I have a diary and I’m not embarrassed by that. I’m not going to beat around the bush and call it a “journal” and pretend that every page consists of my most intellectual thoughts. That would be lying. I have a diary and sometimes I like to write about my day in it or just draw flowers next to song lyrics I like. I’ve been doing this since I was eleven.
Writing in my diary has been one of the best things I’ve ever chosen to do. It started as something to keep me busy and now its necessary part of my day. If I don’t write down my thoughts and details of my day, I feel overwhelmed with my own thoughts and unorganized. If I were to advocate for any lifestyle choice, it would be: buy a notebook and a pen and start writing. My stupid, dramatic teen diaries have been a parachute for me and I would be slightly less sane and more distracted if I didn’t have them.
What’s funny is that I started writing for such a dumb and dated reason. I started keeping a diary when I was ten, but I consistently kept a diary at eleven because of Pretty Little Liars. Feel free to laugh. When I was younger, I thought the girls on Pretty Little Liars were sooo cool and sooo mature, specifically Aria Montgomery and Alison Dilaurentis. In the show, both of them had diaries and in my little mind I thought if I kept I diary too, maybe I could mirror their mature appeal. Now that I’m older and the age of the characters, I’m very glad my life doesn’t mirror theirs in any way but at least I got my diaries out of it!
What kept me writing was the fulfillment I got out of it. I think it probably because I wasn’t getting enough attention at the time (eleven is a dramatic age, isn’t it?), but the pages of my diary became a place where I could let off steam, write/talk about something I knew the people around me didn’t care about, and be completely myself. In my first journal, the pages are sometimes filled with dramatic entries about my life, my attempt at drawing flowers, and Pretty Little Liars theories. It was a mess but so am I. It was an outlet that I needed and still need.
As I got older and more mature, so did my entries. The topics of boys, friend drama, family drama, and Britney Spears lyrics started to appear on my heavily decorated pages. And luckily for me, I had the perfect place to be vulnerable and honest.
My diaries aren’t perfect and neither am I. A lot of people think (or at least I did) that ever entry has to be a romanticized and dramatized version of your life and every details has to be poetic. If you want it to be, I think that’s great and super cool. I just want to make it very clear that not every entry is going to be poetic and out of a novel. Sometimes, shit sucks and you need to let it out in the least poetic and most vulgar way possible. And that’s fine.
Having a collection of diaries and the ability to look back at my mindset and analyze my own psychology is something so special and amazing to me. It’s a collection of words that explain my growth as a human being. I look back on old entries and I either laugh because its super dumb and dramatic, or I feel beyond proud of myself because I can see the personal growth I’ve undergone.
I don’t agree with everything I’ve written down, and that’s the beauty of it. I can read my growth, not a lot people can do that. It helps me remain hopeful for the future and hyper-aware of thoughts. It also reminds me not to dramatize everything. Something that affected my every thought at 14 is nothing but a blurry memory at 16.
I think everyone should keep a diary. Even if you’re not a writer, keeping a diary or journal has been so valuable to not only my mental health but to so many other people’s mental health too. It’s a great way to track your personal growth. It helps you understand or even analyze your thoughts. It allows you empty your brain a little bit, if you’re an overthinker myself than this is especially helpful. There are so many benefits to starting a diary, so if you haven’t a already, I would highly encourage you to.
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