Friday, 20 May 2011

Dear Diary

Recently I have diving into my memories in a big way: trying to come to terms with some, reclaiming others, uncovering ones, which had slipped into the depths of my mind, hiding from me. There is a lot of my past, which I am still dealing with, those memories (often   still open wounds) are nearly as fresh as the days the injuries occurred. I am used to reliving them when they jump out to taunt me. However, whilst doing this memory work through Finding Your Voice, I am realising that there  are many positive memories, which haven’t seen the light of day for a long time, which I had totally forgotten about, not being able to access them because of the dominating negativity. So when the first flash of a happy memory occurred, I began to wonder if there were more such moments. I dug out my box of old diaries and began to read the one belonging to  the sixteen year old me. Oh my goodness, that diary was one of such celebration, such a thirst for life, sprinkled with eagerness, the need to learn and  full to the brim with connection. Of course it contained pages of insecurities, especially of loneliness and helplessness, but these were not dominant, they were just there, being dealt with- the treasures of life were in the forefront. I was  eager to record each new experience; each new song or poem or book or television series, pages and pages of friendship declarations and snippets of magazine articles that captured my imagination. Sixteen year old Milena has a lot to teach me. 

I looked into the diaries of recent years, all written in one colour, no pictures, a few recordings of memorable occasions but no zest for the every day. Instead such seriousness and a lot of the trials of adulthood, a lot of over thinking and over analysing. The insecurities and worries weighed so heavily. I know life changes, I know I can’t avoid the adult everyday life, but surely there is much more to my diary writing. I longed to read sixteen year old Milena’s diary, it filled me with warmth. I didn’t have any such feeling looking at the adult Milena’s writing. I don’t need to step back into time nor linger too much in nostalgia, but I do need to reclaim that spirit, that connection to life, that dealing with hard stuff and moving on to celebrate the goodness. So I have made myself a promise, from now on I shall write in different colours, I shall cut and stick, I shall make sure that those lovely times get fully recorded. I won’t ignore the bad times because writing them down is therapy for me, I need to write in order to understand myself and others, but I will make more of a concerted effort to move on because life goes on, as Noah and the Whale so brilliantly sing. 
Something else I realised when reading those early diaries was that my core passions haven’t changed all that much, I have added to them but a lot of the same simple pleasures still make my heart sing. I looked at the front covers and remembered just how much of a stationary addiction I had then, how much pleasure I took into choosing new journals, new pens and so forth. So you know what, I treated myself to a stationary splurge on the simply amazing Papernation website. My parcel arrived yesterday and I was in heaven. Honestly, I couldn’t stop smiling at those pretty items, ready to make them mine. The photo at the beginning of this piece is of a part of that order. I realised that I deny myself so much; because of money issues, because I deem other things more important to invest in. But stationary makes me so happy! Lesson learned. 

Then I read about my experiences in Germany during the many summer holidays I spent there, and the sights and smells and tastes came flooding back. I don’t make an effort to purchase German food, but why not if the sheer thought of  Milchschnitten ( the lightest honey based biscuit filled with a light cream filling), a supply of which  my Omi always kept in her fridge, ready for me to snaffle, makes me smile. With the wonders of the internet I could fulfill this wish easily, with a few clicks  I placed an order with the German Deli. It has just arrived and I feel excited! It does all sound like a bit of retail therapy but I promise you it isn’t, it is reclaiming good and honest joy. In those moments I  do feel like a joy warrior.

(My very talented friend Lis of Dandelion Seeds and Dreams sent me this card)


  1. Isn't it funny how despite all the stuff that happened back then, there was lots of joy there too. I am reclaiming the determination that my younger self had big time at the minute. My teenage self was freaking determined. And so am I know. I have been digging lately in diaries too, like you I've kept one since forever.

  2. A Joy Warrior! What a fabulous phrase! I think you have the potential to be an exemplary joy warrior, Milena. I truly do. Filling not only yourself with joy but sallying forth to conquer the world with it. Go for it! (especially if it requires a constant supply of gorgeous stationery...) :)

  3. I love that your curiosity and bravery propelled you to reading those old diaries and reconnect with the spirit of the girl you were, the woman you still are underneath the layer of adult worry and woe! This is so exciting to read ... I too love/loved stationary and how marvelous to realize such simple pleasures can elevate one's mood and actually can be the revolutionary of Joy Warrior celebrating life!

    Ah, dear Milena, I am so SO comforted to have you in the ranks. And now I am thinking about the joy of a simple bar of fragrant soap and how I used to say "I may not have much money, but I can afford to buy myself nice soap." Off to the market!

    I need to get back to FYV ... I find comforting (?) that you too see the need to work through the darker memories in order to access all the happy ones. I know my are there ... just under a veil of sadness.

    xo Lis

  4. Stationery addict and joy warrior - way to go, my friend x I am loving the look of your new stash.