I was a prolific journal keeper when I was younger. My first "diary" was a faux leather white book with a little lock, that I had to break as I hid the key so well it will never be found unless there is a landfill dump some day. It was not really well designed to write in but I believe the appeal was said lock.
It probably is where my love of writing started. I could dream on those pages of places, careers and boys, ok mostly I dreamt and wrote of boys..honestly cannot remember not liking them, my first boy crush who I still remember for some reason with his blonde hair shorn in a crew cut was 5 to my 4 and we played so well in the little park behind the building I grew up in Bucharest - well until I went to hug him and he bit me. I promptly bit him back and believe then we consciously uncoupled (still eye rolling at Gwyneth). Back to the diary; as an only child you have a lot of solitary time to do things with your imagination. There is the typical playing and talking to yourself, of course it is in the guise of having your toys talking to each other, but well they are not real are they ??? Then for me came the diaries. These were there when friends went home and often just recounted the stories friends and I had rehashed all day. Stories of bored days and annoying if not outright vile teachers. Injustices that my parents with their rules heaped upon me, ok as an adult I see that maybe at times they were strict but they were not unjust for the most part ... well there was that time but bygones. Tales of things that parents were never to find out about .. that first (insert cigarette, drink, etc...) here, captured to re-read then and to smirk at now if you still have your journals. Funny I hid those journals in places that usually required some sort of contortion to retrieve only to store them for all of these years ...evidence!!! So if I ever run for office, which I would not, here is my opening speech 1) Read from said diaries .. "yes I did smoke, inhale, enjoy it, liked it, had sex, cheated on at least one test (not off another person but off my cleverly written on white tights under school uniform) and most of all was one flawed person 2 - and of course there was Latin class and poor Mr Howarth, straight from Oxford into the clutches of 3 of my friends and I - guess he got the last laugh with the 4 separate from whole class and each other finals but boy did we torture him). I invite all who are to judge me to let me read any journals they may have had.
Journals have allowed me to remember with fondness many memories that had not placed front and center - and let's be honest the older you get the more those memories become companions. Journals recorded the days that made differences in my life and the people that were part of those - both the good (that intake of breath, eye lock that I felt when I first met "the guy" - the one, oh you know the one - butterflies still when I write this though he is not mine) - the up and down we are friends, we are friends with benefits, we are dating, we are engaged, we are broken up, I am in love with someone new, I am breaking that off and then back to we are in same place in NYC at same moment, maybe we could be friends, friends with benefits, engaged, married relationship that is Gary and I. Journals are the travelogues and many, many fun memories with friends of a life well lived, good reminder when I think oh I have so much more I wanted to do. Those pages house me in different stages - and I know the girl at 8 brought some elements to the girl at 15 who morphed those in to the young woman at 25 and is still tweaking and evolving at 46. It is where my pregnancy is recorded and ode to Kris and our recent conversation "do you know how expensive the parking is" and ordering food while I was in 40 hours of labor is recorded for as needed reference should I lose my mind or husband "forgets" his actions described here.
I do not keep diaries as much as I would like now .. seriously not going to beat self up over that one... may try to resume. In speaking with one of my closest friends, Michele, we also agreed that FaceBook and social media is not your diary... you know it is not the place to air your most private feelings, issues, serious dysfunction... though many people do it and then are surprised when they get some judgement on it. Those issues should be for friends, because like the journal while it may feel good to get it out you would benefit for heartfelt advice that only 1-3 of those 300+ friends can offer. FaceBook for me is the place for my diary entries that did not require a lock or the hiding .. you know the journal I had for teachers when it was a writing assignment...good times, good times with a few social issues thrown it topped by pictures and the occasional reviews of books, movies, music, food. If it is on the internet .. umm yeah it ain't private SHOCKING!!! It is the balance between posting what is personal and not posting what is intimate.
If you kept journals it is always fun to re-read them .. so many things will make you wonder what could have been that important, yep back to boys, and how much time was spent exactly as it should have been worrying about the nothings instead of the reality of responsibilities that come later in life. Maybe one of the things I think mirrors who I am is my handwriting - large and cute (remember those hearts over the i's?) to script to graffiti in corners (Zofo, Led Zed, block letters, his initials -n- mine 4E, BFF 4E) to nicer script to today's not so consistent and nowhere nearly as good due to lack of practice. I have journals of short stories, the 2 novels I wrote and of course oodles of poems (yeah yeah did I mention the boys - but many of them are also about the events of the times AIDS, 9/11, New York who is the constant lover in my life).
Dear Diary - thank you for always listening and we have so many more memories to revisit.