Last week, I decided for some reason to gather up all of my journals in one place for a picture. I think this picture was for Nicole. I knew some were on one shelf, and some were buried more deeply, lower, on another. I knew that for the oldest, the ones I wrote starting from age 12, I’d have to find a blue lock box with a combination. This box was a gift from my grandfather when I was little, and I’d always kept my most precious secrets in it.
The problem was, after the last couple of moves, I wasn’t certain where the box had ended up. I checked the most likely spots– and no, I won’t tell you where I keep my “good stuff”– with no luck. I did have luck in an unlikely spot, which was in with the linens. (Not, like, hidden between sheets, but stashed between Rubbermaid tubs of extra quilts. We have a lot of stuff.)
Next problem: it had a combination. What combination could possibly have been meaningful to me in my youth? And then I remembered: no, it wouldn’t have been meaningful. I changed it all the time, to numbers that were deliberately not meaningful. My next task was cracking the code. Starting with 000…
Eventually I figured it out (I didn’t time it, but it didn’t take long; I just listened to music and rolled digits around). I pulled out the books and gathered them all into a stack, so that lying before me was my life story: my journals from age 12 to present.
Of course, I had to read them.
I won’t go on too long about my experience in reading what I’ve read, because it’s been weird, but I’ll just say that at first it was difficult to separate myself from the child writing those words. I felt her feelings. As I read on, I began to examine what made that girl tick, and see patterns and external forces that shaped her. It’s been interesting.
The theme that always threaded through my words in those journals was writing. I wrote a new story, I want to write a novel, I went to career day and I met a novelist. It’s how I was wired. So I declare that my current slump is over, starting immediately. I shall hit publish on this post and turn back to writing my book. I’m so close to finishing. I must be frightened of the light at the end of the tunnel or something. I can do it, though. And I will. Just watch me. 👏🏻
PS I had hoped I would use the word “nostalgia” in this post so I could link to a video on Isabella’s spoken word YouTube channel that I got a kick out of, but damned if I made it through a post about journals and my youth without it. So, for some bonus fun about Toys R Us, go here and watch.