Only Good Girls Keep Diaries…

When did I have time to write all that?!?!!

If only good girls keep diaries, then I must be a very good girl.

“When did I ever have time to write this much?” I said to myself when, in another rainy-day induced fit of house cleaning, I uncovered over a decade’s worth of journals and diaries. Most are thick enough to be worthy of the label “tome.” Few contain content worthy of any label besides “meaningless nonsense.”

I can’t remember ever not having a book to write stuff down in. In my tween and early teen years I keep “diaries.” While most kids would sneak a flashlight under their covers to read Treasure Island (or US Weekly?) I’d make a tent and take an erasable pen to a notebook. Each entry began with the ceremonious “Dear Diary.” (I know. Right? Gag me with a spoon.)

At 16, with a driver’s license pending, college nearing,  and hormones raging, I decided daily happenings in my life might become significant enough to start treating my “personal” notebooks more seriously.

Good-bye, diary. Hello journal.

Good-bye faux letters that droned on and on about the boy who threw crayons at me in art class. Hello mini faux essays with an imposed sense of the profound… about the boy who studied with me before each calculus exam.

As a scholar, journals accounted for a third of my resources on any research project. At times it was a tedious process — reading the day-to-day accounts and musings of someone with whom I had no direct personal relationship, hoping to find gem of a detail that would prove a revelation in the history of art… Mostly, I learned what my subject liked to eat for breakfast…

In my own life, I make it a habit to sit down and read the pages of my most current journal. In doing so, I mostly discovered that meaningless nonsense is surprisingly revealing — there are life lessons to be gleaned from your unpublished, unedited, unmediated autobiography. Mistakes I made in dealing with challenging situations, mistakes I made in love, right life decisions, questionable life decisions — it was all there, laid out in my own words. My journal was my own handwritten guide to” what not to do.”

There are many reasons to keep a journal — for the sake of having memories, as a place to vent — but perhaps the best reason to have a journal is to have reminder that you’re constantly moving forward.

A journal helps you avoid repeating history...
A journal helps you avoid repeating history…
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We’re All Pretty, Pretty, Neurotic Princesses

Of late, I’ve found a kindred spirit in Cinderella.

Sure, I have neither an evil step-mother who locks me in an attic nor ugly step-sisters who steal my clothes and spill pizza grease on them, but I have my share of chores that keep me looking like I just rolled around in a cinder bin.

 

Every Cinderella needs her own set of seamstress mice

 

Mornings are spent makeupless in old jeans and a t-shirt running errands for the family while my mother recovers from her recent hip replacement. I race through grocery stores, power-mop the kitchen floor, dust away the cobwebs from the corners of the living room, transfer the laundry from the hamper to the washing machines, groom the dogs, and put two meals on the table while prepping the third for my return at night. The projects I’m working on have me on call 24-7, and the majority of what I accomplish during the day is done between blackberry emails on the run and conference calls from my compact-SUV. At night, I’m “training” and if I’m lucky, home in my sweats by 10PM.

In short, I’m like every other modern woman as she tries to make her way in life on her own two feet while contributing to her family’s overall well-being. There isn’t much in the way of glamor, but there isn’t much to complain about.

On the console table near my front door sits an invitation to a charity ball. The event is being organized by a woman whose generosity, strength, and heart I greatly admire, and who has recently emerged as a fairy god-mother of sorts. A little bit of sparkle is something to look forward to, especially in the name of a good cause. As for the Cinderella transformation, do you remember that scene in the Disney movie when all the worker mice team-up and create a ball-gown for Cinderella from scraps of material? Yea, I’ve got seamstress mice too. Rather than buy something new, my tailor is reviving a unique vintage piece. It is a recession after all, and I’m a big believer in “once couture, always couture.” A needle, some thread, a little bibbidi, bobbidi, boo, and I’m good to go.

Hopefully, I won’t leave a Ferragamo behind on the dance floor.

All these parallels got my friend Annie and I thinking: If the 21st century New Yorker edition of Cinderella looks like me, what would the some of the other princesses look like in today’s Grimm fairytale?

 

Grace (of "Will & Grace") is the modern Snow White, and we love her

 

Rapunzel is that girl that lets men walk all over her. She’s the one most likely to get back together with the jerk who dumped her. Because she spends most of the day locked away in her room/office, Rapunzel is bound to get into trouble when she’s partying away a Friday night. As she goes off to the bathroom to make-out with the bartender, her friends say “It’s no wonder her mother had to lock her in a tower!”

Snow White shares a flat with 3 gay guys. In fact, all of her friends are handsome gay guys who take her shopping and tell her she’s fabulous and that they can’t live without her. She stopped having girlfriends after her jealous best friend slept with her boyfriend. Snow often eats indiscriminately and feels bad about it later when she’s passed out on her sofa in an apple-turnover-induced food coma.

Sleeping Beauty is the girl we all hate because every guy hits on her and she’s totally oblivious. She has no idea how beautiful she is or how charming. Men stumble over themselves trying to buy her a drink. She’s nonchalant about dating because she never has to work to get asked out, but she doesn’t like to ruin a good night’s sleep by having a strange guy stay over.  All her friends secretly hope she has an eating disorder…