On reading yourself
In my first 2013 NaBloPoMo post, I mentioned that I might be revisiting some old NaBloPoMo entries and discussing how my views have changed on some of the issues I had written about. Having reviewed some of the content, however, I’ve decided that I don’t really want to do that any more. Instead, I’d like to generally comment on revisiting old blogs and journals.
Since November 1st, I’ve been spending a fair amount of my free time reading through my old blog on LiveJournal. I originally intended just to look at my previous attempts at NaBloPoMo, but I got a little carried away and wound up briefly going over most of the posts I’d made there since 2001.
Holy shit, it was embarrassing. I am, without a doubt, the biggest drama queen on the face of the earth. The whining, the complaining, the “I’m so specialing” was terrible during my first few years on LiveJournal. I’ve never had a large number of followers on any blog I’ve ever had, but I’m astonished at some of the things I put out there. A lot of it was pretty painful to read.
I know that most of my silliness can be chalked up to youth, and I’d like to thin that I’ve grown up a good bit over the past 10 or so years, but even my previous NaBloPoMo posts were a little disappointing. I had this image in my mind of my previous NaBloPoMo attempts being treasure troves of self reflection. In actuality, these posts are mostly disposable. I suppose that this is partly to be expected: when you have a full time job (which I did in 2008 during my more successful NaBloPoMo attempt), it is a significant challenge to write something substantial every day. This is doubly true when you are attempting to write about a completely different topic every day. That said, my impression of my own “accomplishment” was, I believe, quite different from the reality. I’m still glad that I took on and completed the challenge, but I know that I can do better.
The question that all this brings to mind is will I look back at the entries I’m writing right now and feel the same disappointment? Will it be painful for me to read this? Right now I feel like the topics I’ve been covering so far hit a nice medium of being a good reflection of my current thoughts, but maybe I’m too involved right now to be able to evaluate it in a way that has any real value.
Or maybe I should reserve thinking about this for the end of the challenge rather than the beginning.
One thing is certain: I don’t think it’s ever easy to really confront your past. If you journal as honestly as I did when I was younger, your later self will always have trouble relating to the urgency of the feelings that you had in any given moment. As you get older, those experiences and feelings lose their edge to the point that it’s hard to believe you could ever be so hurt or happy or in love or so angry. You get better at coping, and better at sorting through the mess without broadcasting it or without it taking over your entire life.
Part of me would love to pay that girl a visit and tell her that it’s really not all such a big deal, but I doubt she’d believe me.