Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oh, Experience.

I almost fell apart laughing last week when I was looking through Mia's desk trying to help her find something. If you don't know every intricate detail of my life (which, I truly hope you don't), then you might not know/remember that Mia's desk is my old desk from growing up. My parents were wise and bought really sturdy furniture that thankfully we've been able to pass onto our children. I love that that piece of history is being passed on. What I wasn't expecting to find though was a real piece of my history tucked away in Mia's desk.  I know for certain there are more -- I just don't know where -- but in one of the drawers of this desk was a journal I kept from 1994-1996, the years in which I was in 6th-8th grade, and oh my...were they ridiculous.  REE-dic-YOU-luss.  Like, awfully funny, and just as equally embarrassing.

I initially opened up to this page, and almost peed my pants.

Life was hard for this sister in the middle of three brothas

It sounds like a pretty typical story from 1994.  We don't mean to, and we don't realize it, but we somehow get in this me against the world mentality. I shared it with both Brer Luke and Brer Jackson and we all had a chuckle.  Ain't nothing like 18 years of experience to add some perspective to that story!  And now, hand me a tissue while I shed tears that it's ACTUALLY been eighteen years since that occurred.

The next one was from 1996.  Oh, for shame.

"6 notes!!!"
I love, loathe, and cringe that I was so obsessed with my gal-pal friendships.  But, I was entering my adolescence  and friends were such a big deal.  (BTW, Erin, if you're out there, trust me that I have very fond memories of our friendship and am way thankful we were such good friends back in the day!)

Part of me was ridiculously overjoyed to have found this journal.  Now, I could read and remember and relive all the silly, excruciatingly awkward moments I captured from the tender ages of 12-14 and therapeutically laugh out loud at how simple my life was then in comparison to now.  How could I not want that?

Let's also discuss how much my penmanship improved in about 2 years. If only my handwriting was that easy to read now! Blame it on the rush, rush, rush of life with little ones.

The other part of me was so embarrassed and also a bit turned off by how, as I put it, "shallow," my self-dialogue was.  I was pretty naive, and that's not always a good thing. I was very focused on petty things.  I had the vocabulary and the brains to describe it, but I was seriously lacking in maturity.  [See Erikson "Identity vs. Role Confusion" (Adolescence, ages 13-19)] Who wants that??

Reading various parts of this journal (and I couldn't bring myself to all of it--some of it was just too mortifying) reminded me that we're not all there yet, and we never will be--at least in this earthly life. 

If I could snatch my journals from college (which are much pithier, as I spent far more time on the phone or with friends, or yes, even studying than I did journaling), I would probably come away with similar sentiments -- "Wow, gurrrrl, you really didn't know very much, did you??"

Sometimes experience is painful, awkward, or confusing.  Sometimes, it's pure delight.  Or a mix of the two.  Or just somewhere in the middle. Whichever way it turns out, all I'm going to say is I'm thankful for the perspective that comes on the other side.

Next time you find yourself in a pickle, remember this: Your life just got a whole lot more interesting, because you were presented with a challenge you had to navigate, and you learned a whole lot of something about yourself and about life.  You've not arrived, but, you're getting closer. And stronger. And hopefully, wiser, my friend.  We don't always get it right the first time, but oh, how sweet it is when we do the next!

I want to get back into journaling.

Do you journal? If so, do you allow yourself to go back and read what you wrote, or is it a closed-book once it's written? How long have you journaled, and how does it help you?


Lindsay said...

This. Is. Hilarious.

Tiffany Hope said...

I journal, and my blog is kinda my journal right now which is kind of bad because I put too much out there of myself for the masses. I love re-reading what I have written- I think we learn so much about ourselves.