Monday, October 3, 2011

The Truth about Diaries

     Yesterday, I read a story about diaries. Oh, how profound their contents can be. The author journaled everyday for years. 
    In elementary school, I kept my first diary. It excited me writing about my feelings and secrets. It even had a flimsy little "lock and key" to keep the contents private. My friends told their diaries everything on their minds, their hopes, dreams and problems.
     My mother found my diary while changing the bed sheets while I was at school. Tucked under the corner of the mattress. She knew I had it. It was from a gift exchange at school for the holidays. The problem began when my mother read it.  Now, my mother was European with a very limited formal education. As a young girl in war torn Europe her life was very different than mine. (a tragic story for another time).
     She had to read and translate. The literal translation of one language to another does not usually translate well. I had been angry with her one day, actually many days, as I deemed her way too strict and controlling. I wanted to be like the other girls. So I wrote my story, from the perspective of an eleven year old and motivated by what my friends wrote in theirs.  I wrote words that were angry and emotional. But there wasn't an issue in trying to translate my entry.
    I had written that I hate my mother. Imagine how she felt reading my words. You don't need a translation for that. I didn't see her face when she read it since I was at school at the time. By when I came home, she met me with a stern look on her face.There wasn't any evidence of hurt coming from her. At least not from my view. There was anger and rage and lots of screaming. About how lucky I was to have parents. How she wished she still had hers. I don't know how much she thought about what I had written over the years. But I certainly learned how powerful words are.
     Because of that, when I write, I think about honesty. And I think about perception. There are times when I find it hard to put the words down without wondering how it would affect the person reading it. Sometimes, maybe too often, I give them the benefit of the doubt. I give them that little bit of opening to feel that it is not just about me and my opinion, but it is my perception at that moment. I would like them to read it one day. One day when I feel they might understand what I write and why I write. Not to judge, but to understand. To grow. To go back and read again for new perspective. That goes both ways, for me and for them. Because only in the revelation of trying to be honest do our words speak the truth.
   I write this in honor of my mother's birthday today. I knew long ago that she understood. I love you Mom.


  1. WOW! Powerful stuff. I've kept a diary all my life and still do. (Or a journal, I call it now). I still worry how people will feel if they read it, but no one here is interested enough to do that.

  2. (I wrote a hate my mother too--and scrammed it at her as well.)