It probably comes as no surprise that I’ve been an obsessive journaler for most of my life. The tendency crept in in middle school and just stuck around for those tumultuous years following. Truth be told, my first real journal was not a book, it was my computer. I was trying to work some things out and thought it best I write it down, while simultaneously, I thought it was time I learned to type properly. Thus, my first journal was born in a word document (maybe it wasn’t word back then, but I forget to be honest). Subsequently I filled many composition books and spiral notebooks with the mundane details of my life and tons of teenage drama.

Then I found livejournal. Were you on livejournal? I feel like so many of us were. At first the concept of others reading my own personal thoughts didn’t occur to me, it was just like my computer journal, except stored secretly online. Over the years, connections were made and it became a way to vent as well as bond with others. I still had a paper journal, but the online one was something different, more careful and stylized and intentional. When an ex-boyfriend read one of my journals, livejournal became a safe place with its password protected private posts.

I guess now I’ve grown out of journaling. My life no longer has the drama worthy of writing about. Of course, there is this blog, which takes care of some of it. A fancy highlight version of life, with a few oblique references to internal struggles. That’s not to say I don’t sometimes miss journaling, but mostly I miss livejournal itself, the endless melodramatic posts and conversations they sometimes spurred. I do not, on the other hand, miss the times I wrote about, and am thus much happier to be without it.

My livejournal has since been deleted, fearing someone might find it and connect it to me. Before I disposed of it forever, I made a backup and years later, inspired by a friend, I finally decided to have it printed into a book so it would not be entirely lost.

It took a few hours to format everything into a printable version and then cost about $15 to have it printed. Now it can get stored away with the others serving no purpose at all, except that I have it. It’s not recommended reading. The bits I skimmed as I edited were so depressingly embarrassing they made me cringe. Reading things you wrote in college is not a good idea. That being said, I’m glad to have a physical copy even if it is only to be burned before my death or something along those lines.

14 Responses to “journaling”
  1. Amber says:

    I have all of my livejournal posts (username: weedlover) saved on my hard drive. Suffice it to say it would probably get me arrested if I were writing it now 😛

  2. tamera jane says:

    I need to do this. I have been thinking about importing posts and only keeping the ones I like, but it’s probably better to print and delete. LJing since early 2001! Jeez.

  3. julia says:

    holy shit! what a fantastic post. i love this so much. i lurked on livejournal for probably a year before getting my own account (back when you had to have a code!) in 2003. two usernames and almost a decade later, i still use it from time to time. i’ve got so many thoughts and feelings about this but i love the idea of printing it out and love what you have to say about it.

  4. Diana says:

    I still have my livejournal, but I rarely go there these days. I can’t really bring myself to delete it. It’s there, not harming anybody and I never wrote things that I’d be embarrassed to talk about if someone discovered it (though everything’s friends only of course haha).

  5. kc says:

    I sometimes miss anonymous journaling, before everyone and thing got so connected. I have an old online journal kicking around from 2002 that I think I will do this for. Such a great idea. Of course, then I’ll have to lock in a safe somewhere, only to be taken out when in need of desperate laughs.

  6. Charlie says:

    I love the idea of print + delete! Although, I don’t know if I could actually do this– every now and then I’ll go back and check in with people there. And I have a community page that was pretty popular, that I’d have to keep up. But it would be really nice to have most of it stricken from the record. :p

  7. Caitlin says:

    I recently looked through my own highschool/early college collage journal – I was SO ANGSTY and yes, embarrassing 🙂 Unfortunately, I still have some of the same behaviors – worrying too much about the future, but I’m working on it!

  8. OMG! I share those same experiences! I had a Livejournal for years. It was my first transition from paper journals to online. I printed mine out and have it stored in a small suitcase. I wish I would of been as clever as you and actually had it made into a book!This year I started a (paper) daily journal again and wrote about it here:

  9. Geanna says:

    This is hilarious – I read this a day after I decided to get rid of my childhood journals because of all the angst and drama they contained. I, too, had a LiveJournal, although I’m sure it got deleted years ago due to my neglect.

  10. Julia says:

    Ahhh journals! I have had so many, some people are just journal people. Maybe it’s the people who end of having blogs? I recently just started another journal just for things going on, as a memory kind-of thing, but it’s starting to turn into how my past journals were-a lot of venting. I need to try harder!

  11. Melanie says:

    Actually, a paper journal for venting can be very helpful! Releases the stress & emotion so it doesn’t weigh you down, or express itself in a way that damages relationships. However, I am definitely the kind of “journal people” you mention so perhaps I am a bit biased toward it 🙂 I find that an important element when venting is to try to finish up with at least one positive thing in your life, no matter how small. It begins to shift your focus back to the good parts of life.

  12. Diana Taylor says:

    So funny. In our move I came across a box full of all my old journals. I skimmed through them and was also embarrassed and wondered why I still keep them but here they are, shoved in some top closet corner.

  13. Sara says:

    I absolutely love this post. Journaling has always held such a special place in my heart, and I’ve been journaling online since 1999. I wasn’t really an avid LiveJournal user, I was at diaryland and then I moved to a service called Diary-X. When DX unexpectedly crashed in 2006, I reluctantly moved over to LJ. At the time, DX was so simple and offered complete control over the layout, and I felt at home. Journalist wasn’t the same, so I started a blog a few months after testing out LJ!

    I still have written copies of every entry, because like you, I wanted to just have them in my hands. And I have about four or five journals from before the digital age.

    Do you still journal? I find I don’t journal anymore, and I find it somewhat startling. I keep trying to find ways to go back to me, but I don’t know if it’s a matter of finding the right place, tool, or just finding the lack of something new to say.

    Sorry to ramble, I really loved this post!

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