Growing up, privacy in my family was something that seemed almost mythical. With five siblings always around, it was hard for me to really have any time alone. I started writing in a journal to try to cope with my chaotic family, but was always careful to hide them somewhere only I'd ever look. From time to time, I'd pull one of them out from whichever hiding place I was using at the time to relive the year before. It was always bittersweet, the memories from a younger perspective always made things seem a little brighter than they seem today. From first crushes to my first heartbreak, I must have read them all at least a dozen times by now, and each year I promise to add another to my collection.
As time has passed, I've begun to realize that my journals have become less about the places and things in my life, and more about the people and the emotions I felt that day. Each entry began to grow more and more intimate as I started to wonder about what I wanted from life, as well as what I wanted in a partner. Even today, I will pull out one of the journals from when I had met my first real crush and smile despite my surroundings. Even my fiancé will read some of my entries and get lost in the pages of my memories.
Writing was always a source of strength for me, whether it was creating horrible story plots or just recording a random thought I had. It was no real secret that I wrote a lot. Everyone knew that I always carried a pencil and pad of paper in my pocket everywhere I went. Many of my friends and family members often joked about how I wasn't myself if I didn't have them on me. It was even funnier when I'd be browsing the office supplies at a local store only to have someone I knew laugh and said they should have known I would be there. I would always be debating on which type of notebook I should get, my preference being for the soft leather-backed ones that had a sort of old fashion look to them. When I was too broke to afford the higher quality ones, my family often surprised me with them as a gift. There are many entries about days where I was feeling forlorn over not having the means to get a new journal, only to have my mother or father pop in unexpectedly with one in hand.
I've been asked a lot in recent years by my friends about why I haven't "gone digital" with my journals. I would always tell them that it wasn't for me and let it go at that. I've tried to type out a journal entry or two, but each time it lacked the intimacy of pen and paper. I didn't have the earthy fragrance of the paper, or the dull tang of wet ink. I missed these dearly, and chose to go back to written journals after just two days. I've learned that the written journals have a value that just can't be matched .Even today, I get excited walking down the aisles where the writing supplies are kept or when browsing supplies online. My fiancé just laughs as I write diligently in my latest journal while they pick one from the shelf by our bed to read. They learned so much from reading my most private of thoughts, and look forward to seeing what I've written next.