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Do You Keep a Diary?

August 24, 2009

Reading old diaries. It’s a become a ritual, especially on the occasions I’m infrequently home, or late nights filled with an emptiness, where nothing else seems to matter. So, I turn to the past. Retrospective and reminiscing, the silliness of an old version of myself, many old versions in colorful sizes and formats. There’s the pink Juicy Couture journal, with its thick gold embossed pages holding all the secrets of my first real romance. There’s the interchangeable slew of cute Asian notebooks with broken English and adorable designs. There are the trusty moleskins, with cramped writing crawling up the pages with endless aspirations, fears and stories and stories.

Stacks and stacks of notebooks (my love of stationery probably doesn’t help this quick turnover rate of angsty journals) with days, months and years of life fitted inside. Each revisit of these old stories is quite a different feeling. There is relief, of course, that I’m no longer the trapped, fearful, naive girl I once was. That I’m no longer undergoing the hell that was high school, San Diego. There is a sense of bitter-sweet nostalgia. Those stories of the past meant so much at the time, after all. And then there is this inescapable fluttering sense of loss.

Like the joy that used to come with every little experience, every night spent away from home, every day in some familiar but far off destination. Or the simple happiness that rushed in after finishing a horrible school assignment, the butterflies from a glance of a crush. It was so painfully complex, but now complicated is the expected, simplicity is impossible.

Perhaps this is how it’s meant to be, this evolution, this habituation, so that the little things that used to inspire blissful exhilaration now, at most, inspires a small smile, or some resigned acceptance. And always, striving for something greater, bigger, some adventure and excitement that exceeds the past, some explosive surreal dream that turns my life into another fantasy.

Someday this pile of notebooks and journals will turn into a massive box of them, pages and pages of daily life, endless pages in scrawling handwriting telling stories that I can’t tell, feelings I no longer remember, faces I’ve long lost. For now they remind me of the incredible changes that occur in just a year, six months, a summer. And I wonder how much more can possibly happen in just a week, a month, a year.

The blank pages ahead voice their excitement.

Do you keep a journal? Read diaries of years past?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2009 1:10 pm

    oh I love to journal. I can depend on it, it keeps my secrets,does not judge me, and helps me remember all i may have forgotten,it is my therapy session<3 i have had journals since i was 6.

  2. August 24, 2009 1:25 pm

    when I was twelve I found this big leather bound book in the basement that’s served as my journal ever since. I take breaks from it to write in other, smaller notebooks, but I always go back to it, and now there are only a few blank pages left. Seven years of my life, old postcards, ticket stubs, school IDs, photographs taped in, drawings and doodles tracking my progress and of course all the angst there ever was in high school. I’m going to miss that book dearly when I finish it.

  3. August 24, 2009 6:35 pm

    I giggle so much when I read my earliest diaries……scribbles of the boy I liked kissing me and stories and stories of how he looked at me or sat on my desk at school. Things got a bit sad from high school onwards and then I just stopped 😦 But I’m back and can’t wait to look back on what I’m writing now in ten years time and (probably) giggle too hahah

  4. veebhu permalink
    August 24, 2009 7:57 pm

    i have so many journals its ridiculous! i have books with only half of it filled.. online blogs like xanga or livejournal.. folders of documents in my laptop.. lolz the list is never ending! i recently been keeping a pocket moleskine for 2009.. hopefully that is filled before 2010 but i highly doubt it.. but i definitely do go back at times to read my entries.. & you’re right! it’s crazy how time flies & the emotions you felt before are just a distant memory.. i was hoping one day to take all my entries & put in all into one book so that hopefully my future kids can read it & see how insane (or even dull) life was for me `=o)

  5. August 24, 2009 9:42 pm

    yes, i have an old diary that has documented my high school life, and i’m still writing in a journal that i’ve had since college started, as well as 2 online journals.

    i think one of my greatest fear is for one of my best friends to find it and read it. i even thought about throwing it away at one point, but it’s nice to go back and realize that i have been wrong about somethings, and some other stuff i wrote put things into perspective for me and how i’m living my life now. keeping a journal has really made me think about my relationships with other people.

  6. August 25, 2009 3:46 am

    I started keeping journals when I was 14. It was a random journal filled with sketches and other what-nots. But despite the fact that I frequent my online journals now more than my notebooks, a feeling of nostalgia always creeps up inside of me. Reading previous journals keep me from losing my self-esteem. Always.

  7. blacktarnish permalink
    August 25, 2009 9:07 am

    I love to journal. Since January 2008 i’ve been journalling. i like reading back as it was my first year in uni at the time and there are many memories i wouldnt have remembered otherwise, lots of happy moments. It also makes me appreciate how much happens in a short time and most situations, emotions are temporary.

  8. Alex permalink
    August 25, 2009 10:44 am

    Yes, and I’m glad you share the same sentiments about them. I started keeping one when I read Amelia’s Notebook at age 9 or so. Many of my first journals are incredibly boring catalogs of the TV I watched and the memories of events I wanted to preserve. But they gradually evolved to complex records of my emotional maturity like yours seem to have done. I think keeping a diary is a necessity for anyone, girl or boy, who wants to learn about themselves over a long span of time.

    I re-read Go Ask Alice recently and was saddened to learn online that it’s not considered an authentic diary. Allegedly it was fabricated by some lady psychiatrist or something. But reading it brought me back to the lovely nostalgia I will always have for diaries.

    Something I don’t like about online journals is that they’re so easy to erase. I’ve deleted at least 3 full years’ worth of my thoughts and feelings in the past. I need to stop doing that.

  9. beeks permalink
    August 26, 2009 7:41 am

    I love journalling, although I stopped doing it so much back when I was sixteen or seventeen and got my first livejournal account. Which is odd because it’s not like I’d write the same things in both… paper journals are always so much more scandalous than their online counterparts! I have lots of journals that I’ve started and just abandoned somewhere along the way. Using notebooks is also hard for me because I’ve had snoopy people violate my privacy so many times in the past… it actually kind of turns my stomach to think about it. But I do love a good moleskine and I carry one with me everywhere I go, just in case the journalling urge strikes.

  10. September 1, 2009 4:40 pm

    i have a few, i started in freshman year and now i’m a senior. and oh how interesting it is to look back once in a while, i don’t like to do so often because i like to live in the now. or at least try hard to. : ) my favorite diary is the one i have now, a leather bound volume from barnes and noble. i write everything that seems important or beautiful or interesting to me. my dreams, my hopes and plans, my deepest thoughts that i can find. people i want to see and places i want to visit. sometimes it seems like there’s too much but there is always more…

    thank you for another beautiful post. xoxo

  11. Helen permalink
    March 29, 2010 7:34 am

    I LOVE journalling.. But I live in constant fear of my family or friends finding and reading my diaries. I know it would be a good idea to keep an online journal but I can’t express my real feelings without my little doodles and drawings! I need to be able to personalize my diaries.

  12. Tanya permalink
    May 1, 2010 1:36 am

    yes i keep a diary and have done for coming up 17 months. i love re-rereading my old diaries and re-living the past. it’s like walking back in time. i love loooking back on my old diaries and seeing where i was a year ago and where i am now. my diary is so special to me and i love being able to pour my heart out into my writing. i want to be an author when i grow up as well and most budding writers keep a diary so i’m on the right track.

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