Dear Diary, I'm Sick Of You

Dear Diary, I'm Sick Of You

The value of keeping a journal, six years in.

I’ve kept a journal since the winter I was a high school freshman. Whether I write in it every night or once a month, it’s outlasted haircuts, favorite bands, and friendships. Call it a journal, call it a diary, call it hella narcissistic; I can’t keep a plant alive but I can keep a notebook. Six years and five journals later, I’m ready for a change.

My journals are intensely private and I’ve always allowed my entries to be as mundane, ugly, or unformed as I want. Transition sentences are my biggest pet peeve and I love having a space in which I can change the subject without worrying about making sense or receiving a grade. In high school, I used each journal to measure how I changed from the day I started it to the day I filled in the final page. Sure, there are things in my sixteen-year-old self’s diary that make me want to gouge my eyes out with a Sharpie marker, but I value being able to look back at the ways I’ve changed and the ways I absolutely haven’t. Of course, it would be impossible to completely capture every day of six years. A classic problem with keeping diaries is that you write the most when you have something to complain about. As a senior, I meticulously recorded the misery of applying to colleges. Should I ever want to know the exact date I got rejected or wait-listed by a school (why would I ever want to do that), I could just crack open a journal to early 2014. But my first semester of college? For that hugely eventful time in my life, I have maybe four or five entries, weeks apart. I was too busy experiencing things to jot down every experience.

At the beginning of this year, I realized how tired I was of the way I kept my journal. Until now, my journal writing habits served a fulfilling and even therapeutic purpose. Feelings of depression are valid, and I think even teenage angst is valid when you’re in the thick of it. My teenage self copied down so many Morrissey lyrics and Sylvia Plath passages that it would be pretty hypocritical for me to say anything else. However, a daily litany of “life is awful and this is why” is simply no longer what I wanted. I decided I wanted a useful journal. Then I had to decide what that meant.

Because it was winter break and I had that kind of time on my hands, I scrolled through pages and pages of blogs and Instagrams dedicated to beautiful journal pages replete with drawings and calligraphy. I imagined who I’d be if I kept diaries like that -- I’d probably consume everything via mason jar and walk barefoot through the forest with my animal friends. It’s just not going to happen for me. Instead, I focused on what I did like from my old journals, like lines of my favorite poetry, unsent letters, lists, and sensory observations. I also consolidated creative writing and collage with my journal instead of keeping the three separate. I’ve taken to carrying my journal around with me in my bag, and oh God did that make me uncomfortable at first. Maybe it’s because of that Disney Channel Original Movie where Kay Panabaker drops her diary at school and everyone reads it, but writing in a journal outside of my own room makes me feel painfully exposed. I take a deep breath, remind myself that 1) no one cares and 2) for all anyone knows, I could be writing in a school notebook or planner. So far no “Read It and Weep” scenarios have ensued.

A lot of the “journal inspiration” I found online were prompts that simply weren’t what I was looking for. God knows I’m introspective enough already. What I have been trying to do is write, not with an audience in mind exactly, but with a more critical eye. In my “real writing” there are all kinds of things I want to become: funny, insightful, interesting. In journal writing, I always just kind of handed the pen over to the droning anxieties in my head. Now I try to practice the same attention to form, word choice, precision and style that I would when writing an essay or story. If I’m going to spend the time writing in a journal, I want to treat that writing as a craft.

But I won’t beat myself up if I sometimes need to use my journal to write in an unfiltered and unnuanced way. It’s my journal. That’s kind of the point.

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved

To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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