One day, when I had not long moved into my new flat, I was studying at my desk when I spotted a little secret drawer that I hadn’t noticed before. I opened it and found this –
– a drawer filled with the diaries of the previous tenant (!!!) which I immediately started reading because I’m a nosy wee git, but truth be told, they weren’t that exciting. Recipes, to do lists, sketches, and only one diary entry where they talked about how they needed to study more, update their blog, go to the gym, and buy a present for their friend. They seemed like a nice person, intelligent as well, and maybe someone I’d like to meet, but I was definitely expecting something waaaaay more juicy than the things I found.
The thing is, I’ve got a slight obsession with these drawers. I remember my mum unlocking her secret drawer (eugh, sounds a bit dirty) and pulling out boxes filled to the brim with letters and diaries…letters and diaries that I was just dying to read. One day, she actually left the key in the cupboard and I went as far as to pull the letters out of the box and just look at them in their envelopes, but although I desperately wanted to, I never read any – only little, I was still terrified of the wrath of parents!
My dad had lots of little notebooks as well. He didn’t keep them hidden away though; they were out in the open surrounded by threats of ‘Don’t you go looking in them. They’re private.’
On my ninth birthday, however, he got me my very own little notebook and so began my secret drawer –
– a drawer that I like to go back and look through every now and again.
There’s a play, Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett, that shows an old man listening to his old, recorded diaries and while listening to these diaries, he feels ashamed; embarrassed; angry; he calls his old self a ‘bastard’, and switches off some tapes when he just can’t stand to hear anymore what he once said and thought. And I find myself having the same feelings when I go through my old diaries. It’s weird. It’s my writing, but did I really think that? Although, it’s also nice in a way. I’m quite an erratic diary keeper and so each entry was like a jump from one stage of childhood to another. My first diary’s my favourite – the one my Dad gave me when I was nine. It is so brutally honest and says so much more than the hundreds of pages I cover in my later, teenage diaries.
I actulley know that santa dosn’t exist because I found all the presents in the garege.
On february we are going on a holiday with my famly and the boy I fancie and his famly so I will show off and maybe he will fall for me.
Oh guess what I got a Mobile Phone. But I am not going to tell enyone because I don’t want to.
And my personal favourite –
I think I am going to have my period soon. I have got hair in other places and I am getting angry.
Towards the end of this diary, however, I started ending my entries with ‘See ya! Joz x’ and that’s when things started to change in my writing. I stopped being so honest and started writing as though it was a letter to someone else and not just myself. I also went back and ripped out pages of things that I not only wanted anyone else to see, but that I didn’t want myself to see either – they were far, far too honest. But now I can’t find those pages and I desperately want them back. My later diaries are absolute RUBBISH! Like Krapp, I’m ashamed, angry, and embarrassed of the things I thought and wrote, of the person I was either trying to be, pretending to be, or was. I want the honesty back. I want those missing pages.
But that’s where books come in. My favourite books have always been the brutally honest ones – the ones that expose those dark, shameful, and embarrassing thoughts and feelings; the ones where the authors don’t let go of that childhood honesty; the ones where the authors have perhaps been tried in court for being too honest, and the ones where the secrets held in drawers are let out.
And so it’s ok that I can’t find my missing pages; it’s ok that I can’t read my mum and dad’s notebooks, and it’s ok that my previous tenant probably took his real diaries with him because I have my books to satisfy my nosy gitiness.