What I Discovered Reading My Childhood Diaries As An Adult


The anticipation was great. It had been nearly three years filled with concern and fear. I decided to take a trip down memory lane. It was all going fine. Not too many bumps in the road. Little bumps that I was able to go over with ease. As I began to go further back, I knew in order to be true in my sharing of the past, I needed to find my childhood diaries. That is where I escaped to, writing and drawing in books which I worked so hard to hide -- however, not always successfully. More than once, I discovered my diary lying on my bed when I returned from school. I began to question whether I left it there and then soon realized it was not me who placed it there.

I searched for my childhood secrets. Went into my closets, pulling out cartons in hopes of finding them. But each carton I pulled out was filled with other things, from old framed pictures to plaques and awards to pages of storyboards 35 years old when I use to design multimedia shows. Those were the days way before we used computers and artists and designers worked on drawing boards using T-squares, triangles, X-Acto knives, rapidographs, magic markers and charcoal. I remember having accidents with the X-Acto knife and accidentally cutting myself--I still have the scars -- and getting charcoal on my hands and clothing. A storyboard then, was a one of kind, an original that if lost would be gone forever, just like my diaries. They were hand written and never duplicated. They were not digital files that were backed up by Time Machine on an external hard drive or put up in the cloud. They existed in one place, the original place they were created.

I continued my search without much luck. I even took out my 12-foot ladder, a necessity when your home has 12-foot ceilings. I opened the highest closets and managed to take down heavy taped and sealed cartons without losing my balance. With my trusty single edge razor left over from the days I did graphics, I opened up the boxes. Still no diaries found. Where could they be? Perhaps when my parents moved to Florida they were thrown away. I did not think so but my memory is probably my weakest link. If someone tells me I did something which I have no recollection of, I invariably believe them. I always think how wonderful it would be to have someone follow me around recording my life so it would not be lost.

It was getting late and I was ready to give up. As I climbed up the ladder again to return one of the cartons, I noticed a box in the back. I reached in and managed to get it, almost dropping it as I carried it down and set it on my table. In black marker, it said on the back "Diaries". I slit the tape and opened the box. There, inside were all my diaries stacked one on top of the other. I sat down and began reading every page of every diary. I found myself transitioning back to my childhood. My head started to hurt me and I felt my eyes welling up. Soon, I could not stop the tears from falling. I had gone back to a time that I wished had never happened, a time I was happy was in my long ago past. I felt brittle and sad and angry. I knew then that I had found what I needed to share with the world in order for them to experience what I had experienced.

These private diaries--never meant to be seen by anyone, not in my lifetime--were now going to be exposed to the public. The only decision that would have to be made was which entries would I share and where would they appear in the film. I had come so far and there was no turning around now.

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