136. Keep a terrific journal
Updated March 1, 2009
My childhood was marked by an almost complete lack of privacy. I always wanted to keep a journal, but it seemed that no matter how cleverly I hid it, my family always found it, and unfortunately, considered it their personal entertainment and fodder for discussion around the dinner table. I even bought the kind with the little lock on it, but nothing could keep those nosy rosies away.
Over time, I veered away from keeping a regular journal. I kept “writing” things out in my head. If I absolutely had to put it on paper, I would write it out on notebook paper, then tear it up and throw it away, preferably right before the weekly garbage collection.
It took me a couple of years after I moved away from my family to realize that I could have a journal now. I started writing vigorously, and I haven’t stopped yet. I have a small bookshelf full of my filled journals.
When I was married, I worried that my husband would read my journal. Ha! He didn’t care enough about me to read my journal.
In fact, the sanctity of my journal went un-invaded until I moved in with Evan, an old friend from high school. He helped himself to my journal, then decided that he hated what he read so much that he didn’t want to be my friend anymore. He confronted me and demanded an explanation for what I had written. I refused to give him one. I still stand by that. If you’re willing to violate someone’s privacy and read their journal, then you’re going to have to take the responsibility for dealing with what you’ve read. I didn’t owe him any explanation. He shouldn’t have read it to begin with.
And to be honest, there was nothing defamatory or insulting about him. I adored Evan and was intensely grateful to have him as a friend. I was confused and couldn’t understand what he was so upset about, so I went back and read the entire thing. Repeatedly. I can’t figure out what upset him so much. It’s not like I use my journals to complain about everyone else. I mostly use them for introspection. 99% of my journal writing is about me. I can only imagine how incredibly boring it would be for anyone else to read – but I might be wrong about that.
This is another one of those things that will stay on my “works in progress” list permanently. It’s a lifetime of work to keep a terrific journal.