To kick off with the 100 inspiring objects project, I’m going to start with a small collection of items. I think these things quite literally say more about me than anything ever.
I have kept a diary since I was eleven years old after a primary school classmate bought me a red A5 diary. I’ve not looked back.
If you’ve been in my life at one time or another, chances are, you’re in there.
It chronicles my thoughts and reflections about my late childhood, through puberty and into adulthood to the present day.
The light green one you can see in the picture is pretty amusing and a favourite. It covers the period from when I was 16 to about 18. It’s essentially full of boys, boys and more boys. So funny to my now wizened old eyes, I can tell you!
It would make a good novel in its own right. The summary is along these lines:
I had basically fallen madly in love with my first ever boyfriend when I was 15 and after he dumped me, I went off to try and find someone better than him to ‘replace him in my heart’ (big deep dramatic sigh). It’s me going ‘Oh, I really love this other guy and this guy, but then I fancy this other boy but I don’t know if he fancies me’. Whilst over using the word ‘shit’. A lot.
Did I ever get over the boyfriend when I was 15? Did I end up choosing which boy I did ultimately fancy in the end? Did I ever think of a better word than ‘shit’ to describe things? You’d have to move onto the next volume, which I can’t find at the moment.
In that one, towards the end, I did in fact get back with the boyfriend from when I was 15. How did it all pan out?? Well, the shiny A4 red one tells all. Then after that, we go onto the big blue one that starts the journey to my present day where I’m in my fledgling relationship with my new bloke (so you can assume the ‘back with the boyfriend from when I was 15’ didn’t work out), who eventually became my wonderful husband. All the trials, tribulations and love therein.
There are more volumes than in the picture, including ‘spin off’ diairies that I kept concurrently to those pictured, that served as my main diaries. These were usually kept due to something extraordinary happening in my life. One was when I went to the USA for a month when I was 19 and I didn’t want to risk losing my main tome.
Another, which will get an entry of its own for the 100 objects project, is ‘Lucy’s Diary’. This diary is beyond precious. If my family was safe outside, I’d run back into our burning house to grab it – it is that precious to me.
It chronicles one of the most important time periods of my life: the four weeks in which my eldest daughter lived.
That deserved its own diary. One day, when I pluck up the courage to re-read it, I will go through its pages and write them up and even consider publication. I would give the profits to SANDS, a charity who helped me put one foot in front of the other when I was in the darkest, deepest depths of my grief.
My diaries mean an awful lot to me. They are windows to the past. Each one demonstrates a version of me that I don’t always recognise or even believe (I am not always a reliable narrator), but at least acknowledge. They are time machines, capable of taking me back to a time when I was someone else, but still me at the same time.
It’s a bit like each on is the Doctor from Doctor Who. Different face, but a version of the same person. I won’t tell you which volume is my Tom Baker!
Virginia Woolf said that no day should be allowed to go by unrecorded, no matter how trivial. I agree. It is through those little things that you don’t remember anymore, that you cherish the most, I’ve found.
As a treat, here are some entries from various volumes:
Volume I, 1994-1996
Sunday 12th June 1994, 11:06pm (First ever entry)
Well, I’m eleven and I’m still grieving for my old cat TJ, whom I lost last year (1993). I think of him a lot and my other cat’s Tinfy (I lost him, he ran away when the July fair was on) and then I got another one called Lucky, that someone had found. He had to go back the very same day because he looked so very much ill.
They are always in my thoughts. My Mum says that Tinfy was taken by some vets because he didn’t have some injection for leukaemia. TJ died of it.
Well its time to terminate this diary entry. Oh yes, I went to Mass today and I went to Nan’s. My Uncle was there and I think my Aunt is expecting the pitter-patter of tiny feet! She’s already got four kids.
Got to go, school in the morning (after 2 week break, cool! I mean the break).
Volume 6, 2001-2003
Wednesday 27th March 2002, 1:58pm (The Student Years)
Only just got up and had breakfast.
My boss at Uni phoned before to tell me I’m working loads more next week. She should be ringing back any minute to confirm…
Yesterday, I spent £262.50 on my eyes! I had my eyes tested and then I bought a brand new pair of glasses. I loved them the moment I saw them! They are rimless! I’ve had an anti-scratch and anti-reflection coating put on them. Bloody expensive things if you ask me.
I’ll put the receipt in here when I finish with it! Bloody hell!
It’s a really lovely day today. I have no idea what to do. Maybe go the shop… go the library. It’s sunny and warm outside. *Sigh*
I’ve been trying to get in touch with [my then boyfriend] since yesterday! But I can’t get hold of him! I’m trying now.
I’m going home for Easter tomorrow night.
I’ve just phone 192, then the Cafe Bar in Ormskirk for the 9th April. That particular day being me and [my then boyfriend]’s 1 year anniversary!
I’ve spent loads on him so far and now I’m going to make him a special t-shirt.
Volume 8 2007-2012
Sunday 30th May 2010, 6:53pm
Waiting for Daisy to finish watching CBeebies cuddled into her Daddy, so I can give her a bath.
Been out today and bought a few more bits for the holiday. Can’t wait to go on the 7th. We are going to Centre Parcs in Cumbria, our usual haunt.
Going to start filling the suitcase today with clothes for it. We are taking loads of things.
Daisy does not exactly travel light!
Had a nice Sunday roast cooked by Thomas today.
I’m lucky to have him in my life.
Just three random entries from three random years. Nothing revealing I’m afraid, other than the evolution of my use of the exclamation mark (what the eck was that all about?). I suppose it just gives you a flavour of some entries I entered over time. Some are, obviously, a bit more metaphysical and deal with very serious things. Conversely, they also deal with the light-hearted and more trivial aspect of my life.
However dull, dramatic, vague or revealing they are, my diary entries are my window to my past and perhaps a key to the future. It shows where I have been and demonstrates that the sky is by no means the limit. That I have changed in subtle ways for the good and it helps me be terribly proud of the girl who lived through so much and is now remembered in those pages.
People refer to things, people or events in their lives as ‘chapters’, well, for me, there really have been chapters and even volumes. I’m so pleased that my life can be traced and recorded. I’m so pleased I’ve got the ability to physically view the ups and downs of my journey so far.
So, I hope you have enjoyed the first epic step in the “100 objects” adventure. Let’s see what I pull out the bag for the next one!
Any comments? Questions on this post? Leave a comment below!
It’s been a slice.