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Not only do I have every journal that I’ve written in since I was a small child, but every school photo, drawing, art project, and classroom assignment as well. A few years ago, my parents finally asked me to clean out my old room, and boxes upon boxes upon boxes of grade school atrocities poured into my home office. I went through each and every piece, trying to figure out who the hell I had been, and why I could never quite color within the lines. The journals show off my earliest poems, like the brilliant, “I’m Rubber, You’re Glue,” which my parents had proudly displayed on the fridge when I was a mere four years old, and some of my lovely high school poetry like, “Pleasure of One,” which is probably more telling than it should be. All of these pieces could have found their way to the stage at Mortified last night at Portland’s Mission Theater.

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Up until a few months ago, I had never heard of Mortified, and I feel like I am a much better person because of it. Six performers stood on the stage, and read their most embarrassing adolescent diary entries. Talk of sexual experiences – “It was condom on, penis in, three thrusts, and SHAZAM!” – to worrying about popularity – “I’m depressed about my social acceptance rate.” – to Color Guard performances – have you ever seen a 1980’s color guard perform a rendition of Nazi Germany Concentration Camps? I have now  – meant that there was something in it for every person in the absolutely sold out theater.

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There’s something incredibly cathartic about listening to someone tell tales of their nightmarish youth, and realizing that not only have you been through a lot of the same experiences, but that you yourself could actually be one of the people on stage. It gave new life to the junk from my parents’ place.

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Mortified is a show that tours all year long, and if you have a chance to check it out, do it. Everyone else’s mortification will lead to your abundant satisfaction. Check out their schedule at their website, and take a look at their trailer below.

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