Why I keep a diary

A person writing in a notebook.

I have kept a diary (or journal, whichever you wish to call it) every year since I was 13, and every year my diary goes through different iterations of itself – much like its author.  

My first few diaries were filled with colour papers, train tickets, receipts, and notes as it homes the scraps I collected on my travels. This habit was so significant that my family still hands me any receipts or tickets to this day.

Not a single page in my older diaries were left without colours, glitters, or stickers. Alongside those ephemeras would be my commentaries on the day’s events. A reflection of who teenage Asirah was. 

As I grew older and became more restless, so was my brain. Sometimes it feels like my hand couldn’t keep up with the pace in which my thoughts are moving, so I no longer bother to decorate the pages of my diaries. 

If you were to take a peek into my diaries now (which you would have no chance of doing), you would only see strokes of blue and black ink making up the paragraphs of my entries. It’s not intentional. I promise I’m not trying to appear “mature” or “adult”, I really just have so much swimming in my mind that I need to get penned down ASAP before it plagues me. A reflection of who 20-something Asirah is.

This is why I keep a diary. A way to immortalise the different versions of myself in case I should seek their counsel for whatever reason. You’d be surprised to learn that you’ve always had the answer within you.

But sometimes it also serves as a reminder of how far I’ve come and grown. It’s so easy to fall into a spiral of self-doubt, questioning whether I’ve actually “made it” until I reread my old entries about how I hope I would make it past high school and get to uni. 

This is why I keep a diary. In the words of Joan Didion, it is “to remember what it was to be me".

Tagged in What messes with your head, writing