Because I saw it on Oprah: Diaries


When I first started to keep a journal I did so with the rather morbid goal of having a place where my loved ones could find answers when the day that I ended my own life came. At the time I was sure suicide would be the most likely full stop to my life. I don’t remember why but I was quite the grim 13-year-old.

In any case, over the years the purpose of the journal began to evolve as I did. By the time I was in Form 3 its sole purpose was to act as a place where I documented my disquieting obsession with achieving a look of ‘glamorous’ emaciation. I don’t know if I could call the period ‘my battle with anorexia nervosa’ because, to be completely honest, I didn’t put up much of a fight. By the time I was in my final year of high-school, I had gotten over that obsession and was now scarily in love with every curve of my bodacious brown body. The journal had evolved from being a ‘Thinspiration book’ to being the place where I painted a deeper picture of the woman I wished to be one day. It became an inspiration book, where I wrote myself stern speeches on sticking to my study schedules, being more compassionate, focused, patient and all that perfectionist mind control.

By the fourth month into this year I’d more-or-less abandoned the idea of keeping a diary, finding that I didn’t have enough time to wipe my own ass let alone write page-after-page of things that I didn’t think would be important in five months. So I tucked my pen and book beneath my bed and proceeded to live my life just as I did before. But after watching an episode of Oprah in which she had a guest who’s late husband had filled his journal with wise words for his ten-month-old son before his tragic death in the US-Iraq war, I began to really question my decision to give up on the whole journal thing.

So I’ve been really thinking about what it means to have a diary. What is its main purpose? I was going to dismiss the idea of trapping every moment of my life in there but I realise now, that it really does matter what happens to me on the 5th of Whenever. It’s about trapping life and giving me a way to really re-experience things. What I really worried about was filling its pages with the names of people who wouldn’t matter in five years but I realise now, that everyone matters. Because they all contribute a small part to who I am now and who I will evolve into in the future. I guess I have to change the way I write about things. Learn to summarize things and add the important parts—the lessons I learned that day. I also need to learn to paint a more vivid picture of the people I write about so when I do read my journals in 50 years I can really feel myself getting transported back to 2017 or whatever. You know?

But I don’t just want it to be a sort of time machine. Lately I’ve been thinking about the possibility that I might have children. After all, wouldn’t it be a shame to waste the opportunity to pass on all this awesome self-worship to a beautiful Black girl? Yes, it would. So I’ve decided to start adding some of my own wisdom, beliefs and experiences outside of the usual todaoday-i-went-to-the-zoo entries. Just in case I do decide to have spawn, I hope my diaries can help her through her teens in a way her middle-aged hippy mother won’t be able to. [Smiles]

Do you have a journal?

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Comments
One Response to “Because I saw it on Oprah: Diaries”
  1. mmateemane says:

    I wrote at first to let the pain of my dramatic teenage hood out, I stopped for a while because I thought I was healed. I missed it so much, I have decided to do it for as long as I live. Unlike you from the beginning it was always about recording poignant moments of my life. I do like the idea of writing down everything with detail to help the trip down memory lane, it is something I think I will be doing a lot.

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  • Hey, you.

    Thank you for reading through the ole b.l.o.g. I hope that you have been thoroughly satisfied. Let me know what you have for lunch, hey? Cheers.
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