Good Girls Keep Diaries…

“Good girls keep diaries. Bad girls don’t want any evidence”
A quote on a magnet that a friend gave to me a few years back. Judging from the pile of diaries and journals I have accumulated and filled over the years, I suppose I would be a “good girl”. And perhaps if you were to read my dozen or so journals, you might come to that conclusion too.
Or not.
Personally, I think the quote is… stupid. What I did or didn’t do, was not the determining factor in whether or not I wrote, but rather (I think, anyways), who I am. My pain, my cries; to my joy and excitement. Raw emotion, not completely hidden from the world, but only spilled in its depths to my confidante – my diary. The place where my secrets could rest, so that I could breathe and continue on with life.
I’ve written in journals since I was 9. I liked to draw, so I’m not sure how my parents  figured out that I would also enjoy writing. Perhaps it was just a fad in the 90’s; a girlish-looking diary with its own key and lock.  I even braided a necklace so that I could wear the key around my neck, or, as my mother suggested, hang it on a secret hook in my closet.
My early entries were brief, and matter-of-fact. My name, my age, favorite color, favorite animal, favorite band (Spice girls), favorite Spice Girl (Posh), a list of “boyfriends”, (it was actually a list of crushes; most of whom I was too shy to even say “Hi” to.), my excitement over summer holidays, then over school and Christmas. That evolved over time into celebrity crushes, embarrassing moments, sleepover secrets.
Then I became a Christian.
Writing didn’t cease for me, but rather, became concentrated on a new concept; devotions. I was given by my friend a notebook, and on the first page she wrote some steps I could follow in beginning this new journey. Things like, read the passage, summarize it, write down what it means to me and any other feelings and thoughts in regards to it.
Time passed by, and I wasn’t satisfied with this new structure. I hadn’t grasped the fact that Christianity is largely pursuing a relationship with Christ. I was stuck on this old idea that, it was my efforts alone in which I could become a “better” Christian; that, so long as I was ‘good’ I was on the right path. I went so far as to assume my shyness was my virtue; I did not say things I would later regret, I did not stab people in the back, and I didn’t give people reason to dislike me.
And then, teenager-ism hit me. Being good wasn’t so easy anymore. I was stressed with assignments, frustrated with teachers; I procrastinated with anything and everything possible. In rare cases, I would simply not do something altogether. I was awkward and self-conscious; my limbs suddenly giraffe-like and uncontrollable.
It just wasn’t enough for me to write about scripture anymore. At least, not in the way that I had been.
So, for a short time, I wrote in TWO journals, almost simultaneously. First, i would do my devotions in one – often with haste – then proceed to my other journal, where I would gush or vent about the happenings in my life at that time.
Talk about dual-personality disorder!
There was “good me”, then there was “emotionally charged me”.
Needless to say, I was unable to keep this up for any length of time.
Journal writing has continued to change over the years. I don’t write because “good girls” do. I generally write because I want to.
I’m kind of back to that old devotions structure. I read scripture, summarize and reflect on it. And occasionally, it might still feel like an obligation. But for the most part, I read and write to learn who God is, to learn who he has made me to be, and to just grow. All in all, I write as I am, and who I am, in that moment. A glimpse of soul captured on pages; be it content, distraught or confused.
I’m thankful for my journals. For this evidence of the girl I was, and the woman I am becoming.
Perhaps someday, something I journal or write will inspire someone else!

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One thought on “Good Girls Keep Diaries…

  1. OH man, I know what you mean!
    “it was my efforts alone in which I could become a “better” Christian; that, so long as I was ‘good’ I was on the right path.”
    This has been following me everywhere…I constantly have to break out of this thinking! Thanks for bringing it up again! 🙂 God’s blessings to you!

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