I've kept diaries countless times in my life, I'm sort-of a professional diary-starter. My very first diary was started to chronicle my life during the Gulf War. Yes, a grade schooler living in the San Francisco suburbs set out to document a conflict happening halfway across the world, believing it would one day be unearthed and treated as an Important Historical Relic/Great Literary Achievement.
In middle school, my diaries transformed into Sweet Valley Twins meets Lois Duncan* fanfic, wherein I re-imagined myself as a svelte blonde with eyes the color of the Pacific Ocean who solved horrific crimes with my beauty. The entries almost always devolved into complete insanity that, to this day, I don't have the heart to burn even though they're only seen when my friend Mark visits and digs them out of my piles to laugh at.**
Even though I used my diaries in weirdo ways, I still loved cracking a fresh notepad spine and getting down to business. When I was a little older and had collected a few experiences worthy of a sharing, I'd listen to Tori Amos as I barfed my angst onto the page. I partially credit those sessions with keeping me sane throughout high school, and I honestly can't quantify how important that shit was.
According to market researchers at Otherlines.tv, I'm not alone in my obsession. Apparently eighty-three percent of 16- to 19-year-old girls who took the survey said they keep a personal pen-and-paper diary, which is up from sixty-nine percent in the 90s. Honestly, I would've thought the reverse — I guess Instagramming an overcast sky isn't a suitable stand-in for writing about the unbearable sadness of an unrequited crush.
Despite the advent of social media, girls are spilling their hearts (and maybe some math proofs? who knows, I told you I was bad at diaries!) into these magical locked books of secrets. Those numbers might surprise the olds who think young women spend all their time tweeting about what they ate for lunch or who they boned in the janitor's closet. Much like how some people are enraged about the non-stop blow jobs teenage girls aren't giving, seventy-one percent of girls say they post stuff on Facebook and Twitter, but ninety-five percent said they keep their "deepest emotions" offline. There are plenty of folks my age (myself included) who don't boast that level of sophistication when it comes to Facebook filtering. Or maybe we just gave up and are now WUPHFing, "I had pancakes for dinner CRAZZZYYYY #justdoinme" because it just doesn't matter anymore.