I looked around my room where some familiar and unfamiliar objects were equally carefully placed and thoughtlessly strewn. I am a bit of a pack rat – a step below hoarder as I can throw things out, it just takes me a long time to work up to it. I got up from my bed and walked to my closet first and opened the door to a tiny closet packed to the gills with clothes and shoes and a few boxes. I started dragging things out carefully before breaking down and completely ransacking my closet and then the rest of my bedroom.
The room felt oddly familiar even though I didn’t recognize most of it. It definitely felt like something I might have decorated and had some familiar objects. At least in ten years basic habits haven’t changed for me. I still left random piles of cloths around my room and I could pretty easily figure out which pile was clean clothes and which was dirty. I had a wall of books and collectible knick-knacks, though a lot were clearly referencing pop culture icons or movies or books that I now know nothing about and will add them to my list of things to research.
I found my stack of journals looking mostly chronological in a leather ottoman sitting under the one window in my bedroom. My most recent ones were on top. My beloved friends Teddy, Jennifer, William, and Aunt Sally all looked up at me from the ottoman in their color coordinated composition book glory. They were the most familiar things in my room. I gathered the five notebooks into my arms and hugged them. Five? I looked down at my notebooks. I always had four journals at once not five.
It was something I started when I was getting into puberty. It felt strange discussing different topics with the same journal when I first started noticing boys. Somethings I preferred to tell only a female best friend, while other topics would be better for a male best friend, or a trusted cool aunt. Jennifer, the pink notebook, was who I’d confide in about girl stuff, like crushes, my appearance and insecurities, things that only another woman going through growing pains might understand. Teddy, the brown notebook, was the equivalent of a male best friend. He was a safe space for me to talk about my non girly interests that someone like Jennifer just wouldn’t get, like sports or comic books and such. It was a bit stereotypical but at the time it made sense to my pubescent mind and I just stuck with it over the years. Then there was William, the blue notebook, where I would pour out my heart replaying interactions with guys I wanted. What I said and what I should have said or wished I had said. And last I had Aunt Sally, the green notebooks. Sometimes I needed adult advice but didn’t want to actually talk to an adult about it. So I’d write it out and figure out what my “cool Aunt Sally” would have told me I should do. As I got older I wrote less to Aunt Sally then I did as a teen.
The green notebooks were far more scattered in my ottoman than the pink, brown, and blue. For every four or five pink notebooks there was maybe one green. But I looked down at the five notebooks in my arms, there was a purple one as well. I glanced down into the ottoman and saw a total of two other purple journals in there that were introduced much later in the past 10 years.
My oldest journals from childhood started on the left and worked their way through high school and college, and then into my 20s and apparently my 30s. I carefully placed all the notebooks except for the purple down onto the other journals in the ottoman. I opened the first page of the purple journal to see the name Thomas neatly written on the first page and the date August 21, 2016.