That was my first word committed to fresh white paper in my new little leather journal. Of course, back then, it was called a Diary, and locked with a small golden key kept hidden away with my other secret treasures. The diary was a 10th birthday gift from my grandmother. I remember not understanding what it was or its purpose, and her gentle hands opening it for me and explaining. A written account of each day! It was something I had never thought about.
I used my very best Catholic school handwriting to write that first word, although I had no idea what to write next. However, like a child learning to take its first steps, I came back to that book almost every day and wrote. Diary was a new friend, one who always listened and never judged. I shared my sorrows: the sadness over my puppy dying, the loneliness of my friends moving on to public school while I stayed behind in parochial school, the agony of no money for new clothes.
I took that bit of time every day to escape from the world into a special place where I talked to my new friend and everything felt better, if just for a little while.
One day, I looked back at my diary, and I realized the pages were mostly sad. Surely, my friend deserved better than that. So, from that moment forward, I began to look for something good to add to my page each day. For example, after I complained about a teacher who treated me unfairly, I would add that the sunset had been the most beautiful I had ever seen, a breathtaking splash of reds, oranges and violets.
In high school, my diary turned into a notebook that went into my book bag and went with me everywhere. I wrote about my triumphs and rejections, about making it into the school play and not getting asked to dance at the school social. In college, my writing was about the difficulty of the classes and all about falling in love with my best friend.
When I quit school to get married, I wrote to my diary about what it was like to be a wife, the challenges of marriage and the struggle to start a new career. To this day, my journal helps me to clarify my view of life by gradually helping me to put the emotions aside and see with an impartial eye.
My journal has always been one of the most important parts of my life. Through good days and bad, it has been there for me, to capture that fleeting emotion, those important moments. Because of it, I have come to love writing about my world and its magnificence.
Of course, the little white diary is now a beautiful leather-bound journal. But the pages are still fresh and white, and I still use my very best Catholic school handwriting to write about my day.
Thanks to Linda for sharing her story. Do you have a “my first journal” story? If you would like to share with our readers, send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll consider it for publication!