I’ve always written journals, in some way, shape, or form. I remember in Christmas 1985 when I was 10, getting this matching set – stationery, pen, some cardboardy-decorated desk thing which name’s escaped me, and a journal. It was not my first journal, or diary as I called it then, but I do remember vividly, writing about “Rocky IV” and Garbage Pail Kids, at the time. And I remember pouring glue on that cardboardy thing, over my fingers, onto the varnished wooden desk, just so I could peel it off.
A few days ago, I re-found a 290-page journal from my late twenties to early thirties, in the form of a Word document. It begins with an email to Shannon, and ends with random c/p from an online dream dictionary, regarding sharks and the color green.
In between the email and the sharks, there are a couple years of romantic angst filling aforementioned 290 (?!?!) pages, from a time that felt so post-apocalyptic, as far as these things go. I was getting divorced. I’d settled into a new desk job that was related to My Field. And I was nearly 30!
That was when I started blogging. I was filled with aged wisdom, witness: aforementioned 30-turning, plus: divorce. And it was like, my emails to Shannon were filled with hilarity and have I mentioned wisdom? So why not put it all out there for the world?
Mind you, I had not yet read Why Girls Are Weird by Pamela Ribon, which is about, among other things, a blogger who realizes how much of herself she’s put onto the Internet, a little bit late, but not completely.
I’ve been gathering my blogs, to form a book. And it’s weird looking back, to some that I wrote in 2005. At the time, I was just proud to get it out there – onto the Internet, with a pink background to my text. Now, some of it looks and feels so incredibly awkward. And like, these were the words, the me, I was willing to put out there at the time. What a headshot should be – as the photographer Ken Tarantino said back in ’96: “It should look like you, on your best day.”
Now my best days are scraps on my editing floor. And it is weird, and it is humbling, and it is not exactly helping my overall existential crisis. Because that’s the shit I wrote after the solace of realizing I was old and unloved, but at the very least, so very wise.
FF to 2013; I’m compiling all of my ramblings from the past near-decade, and re-find this 290-page journal from 2004 in a Word document that somehow appeared on my desktop once again. The Word document that held my sanity for so long, back then.
2004-me sounds so ridiculous and juvenile. But at the same time, 2004-me sounds like…me. Full of despair, but full of hope.
At least, that used to be me, once. Strip away the circumstances, and any year could have summed me up. I may have been ridiculous and juvenile, but for 30-plus years, despair and hope pretty much had it covered. And within that, both my favorite word and “Buffy” episode: passion.
In 2004, I started keeping a journal again, after it had been awhile. In the first entry I wrote that my mother had recommended it, because the ex had left, and she thought it would be therapeutic. It was what I’d always used to do, before I was listlessly sitting next to her bed that one March day. Probably even the soggy sobbing 16-year-old fresh from her First Major Heartbreak was less depressing that Nearly-30-Void of Hope Divorcee. Hence, the journal suggestion. We will discuss the accompanying and lovely Clonidin off the record, at another time.
“I must break you,” said Ivan Drago, and also LIFE ITSELF! Throughout the years. And I’ve almost, broken, many times. So many times. Maybe that risk of shattering will always feel around the bend — or is that a brand new life 😮
I wrote this to encourage everyone, this year, in 2013, to get and keep a journal. Even if it’s intermittent. Especially because it’s corny. But mostly because I’ve gotta say, there are very few things more hilariously and awesomely healing, than re-reading your most agonizing of ridiculous woes, years later. And they provide some solid strength to the soul, to help with the non-ridiculous woes.