From 1998 to 2001 I kept a paper diary. Intentionally. Diligently I filled it in every day, chronicling my life for all to see. And literally, too; I always write with the intention of if being read by, or at least read to, somebody at some point. I do write mostly to entertain and I'd like to think people see the purpose of that, even if I am writing a paper journal. When I finally made the switch to LJ (the two briefly overlapped at points, with me printing out and sticking in LJ entries towards the end of 2001), it seemed a natural progression. I knew everyone in the sixth form was reading my LJ, but I didn't care; I was going to write what I like when I liked. And yes, maybe I angered a lot of people, but then again there were a lot of emo whinings there, and I was being picked on constantly by so many people, I did have a reason.
I've been re-reading my paper diaries, and of course there's rarely any mention of sex in any of them. I know, at the age of 14 to 16, you'd imagine any diary to be full of mentions of sex. But there's barely a whiff. There's quite a lot of innuendo, but that's there for the sake of me telling anyone reading my diary to get their mind out of the gutter. There are even a few allusions to girls I fancied, but not even so many of those - in the first of the three books full of writing, there are several cryptic references to the Zebra Project, without any particular explanation of what it was or what its significance may (or may not) have been. Only in the final journal - 2001, the one in which I was at my lowest point - did I explicitly mention any names, specifically one, being the first and only girl I ever specifically asked out, and my first ever rejection. That was it. I didn't want to talk about stuff I didn't want to go into.
I had sexual urges, of course I did. I started having them at about 11. But I never mentioned them, not even when I realised nobody was going to read my diary anyway. And I had crushes, but they were always heart-wrenchingly bitter and doomed, it seems, to failure, so I didn't want to depress myself any more, when I was doing such a good job of it anyway myself. I didn't even masturbate until the age of 17, so I didn't even have that to write about.
And it turns out that the only girl I wrote about in any amount of detail - mostly my proclamations that I'd never want to live without her - I wrote about because she was the only thing on my mind. It took me a long time into my LJ years to get over her, and that's mostly due to the efforts of Louise, and later Soldier Girl, to guide me back in the right direction.
I ended my December 31, 2001 entry with this:
Hmmm... I managed to survive another year, not exactly by my choosing, but I did. I was forced to survive another year, that would be the closest thing to telling the truth. So here it goes with 2002.
It's not fun, no. But I was determined to give things a go, and thus I made the jump to LJ. I even tried to keep an audio diary for a while, like Tony Benn. But I gave that up by the time Easter rolled around. And I pushed forwards. I still wasn't writing my best. I didn't even think of writing about sex for a very long time. Even after I started having sex I barely even mentioned it. Rebecca was writing about it, and I was even slightly ashamed by what she wrote. I didn't want to add to that, really.
Looking through my old journals (because my sister mentioned them, natch) has put ILB more into perspective for me. The stuff I write here is all the stuff I should've, would've, could've said back in those days, where my journal entries were stacked full of self-pity, self-harm and Green Day. Maybe if I still were writing a paper diary, I still wouldn't be mentioning sex much. But I think this, after all, is a much better way of doing said things... and besides, it's opened me up to a whole host of new experiences and new people, and if that's not the life progression I was hoping for ten years ago, I genuinely don't know what is.