The Joy (and dread) of Keeping Diaries


Like many young girls, I started keeping diaries as soon as I could form sentences. At age 15 I decided anything I had ever written previously in a diary was much too embarrassing to exist and tore them up. While all of my diaries since have been equally embarrassing, I’m glad the same destructive impulse hasn’t come over me. There is so much humor in our younger selves. In hindsight, the problems that felt unbearable – “does so and so like me?” –  are endearing and a little insignificant. It makes me sad too, to look back on myself when I was feeling self-conscious, was too attached to certain boys, and made enemies of girls in school.

My birthday is on Saturday and now that I’m getting older I am happy to have these keepsakes. I can look through pages from an old diary and be right back in those places, remembering the sights, sounds and smells as they were.

I hope you will get some enjoyment out of reading these excerpts of my personal “archive” of diaries. I wish I could share the most embarrassing entries with you, but there is part of me that wants to keep those secrets and be a loyal friend to my former self. Besides, these snippets are cringeworthy enough for me.

On friendship:

Diary List

On boredom:


On teacher crushes:

Diary Entry

On office jobs:

Diary Entry

And random doodles:

Diary Drawing

P.S. Back in 2012, Flavorwire posted these images of the journals and notebooks of famous actors, authors and artists. Check out Marilyn Monroe’s penmanship and David Foster Wallace’s use of smiley face stickers.

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3 thoughts on “The Joy (and dread) of Keeping Diaries

  1. Shoko says:

    Natalie, these are amazing. I have no words. And I’m so glad you haven’t had that destructive urge again – I also tore up my old journals and I’m so disappointed now that I did. I’d love to have them as keepsakes as I get older!

  2. Brianna says:

    I’ve torn pages out of my journals, too, and I absolutely regret it. I don’t do that anymore. One of my goals for 2014 is to be better about journaling and dealing with my emotions and feelings. Thanks for providing the inspiration I needed.

  3. Natalie says:

    Thanks Brianna! Picking a new diary every year has become a personal tradition of mine. I wonder, will it be a classic black or bold red year? I try to write down my concerns and sometimes feel later on like I was making a mountain out of a molehill. Just getting thoughts down on paper can be therapeutic in a way. Good luck with yours in 2014!

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