By Jazmine Ulloa
I picked up my pink, Pocahontas diary one day in January, and as my opening line, in jagged letters wrote: “I have six boyfriends, Andrew, Michael, Sean, Paul, Stephen and Mark.” I was just learning English. I meant to say crushes. But it was a bold declaration for a 7-year-old, and my family still makes fun of me for it.
For this very first official post, I was trying to think of the very best first sentence, something just as bold. But I kept coming up bare and then remembered that is how my collection of blank journals came to be stowed away in a flimsy cardboard box underneath my desk.
I used to carry some of them around with me in an old book bag, at least three or four notebooks with beautiful covers and crisp, white pages. I wanted to fill them up with words and thoughts and pieces of the days I always wanted to remember, but I never knew where to start.That intimidation came to an end five years ago when I met Brian in a small, rundown hostel in downtown Amsterdam. A close friend and I were sharing a bunk bed-filled room with him and 14 other strangers, but the three of us quickly got to talking and in less than 24 hours had trekked through parks and museums, jazz clubs and smoke shops.
As the sun set, we found ourselves sitting at the edge of one of the city’s canals, sharing headphones and swapping stories. He was about our age, in his early 20s, and backpacking on his own through Europe. He let me read an entry in his black notebook about his stop in Barcelona. I unzipped my book bag and showed him my untouched journals. “Shit, you are not writing the Bible,” he said. “Open it and write.”
And in my chicken scratch writing, I did. “Hello out there,” I said.
Here’s to the beginning.