The article entitled “Burning the Diaries” by Dominique Browning has really made me think about what it would be like if I made the decision to burn all of my diaries, and ultimately lose years worth of thoughtful and meaningful writing. I would definitely not destroy my diaries because for me, they represent pieces of myself, my own thoughts and feelings over time, and how I have come to terms with life situations as they have been thrown my way. Diaries are important because they are essentially memories collected over time, and looking back and reading my diary entries over has helped me see how far I have come and what I have learned through the years. Even though Browning ultimately decided to burn her diaries because she felt she had done all she could and made all she could of the material in her diaries, she did offer some valuable insight into why journaling, or writing in a diary, is so helpful. As stated by Browning in the article, “…but there certainly was — and has always been — a form of therapy in keeping journals. It is a way of self-soothing, as an adult, a way of rubbing the satin corner of your blankie against your finger when you’re anxious about separation, or too worked up to fall asleep.” I absolutely agree with this statement and, for me, I feel as though this is a huge reason why I would not decide to burn my diaries.
Whenever I have been stressed, upset, or had trouble sleeping I have turned to my diaries as a means to sort through my own inner thoughts. Getting my feelings out on paper has worked wonders for me and made me into the person I am today. I have become better able to sort through my emotions, which in turn has made me more empathetic to other’s feelings and also enabled me to articulate myself better to others. Aside from losing years worth of memories, I would potentially be giving up on journaling further in the future if I destroyed my diaries. Due to the fact that keeping a diary has been so therapeutic for me, I would not want to give up something that has been such a valuable learning tool for me. Over the years, I have learned from what I have gone through, and as a result I am now a much stronger person. I have held on to my past journals and diaries by keeping them safely tucked away in what I refer to as my “forever box”, which is a large storage bin that I store my important memories (letters, pictures, etc.) from over the years. These memories not only include my former diaries, but also things from my childhood and grade school days. I like to re-visit these items occasionally so that I can reminisce and remember what I was like way back when and how much I have grown. The diaries are an important and incredibly special part of my memories as they hold huge sentimental value to me. Therefore, I would never make the choice to eliminate the diaries from my life.