I still have boxes under the bunk bed. And before you ask, yes…I prefer the bottom to the top bunk. I can reach under the bed and pull something random from one of those boxes. It’s because I haven’t bought a bookshelf. But I do need one. Currently all the notebooks, paperbacks, and hardbacks are scattered in the darkness, slightly waterstained from the unsealed window and the vicious thunderstorms here. At least whatever hides under there is well entertained with the damp pages and hasn’t decided to grab my ankle as a I make that crucial leap into bed after getting up in the night.
Only recently did I actually start pulling out and reading my old notebooks.
These include the clunky multi-ringed A.M. kindergarten drawing books that taught me my letters. Because, I did keep several. I would write about the weather, my favorite color, my Santa lists, and my pets.
Next were the journals that I took out of my desk in the morning when my teachers told me to pick a prompt and write a few paragraphs (with each paragraph containing at least 5-6 sentences). Okay.
Still there are more that catalog late elementary school when my mom finally let me wear lipgloss and when my crush was on Troy Bolton. It was important then for me then to include what I ate, where my family took stay-vacations to, and my friends with all our newfound drama.
I was more hesitant to open the ones that I started later. But I did open them. I read them cover to cover.
I love(d) writing and the idea of remembering everything. But unfortunately not all the written ghosts are friendly. What started as the musings of a twelve-year-old with her birthday haul and MP3 player song list, turned into a girl recording her stories about the bullies who would trip her on the stone steps, her unrequited love on crushes she thought were out of her league, and the cataloged fears of an individual whose family photo was divvied up.
There are a number of painful memories in those notebooks, but I still want to remember them. It’s weird. Part of me is glad that I have the luxury to call up those memories. I’ll not only need them when I’m old and senile, but also now, as I look back and figure out my life so far.
No. I don’t plan on my children and grandchildren reading these diary passages aloud to me as I age and forget. I didn’t start these journals for that purpose. I might’ve checked my grammar or added a few embellishments if that had been the goal. No. My written ghosts are my ghosts until the time that I can no longer read them to remember them anew. By that point, I will have reached a time where they no longer serve a purpose because I am no longer in need of glancing back and am content.
I have started keeping a short journal again to remind myself of the little things that never make their way into blog posts and other forms of social media. Like online banking challenge questions, they’ll only make sense to me. And with any luck, they’ll still make me chuckle and shed a few tears when I’m a century old.