Keeping a Diary
Writing has always been important to me, both writing short stories and keeping a diary. As a kid, I had a diary. I remember writing short reports of when we went on outings, like to the theatre or to the zoo. It definitely had importance to me. Nowadays, I don’t keep a diary. I simply can’t find the right time of day to write in it regularly. I do write my blog. But there’s something that’s been bothering me: whose narrative am I creating? There’s no one left with whom I can discuss what really happened. So how accurate is my story?
There are many authors in my family, from my mother’s father to my own father. My father loved to write poetry, and he kept a journal for most of his life. He would write sentences, ideas, and bits of poetry. I have all his journals on my attic. I haven’t dared to read them yet. I’m convinced it would make me profoundly upset and I just haven’t felt up to it yet. Maybe one day I will, maybe I won’t.
Something that I have been meaning to reread are my own diaries. I kept a faithful journal every day when I was a teenager, from age fifteen, until I was nineteen. I would write one page a day with a report of what happened. You know, school stuff, friends, how I was in love, etc. etc. I’m curious to see how far my memories coincide with what I wrote twenty years ago. But I’m not sure I’m up for reading that yet.
My Tarot Diary
The past decade there has been one diary that I did manage to keep up from time to time: my tarot diary. I would pull one card, or sometimes more, and reflect on how it connected with the day that had passed. More often than not, it would match my day perfectly and would add an extra layer to what was going on. But that too watered down, and only during times of great distress, I pull out my cards nowadays. It did give me a good connection with the Robin Wood deck that I own. I can recognise quickly what the cards are trying to say.
Finally, for over a year, I’ve been keeping up my blog. In a way, it’s a diary, but in other ways, it isn’t. I don’t keep it up daily, and I don’t write accounts of what happened on a particular day. It’s more distant and less personal than my diary ever was. What I have been doing is telling stories about my past. I talk about things that happened to me and often connect them to a specific theme, like confidence or relationships.
What’s been worrying me lately, is that I am in the only one telling these stories. I look back on what happened, and I write down the way I see things, from solely my perspective. There is no one around who can tell me whether these memories are correct. This makes me uncomfortable.
Memories are unreliable. We change our histories a little bit, every time we recall something that happened. But without anyone to correct me, how do I know what has really transpired?
Additionally, had my parents still been alive, I wouldn’t have been able to talk about these things with them. We weren’t an open family. Emotions were not to be discussed, especially not on the tough topics I’m talking about here. And yes, my brother is still around, but we’re not on speaking terms either. So all I have are my memories and the diaries on the attic.
My Blog, My History
I will continue to blog, even if it means recreating my history. I love writing, and my life has been such that there is still plenty to write about. I’m aware of what I’m doing, though, and it might be holding me back a bit. In a way, I am creating my own narrative. I don’t think it’s too bad, but it’s definitely happening. I’m aware of it and conscious about it. It is what it is. I only hope I will have happier memories to write about in the near future.
Update August 2021
Little has changed since I published this post, except that maybe now I write even less. I do have an app, Daylio, on my phone on which I describe the day I had with a few icons and emoticons. That does give me some overview of what happened on a particular day.
I also see I didn’t mention my fathers diaries. He was faithful in writing something nearly every day. I have all of them on my attic. Maybe one day I’ll be courageous enough to read them.
Diaries will always have a special place in my heart. Like I was taught in university, you always write them for someone to read one day. Whether it’s for your older self, a family member who finds the diary or to leave behind something for posterity.