Journal of a Silly Girl

sleeping hilary

“Everyone knows diaries are just full of crap.” – Bridget Jones

Let’s take a journey down journal lane, shall we? (Warning: the following might make you lose all remaining respect for me as a writer and/or human.)

“We played football, in which I sprained my ankle… we also did play basketball. I jammed my finger; that is why I am not writing good. ” – age 11

“I wish I were a bird flying in the sky, soaring through the air. We, my family, went to see Santa Clause 2.” -age 11

“While in the meantime, I am thinking about Hayden Christensen and Orlando Bloom.” -age 11

“I have been trying not to mention what’s happening in the U.S. economy lately, but I think it’s time to tell my feelings.” – age 11

“It was then I saw what life is.” – age 11

“I am going to work on my scrapbook.” – age 12

“If you follow every problem in your life, it will lead to one conclusion: yourself.” – age 11

“I wonder if this diary will be famous someday, like Anne Frank’s. We’re reading Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl in class.” – age 12

“I wanted to tell you that I don’t think anyone will ever consider my story famous like Anne Frank’s.” – next day, age 12

“A heart-warming film always warms me up.” – age 12

“This turned out not as well as planned, but everything happens for a reason.” – age 12

“It was hot, and she was asking for my personal fan 24/7.” – age 12

“If I died before my husband, I’d want him to remarry… I hate biology.” – age 14

“Swimming and soccer are the only sports I’ve done competitively!!!” – age 15

“Prom. It’s all anyone talks about.” – age 16

“I’ve always liked David Beckham, but now that he’s in the U.S., well…” – age 16

“Today we went to see National Treasure II. I loved it!” – age 16

“I don’t like fried chicken.” – age 17

“I was supposed to have my water skills test at six, so I got to the school at 5:45 am, and no one was there. I took it at 6 pm.” – age 17

“I’m getting over crying right now, so excuse my handwriting.” – age 17

“I’m excited about lunch.” – age 17

One thing hasn’t changed. I’m still really excited about lunch.

Veteran’s Day

flags at pepperdine

My family has always been passionate about the USA, passionate about what it stands for, passionate that it should continue standing for it. Freedom. The USA is about freedom.

That was the summary of the essay that one me a $100 savings bond in the third grade. Since then, I’ve learned more about the country’s history and more about my family’s, and although I might have a bit more understanding and more stuff in my head, I still believe that nine year old was right.

I never thought of my family as a military one. My dad was retired from the Army by the time I could walk. We never moved around the country or around the world. I never lost a loved one to war.

But as I’ve grown up, I’ve added together all the pieces that make up this military story. Grandpa Miller served on one of the only Navy units to fight in the Atlantic and Pacific during WWII. Papa Free came back from Europe with a Nazi gun. (Not sure he was supposed to.) There are little hints of service all over our house: a camouflage hat here, little Tabasco bottles there, and the mail to Dad, addressed to MAJOR MILLER.

Recently, my brother joined the National Guard. He left for basic training yesterday. The more I think about him being a part of this, the more I realize how equipped he was for his decision. My siblings and I have been taught all our lives about what military service is. It wasn’t glorified. It wasn’t demonized. Military service was something that was specifically about the core belief of the country. It’s about preserving what my family, what families all over the nation, hold dear. It’s about freedom.

I’m very proud of my family’s history of service, particularly my dad, who doesn’t parade it. I’m very proud of my brother and his willingness and devotion to freedom.

But more than proud, I’m thankful. I’m thankful for the military service of all of our veterans and their families. I think my 3rd-grade self probably said it better, but I’m thankful for each individual who preserves and cultivates and fights for freedom.  May it reign.

Jillian Sodding Denning

bridget jones party

Last week I got to celebrate one of my most wonderful friends.

I remember the first time I saw her. (You know what’s weird: I can remember each time I first saw my close friends.) (True love.)

It was orientation day 2012. I believe she was wearing that crimson dress of hers. The one with the ridges. Her hair was perfect, of course. She sat a table away, and I immediately decided she was a part of the Communication program because writers aren’t that put together… or tall. (Awkwardly tall, maybe, but not fashionably tall.)

It turns out she was in my program (and a really gifted writer).

But we didn’t start out as close friends. We didn’t click immediately.

It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly Jill went from “a fun girl in my program” to “one of my very best friends.” We were in the middle before we knew we’d begun.

You see, there’s really very little reason Jill and I should be friends. At least, that’s what I thought at the beginning.

She’s tall. I’m not.

She’s on one end of the political spectrum. I’m on the other.

Mockingjay is her favorite book in the series. Can I get a “third book is a DOWNER” in here?

And then, “a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be” friends starting bubbling to the surface. (Are these references getting weird? Good.) Before we knew it, we were planning wardrobe choices for our trip to Prince Edward Island. (Lots of gauze and puffed sleeves.)

If there is a moment in our friendship affair to remember that should be highlighted, circled, and cast in steel for all time, it’s Bridget Jones’s Diary Night 2013.

One day, during finals week, Jill and I found ourselves with nothing to do for two hours and an audience of two friends who always pretend like they can’t stand us, but truly love the entertainment. So we decided to do a dramatic reading of a crappy transcription of Bridget Jones’s Diary.

Important things to note about this evening:

On this very poor internet copy of the script, there were no names indicating who was speaking. It turns out, we already knew who said every line. (This is one of the most impressive things in both of our lives, as you can understand.)

Jill’s impression of Bridget doing an impression of Grace Kelly was Golden Globe, Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical worthy. (She would argue that her introduction to Kafka’s Motorbike should be considered.)

Jill played Bridget incredibly well. I was everyone else, with a special connection to Pamela Jones.

We laughed our cabooses off the entire night.

So last week, on Jill’s 27th year of being fabulous, there was really only one way to celebrate. We popped open the diet coke, lit the candles, and indulged in Rob’s turkey curry buffet. Yes, we threw Jill a Bridget Jones-themed birthday.

We talked and did a dramatic reading of our best scenes in Bridget Jones’s Diary. We laughed and laughed at the accents. We discussed Ethel Kennedy. We ate and talked life and Bridget and Bridget’s life, and I was reminded once again how phenomenal of a friend Jill is.

Jill sees me. The parts that I usually cover up, the ones that are completely and hopelessly uncool, she sees those as my biggest strengths. She’s often more proud of my crazy than I am. Are we all aware that this is what friendship should be? Because let me tell you, having a friend like this, it makes life a heck of lot more fun.

Jill is in my corner, and I’m in hers.

That is more than I was ever expecting when I saw that tall girl supposedly in the Communication program.

So I say we toast: to Jill, who cannot stop obsessing about the Kennedy and Royal families, but who we love just as she is.

bridget jones diary party theme
Image courtesy of Jillian Denning

bridget jones party diary