Note: This is the original version of my article that was published in the Inquirer as “Diary Malady.”
The diary malady–this is my disease. I am governed by the impulse to have every part of my life immortalized on paper. There is always a compulsion to write about that girl who has thriving forests in her armpits, that teacher who seemed to have illusions of morality, that guy who has the power to make you faint, and that other guy whose pimples also have the power to make you faint.
I cannot really determine the root cause of this addiction. All I have are speculations. My diary disorder could be genetic. My mom started keeping a diary when she was fifteen years old because it was the fashionable thing back then. Unfortunately, she got overly hooked on this trend. In fact, she was so dedicated to writing in her diary that even though she was forbidden to stay up late, she would write by candlelight. No wonder she has poor eyesight.
This diary disease can possibly stem from my experiences as an only child. Being self-absorbed is a chronic illness of an only child for I had the full attention of my mother. Whenever I cried, talked, or nagged, she had no choice but to listen to me. Being the only kid in the house, I became the favorite of my grandma. I was given all the best clothes, all the latest toys, and all the delicious food. Due to these things, it was so easy for me to become self-centered.
However, being an only child also filled my life with moments of isolation. I had lots and lots of board games, yet my opponent would often times be Teddy Buzzy Bear or Hugums. Talking to other kids was replaced with talking to inanimate objects, which I tried to give life to by giving them names and even voices (ex: Wendy the rabbit had a girly voice while Jem the Barbie doll had a mature voice). When I entered kindergarten, I was so enthusiastic to meet kids that I became this weirdo who would always butt in on people’s conversations, thus, earning me the title of “EPALOIDS.” People started to condemn my habits of self-expression through snide comments, raised eyebrows and their response of cruel silence.
My desire to assert myself was ultimately repressed. Yet, just like all forms of repressions, these repressions are never fully silenced. That is why I became attracted to the concept of a diary. Through my diary, I was able to strike a balance between the impulse to be self-absorbed and the impulse to hide myself from the world. Through my diary, I had become an egotistical introvert. I was egotistic because I devoted several pages to the expression of my identity while my introversive self was kept at peace by withholding these personal confessions from the rest of the world.
This perceived obligation to write about my life all started at a harmless exchange gift event during my ballerina days back in grade three. I was not in such a gift giving mood, so I just picked up the cleanest, thus most unloved, squishy starfish in my box of toys, wrapped it dispassionately and brought it to my ballet club Christmas party.
When the gifts were randomly exchanged, I was undeservedly lucky, for I got a cute teddy bear designed diary. I was so happy, up until I saw the look on the face of the girl who got my horridly orange starfish toy. At that moment, I resolved to be a worthy owner of such a beautiful gift.
Then, the craze began. In my desire to be the best diary owner in the world, I started to become obsessed about my diary. I began putting entry titles, table of contents, and page numbers in my diary. After I filled up my first diary, I bought another one, and then another one and another one. Then, I started putting volume numbers on each diary, and I also started giving them names based on their cover design. So far, I have 14 diaries and their names are: sugar cream puff diary, Pocahontas diary, heart diary, tic-tac diary, fotofon diary, flower and clock diary, maui girl diary, bear diary, poem sterling diary, cool stradmore notes diary, eyeglasses stradmore notes diary, survival diary, why ask why diary, and kitty cutie diary.
The special features in my diaries did not stop there. They began to scarily evolve. I started putting the profiles of important people in my life like teachers, enemies, and popular people. These entries are very stalker-like complete with pictures and Magnificat (our school paper) clippings. I also have my own glossary of terms in each diary which explains the meaning of the abbreviations, codes, and insults used in my diary.
However, when I entered high school, I started to become too busy to write in my diary because of the demanding academic workload. Thus, I decided to have a pre-diary named invincible not invisible pre-diary. In this notebook, I would jot down notes about my day, which I would later develop into a diary entry when I have the time to do so; thus, ensuring that updating my diaries will be an inescapable task.
My diaries’ contents are also constantly morphing. Sometimes my entries are just written forms of ranting. Chronology is disrupted with “Oh yeah I forgot to tell you that (insert forgotten story).” There would also be caveats like “this is going to be a messy entry” and postscript after postscript after postscript. However, I also have well-thought out entries. Some of these entries were first written as drafts, and then edited, and then subjected to thesaurus-assisted-beautification.
Some people, when they get depressed, open their bibles and they land on a page that gives them solutions to their problem. For me, though, I don’t open the bible; I open my diary. This diary opening habit started just like any other bible opening habit. I was stricken with self doubt when I randomly opened my diary. Coincidentally, I landed on a page where I was being all arrogant with proclamations of greatness. I felt considerably better after this and was motivated to do this on a regular basis. In the end, my diary became a good way to find inspiring words that would uplift my spirit.
Knowing all of these things, my general diagnosis is this: my diary disease, which has chronically played a part in ensuring my sanity, self expression and inspiration, will be very hard to cure. So long as I have feelings to liberate, identities to balance and individuals to wishfully annihilate, I will always be afflicted and cursed by my obsession to have my life inscribed on paper-based perpetuity.
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Age of the Diary by Jasmine T. Cruz. If you like this post, please subscribe to this blog. Follow Ja on Twitter: ageofthediary. Email Ja at: email@example.com.