Oh, sigh. The sweet memories of Judy Blume. The first woman who spoke to me – you know, really spoke to me, in that sassy and unbearably relatable voice of Margaret. Her woes and her struggles took me on my first journey through my inner dialogue. You see, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret wasn’t just a pre-teen rite of passage.
Margaret’s voice was the beginning of what has become a lifelong tradition for me. She taught me to take into account the things I want to remember: my first painful crush, my first love and my first break up. My diary days have evolved into journals, vision boards, creative dump pages, angry break up letters, secret love letters and an assortment of poems over the last 20 years that make me cringe, cry and laugh. The language so vivid; I re-read my own words and those events from the past unfold again in front of me. I see 12 -year-old me wanting to be accepted even though I was browner than most girls in Virginia and had thicker eyebrows. I see 20-year-old me terrified of moving to LA alone, 22-year-old me struggling to understand what art is. I see myself wondering how I’m going to survive Hollywood, how I’m going to pay my bills, who I can trust.
The confessions I make to myself are raw and silly, and things I would never say to another. These are things that I can’t even bear to say to a therapist. And yet, it’s all there. I stumble through the pages and I remember parts of me that I’ve left behind. I can see strength in my tribulations and see the details of this life I’ve so luckily survived. The friends that I’ve loved, the ones that I’ve lost and the distant memories of the people that still live on in my diaries.
Your diary, your journal, is an evolution of you. It is the scrapbook of your life. Don’t wait, write. Write to yourself, because with your pen, you are free to express yourself without any judgement. Even if at 30 you begin your first journal, simply to write the words: “I get scared sometimes. I want to be braver than I am, but most importantly I want to begin the next chapter of my journey. Remember (your name here), don’t give your heart away until someone’s earned it. And don’t stress over those little wrinkles you see.”
Do it – do it so that at 50 years old, you remember the why, what, where, who. Write your 50-year-old self a letter from your 28-year-old self, tell her what specifically what scares you, what you love, who you love, what you dream of. And then go back and re read it. Keep a record of this life you are so lucky to live in. It goes fast; your diary will help you slow it down.
Calling upon the great Judy Blume once again to give us guidance today: “We are friends for life. When we’re together the years fall away. Isn’t that what matters? To have someone who can remember with you? To have someone who remembers how far you’ve come?”
Our girlfriends will do this. And yes, they are the secret to a long, happy and honest life. But, your most important friend is YOU, your words, your braveness. So put down your iPhone and be horrifically honest with yourself. Write, little darlings – write often, take notes, make observations, begin the record of your own life. And as the years fall away, you will have those moments to teleport you back in time and remember fondly!
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