July 25, 2017
advice articles


As many of you know, I’ve been seeing a counselor at school for the past few weeks to help cope with some recent issues I’ve had to deal with. He (the counselor) said that talking about some traumatic instances from my childhood might help, so I’m here sharing one of the most awful experiences I’ve had to endure.

Right now, I’m trying desperately to keep a journal, but it doesn’t feel right. No matter how much I force myself, it only ends up feeling forced and not authentic. As a teenager, right when I started the coming out process, I kept a journal religiously so it didn’t make any sense why I couldn’t do it now. Back then, I called it my nolujar (j-o-u-r-n-a-l rearranged). It had EVERYTHING. Homework assignments I thought were cool. The way I felt about other people at my school (especially boys). And how I dealt with my family, particular emphasis on my dad.

One day, when I was 16, my dad was on the phone and needed a sheet of paper to write something down. He went into my room and I, like an idiot, had left my nolujar out on my desk. When I started it, I made sure to keep the first page blank just in case it might deter anyone who wanted to snoop. He ripped out that sheet and just before the front cover closed, he realized that it was more than just a spiral notebook. Luckily, he didn’t read it then since he was on the phone and had gotten his sheet of paper, but he made a mental note to read it when he was done.

Thankfully, he forgot to pick it up after his phone call, but unfortunately, when I came home that day it reminded him to read it.

“That reminds me, go get your journal. I want to read it.”

“You want to read my journal?”

“Yeah, I saw some shit like ‘God hates me’.”

Luckily, my mom was in the next room, overhearing what he was saying and immediately intervened. She came up with some excuse to go to the grocery store. At that minute. Right then and there. Apparently, whatever she had to buy couldn’t wait and she needed dad’s help. Before they left, she pulled me aside and said, “Get rid of it. Don’t just throw it away, you know he’ll make you get it out of the trash. Get rid of it.”

As soon as they pulled out of the driveway and drove out of sight, I grabbed my journal and ran to the burn pile in our backyard. It was mid-autumn, so the weather was perfect for a white tshirt and a pair of cutoff jeans and my hair was almost down to my shoulders. My black tennis shoes had mismatched shoelaces; one was rainbow and one was lime green, and my soles were scribbled all over in phrases I had written in different colored Sharpies. In one hand, I held my journal, in the other, a lighter.

I tossed my nolujar on top of the pile and opened it to the first page: the title page. It read, ‘The Story of a Fucked Up Teenager’. I was proud of it. It had hundreds of pages of my life, spiral-bound and filled with the shit that overflowed from my angsty teenage heart. Like how hard it had been to come out to Heather Crutchfield, the first person I ever came out to. How cool I thought Ms. Kummer, my high school math teacher, was and how I discovered I had a knack for mathematics, especially geometry. And on the last page, a goodbye note I had written to my journal about why I had to destroy it, and how much I hated my father for forcing me to do so.

I lit the bottom corner of the first page, and the flame immediately took. The wind started to pick up, and the pages started flipping quickly as each of them caught on fire, giving me a quick glimpse of everything before it was gone. I remember crouching down trying to hide my face, partially from the smoke, mostly trying to fight back the onslaught of tears. After a few minutes, all that was left was a metal coil and ash.

He made me destroy something I was proud of, something that was the essence of me at that point in my life. And I don’t think I’ll ever forgive him.

About Will

Will is a recent graduate from Florida State University and transplant to Los Angeles who makes the occasional video on YouTube documenting his life with his fiancé and German Shepherd.


  1. Wow, Will that is just horrible! I felt so upset while reading it. You’re such a good writer! It was like I was reading a bestseller.

  2. Wow. Just wow.
    I really don’t know what else to say right now

  3. Not gunna lie – I cried.

  4. I have a journal, it only has one page with words on it. On that page I talked about how I felt like I was breaking down and that my parents played a big part in it. I used to keep my journal under my bed. Well we were getting new doors so my mom cleaned my room because I was away for so reason. She did move my journal but I’m not sure if she read it. It still scares me to think that she did.

  5. Wow. Will I loved your nolujar story, it was like sitting in front of you listening to you tell me the story. I think that it is so awful that you had to destroy/burn it like that. I had a journal/diary (or two) when i was growing up and even now I go back and read through some of the pages and memories sometimes. I think that it’s sad that you will never be able to do that. Parents can be our biggest angels and supporters and then you have those parents that can totally flip our lives upside down, many don’t realize their impact on our lives in either case. I am a daily viewer of Shep689 and so enjoy all of the vlogs. Happiest wishes and blessings to you & RJ on your engagement and wishing so many more years of happiness to you both…and Dobby is just such a cuties and a joy to watch in the vlogs. 🙂

  6. Will, this story makes me so sad! It was brave of you to share it and I’m glad you did; I’m sure each of us can identify with it to some degree. Here’s to improvement on raising our own kids some day!

  7. I was Imagining the teenage Will when he was burning his journal he was very proud of. I felt my heart covered in gray clouds. It’s a really sad story.

  8. Will, thanks for sharing this story with us. Just imagining something so precious to you being destroyed made ​​me cry. I’m sorry that your childhood was so hard, but seeing how happy you are now makes me believe that my life may also improve.

  9. Wow its so hard. one thing i can thank god is that i didnt grew up with my dad. i know that it would be even harder then it was.

  10. Hi, Will! I’m not really sure why i’m going to post this comment. I hope its not stupid. I just feel like I should. I’m really moved by what you said here. My father has done some things that I hate that he has done. I really don’t like that my mom allows it. I can kind of compare her to the bus driver in your essay about being bullied. I feel really alone. YouTube and the online community are kind of what I look up to nowadays. I just wanted to thank you for being a part of it. I really do appreciate it. So, Thanks.. (:

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