I’ve kept a diary since I was five years old. I call it a journal now because that makes it seem more like something a professional journalist would write and less something that is exciting/scandalous/filled with all the juicy details of my life. [Gets up, reallocates new hiding place for diary].
Anyway, my mom used to read it at every available opportunity. Writing is something that I truly enjoy, so I tried not to let that stop me. I bought diaries with locks, I tried to find good hiding places, I tried to maintain a fake diary to distract her from the real one. Never worked. She would snidely slip some scintillating detail of my personal life into conversation to prove a point or use it as leverage to not let me do X activity. And when I would get upset and yell at her for invading my privacy, she would remorselessly say “Never write anything down that you don’t want someone else to see.”
I’ve probably heard that phrase a good 100 times, and it never really got any less infuriating. And though some of my mom’s gems of wisdom I internalized actually make sense now when they didn’t before, like “Always brush your teeth before you go to bed” (22 and only one cavity!) and “Don’t honk unless you need to because you never know when the driver might have a gun” (that one didn’t make sense until I went to Haiti), that specific piece of wisdom did not have the desired effect. Instead of censoring myself, I simply started to not give a fuck. Of course I care about my public image and would tailor it if I was going to embark on some sort of political career, but also… that’s what pseudonyms are for.
Life is way too interesting to not write it down. I’m glad I never listened to her and quit writing in my diaries, and that I have silly personal blogs like this one. I still have every single diary I’ve kept since I was five (…except for the one from my adolescence I ripped all the pages out of, burned, and buried in the back yard in a fit of rage) and the backed-up files of all my blogs, public and seekret. And now, when I go back and read entries, they take me back to the mental state I was in when I wrote them — it’s like my own form of time-travel. And what’s cooler than time travel?*
Anyway, this has come about because the recently transformed Ann Arbor News linked my post mourning Zanzibar, which was no-doubt viewed by the employees who will no doubt remember me. Hi Julie! Oh well, this might be considered kind of embarrassing… but it’s a sweet mention and I’m kind of glad they know the extent of my love for Z-bar now. But the point is, I wouldn’t give a fuck either way. In theory.