I don’t remember when was the last time I wrote a journal entry. I used to have a LiveJournal and keep a diary there, jotting down petty, mundane things that happened in my life, from two Christian boys visiting my apartment to read me the Bible to the bomb threat at my college on the day of the final exams. I have since, it seems, forgotten how to sit down and reflect on things like that. With social media being virtually the only means of communication for my generation especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, I feel like I’m caught in the hell of instantness, the real-time-ness of facts and emotion vomited all over our eternal Timelines.
As a queer, social justice critic, on the other hand, I’ve written quite a few dozens of articles for publications (in Japanese). It has become my second nature to write professional critique——that is, logically and based on facts——of discourses around gender and sexuality. The texts in my articles always end up looking almost exactly like that of an academic paper. Very reader-unfriendly. Very inaccessible.
What those two separate trajectories of my writing style mean is that, I no longer sit down and ponder on my life before hitting QWERTY. I either jump right in to write a lengthy, academic paper-esque article, or tweet away what’s on my mind or before my eyes.
That is not to say I write garbage. My articles and tweets are not garbage. They have helped me shape my understanding of the world and I’m sure they have occasionally helped others think about social issues from a slightly different angle. At least I hope so. But I feel empty, even numb sometimes.
I’m a whole human, with good and bad traits. I am not an automated machine producing social justice texts. I am not a witness of things that happen before my eyes. I am not a litmus test that turns red and blue depending on how politically correct a given topic is. I am my life. I am my wholeness.
Keeping a diary is not an adult thing to do, at least in contemporary Japanese culture. It’s considered one of the things only teenage girls do beside using more than three colors to take notes during classes. But maybe a diary is just what I need to remind myself to sometimes sit down and self-reflect. By going over things that have happened on the day and how I feel about them, I feel like I can actually own my life, instead of living a life of a side character of someone else’s life. With my mental state being a bit cloudy these days, I think I could really use that.
So, this is page one of my middle-age diary. I don’t think I can yet do this in Japanese, the language I’ve written many articles in, as I’m too much used to writing professionally in it. It’s in times like this that I feel grateful that I spoke two languages. I can just switch to the other language to kind of escape the mental cage. Plus, I’ve always felt more comfortable talking about my personal life and emotion in English than in Japanese, for some unknown reason (if you’re my Twitter follower, you know how I talk a lot about my personal issues in English). Maybe after some practice, I hope I can able to conjure up courage to open up a little more in Japanese as well.
Well, a diary. What to write about?
The guy who had spent the past couple of weeks flirting with me online, giving me the strong impression that he wanted to become my boyfriend, and turned out today to be a horndog who checks his gay app messages multiple times before even reading my text message?
My niece whose landlord is expected to visit and check the broken pipes in her shower room tomorrow morning, which inevitably left her only few hours before bed to clean up the dirty, messy room (imagine such a room — multiply that by 10) and ended up needing my help?
One of the regulars at my bar who sometimes makes homophobic jokes but is a dedicated, caring medical professional at a mental institution and a working mother / survivor of domestic violence?
Hmm…… maybe the last one will make a good journal topic, I guess?
Anyways, it’s 7 in the morning now and I’m supposed to wake up at noon today. So, wait for a real journal entry. It’ll come.