| Written by Ronnie |
Journaling is one of those things that has ebbed and flowed throughout my life. When I first started high school, I kept a diary and filled it with all sorts of teenage secrets and confessions. After a year or so, I decided to stop doing this and, to this day, I'm not entirely sure why. If I were to hazard a guess, it was most likely because I got scared my mum would find it and that my life would be over.
Back in the 1990's, however, the 'exchange diary' fad was sweeping across Asia, and upon returning from one of her trips to Taiwan, my best friend Sandra presented me with a brand new exchange diary at the beginning of a school year and I was like, "Yes! Let's do this!" The cute Taiwanese illustrations that adorned each page were just too cute to resist.
And so, Sandra and I started to write to each other using the exchange diary. We wrote and we wrote and we wrote. We filled one diary, and then another and another and another. We talked about school, homework, friends, parties, family dramas, and of course, boys. A few years ago before we had to move again, I re-discovered these exchange diaries of ours in a memory box and I had the most wonderful (read: hilarious) time reading through them again. I've since given the diaries to Sandra for safe-keeping, but those diaries are honestly a real treasure, in the truest sense of the word - a time capsule of our innocence that can never be taken away from us.
After high school, I stopped writing for several years as I adjusted to university and dealt with relationship dramas. Then in the my last year of university, a friend of mine encouraged me to start an online journal, and I complied. I set up a Live Journal account and gave it a name which would stay with me for twelve years: Pink Ronnie.
So I started writing online, but a lot of my writing focused on what I perceived to be irony in the lives of those around me. As such, most of my pieces were tongue-in-cheek and and perhaps not entirely reflective of the true workings of my heart.
Around the same time, I also started documenting conversations with friends by typing stuff up in a Word document. This was prompted by my desire to remember the things people said and it was particularly relevant at that point in my life. I was meeting many new people, and to me, it was strange to not know everything about them like I did with my high school friends. This proved to be a very fruitful habit, and as it turns out, people really appreciate it when you recall facts about them which they don't expect you to remember. And though I didn't know it at the time, this habit formed the foundations of what I do now for our own boys.
(To be continued)
What about you? Did you keep a diary when you were younger? How has that shaped you as a memory keeper today?
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Write your heart out is a new series about the art of journaling. I plan to share tips, ideas, resources, and my own journey and experiences - all driven by my belief in the power and necessity of words in documenting our stories. Go on, write your heart out. We all have it within us. Don't think - just start.