I’m not a hoarder, but I have hoarding tendencies. For years I dragged around the debris of my former life from apartment to apartment. I packed the detritus into closets and garages, boxes and bags. Occasionally, I’d dip into the memories and laugh or cry myself to sleep. The junk brought me comfort somehow, it was the only witness to the things I had lived through or the people I ‘d met in my life.
That all began to change when I met my now husband. We’ve been together almost ten years now, and he’s taught me to simplify and live a more minimalist lifestyle. I’ve learned that you can appreciate the past without having to drag around a bunch of stuff. Subsequently, I’ve managed to pare down my mementos from closetfuls to a single box. That means I’ve had to be selective about what I kept and what I tossed.
The most notable item to make the cut was the only diary I’ve ever kept in my whole entire life. The notebook was part of an Easter basket my sister had given to me. The journal covers the span of five years from March 31, 1991, to September 9, 1996; I went from a nine-year-old to a fourteen-year-old. The entries begin pretty tamely, describing what I ate that day or what I watched, but then things heat up with my detailed descriptions of who I was crushing on at the moment. Even then I was a creature of habit, and after reading hundreds of pages of adolescent angst, a few themes arose as I read.