Friday, March 21, 2014

Apologizing to my Diary

When I was young, I kept a diary. I started at age 11, and my first entries were exactly as you would expect: random, meandering thoughts on topics such as my friends, boys, my hair, what embarrassing thing happened that day.

OMG, This is the one!! 

I tried to write every other day or so, but I remember that sometimes there would be these long periods of time where I didn't write at all (maybe a couple of months), and I would always start the first entry after a time-lapse by saying something like "Sorry it's been so long since I've written..."

To whom was I apologizing?

To myself, I guess. But why? It wasn't something I had to do, or turn in to my teacher, and nobody else knew whether I had written in my diary that day or not. I think I felt like journaling was an act of connecting with myself, of reflecting and processing my life and thoughts, even the most seemingly trivial.

I wish I still had that diary, and the ones that followed. I continued to journal throughout my teenage years, and mostly I wrote about my insecurities. I worried about and analyzed the affections of the boys I dated or wanted to date. I lamented about my body size, and vowed and re-vowed to go on a diet the very next day. I wrote when I was high or drunk, and feeling either incredibly connected with the universe or like an alien.

By the time I was 19, I had five journals filled with my most personal and rambling thoughts. At that time, I entered into a relationship with an alcoholic man named Brian, what would turn into an eight year detour / life stagnation. We moved in together very shortly after we met, and I soon became worried that he would read my journals. I would hide them, but I quickly developed a deep mistrust of Brian, and a suspicion that I was losing my sense of separate self in that relationship. I felt like those journals represented a part of my brain, a part of me that nobody could touch or see, and I knew that if Brian happened upon my journals he would read them, probably out of some paranoid need to know my inner thoughts about him, but partly just to gain just a little more control over me.

Anyway, I couldn't take that chance. One day I took all five journals with me to the coffeeshop I worked at, and one by one I tore them up and threw them in the trash. There. Now nobody could ever read them, nobody could ever touch that part of me.

Now, of course, I wish I still had these journals, because I really did enjoy going back and reading them, seeing how I've changed, seeing how I haven't. Also, my daughter is only a couple years away from the age I first started journaling, and it would have been interesting to revisit this time in my young life, in order to better understand hers. Who knows, maybe I would have even let her read them.

This blog is a journal of sorts for me, but it doesn't feel easy anymore. I used to get out my journal on days I felt stressed or anxious and just write and write. Now I sit staring at a blank screen, dozens of unrealized blog titles lurking in the shadows, and I just don't know what to say anymore. I feel like it has to matter now. Even if nobody is reading this but me, I feel the pressure to say something deep, something witty, something new.

For now, I'd just like to make a commitment to myself to write more regularly. Something, anything. Sure, I'd love for it to be profound and thought-provoking, but maybe some days I'll just write about the cat. It's a habit I'd like to practice, and I'll do it for the same reasons I did it back then -- to stay connected to myself, and to get to know myself out a bit more.

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