Every once and awhile, on a dreary, grey day like this morning, I’ll go through my old journals and look back on my life. A journal is similar to a diary where you write down your innermost thoughts, but perhaps not every day. A journal, for me, was more serious. It was a place to find self-awareness, but unlike online blogs today, journals were rarely shared with anyone, let alone to the world.
My journals cover high school, college, marriage and beyond, until I started blogging online. When I pick up an old journal now and read my teenage angst I’m embarrassed. But perhaps the events and feelings were a normal part of growing up? Perhaps as much as I felt all alone in the world there were others who felt the same way? Self-discovery is easy now with the hindsight of old age. Back then I didn’t think I’d survive dating, marriage, becoming a woman, becoming the person I am now, let alone eventually accepting who I am.
At one time I was dating an incredibly good-looking man who was a blue-collar worker; he owned his own gas station and seemed very successful for someone in his twenties. I was in college at the time. Mr. D had his own demons, I realize now, a drinking problem, still living with his parents, unable to commit to a relationship. At the time though I thought he was “the one” and my parents were very upset, hoping Mr. D would go far, far away as they were waiting for a rich, white-collar man who would ride up on a white horse and swoop me away. This is an excerpt from my journal:
June 28, 1971 2:30 a.m.
Liking a person, what does it mean? Is it the same as loving that person? It’s always being able to visualize him days after you’ve seen him, remembering his every word when you can’t even remember what a parent said a few minutes ago, dreaming so realistically that you can feel his warm mouth on yours, see his eyes almost close when he smiles, remember the time you’ve caught him staring at you but sensing his embarrassment when you stare back at hm. His gentle hand stroking your hair. Liking a person means never forgetting all these small details. Liking a person is different from any other experience. True, it brings you close to nature. A moonlit beach makes you feel more romantic, daring, poetic. Liking a person is suddenly enjoying things that bored you before, like trying to like a car race, even trying to remember the difference between a hubcap and a distributor cap. Liking a person is also realizing you can be happy even though you live in two different worlds, closing your ears to logical advice and always saying, “Everything will be all right”. What is love? Is it what I’ve described? A companionship, a yearning? A feeling that this is the one that will drive you to suicide if it’s one-sided? Crying for sadness when he’s not there? Crying for happiness when he is?
After graduating from college I did find “the one”, which led me to real love and real life problems and hundreds more pages in my journals. I’m even more embarrassed when I read back on that particular period in my life. But life is a progression of events, feelings and problems to solve. I’m glad I wrote down all my tears and joys and memories. They are what makes me the person I am now.