When you are someone who journals, you have the great advantage of being able to go-back and answer that nagging question: Was I always like this?
I have begun exploring my old journals and while there are many in this world who would say that I am still a baby, a mere 37 years young, I believe that there is a wealth of information and experience to be mined from within their covers.
When I was eighteen years old, I felt like I was so old and so mature. There are valid reasons for this because, by my eighteenth year I had already lived what felt like several lifetimes and been-through an incredible amount of unusual and phantasmagorical life-experiences.
The following journal excerpt is from December 17, 1998 and is the very first entry in a new journal. It is incredible for me to read because it sounds like something I could have written last year.
As I explore my journals, I will be sharing excerpts that I find interesting. They will be in original form, non-edited and raw. One day I will put more meat to the content, but for now, I start with the bones.
Dec. 17, 1998
Sometimes I worry about my sanity. I am terribly confused. I no longer know what I believe in, what I like and dislike and very plainly, who I am. I find myself liking things and not liking things on the basis of the opinions of others. I also find myself not liking things just because they are liked and popular. I feel that if I like something that is popular I am saying that I am a crowd follower and cannot form my own opinions. I do not know how, but I have to discover myself again and find out who I really am. Unfortunately, I feel as though I have to hit absolute bottom before I can. It is too easy right now to simply ignore things and pretend things are alright. I have to feel, believe and know that it is absolutely necessary that I find myself.
The idea that, at eighteen, I felt that I had to try and “discover myself again,” boggles the mind. I see eighteen year old’s now and they are like babies, so young, innocent, and unaware. I thought I was a “worldly” eighteen year old, but I didn’t know jack. I was a baby like them once; I just didn’t know it.
They say that ‘hindsight is 20-20,’ and this entry is an obvious red flag to me knowing now that it would be a mere few months later that I would overdose on pills in an attempt to find relief from all of these troublesome thoughts and feelings.
Like I said, I was naïve. I knew nothing of what was yet to come and had a flimsy grasp, at best, on all that had been.
Nonetheless, there is a beautiful trait that pokes through the mess – and that is the constant intent to be genuine. I do not now, nor have I ever, wished to pretend that I am somebody I am not.
“I must keep my own style & go on in my own way; and though I may never succeed again in that, I am convinced that I should totally fail in any other” (Jane Austen, Jane Austen’s Letters).
The yearning for authentic sincerity that I often wore like an inconvenient abnormality, has been rubbed by the intimate hands of time and is showing itself as one of my most beautiful strengths.