When I sat down before a pile of old journals last month, I prepared myself for a barrage of adjectives and angst. The notebooks crowded around me like walls of a torture chamber—spiraled and thread bound ones, some covered with waxy Chinese paintings, others collaged with magazine cutouts. But I needed to fill some gaps in my memory and those journals held the clue. Two mornings and one headache later, I emerged, not only with the salvaged facts under one arm, but six surprising discoveries about myself under the other.
1. Some things never change. (A.K.A., I’ve always been a bit pretentious).
The opening page of my first journal, which I penned around the age of ten, states, “In this journal I will write down all my memories from my early years.” For some reason, I thought that the story of getting my first bed from my grandparents’ basement ought to be saved for antiquity.
Like that diary, I bestowed a title page on every new journal I cracked open, inspired by the importance of the words I had yet to write. I find that propensity, which I still fight, embarrassing, especially given #6 below.
2. My memory serves me well. (Or, at least it serves my ego).
One of the “memories from my early years” shocked me with its rendition of a story I’ve told several times when proving the point that I’m an introvert. I’d cried at a birthday party in kindergarten because the piece of paper under my plate instructed me to sing “Jesus Loves Me”—clear proof that I’ve always been an introvert. But that wasn’t the whole story. My journal revealed that I cried, not just because of the song, but because I wanted my paper to say, “Spank the birthday boy.” Apparently, I wasn’t that much of an introvert Continue Reading…