everything (details of how our crushes smiled at us, so they must like us – right?) in these notes that we would fold in a very intricate square shape.
Initially, Andrew Phung proposed the idea of reading my childhood diaries at Loose Moose to inspire scenes for his Past Your Bedtime Show, I was beyond excited because it came merely weeks after I had watched Mortified Nation on Netflix. The documentary is about a show that travels around the world, where adults read from their melodramatic teenage diaries. Well I was a great candidate for such a show because I had 51 journals that I poured my heart into from the ages of 11-18. So I ventured into my parent’s basement and dusted off my old journals to see if in those pages, lay comedy gold.
There was a big part of me that was terrified that I would read these journals and realize I have not changed at all. And at 31 turning 32, it is pretty vital in my opinion to experience some personal growth since my teen years. I am happy to report growth was achieved. I was an insecure, stroppy asshole as a teenager. I wanted nothing more than to fit in and I compromised myself to do so. I am not talking drugs or drinking, I was too much of a goodie good back then for that stuff, but just like not being great to people in order to make other like me and caring too much about what people thought about me. I hated my body and weird brown family for making me nothing like all the other girls. I would take all that stress out on my family and was probably sort of a nightmare to live with.
I am thrilled to tell you that 31 year old Andrea is nothing like that 15 year old girl. After years of trying to find my sitcom-like group of friends and being left ditched and disappointed, I realized the relationship with myself, was the one that I needed my focus. Igrew to love my uniqueness. I got to know myself. I know what makes me tick. I know what my downfalls are. I know what makes me laugh and how to make myself laugh. I know I am weird, quirky, short and round and I have grown a strong affection for myself… it may sound strange but life seems way more secure because of that.
I also have grown a true sense of gratitude for my family. I was terribly ungrateful for them in my teen years and a lot of twenties too, I am sad to say. It is only now in the retrospect of these decades that I realize that they are my one true and constant support system and source of comedy material. They never fail to show up when I need them. I am so lucky to be a part of this resilient, funny and close-knit dysfunctional family.
Venturing back into those days of journals and notes turned out not just to be about an improv opportunity (which I was so grateful and excited about!) but it gave me a chance to give myself credit for how far I have come and how much I have grown up. To know that something positive came out of those melodramatic and sort hard days, kind of makes it all seem full circle in some weird way. My dream is to share the comedy from the pain and awkwardness of my past and inspire laughter and joy from it. That makes every moment, no matter how hard it was, worth it.
Today I read notes from when I was 15 at a theatre that I started obsessing about when I was 15… ha life is just so wickedly weird sometimes….