A few days ago a friend read me some of her old diary. The events she had written about against the backdrop of the school year were mainly parties, boys and fallings out. It was wonderful and strange to be reminded of the things that happened when we were 16 years old.
I thought back to the diaries that I have managed to keep with the most diligence. One of these was a food diary from the year that I became obsessed with healthy eating and counting calories. The other one (which extended into multiple volumes from I have no idea which years) was a diary of what are probably best characterized as prayers, which I was convinced I needed to keep in order to remain in God’s good books and prevent something terrible from happening. I should point out that I am not a particularly religious person and whether I believed in the God that I feared at that time is up for debate. So, it is quite sad that my most consistent efforts were probably the direct product of OCD.
In my other more standard diaries I could never bear to look back even a few days and see what ridiculous things I had documented. I always found the entries so trivial and badly written after the fact that their continued existence offended me. I ripped them up and tried again. I can see flickers of OCD in this too. I still have a drawer of notebooks from which half the pages are missing that were once attempted diaries, and I am still trying again.
I suppose, to an extent, that includes this blog. However, I don’t write here compulsively which is a good sign. Furthermore, I am learning that it doesn’t need to be perfect to be worthwhile. It can’t be, because I am not perfect. As I look back I can usually come to terms with what I have said and how I have said it, even if I don’t like it. I consider this a victory of sorts.