Monday, July 23, 2007

Dusty, old journals everywhere

How do I need thee?

The last two decades of my life are sitting three feet from me, in a cardboard box, among the towering piles of clutter we call storage around here.

Years of torment, self-torture, suffering as a teenager, and a single young woman lie dormant in one medium-sized box.

I pick one up, read the dates, start reading the entries. They are full of sadness, full of gloom with sparkles of the sunniest memories my mind can imagine. There is something joyful inside me whenever I think back to remarkable heartbreaks.

But, do I need to relive those memories to move forward? As I pour through book after book, I am realizing that I am forgetting things that used to haunt my life so very much. How I loved that one boy, a family friend, so much and how I never truly understood why he didn’t like me. How I always felt alone, even when I wasn’t. And, then, there were the mistakes. The dreadful, what-did-I-do, mistakes?

I could drop those journals, all of them, in the trash and be done with those memories. After all, how many memories have I forgotten because they were never written down? Perhaps the best memories, the most vivid ones, are ones that the mind will automatically remember.

Maybe I’m holding on to something by holding on to these journals, which until blogging entered my life were never really given much thought. I knew only that they were glimpses of my past, easy page-flips to take a stroll back in time, to the times of adversity and struggle that brought me to this very spot right this very moment in this old city attic.

On one hand, it’s great to be able to see clearly the road that made me who I am today. On the other, I’m already me, why do I need to know how I got here? Nothing will change by re-reading these journals, right?


Dana a/k/a Sunshine said...

What a great post!!! I can so relate to this....I'm going to save your blogas a favorite and come back when I have more time..but for now, I did wnat to comment on this post.

I too have journals from my younger days and like you, they are full of pain and mistakes and happiness too. The things that made me who I am today. i wonder if I should keep them or toss them and its been something I strugle with. I also have kept emails between my very best friend and I fro years!!! They are starting to become cumbersome but yet they somehow offer me some security to keep them? I can't explain it...I may blog or do a post about it one day..just haven't taken the time to do it. Anyway, I loved your post and I'm glad somebody else out there did the same thing as me and kept stuff like that....

Leah said...

Oy! I could have written this post. I laid my journals end to end once, in chronological order, and they ended up being something like 15 feet long! And they weigh a TON. That is a lot of memories and thoughts. I know that one day I will let them go... but I'm not ready yet.

Nell @ Casual Friday Everyday said...

Isn't it amazing what our minds choose to remember? I have the funniest, seemingly insignifigant memories mixed in with huge life changing ones, too.

Journals are a funny thing. I have a couple from when I was a teen and it always reminds me how sad I was as a teen. How happy I am that I'm in a totally different place in life now.

Great post.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I love my old journals almost as much as I love my children. They contain me, but they are not me. They contain everyone I have ever loved, but not in their entirety. As memories become foggy, I wish I had written more.