Ranting in my journal: my everlasting Anne Frank era 

May 10, 2023 — by Sunny Cao
Photo by Sunny Cao
Sunny’s diary entries writing about her travels
How a childhood obsession turns into a life-long(hopefully) journey.

Who’s used up every single page of one of those lined notebooks before? I certainly rarely do. I’m sure that I have around 20 notebooks either forgotten, discarded or lost somewhere in my shelves, each with a single word written in it, never to be seen again. 

But there is one notebook that did not meet the same fate as the others: my first diary. It was a dainty notebook decorated with flowers on the cover and corny inspirational quotes inside. 

My diary obsession started when my mom was trying to get me to read more historical nonfiction books to be more “educated,” so she bought me the “The Diary of a Young Girl” autobiography by Anne Frank.

At first, I rolled my eyes at the thought of that idea — as of course, which 10-year-old would want to read a long historical nonfiction novel in their free time? However, once I started reading the book, I found that it was actually so relatable. My 10-year-old mind thought if Anne Frank could write a diary and become famous, I can too! (I mean, you can’t blame a kid for having dreams, right? And never mind what happened to her) So then it started. 

I felt so silly writing “Dear Diary” into my notebook for the first time, but nevertheless went on to rant about random events at school and how annoyed I was at my parents for not letting me bake a cake. After 20 minutes, I went back to my diary to vent about how annoyed I was when my mom got mad at me for getting the measurements wrong in the ingredients. This hobby went on, and before I knew it, I nearly finished the whole notebook. Even so it took me two years to finish it, (as I eventually got past the honeymoon phase, I stopped writing every day). Since then, I have continued my hobby and am now on my second notebook. 

It is a super entertaining pastime for me to read back on my earlier entries and watch my maturity progress through the years. From the unrecognizable chicken-scratch handwriting to the slightly more formulated and neat rants, I had grown up writing my experiences on paper. The things I would rant about changed as well: from childish complaints about annoying parents or unfortunate school events to thoughts about current events and personal understandings. 

My diary became a safe place for me to share my thoughts and complaints. One quote from Anne Frank’s diary that has still stuck with me to this day is “paper is more patient than people,” and after penning my own diary, I can truly resonate with that quote. Paper offers a type of empathy like no other; it will never judge you for being too mean, weak or unreasonable. There’s just no way you can talk to a person without expecting an opinion on what you’ve just said, and it isn’t like I can talk to my parents about how annoying I found them sometimes. 

So, to anyone that’s feeling alone, I highly recommend picking up a habit of diary keeping or journaling. Even if you might not become famous for it, I’m positive that you will still be able to find a special kind of comfort and companionship like no other. 

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