The Christmas of 1974 I was ten years old and had grown up in the Bahamas. Our relatives lived in Toronto and all I wanted was to see snow for Christmas. My Christmas present that year was flying to Canada (alone) for Christmas at my Aunt’s house (and five cousins I didn’t really know!). Oh boy, did I believe in miracles!
My mom gave me an early gift of a little pink diary with lined four by four pages—one page a day with gold gilt on the page edges. My handwriting is almost illegible!
I thought a diary was about what happened so there are lots of quirky entries about who won volleyball and who in my class I think is conceited, how many Trixie Belden books I’ve read and that I forgot Teddy when I came home from Canada! But I grew into recording this on Feb 7th 1975:
Dear Diary: Tonight was just about the best night of my life, I went to the school dance tonight. When I first got there I thought it was going to be a flop but it wasn’t it was great! (underlined three times) Because I danced alot of times. And I know I’m in love but I just don’t know with who. By, See ya
Mom always encouraged me to write. I wrote short stories and poems for class and some were shared in our yearbook and that was exciting. It never occurred to me that my parents (there was no one else in our house) would read what I wrote so I didn’t hide my diary and felt very safe to write what I thought; even when I ‘hated’ things or people.
Mom gave me another journal for my thirteenth birthday—a composition book covered in black and silver contact paper (totally my mom!) and I naively took it to school and my classmates snuck it away and read what I’d written about a boy I liked. I was mortified. But after they read it they gave it back and apologized and they were embarrassed. Wow!
As a teen I turned to the blank page to understand myself and sort my feelings. Journaling was a friend and confidante—a mirror of my soul and truly a life saving device as I navigated high school:
My wish is for the Give a Girl a Journal project to give solace, validation, confidence, clarity, and a safe space to EVERY girl who shares her voice on the page. And that girls everywhere are empowered by their words; their ideas; their feelings; and their dreams. It doesn’t matter what you write but THAT you write. Write on!
Shakespeare said it gloriously, “These are but wild and whirling words.”