Reading a crime novel today I came across the part where detective finds victim’s diary. This made me think why people keep diaries in the first place.
If you ask Mr Google he will give you millions of reasons to keep a diary or a journal (whatever the name, the essence is the same). The reasons range from training your memory to achieving goals. All these reasons are good but…
I have tried. I even kept diaries on and off throughout my life. However, my life experiences taught me to look for reasons NOT to keep a diary.
I should have stopped
One day, just weeks before the wedding we (my fiancé and me) were cleaning the house. We were getting ready for his parents’ arrival. Unfortunately, on that day I had one of my first migranes and was out of actions early on. I was in bed and half-delirious. At some point I woke up to find my partner, lover, future husband and father of my not born yet children sitting on the floor in the study reading my diary. He looked sad. I did not stop then. I went to the bathroom and back to bed.
If only I stopped. If only I thought for a bit. If only I realised that it was the point. It was the point of no return. That was ultimate betrayal.
My husband used the information from my diary in every argument and in every fight. He had nuclear weapon, as he thought, in his hands and Hiroshima exploded over my head and my heart every other day to the point where there was nothing left to hurt, to break or burn.
Why? Why did he waste his time looking through my things? Why did he find my diary? Why did he read it? Why did he blame me for what was written inside? Why, why, why? Why didn’t I pack up and left there and then?
That was my last diary for a while. I have started a few since then. One of my most intimate diaries came to the similar end — betrayal, pain and disappointment. I stopped after that. I burnt al my past diaries. I even developed a rule: if I can’t put it on the Facebook, no point in writing it down. My thoughts cook and burn inside my head only.
Thoughts are material
Be careful what you write. It just might come true. Your thoughts and emotions that you just poured through the ink just might affect the course of your life or even affect the person you have written about.
Am I telling fibs? Do you really want to find out? It is all nice and good when your diary is one big ode of positivity and happiness, goal-achieving and target-crunching. But we are mere humans. We have our bad days. We have moments when we want to kill that ugly bastard who did not move a hair to let you pass on the narrow walkway. We have our hates and our fears.
And whereas it is good to write all the ugly stuff out on a piece of paper, it is not very good to keep that said piece of paper.
Write, scream, swear and rip it all to shreds.
Don’t keep it leather-bound for future generations or for sleazy detective to find and read.
Keep it fictitious
The only worthwhile reason to keep a journal I can give you here — if you are working on a project.
Do keep a diary or 10 if you are writing a book. But only for that book. Do not mix personal and professional. And keep it all fictitious. You know just like in the disclaimer
But yet again, keep these journals safe and secure and burn them as soon as you are done with them. No need to keep them for future use. Trust me, there will be none.
I had numerous journals that were lying around the house: notes, snippet, quotes — they all seemed important, interesting and meaningful at the time. The operative word DID SEEM. Today I have no idea what I wanted with all of them. Off to recycle bin they went.
The point being, do not clutter your world and your thought process. Done and dusted — bin, even your journals.
Keep yourself safe and sane.
(N) Previously published on Medium