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TBD Submission: Charmaine

~It remains such a thrill to receive submissions. Be sure to click on the audio links below each diary page to hear Charmaine read the entry herself.~

January 24, 2016
Listen to Charmaine read her entry. January 24, 2016

“24 January 2016. Prior to this date, my grandmother had been having trouble keeping her balance. Mornings where she would find herself too weak to walk—and mornings we’d find ourselves too weak to raise her. It didn’t take me seeing her there on the floor, like a child who’d curled up and fallen asleep there, saying, ‘It’s alright, I’ll just lie here for a while,’ to know I was losing a part of my childhood. The day came when she woke and said, ‘I can’t move.’ And on this day I watched her, being lifted into the rear of the ambulance, and I suddenly felt all the years that had come to pass.”

February 13, 2016
Feb 13, 2016
Listen to Charmaine read her entry. February 13, 2016.

“13 February 2016. After years of a prolonged back and forth, my mother ends her relationship with her abusive boyfriend. How final it seemed, sitting there, while simultaneously not feeling final at all. I had wanted this since I was a girl, and now it comes, almost too late.”

~thank you, Charmaine~

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TBD Submission: Brandie

~Be sure to check out Brandie’s work on Youtube and Instagram: @the_diary_library. We’ve been in touch via Instagram for some time, and this is her first submission.~

“Set up: I’m riding up to my ex-step father’s house in his car, waiting for my own car to be done at the mechanics, and with a mission of retrieving some of my belongings that had been left behind when I moved out of our family home, in which he still resides. Post-divorce, our family dynamics haven’t quite been the same (he had been with my mom for 17 years).

‘Date: September 12, 2016 (Mon)
When we pulled up to the house, I could see in the daylight what I couldn’t see in the dark a few nights prior dropping my sister off. The yard was terribly overgrown and abandoned. The house now has ivy climbing its walls. Wood rot is rampant. It seems as though the house is just as dilapidated as our relationships with him. It was sad, really, to see the state of the house outdoors. Almost as forgotten about as any good times spend together.
We got inside, walking down the hallway that connects the two garages with the rest of the house, and I asked if he was okay. He turned back at me and said “That’s relative.” Thinking about it later, I wondered if he was having trouble with his girlfriend. Who knows. I didn’t press for any details.
It was weird walking through the house. Some things have changed but some hadn’t. It was like seeing a ghost of our family home and the touches my mom had put on it, or they did together.
I followed him up the stairs to his bedroom where the attic is. Walking into his room felt..odd. So many times before I had gone in there when it was also my mom’s room. And now it wasn’t, but from I could see, the furniture was still the same. The only thing that wasn’t the same was that there were clothes and other debris littering the floor, the counter tops, the walk-in closet. My mom would never let that mess happen. Other than that, it was like I half expected her to be sitting on the bed (since that’s where they used to hang out together), excitedly greeting me. It’s only now that I realize ghosts of the past are so real.
We climbed the attic stairs, a noticeable change in temperature half way up. He quickly showed me the corner where all of my stuff (or the majority of it) was supposed to be, then promptly left after telling me he’d come back and help take the boxes downstairs. To say the attic was “hot” was an understatement. I’ve never poured sweat off my face before and yet I barely noticed. I was on a mission to find my old blank journals I’ve been waiting to write in and all my old photos. I went through many boxes, finding a good amount of stuff. You would have thought I struck gold with how I felt once I found my journals! It was the same once I found my pictures.
While I was waiting to hear from the mechanic about my car being done, I opened the box with all my pictures in it. I saw my twelve and thirteen year old face. My fourteen and fifteen year old self. I hadn’t seen that girl in a while. Something in me wanted to show him that face. I selected first a picture of me holding my youngest brother as a baby. I was thirteen. For two seconds, I could see in his eyes his guard go down and he smiled. As quickly as it appeared, it seemed the most recent years of sadness and stress came rushing back in. It was hard to watch. That flicker of happiness, even if it was for what used to be,was a small flame and easy to extinguish. I wanted so badly to re-plant a seed in his mind about our family. OUR family that includes HIM, that he helped CREATE. Just a tiny seed to remind him…of what was lost? To somehow bring him back to it and start to think about the family he has left? To remind him that we did once have a family and those people need healing? I’m not sure. Maybe even to remind him he seemed like a family man, cut the crap he’s doing now, and remind him he still has a job as a father. All he did when looking at the picture was comment on how big my brother’s head was, which is pretty much what anyone says.
I walked away, only to return and shove another picture in his face, trying once more. It was a picture of just me, still thirteen, but at the end of the year. I commented nostalgically how long ago it seemed and how young I looked. “Do you remember that girl?” I asked. He looked and responded with a flat “Nope.” To say I was a little crushed was…I’m not even sure. There was no feeling behind that one word. No recognition that he helped raise me and he was there during those times to watch me grow and become a young woman. God, I’m tearing up just thinking about it. It really seemed he didn’t want to go there and keep me at arms length. It hurt. It just did. Things are different now than what my thirteen year old self experienced. She’d be devastated.’

a.k.a The Diary Library”

~thank you, brandie~

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TBD Submission: Kate

so happy to receive submissions beyond my own. glad you felt like sharing, kate!

Name: Kate
Date: October 18th, 2016 (Tue)
I’ve been thinking a lot about what we all discussed in group about making meaningful connections. Can I really make those connections with others or are they something that happens by chance and not of my own accord? Do I really have any say in what happens in my life or is this all a big Sims like game to God? I wish I knew my place and how I can be better and grow and be useful and of a sane, silent mind. Half the time I’m in an internal frenzy while hiding behind a calm demeanor. I don’t want to be that way anymore. I want to be able to scream, yell, cry etc. when the time calls for it. I don’t want to sit by and let things I don’t like happen.

Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the hearts of others– it only changes yours
– Shannon L. Alder

~thank you, kate~

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TBD Submission: Johnny

Johnny has felt like such a voice in this project for so long… excited to receive his second submission!

“Wednesday Dec 16, 2016

Roommates dropped a bomb on me today. Roomie #2 is having a quarter life crisis and felt she had no control over her life, thus has chosen to join the Navy. I took it particularly hard because this is the first time in eight years I felt as if I had a home. Not living in my sister or grandma’s spare bedrooms (which were really just laundry rooms) or living with folks I didn’t really care for. We sit around and make long term plans, talk about opening businesses together, pitching in together to buy a house for all three of us. She said she was happy with what we had. Then bam! All those little plans gone. I’m sure she just wants to use the money to go forth for their own plans. Can’t open businesses and buy houses with imaginary fun bucks after all.

I’m just upset over the loss of the dynamic. Plus I was happy. I rarely genuinely am happy with living situation since I lost my home in 09. But dammit. I was happy.”

~thank you, Johnny~

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TBD Submission: Alexa

This beautiful entry deserves to be read in full. Click the image to enlarge.

“Hello my names Alexa. I discovered throwback diary the beginning of September and it made my heart swell up with some form of awe. Here I was thinking I was crazy for being as enthralled with journaling as I am. I heard your stories and you captured so elegantly what I’ve always thought since I began journaling: we’re all the same creatures, we all have the same emotions, and we all need to stop feeling so isolated from one another. I agree that we could all use each other’s experiences and lessons to learn something ourselves. Our world is a community and we should treat each other as such.
Now on to my submission”

Alexa's entry: "I don't want someone to die to teach me the lesson
Alexa’s entry: “I don’t want someone to die to teach me the lesson that I don’t always need to push people away. That I can trust. That it’s okay.

~thank you, Alexa, for sharing so openly~

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TBD Submission: Johnny

This is great: Johnny and I have been “conversing” solely through YouTube comments.
screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-1-19-15-pmAnd now he’s made the brave step to journal-owner…and to submitter! I love the nod to potential snoopers. 😉 And entries about dreams are the best ones to rediscover years later.

“Hello Caroline…I lack a means of taking a picture of my journal, I have no cell phone camera, or digital camera so I’ll just transcribe it here!

‘Nov. 5 2016
I had a dream the other night after watching a movie. It was about a sweet elderly homeless person named Mimi and her friendships with actors who came to the laundry mat to which she lived. (Queen Mimi, check it out who-might-be-snooping). One of the people she befriended was none other than Zach Galafinakis, who ended up footing the bill for her to live in a comfortable apartment not far from her favorite spot in the world, the laundry mat. In my dream, Zach hears that my cat, who had recently passed was ill and decided to foot the vet care needed to save him. I guess his kind heart sparked it in my brain that night, hoping some one would have come and helped save the day.

Funny thing though, I feel like he would have done it too. Great guy.'”

~thank you, Johnny~

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TBD Submissions: Libbet

Listen to Libbet read her account of being in New York on September 11, 2001. From exiting the subway, learning what had happened, not knowing where to turn, to finding a way back home and starting some attempt at processing the experience.

click here to listen if player is not showing

From her journal, September 12, 2001.

~thank you, Libbet~

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TBD Submissions: Madeline

A response to the April 27 + 28 1996 entry. Shared with permission.

“Hi Caroline,
A bit of background: I believe I began to struggle with depression at age 13. At that time, I briefly saw my first therapist. This was preceded by years of anxiety in childhood. When I was in elementary school, I was treated for physical symptoms (stomach ache, fainting), but not the anxiety itself.
I wrote these entries when I was 16.

Madeline's diary
“I’ve attached a picture of my (most plain-looking) journal, in which I wrote the entires.”

‘June 25, 2006
I feel like something is missing. Like it’s that absence that triggers my episodes. But I don’t know what it is. I’m desperate for something that is unknown even to me. I just want to find it, but I have no idea where to look.

‘June 26, 2006
Will S. died today in a car accident. We used to be friends when we were little. I’ve known him since we were five. Why did God choose him? He was depressed. Maybe God thought he deserved to be happy again. Where is he now? What is he thinking? Is he aware of what happened? Does he even know he’s dead? Is he in heaven with God?

I feel that missing thing again. I feel like I need to hold onto something or else I’ll fly off, disappear, something. I need to hold on to something until I can stop thinking. But I can’t sleep.

Today I needed to get away, so I got in the car and drove for about a half hour. Way out through the country. Finally I turned around and came home. Mom called and seemed really suspicious of me and my mood. I’ve been so weird lately. I don’t know what’s going on with me. I feel so unlike myself. I want it to go away.’

Caroline, thanks again for this project. I’m very moved by it.
Best, Madeline”

~thank you, Madeline. I, and others, are very moved by your contribution~

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