Recently, due to some very unexpected yet serendipitous circumstances, my middle school diary found its way back into my life.

Throughout the years, in between divorces, moves, and purges, I thought this diary – of which I shared my most intimate thoughts about boys, friends, boys, school, boys, puberty, boys, gossip, and boys – had gotten lost in the shuffle, never to be seen again.

But it has recently resurfaced, bringing with it a bounty of memories of my thoughts, my dreams, and my emotional hormonal roller coaster.

Fortunately, as an avid writer since childhood, I never let a single life milestone (read: crush) go unwritten about.

The diary says “My Secrets” on its cover, but I’m busting open the lock (yes, there’s a lock) and unveiling “My Secrets” once and for all.

These entries are about a boy that I had a crush on in seventh grade. This is going to become very obvious very soon, but let me first say that I was intensely shy, especially when it came to boys – even though I consistently had a crush on like six of them at a time.

Friday, 1/26/01

My birthday is in one week! YAY! And I will be THIRTEEN!! But I have strange news … somebody “likes” me (supposedly). His name is Andy. I sort of like him. Ashley claims that he likes me. Whenever I look up at him he’s staring at me, so I guess it’s true.

Real subtle, Andy.

It would be kinda nice to have a boyfriend. I really like Keith W-lliams*, but I guess ya can’t have everything in life!

*Name has been scrambled to protect the subject’s privacy from having to be associated with this time in my life

I’m getting my room painted tomorrow (actually, Mom and I are painting it!). We already painted the walls (sky blue), so tomorrow we’ll paint the trim. There’s a lot 2 tell, but I don’t feel like writing anymore. Maybe later.

Monday, 1/29/01

I’ll make this short. All I want to say is Ashley said she’s gonna ask Andy out for me on Thursday.

Yes, I had to have my friends ask boys out for me.

Sometimes I wish they’d still do that.

I wonder how it’ll go? I’ve never had a boyfriend (of course) and I don’t know what to do!

Your friends can do it.

I sure am glad Ash is my friend. I need friends like her! We’re going to the movies on Sunday and she’s inviting Andy to come. She and Nicole say he’s my “birthday present” from them!

Which seems like kind of a cop out of a birthday present now that I think about it.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!

Friday, 2/2/01

Today is my birthday!! We’re going to the Melting Pot. Okay, so something really freaky happened today. It’s sort of a long story, so I’ll start from the beginning. Ashley seemed to think that Andy and I would make a cute couple. She also said that he liked me (because he asked her “do you know Rachel Marsh?”).

Real subtle, Andy.

So she invited the whole “clique” to the mall and the movies. That includes: N-cole*, A-hley*, K-le*, C-roline*, M-key*, G-nny*, A-drew*, D-na*, Me, and A-dy*.

*Names have been scrambled to protect subjects’ privacy from having to be associated with this time in my life

So anyways, today after science, Andy said, “Rachel! I can go.” At first I thought he wanted to walk with me to 3rd period and he was ready to go. So I said, “What??” And he said, “I can go.” I suddenly realized he meant to the mall on Sunday (I may want to mention that Ashley gave him a note yesterday inviting him to the mall)

I literally couldn’t even hand him a note.

And I said

Are you ready for this?


And he said, “What movie are we seeing?” And so I

Are you ready for this?

Shrugged and walked out of the room.

Really knew how to hit that sweet spot between hard-to-get and completely apathetic.

I’m really psyched about Sunday. I hope things work out with me and Andy and we really hit it off! I’ll tell you how it goes. I gotta run!!

And then I drew a heart with our names in it, due to my blossoming creativity.

Monday, 2/5/01

Okay, Sunday was soooo cool. Did anything, like, happen? No. I’ll tell you everything though. **Daydreaming** Okay, done daydreaming. Okay anywayZ…


I went to Ashley’s at noon and she sort of fixed me up.

I.e. turquoise eyeshadow

We then picked up Nicole and went to the mall. **Pause** **Thinking about Andy** Okay, so when we got there, Caroline and some other people were there. Including ❤ Andy ❤ . The girls got in a group and talked and laughed. Then ❤ Andy ❤ came over and said, “Hey.” And I said

Are you ready for this?

“Hi.” Then he asked what movie we were seeing and I said

In this really coy yet confident manner

“Miss Congeniality.” Then he went over to talk to the guys.

Probably because I immediately turned my back to him once his questions were over.

Ashley told me to sit next to him during the movie, so I did.

Definitely wasn’t planning on it otherwise.

The whole time she kept trying to get me to move closer to him. He was, as she said, leaning pretty close to me. Finally, once, she pushed me when I was off guard right into ❤ Andy ❤ .

My first shoulder touch with a boy!

I started whispering madly to her about how stupid that was (kidding, OC).

That stands for “of course,” unless I was somehow predicting the rise of the hit show TV series, The OC, starring teenage heartthrobs Mischa Barton and Adam Brody.

After the movie the boys just left us and went to Software, Etc.

Anyone remember that place?

Nicole, Ashley, and Caroline kept trying to get us together, like to hold hands or something.

Excuse me, I don’t know if you saw that accidental shoulder brush earlier?

Both of us are very shy,

By the way

so we didn’t. Another thing that happened was when they were in Software, Etc., ❤ Andy ❤ paid little attention to the stuff, but mostly I saw him watching me.

Real subtle, Andy.

The girls were trying to get me to make a move, then they tried to get him to. And he left while we were at the arcade.

Probably had something to do with his crush not even acknowledging his presence.

At school today in social studies, he looked at me some.


I tried not to make eye contact with him

He can’t know I like him back!

So when I thought he was looking, I turned away.

Um, this may come as a surprise, but Andy and I never ended up dating. Or, in fact, talking to each other again – not even another riveting conversation like the Miss Congeniality one we’d had at the mall.

I think a lot of it had to do with his emotional immaturity, commitment issues, and uncomfortable staring habits.

You know, sometimes I wonder why I’m still single.

By the way, could someone deliver a note for me?


Don’t Need No Gals

Well, it’s February. And that means everyone has that one February holiday on their mind: Galentine’s Day.

February 13: The day where gals get together with their best gal pals and celebrate female friendship through chocolate, crafts, fun decorations, artisanal cheeses, Beyoncé, rosé, tiny dogs, anything pink!, shoes, Ryan Gosling, brownies, tampon talk, crying together, Pinterest, and all the other things gals love.

It’s such a popular and commercialized holiday, stores will even start in January selling Galentine’s Day-related decorations, cards, and gifts. Cafés are covered in Galentine’s Day décor, and sometimes even create unique treats just for the holiday. TV commercials bombard you with ways to show your gals how much you love them. Even the internet is relentless, with ad after ad of gifts to give your gals on this special day.

But for those gals without gal pals, Galentine’s Day is just another holiday designed to make those gals feel bad about themselves. And as the holiday looms closer, many of us become more and more aware of our nonexistent plans on February 13.

I sometimes call it “Gals Without Gal Pals Awareness Day.”

But this year, instead of moping around on Galentine’s Day and feeling sorry for myself, I’ve decided not to let it get me down.

I realized, hey – I’m a strong, independent woman and I don’t need gal pals in order to celebrate Galentine’s Day.

And you know what? It felt empowering.

I did a fun Valentine’s Day-themed craft!

And boy was it fun!

I watched a funny-yet-sad-yet-romantic rom-com!

Meet cute!
That witty banter!
But will they fall in love at the end?

Time for a little gossip!

I ate “all the” chocolate! Yum!

The calories don’t count on Galentine’s Day!

I braided my hair!

And told myself how jealous I am of my hair and how much I wish I had it

I took a Cosmo quiz!

I got mostly A’s which means I’m a tiger in the bedroom!


Time to play a fun game!

I won!

Then I hosted a wine tasting!

I gave myself that boost of confidence and affirmation that every woman deserves.

“You are a beautiful, kind, intelligent tiger in the bedroom”

I prank called some boys!

“Is your refrigerator running?”

I baked some cookies!

And ate a little cookie dough while I was at it!

Maybe too much.

I did my nails!

I didn’t forget a pop nail!

Then I gave myself a makeover!

“Fire Engine Red”

And I took a selfie of all the fun I was having!

My life is perfect!

Happy Galentine’s Day, everyone!

“Rabbit Rabbit, Baby.”

I sat at my bedroom desk on Monday leisurely drinking coffee and checking my email, working from home this particular morning due to an early afternoon doctor’s appointment (and frankly grateful for an excuse to come in late to work after an active and mostly sleepless weekend) (what? It was my birthday).

Apparently everyone else had had a busy weekend too because my inbox was pretty sparse; so I made breakfast, drank more coffee, and made some calls.

I was feeling especially good, too, because last week I’d actually remembered to say Rabbit Rabbit, a phrase that you’re supposed to say at the turn of each new month to ensure good luck for the remainder of the month.

I’m not crazy, okay, I saw it on Nickelodeon when I was a child.

I sat back down at my desk after breakfast to get a little more work done, and






You know that moment when it’s 9:30 a.m. and you hear street cleaning trucks outside and suddenly remember that they come every Monday morning between the hours of 9-11 a.m. and as a result there are “No Parking” signs on that side of the street during the correlating hours, followed by the instant realization that your car is parked there because two days ago you had moved it from the side street since the main street outside your apartment was more well-lit and it felt safer to leave it there while you were away for the weekend in Chapel Hill, and you’re frankly not used to paying attention to those “No Parking” signs anyway because you’re usually at work when the parking restrictions are enforced?

You do?

Okay, so then you know exactly what I was going through at that moment.

And you understand why I threw myself away from my desk, frantically grabbed my keys, and began spouting out more bad words than I even knew I knew.

It was just so unfair. In the past month, I had shattered my phone screen, broken my glasses, gained two pounds, had my glasses broken again by an eye doctor, lost my favorite shirt, shattered my phone screen a second time, and gotten sentenced to 4-6 weeks on crutches after snapping a bone in my left foot.

And also, what the hell, how was I getting a parking ticket right now? I said Rabbit Rabbit right at midnight on February 1 AND I had said it at midnight on New Year’s, which should mean good luck for the whole year. And if Rabbit Rabbit wasn’t real, then Nickelodeon lied to me, and if that’s true, there are a lot of things I need to re-evaluate.

But I didn’t have time to do that at the moment because I was busy flinging myself out my front door in coffee-stained pajamas and a broken foot loosely protected by an orthopedic boot clumsily shoved on at the last minute.

I saw my car sitting defenselessly in the street, begging me with its eyes to not let anything that was about to happen to it, happen to it as the parking enforcement officer printed out ticket after ticket for cars situated as unfortunately as my own.

I dove across traffic in my unshowered, bedheaded, glasses-disheveled state, actively ignoring my foot injury while undoing all of the rest-ice-compression-elevation-repeat progress I’d made in the past two weeks.

“THAT’S MY CAR,” I shouted to the parking enforcement officer in the same dramatized, frantic tone as if I had just uncovered evidence to get an inmate off death row as they were walking towards the execution chamber.

I’ve only ever gotten one parking ticket in my Richmond life.

And if this lame story was – for some reason – in a movie, the camera would pan close to my face as I ran towards my car, flashing back to that moment in my past.

The year was 2013. I was at The Village with my then-roommate for a hangover-curing lunch on a Thursday (what? I was young). We had driven separately because, even though we were hungover, we were go-getter women and we still had stuff to do later. So we parked, put a handful of quarters into the meter for each of our cars, and proceeded to drown our regrets from the night before in grease and ranch dressing.

We had, apparently, both underestimated the amount of time the hangover curing would take because we were one quarter short of satiating the meter; when we walked out, both of our cars were receiving the neon green envelope treatment. The parking enforcement officer was still there passing out tickets, and I attempted to reason with her (what? I was young). She looked me straight in the eye and told me it was too late, before writing up another ticket and moving on to the next innocent vehicle.

Back in real time, as I Froggered my way through passing cars and home base-slid towards my own car, I wondered if, after all these years, it was the same parking enforcement officer that I had met six years prior. The same woman who ruined my “morning after” lunch from The Village and cost my broke young self a ticket that I could barely afford.

Okay, obviously this was likely not the same person passing out parking tickets so many years before.


If this were a movie, it definitely would’ve been.

And after I delivered my climactic “THAT’S MY CAR” line, she would have put her ticket printer thing back into her bag, winked at me, and said, “Rabbit Rabbit, baby” before getting into her government-issued vehicle and driving off into the sunset.

But this was not a movie, and she instead told me in a very abrupt and patronizing tone, “Well you need to move it immediately.”

Oh, I see.

Originally I just came outside in my half inside-out pajamas and freshly slept-on hair, dragging my nub of a foot across the street, just to point my car out to you before I went back inside. Thanks for the heads up, I wasn’t planning to but I guess I’ll go ahead and move it.

So, I took her incredibly wise advice and drove my car back to the very side street that I’d originally moved it from, where – incidentally – there are no “No Parking” signs, and my car was free to live happily ever after [for the next hour and a half until I had to use it again].

Anyway, I did NOT get a parking ticket that day, and the moral of the story is Nickelodeon never lies  Good thing those street cleaners are so loud Park wherever you want to, as long as you’re willing to run out into traffic  Parking enforcement officers should all get a new job  My foot is probably more broken than it’s ever been at this point I need to wash my pajamas  Nothing at The Village is worth an extra $25 Always remember to say Rabbit Rabbit.