I’ve been writing in journals since I was 13. These days, although the ones I write in aren’t pink nor come with lock and key anymore, the ritual of journalling is something that l never grow tired of. While going through the pages of some of my teenaged entries, I laugh at similar themes: Unrequited crushes are big, and so are the lengthy soliloquies of what I am wearing, what I had for breakfast, and what may or may not happen if I do a certain thing. Then there are the dramatized retelling of situations, with transcripts of telephone conversations with best friends sharing their advice. Ah to be a teenager!
One thing I noticed is that, then as now, I tend to do my most inspired (or excited) writing in the wee small hours. Let me take an excerpt from a morning after my 17th birthday party. I called this journal Yumeko because ‘yume’ means dream (and this is called Sugar Dream). The time — 3.05am.
You must be wondering why I’m up at 3 in the morning. Well, I’ll tell you one thing — my party was terrific! Lots of kiligs (crushes) and guests. It was so much fun. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. But first, here’s the list of my current crushes, as of last night:
And then I go on and list three boys’ names, qualifying 1 and 2 as “former crushes that returned” and a third who was cute but didn’t say much.
My ruminations have since deepened, yet the intention remains the same: and that is to open my heart in a safe, happy space. We all need that. I’ve turned to diary writing to calm myself, to allow myself to get angry, to clarify emotions, and to just get things out of my head and onto a place I can see them. Chatting on Skype can be just as effective. Very recently, a good friend Skyped me, asking if I was worried about anything regarding a big leap I was taking. I guess she had picked up a little vibe that seemed unsure. I typed, “Yes. I am worried because I am so used to things not working out in this area of my life.” And then without skipping a beat, I tapped away: “Now that things are working out, I am not used to the feeling.”
Boom! — there it was, in black and white. Dear Diary, since then the voices of doubt have been quieted.
However, the voice that keeps going in my head is that of the storyteller: the voice that is keen to recount an incident on the train that made me giggle to myself, or a conversation over lunch that involved too much wine and even more secrets. It’s the same voice that pushes me to keep going, to take this bit of life somewhere — to ask “what if” so as to give it a spin, so that it crosses the line from reality to fiction. Oh, how I love that voice. And then I start writing. And sometimes, the process begins with two simple words: Dear diary…