I have a huge collection of diaries from my early childhood until today. I started keeping a diary ever since I learned how to write. I have the old ones filled up in Hebrew with the wobbly script of a six-year-old, with stories about how I built a farm for my animals with my Lego or how I fell asleep on my bed with my cat.
The later ones I bought in Canada start out in Hebrew and slowly turn into French. The script is a bit more stable and neat. The stories are mostly about school, things that my best friend and I used to do, funny things that happened in class, mostly related to what we called “family life” – a sex ed class. You know how pre-teens are, saying the word “sex” is like the funniest thing in the world. Then I slowly started writing in a somewhat broken form of English. I spent pages and pages writing about Michael Jackson, and how my obsession was consuming me, and about how hot he is.
Later, that obsession turned to Marilyn Manson, and my diaries got dark and morbid. My script was far from neat. There were times where I stopped writing for months or years at a time. I was 16 at the time and was going through some particularly traumatizing experiences I didn’t wish to detail (and still don’t). I boycotted reality because it was too hard for me to cope with, and boycotted my diary because I couldn’t put any of my feelings into words. Speech, written word, dialect, it all became surreal, unreal, powerless and meaningless. “Words are meaningless,” I kept saying. I tried other forms of writing and art to try to make sense of what I was going through. I wrote utterly depressing poetry and made scary pencil-drawings, which I all kept in a folder I have to this day. That was my diary. When I was in therapy a couple of years ago, I brought this folder to show my therapist. She said if she had been my therapist when I was 16, she would have strongly recommended institutionalization. Let’s just say I’m glad to have survived it by myself.
When I started CEGEP, I slowly began recoving. Though still unable to write, I tried my expression through a 35 mm lens. Photography was a great medium. “A picture is worth a thousand words” definitely worked for me. That was until I went to university and fell in love with journalism school. Writing an article about an interesting topic, yet still trying to keep it objective, was best for my purposes. I guess I was still not completely ready to resume using the first person, but I still managed to get a message across with all the articles I wrote during that time. My beat was the gay village, and I loved interviewing different artists, activists, and drag queens, and writing colorful articles about it. My parents, being rather homophobic, certainly did not approve of me hanging around queer bars and attending pride events, but as this was part of my education, they really had no say in it, and that was my form of quiet rebellion. I felt elated and ready to start writing again.
At 20 years old, I bought a diary of Emily the Strange and wrote mostly about losing my virginity and rather graphic descriptions of nights with my boyfriend at the time. I then retreated back to morbidity after he broke up with me. I quit writing again for a while until December 2004 when I started this blog. Blogging was a great means of escape. I could write anything I wanted to, and everyone could read and understand it but my mom. My dad came across my blog a couple of times, but I didn’t care much. But it was mostly complete strangers who read it, and I didn’t care either because they don’t know me and can’t really judge me, or because some of them had the same experiences as me and knew where I was coming from.
When I moved to Israel, I continued writing my blog, with occasional interludes. I think the reason being, as I wrote in one of the blogs, that instead of writing about my life, I decided to go out and actually live it.
When I started going to therapy, I found myself reading all my diaries from start to finish, and told my therapist how wonderful it was to see how organized and how together I was. I decided to start writing another diary and hopefully reclaim some sort of organized frame of mind, so that later, I may actually be able to see how far I’ve come, how I’ve changed, evolved and empowered myself.
So in summer of 2009, I started writing a diary again, sometimes in conjunction with my blog, sometimes not. It was a magenta notebook I bought from Moked and decorated it with star stickers on the outer cover, and a picture of Michael Jackson (who I went back to after all these years), Angela Gossow (my role model) and Kurt Cobain (my guitar hero and DIY punk rock inspiration) on the inner covers. The script was still atrocious, the grammar and spelling was mediocre, but the style and attitude was amazing.
This past Sunday, I spent my entire evening reading it. Indeed, the diary served its purpose. It did show me how far I’ve come, how therapy has helped me in ways nobody or nothing can. I was amazed at how articulate and eloquent I became. My writing itself became more analytical. I didn’t simply say what I did today. I said what I did, how I felt, and what it was that made me feel that way.
Topics of discussion included detailed accounts of arguments with another one of my exes, and how he is so full of himself and how his head is so far up his own ass that he can’t accept that some people have opinions that differ from his. If they had different opinions, he automatically labeled them as ignorant, stupid, hypocrite or liars. He did the same to me several times.
I also wrote a lot about my job – the same one I had for a year, then quit, then went back to due to dire lack of funds and a sizable overdraft, then quit again just over eight months ago. I hated it back then as I always did. I even said I started bingeing on horror movies just to prove to myself that it could always be worse. I may get verbally and emotionally abused at my job, but I could always be tormented by a demon who wants to drag me to hell. Or have hooks stuck into my flesh, tearing my body to shreds and leaving me as a bloody pile of decapitated meat on the floor.
After I finished this diary, I started another one right after. I kept writing and although I still believed that “words are meaningless,” they are the only way I know I am still alive. I wrote diaries, blogs, zines, my book, and am still doing it today.
I think it’s safe to say that I have a long way to go before I reach the end of words.
Peace, love and writing about writing about writing…