I thought it would be a really great idea to read through old journals today. It wasn’t. It rarely is. I was super depressing (and depressed) in high school and college. My writing was filled with self-directed obscenities and hatred. I did not like who I was. I did not really like who anyone was -I was jealous of the normalcy I perceived around me and I turned that jealousy into anger. It was far easier to withdraw from and then blame the world for my problems than to risk the shame of rejection.
I was so convinced that I was unlovable, unlikable, unworthy of receiving compassion that I actively avoided friendships. In many passages, I proclaim my friends are not true friends; they will not help me when I am truly in need; they will not stand by when confronted with the truth of my instability. I was afraid of being different, weird and abnormal. I was afraid of being shunned for my depression and tendency toward self-harm. I did not want to let anyone become to close to me; I was afraid the truth would frighten them.
I didn’t trust anyone. I didn’t trust myself. I was comfortable by myself because it was my norm, even though I was often consumed by loneliness.
Reading the old entries was hard. I forgot how awful life felt. Even positive moments seemed twinged with doom.
I am not that person anymore, although I am aware part of her will always be inside me. I am confident in my relationships now. I am confident in my accomplishments. I even enjoy being lonely sometimes. I am more forgiving of my circumstances. I don’t have everything figured out, but I know I am much, much better than I was.
I want to give my former self a hug. I want to tell her everything will work out, that she is lovable, that she has worth. I want to give her support, a large cup of tea, a shoulder to cry on and an ear to rant into. I want to be her best friend.
I know it isn’t possible to go back and rectify the past. And I am certain I would not be myself today if I had not experienced those scary years.
So why do I hang on to the journals? Why have I moved them across the county and back? And why do I read them if they are so unnerving? I because throwing them away feels like disowning my prior self. It feels cruel. The past sucked and it hurt, but it is still a part of my history and I am not willing (yet) to let go. These journals are my proof that I am strong, that I can overcame rough shit and emerged compassionate and kind. If I could evolve beyond the drama and turmoil of my early life, I am capable of greatness.