Nee gnaw

Do you ever read your old journals, diaries, blogs and forum posts and want to chew your own fist off in embarrassment?

As a general rule, I never read anything on this blog from 2007- mid 2008. Oh god. What an uppity little madam. Young and mad (and newly diagnosed as such, which is even worse! Once I got that magic affirmation of my mentalism and sort-of accepted it, I pretty much thought psychiatry was my bitch and had to do what I said), that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. See also: my old Livejournal, 2003-2007, especially the manic periods where I’d write 3000 words four times a day, sometimes going into exquisite and florid detail about the beauty of the walk home from a tube station. Oh how the cosmos and I were one! Jesus christ. There’s something charming and innocent about the obnoxiousness of youthful diaries. The universe-halting significance of a nipple hair. The emotional storms blazing across pock marked skin. Relationships based entirely on mutual music taste. But my seventeen year old self really sounds like the manic depressive Adrian Mole. As did my twenty year old self. And my twenty four year old self. Only, y’know, sexier.

It’s there forever online. Or for at least 10 years. If I hadn’t thrown out all my paper journals (when I’ve been depressed and thinking about suicide I’ve tided up a lot and thrown things out) I think I’d have no knuckles left. And I’m writing a bloody book! In ten years, in the unlikely event it’s still in print, should it even be published at all, I’ll be sneaking into Waterstones wearing a beige mac with a lighter in my pocket. (If they still have Waterstones, and not just iPads. OOH YOU CRAZY KIDS AND YOUR TECHNOLOGY!)

There is something sad about being a Grown Up and not being allowed to be a stroppy seventeen year old anymore.   I don’t think I was ever really emotionally unstable, I think that I was a teenager, maybe for two years longer than I should have been.  A teenager who was coping with some quite adult things sometimes, but still delightfully, stupidly, simply a teenager.    As a teenager, everything felt so vitally important and significant, and thus every little thing could illicit a dramatic response. Nowadays anything short of a nuclear bomb dropping on my face doesn’t faze me. I’m still moody and insecure and still feel like the girl in the corner of the playground sometimes.  I still get pissed off and stroppy about things.  But now I’m all Grown Up about it.  Instead of thinking, “OH MY GOD THEY HATE ME, THEY HATE ME, I’M AWFUL!” when people don’t speak to me, I get all Grown Up and think, “Well, they’re probably busy, and to be fair, here I am not saying hello to them, either”.  I should, one day for old time’s sake, run home in tears and write a poem about it, in my own blood, titled, “Why Am I So Fucking Shit?”

I do sometimes miss slamming the door because my mum shouted at me. And writing loud UNDERLINED!!!!!!!! diary entries about how much I hate her.  I became a grown up, and one who grew up in the psychiatric system.  It can feel like being emotional is punished within it, and it’s a shame.  Teenagehood had a lot going for it.  It still does- I think as a teenager, unformed as we are supposed to be, we’re also our raw, essential selves.

If you kept a diary or journal when you were younger, what was it like? Bonus points if you post excerpts! I may if I get the balls to.

20 Responses

  1. I never kept one because I’d write something then the next day I’d read it & feel sick to my stomach with embarrassment. The only things kept were a few bits of poetry. Thoughts and feelings… all gone.

  2. I don’t have my excerpts here, but I’ll perhaps write a post showcasing some of them.

    The one I wrote when I was 11/12 completely cracks me up. I’m kind of proud that I was such a cynical, spiteful bitch even then. There were some great one-liners and it reminded me that my life wasn’t always completely shit.

    The next journal I remember keeping was when I was 17. Again, it’s full of cynicism and bitterness, but it lacks the humour of the earlier one and has about eight inches of dark depression layering it, save for one entry when I was Teacher’s-Petted.

    Perhaps the best similar thing I’ve come across was a set of collaborative short stories that my best friend and I wrote when we were about 14. They involved real people, including us, in fantasy situations and were so indescribably ridiculous that I can only laugh. When I rediscovered it in 2008, I changed the names of all involved and self-published it for him for Christmas. Apparently it was the best present he’d ever received🙂

  3. “Do you ever read your old journals, diaries, blogs and forum posts and want to chew your own fist off in embarrassment?”

    Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah.

    I have my journals of when I was 16-17 up somewhere in blogspot. I know they are they’re, but I can’t stand looking at them. I’m supposedly smart… but… those are not very representative of it. I was under the wing of an incredibly domineering “best friend” and I was pretending to be someone else most of the time. Even with myself. It’s very sad.

    Also, my English, like a second language, has a learning curve, and I was somewhere along it, not very high up.

    Still, they are there. I know better than to delete them, because I deleted a good chunk of 2007… I think. And I deeply regret it. I deleted it because I couldn’t stomach what I wrote. But if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t have deleted it. So, everytime I get the insane urge to delete something, I think of the chunk I lost, and immediately stop.

    In a way, seeing how I was before, even if I cringe, makes me realize how I’ve grown. I know, that sounds cheesy. But it’s true.

    I didn’t want to dig much but I’ll give you one entry where I’m 17 and being a teenager, talking about “this boy called” and “this person said this” “and I said that” and “ZOMG I’m going to get a piercing”, and the jewel: “That guy is so inmature, even though he’s like 22!”

    It’s embarrassing enough so… there. http://crazyasuka.blogspot.com/2004/08/fun-day-at-last.html

  4. I have one old diary left (after ritually purging the rest of them) from my teenage years and it is a mix of high, manic writing about things in the room with me, crushes that literally took over my life (i spent a year and a half with one foot in the star wars universe and the other- reluctantly- in real life) and huge depressive gaps punctuated with the odd entry about how much my life stank.

    My blog makes me cringe sometimes, i have to fight the urge to just delete it and have done with.

  5. I kept a pen-and-ink diary. Still do. The earlier entries when I was anorexic are kind of depressing to read, so I won’t inflict them on you. The only good thing about them is that they show how much better my life is now.

    The even earlier ones, when I was just a kid, are un-embarrassing but also kind of boring – what I did in school, what I had for tea, that kind of stuff.

    I never wrote about how I hated my parents – more about how I hated myself. And I never had any crushes or anything like that to write about.

  6. I’m embarrassed by half the stuff I write now, so of course I have embarrassing old writing. I used to tear up everything I wrote because I believed it to be evidence of my idiocy and general uselessness. Writing online was actually a big step for me because then it was out there and I couldn’t really take it back.

    Here’s an assortment of my old stuff. Overdramatic, often lacking in punctuation/capitalization…etc.

    http://notesofdespair.com/
    http://crazikewi.livejournal.com/
    summerstormrain.livejournal.com

  7. […] Reading this post: https://thesecretlifeofamanicdepressive.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/nee-gnaw/ got me to thinking about how I was as a teenager, so I dug out my one remaining diary from my […]

  8. The short answer is yes, and yes, and yes to thinking me and cosmos were somehow aligned semi-religious spirituality during apparent manic-ness. I was all about that. God, I have volumes and volumes of shit, that I sometimes post online for people to see and laugh at and b/c I kind of think it is interesting for me to look at even though I cringe. Shit I’m still an embarrassing navel gazing newly diagnosed mental. I don’t really think I’ve changed all that much since I was 16.

    Example for extra points I present a random poem about some boy I probably liked very much when I was 17:

    If I was a sculptor I would sculpt your form.
    All small and insignificant,
    freckled and slopping
    seductively girlish in it’s roundness.
    The Venus of Princess Street.
    Your body is disgusting.
    A shriveled relic of too much abuse.
    Not I, not anyone, not god
    would endeavor to paint it.
    A pale little splatter
    You render beauty useless.
    But I
    I should like to sculpt you.
    What a decrepit little Mercury you’d make:
    Belly protruding,
    Travel hat,
    all smiles in your nakedness.

    And for contrast dated 2006:

    Not harmonious little whispers dancing in my tangles.
    Discorded and discombobulated
    Screaming
    Sounds between sounds
    — Dissonance —
    make little girl blue hold her head
    and seek small cupboards
    to hide.
    Opened mouth —
    and–
    broken organs wheezed out
    Hallelujah!
    Hallelujah!
    Unchained notes sang me down into the grass
    and between my failing bones
    is where we go to die.

    For a time I became *really* obsessed with the concept of dissonance, and then with black holes…. I dunno.

    yep. embarrassing but hilarity and interesting (to me anyhow).

      • haha i’ll take plath lite over
        shouldaburnedthemupinabigfirelongago

        I think its funny that most people who have old journals still keep them, even if they’re all dusty and under the bed, it is just impossible to get rid of them. I’ll probably still have them when I’m 80 and I’ll pretend the whole time ( very nonchalantly) like I never knew they were there.

  9. One of my diaries has entries which always started with “I watched [insert number] episodes of Robin of Sherwood today”. I really need to throw it out, it’s not very interesting!

    In fact, the only interesting diary I had (from when I was 20) is long gone. Dammit.

  10. I’m 18, still a teenager, so I have an excuse for any blog entries that are horribly overdramatic, whiny and self indulgent😉

  11. i’ve been keeping a diary since i was about 8 or 9. every now and then i read through some old diaries and yes, i’m embarassed. mostly though, i enjoy remembering how my life used to be.
    my teenage diaries are filled with such hope and ambition. sure, there is the usual teenage angst, unrequited “love”, stupid fall outs with friends, but mostly i love that girl. she knew where she wanted to go and she knew everything was going to be alright. she had this bright,bold, wonderful future. i miss that girl.
    the only diaries i find hard to read are when this all started. in hindsight i can see how wrong things were going. i can see i was letting someone destroy me. i can i am headed for disaster. it’s painful to read my own pain. i feel so angry with myself for not stopping it in it’s tracks.
    i’m glad i ahve those diaries. it’s nice to recongnise the real me. i hope i’ll become that person again.

    http://doyourememberthattime.wordpress.com

  12. I’ve recently found a lot of old journals (within the last six months or so), and been galled by most of them. I’ve been so embarrassed by what I had written, that I tore out the pages and sent them, one by one, into the shredder. The anger, rage, and pathos in those pages is something no one should have to see. Even myself. They are reminders of the things I was afraid to say, afraid to even recognize sometimes. And the journal I found the other day was from before the diagnosis and medications, and was even more pathetic.

    I don’t want to be reminded of myself when I was at my best, that best that I will not reach again. Who can be 17 again? Neither do I wish to be reminded of the pain and despair that was my life before I reached some stabilization. And ho one else should have to see it, either, so I destroyed them all. My memories are enough for me right now. I find them too overwhelming at times.

  13. I have a pretty constant history in journals going back to age 17 (26 now). I remember in the past, reading back and being horribly embarrassed by what I had written. Now, not so much. I’m a bit embarrassed by the things I wrote when I was feeling a bit better (unipolar depression here), thinking I had found the magic solution to my depression, even though I always sunk back down when it turned out not to be the cure. Mostly, though, I read and see a very sad girl. I have a hard time remembering how I survived that. I want to hug her and sit with her and not lie to her because that is what she needed. And I’m less embarrassed about the “magic cure” bits now because I see more acutely how the people who were supposed to be helping me were actually making my life much more difficult — telling me I was possessed by the devil, telling me I would never recover enough to have a steady job, telling me I was just having a bad case of the “growing ups”.

  14. YES.

    You can track my swings quite neatly through them though, so I keep them as a ‘I’m not nearly that sick anymore! Nor a teen!’ point of reference.

    • God, yes. At least they’re useful for seeing that you’re not like that any more – a sort of negative usefulness.

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