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Dear Diary: Adults reading from their teenage journals

09/15/2014 01:18 EDT | Updated 11/15/2014 05:59 EST
What would your teenage self think of you today?  

That’s one of the questions in Dear Diary, an event that features adults reading passages from their teenage journals.

Sally Panavas, 32, was going through her old diaries when she stumbled across a sealed letter addressed to her high school sweetheart.

"I remember writing it when I was 16," says Panavas, who wrote the letter as a way to get over the breakup. "But I have no clue of what's in there."

Panavans, now married with a 15-month-old baby, will be unsealing the letter for the first time in front of a live audience next Monday and reading it aloud.

"The more I think about it, the more nervous I get," says Panavas who hopes that her husband will be too busy with childcare duties to be part of the audience.

Time capsules of who we were

Dear Diary is the brainchild of high school drama teacher Alex Parravano, she says we are always nostalgic for our teen years because they represent a time when we experienced many of our firsts.  

"These diaries are like a time capsule of who we were. They include the most intense thoughts and feelings we had.  It's every powerful to re-visit that," says Parravano.

In addition to organizing the event Parravano will also be sharing excerpts from her own teenage writings.

As part of her search for material she came across a letter she had written when she was 13 and a student at a performing arts high school in Toronto. The letter was addressed to her idol, George Clooney.

"I wanted my letter to be professional," says Parravano, giggling about the earnestness of her teenage self.

"When I was a teenager I really did think that those things were possible. I use to think, here I am in an arts school, I should just write this letter to set up things for collaborating with Clooney," she adds.

Parravano says there’s a similarity between many of the journals, with most teenagers remunerating about their future career dreams and their crushes. However, some of the pieces shared on stage speak to deeper issues such as coming to terms with one’s own sexual identity.

The secret world of teenagers

Adam Bourret, 32, is a web designer.  Instead of doing a reading he is sharing his sketches from when he was 14 to 18. 

"When you flip through the drawings you can see them get progressively gayer and gayer over time," says Bourret, who was coming to terms with his identity as a gay teenager during that time.

Bourret says as a teenager he was too insecure to share the drawings with anyone, but looking back he is surprised by the boldness and creativity of his work.  

"I think that a big part of being a teenager is having a secret world that nobody else is part of," says Bourret. "Maybe these drawings gave me the kind of confidence that I didn't know I had."

Dear Diary 2, the second session is the series is still in search of people interested in sharing their teenage journals in front of a live audience on Monday September 22 at Supermarket, 268 Augusta Ave., in Kensington Market, at 7:30pm. To submit your diary entry you can contact the organizers via Facebook or Twitter.  

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