Do you keep a diary?

Screen Shot 2019-08-16 at 10.25.41I’ve always kept a diary and in my early teenage years I just wrote a few lines on days I did something.

When I had my first boyfriend the diaries became more detailed on the days we did something exciting. I also managed to graffiti all over it with hearts and our names, basically declaring my undying love!

One of my most interesting diaries became a journal in my late teens and here I chronicled my activities with my friends. This was most interesting as I can read back to the day of night clubs, and dates. I also wrote about my insecurities and longing to find a proper boyfriend. I even listed all my friends who were in relationships and wondered why I couldn’t sustain one. All the dates I had been on they was always something lacking. I wondered what was wrong with me.

These days everything is out on Social Media but back then we kept everything to ourselves, and little did I know that my feelings were normal. Other people were went through the same type of things and it would have helped me knowing that.

These three years of journelling finished in 1977, just as I met someone I really liked. It would have been fascinating to read what what I thought of him, except I was too busy having a good time to write anymore. It turned out he was the one, and we married in 1980.

We were together for four years before the first of my two children were born. They kept me too busy to write. What I did do was write about certain moments, like a weekend away, or a visit to my family. These make wonderful reading for me as most of them were sprinkled with humour. It also took me back to those early years and my parents.

As the children got older, I continued to write like this and stories about their early childhood that would have been long forgotten if I hadn’t written them down.

These days I keep a five year diary. I write in it every day – well that’s not strictly true, I write something for every day, usually a week later then have to remember what I did. This is my fourth five-year-diary.

A few years ago I picked up one from when my children were teenagers. They weren’t bad in comparison to some stories I’d heard but it talked of the rows, the staying out late, and all the other teenage stuff. It took me back to the rows I had with my mum when I was that age.

From that I wrote a short piece of fiction called Blowing Hot and Cold. I wrote it from the mother’s point of view. It highlights that she has own problems and coping mechanisms, then throw into the mix a volitate teenage daughter, and life becomes difficult.

It’s only a very short story and this is the opening paragraph.

An upstairs door slammed. I hunched my shoulders. It was another row with my teenage daughter. The argument was over nothing; it wasn’t even a proper disagreement. She just blew up and snapped.

Screen Shot 2019-08-16 at 10.25.41Do you remember your days as a teenager when you thought the world was against you?

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Who is the Bitch?

by Karen J Mossman

 

Yes, that really is the title of my post, and for a reason. I didn’t know what meant or why.

Let me explain. I keep a diary and have done for many years. I’m on my fourth five-year diary now. The first yearly diary I was given in 1973, I just wrote whose birthday it was and occasionally that we went out somewhere. I was fourteen.

My Nana gave me this. Nana was a lovely lady but always a little eccentric. She often did odd things, and Mum told me that Nana’s mother was just the same. Nana got worse as she got older with many peculiar incidents. In her seventies, she began to show signs of dementia. By her eighties, she was just a shell.

In the diary, there was one entry, just one. At first I thought it was something she had written for herself before deciding to give it to. Years later I began to realise she had written it especially for me, as if to tell me something.

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Aunty Bitch Rutter’s birthday, send 1 oz of poison. If she had written it for herself, she wouldn’t have put aunty. She never referred to it, either.

Aunty Kath was Nana’s sister.  I remembered going to her house, then we stopped going. That’s because she and Nana fell out. They didn’t talk again for seventeen years. When they did, I was grown up. She was lovely, as was her husband. She was kind and so like Nana in looks and ways it often made me laugh. I was very sad about all the years we’d lost. I’ve no idea what could have been so bad as to fall out for that long.

Families can be funny things, and have strange dynamics that sometimes makes it difficult. Maybe it runs in the family because in 2010, I fell out with my brother and we have never spoken since. It’s sad because I don’t think there is any going back.

Has there been something like this in your family? Did it every get resolved?