Dear Diary,

Firstly, D-dawg, you should know that I’m really petrified of monkeys with blue balls. Also, I am a poet.

“I don’t do diaries.” —me, a year ago. Why not? you may have asked. Because diaries do me, I would have answered. Just kidding. I wouldn’t have said that. I would have said something really thought-provoking and cool. Isn’t that how diaries are supposed to be? Super witty and in-the-know, like the narration in a Hilary Duff movie? Aren’t I supposed to be impressing you here with my musings on my daily life?

A few years ago, we were instructed to keep a journal for three weeks for a school project. The catch was that we would have to submit these diaries to our teacher, who would read them and respond to what we had written, with points off for anything that smacked of dysfunction. (Most of my entries were about how fainting-goat videos will never not be funny. So I got a B, for badass, obviously.)

Some of my classmates were committed diarists who came up with something to write every single day. I have always had a knack for language; I even do spoken-word poetry. But every time I turned to a new page in that journal, I froze. Do you have any idea how intimidating a blank piece of paper is? Especially when you have to write in it. And you know that someone is going to read it. And judge it. That diary was my first experience with writer’s block.

“There is no writer’s block when it comes to documenting your emotions,” one classmate told me. “Don’t critique your writing—just spew,” said another. I wasn’t able to take their advice; I struggled with being honest to a blank page. Which is how my hatred of diaries was formed.

But I intend to get over that hatred with you, dear Diary. For one thing, I know that you won’t dock me points for dysfunction. In fact, I’m going to name you “My Dysfunctions,” and spew them all out for the world to see. I will trust you, Diary, with my immeasurably fascinating feelings, neuroses, inner children, moments of shame and doubt, projection, self-loathing, misanthropy, and self-delusion, because I know that that’s the stuff that makes me normal. ♦