The first charge I gave myself with my little project was to get out the box of old journals and take a general look at them.
You know, there is a reason a diary is often referred to as private or secret. Remember when stores sold diaries with little locks on them?
I now understand this.
I don't have many secrets, per se, but the written thoughts of a young girl who assumes no one else will be reading them are... difficult to get through. Like, really difficult. Some of the early entries cracked me up, but most of it was detailing kids at school who I no longer remember, or teachers I didn't like, who I do still remember but don't care so much. At some point, I must have thought I did have secrets, because there are permanent marker cross outs in several sections. The only thing I can think of is if I said something bad about a friend and later ended up regretting it.
Despite exciting entries like that, I found the early years to be pretty dull. I fast forwarded to the pivotal first boyfriend years, specifically to the break-up. I had one of those break-ups where the guy wanted to remain friends, which always sounds like a great idea at the time. You hear stories like, "We dated for two years and it just didn't work out. But now we're great friends!" Or, "I hang out with my ex's new girlfriend all the time!" I think I thought I could be one of those people. Likewise, I think my ex-boyfriend thought I could be one of those people.
Not that I beileve so much in the meaning behind astrological signs, but... I'm a scorpio. Scorpios are generally passionate, jealous and possessive. Of course, I would never be any of those things, but sometimes the stars align the right way and a mood strikes. I'm just saying.
What I noticed most about that period of writing is the specific absence of detail regarding the break-up. I think at the time it was too difficult to even write about. By the time I did, we were in broken-up-but-friends territory, and that was downright painful. I wish I could time travel to meet with late 1990s Stephanie and let her know, "Girl, let that boy go. You have plenty of other friends. Including guy friends."
But what can you do?
What surprised me most about my journal revist, was how long I kept a written journal. I thought I stopped writing around age 20, but I found entries as late as age 25! There was written documentation of my engagement to my husband. I was really shocked to find that, and I'm glad I felt it was important enough at the time to write it down.
I have not gotten very in-depth with this little journal project; I'm not sure if I'll revisit it soon, or ever. Part of me wants to take all 20 something of those books and dump them in a tire fire. If I can barely read them, why keep them around? The thought of someone else reading them is enough to incite a panic attack. But there is something to be said about holding on to that written word. It's a little piece of history. So for now, the box of journals remains. Tucked away, deep in the closet.
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