This year I bought a paper diary for the first time in ages. There’s something special about a clean crisp new diary for next year, like the as yet unwritten year about to start. I love New Year. I love the fact that the each year is a blank page that has yet to be written. And this year, I want to write a diary again.
I used to write diaries when I was younger. I was never a consistent diarist but would write the occasional month or two, usually inspired by a re-read of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4. I still have them. Reading them back now I can feel compassion for my undiagnosed self.
As a teenager to some extent I masked, even in my diaries. I tried to emulate Adrian Mole and always wrote my diaries with a view to their publication when I was a successful author (I was and still am a daydreamer), They do however tell a tale of social rejection, occasional victories, teenage pains and loneliness, painful friendships, hopes that the person who called herself my friend, yet ignored me, would speak to me today and spare me from the agony of break spent alone. I never wrote too much about my feelings and the bullying, the pain is generally there but between the lines.
My diaries from my 20s are more painful to read now as I wrote about everything I was feeling. I wish I could go and speak to that young woman who was trying to come to terms with the past but haunted by it, trying to cope with meltdowns that devastated friendships, with depression and relationships in shared houses and at work. Drinking too much to cope with it all. I wish I could tell her about autism, to tell her she’s not crazy, lazy or mad. I wish I could help her find her way.
I stopped writing a diary by my late twenties. I do have a few scraps written in psychiatric wards in my thirties which are sad to read. Since then, other than various incarnations of this blog, I haven’t written a diary again.
I feel like starting a diary again. Despite the fact 2016 has been such an awful year, both personally and globally, my biggest glimmer of hope was that I started doing more writing. I’ve managed to (sort of) keep up this blog, although I’m far from consistent. I also did NaNoWriMo and wrote the first draft of a novel, a dream I’ve had for many years. It’s by no means ready for publication, but I did it! I’ve been mired in depression for the past month and haven’t really celebrated this achievement. I want it to lead to more.
So I’ve bought a diary. I wonder what it will be like, now I”m older. Now I know about autism.
My diary is waiting to be written and it could be an adventure. At the moment, it’s pure and unblemished. I know it won’t stay that way. Things won’t always go my way. There’ll be a typo in the first page I write. My writing will become illegible. I’ll miss days and weeks and months. The content may not be cheerful. I’m scared about what 2017 has to bring after the seismic shifts of 2016. But right now, on New Year’s Eve, it’s a blank page. It’s perfect.
Happy New Year!