Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Moving on

Long ago I read a story about a woman who had burned all of the correspondence she had kept throughout her lifetime. At the time, I couldn't comprehend it. Those letters were so much a part of her, who she was, who she had been. Why discard that, and in such an unalterable way?

I've kept a journal of some sort for most of my life. I came across one of those old journals today. I wasn't looking for it, just clearing out a box of stored things.

This particular journal was from my college years. And in reading through it, I absolutely could not relate to it. I remembered it, of course, but it was as if I was reading the embarrassing drama and escapades of someone else. Some of those more emotional moments -- so hard to manage and decipher at the time -- seem blatantly obvious now.

I've gotten to the point where I can see myself burning my journals and letters, though not for the reasons my 17 year old self -- the one who had read that story -- had thought. Not burning them to rid myself of them, ashamed for who I had been. But instead, burning them to honor and acknowledge that I have changed. Just as the pages turn from paper to ash, I have changed just as surely and just as completely.

4 comments:

Fresh Girl said...

I've got journals like that, both from my freshman year of college. I still have them tucked away and get them out to read through now and then and chuckle. Probably eventually I'll get rid of them 'cause I really don't want people going through my stuff after I've died to read them. Not that there's anything BAD in there...just 18/19 year oldish. ;)

Kaleigh said...

Have you heard about this? http://www.cringebook.com/

kristabella said...

I used to keep EVERYTHING. But then I went to college 2000 miles away from home and moved back every summer. And when you have to pack stuff up to move far, you learn to only hold on to the things you really need.

My friend just recently gave me all the notes I wrote to her in high school. And like you, it was nice to see I changed and I was glad at the person I've become.

Noodle said...

FRESHIE: Mine is nothing bad either, but the drama! Oh, the drama! On second thought, I may need to keep some of the more emotionally dramatic moments to remind me when my children are in the throes of similar drama.

KALEIGH: Never heard of it, but I wish I lived in NYC so I could go to a show! (Jam?)

KRISTA: Yes, exactly. It was a great experience in rereading (even the cringeworthy parts) so I could see how far I'd come.