When I slid up the door to the five by teen foot space, it contained the usual suspects:
Christmas ornaments, china, kitchen utensils and an Italian desk that we don’t know how to put back together.
But the rest of those duct taped boxes in the storage unit?
My countless diaries.
I’ve been documenting my life since I was eleven, in pink paged diaries with little locks, the margins of college notebooks, fancy journals and lately, on my computer. With markers, an assortment of fountain pens, nibs and occasional crayons, writing down what I vowed never to forget..and lock combinations that I still remember.
As I looked at the leaning tower of journals, I decided what the heck, it’s time to start reading about who I was.
Will I recognize myself? How many of those “I’ll never forget stories” have already been forgotten? How many of the pages could have been written yesterday?
I brought a box back to my small room in Uptown, one I share with a seven foot marlin, wondering if who I am now is half as interesting as who I used to be (don’t worry, I’m journaling about that, too). Each cover brought back a flood of memories, as did the blue-noir ink title page inside:
I found one of my first journals, starting with this TOP SECRET warning:
You’d think if what I was writing about was really top secret, I would have used an alias name. But you can’t question the logic of an eleven year old.
I flipped through the pages, many written with colorful felt tip pens and tweenage cursive, the dots on the “i”s replaced with flowers, reading classified entries contain ingenious ways my sisters would torture me, beyond anything used at Guantanamo. For instance, putting my pajamas in toilet, locking me outside, ruining my tennis shoes with a squish in dog poo. How sad that kids these days would rather bully someone online than taunt them with turds of the neighborhood mutt.
Other pages contained observations of classmates in the midst of puberty (details discovered in PE class), which girls needed to shave their arm pits or use a spritz of deodorant and who hid Camel cigarettes in a Sucrets box in her purse.
Many entrees started with an “I’ll never forge adventure” that I had already forgot. Like when I turned thirty five in England (I took a leave of absence from my advertising job to be a youth pastor in London).
Looks like I ate lamb lasagna on the big day.
I scribbled frantically about another adventure Ihad on a double decker bus through a district known as Elephant Castle. There was this black woman on seated on the top level who had painted herself ghost white like a living breathing George Segal sculpture…
There was this ghost person on the bus. LeRoy from youth group knows who it is. She used to live in his neighborhood. Apparently, when the black woman was younger, she fell in love with a white man. They loved each other desperately but their relatives and friends couldn’t take the color issue. The racial tension caused them to split up, she went mad and now paints herself white. I guess she goes to some psychiatric hospital.
The memory still gave me chills.
Other pages contained thoughts that got me thinking…
“Sometimes, I wish I could leave my emotions at home.”
“If I was a bird, would I have the courage to fly?”
“Kids speak a universal language of honesty. When do we forget how to speak it?”
Then there were gobs of entries that could have been written yesterday:
“If I can’t imagine being dead, how can I imagine what afterlife will be like?”
Since my life is a bit humdrum now, busy re-editing lives of fictional characters while being fueled by caffeine at Dollop , I’ll post pages of my past, the endless string of words making up much of the DNA of who I am now.
Yep, this is was my life and still is.