“I love you Dillon. You’re the only one I can think about right now.”
These words marked the first line of the first page of the first journal I ever wrote in—and I was in first grade. It got more explicit from there—I knew more than a first grader should know—but I’ll spare you the details. I have kept most of my old journals. This one in particular was pink and heart-shaped and came with a lock and key. The lock and key was no match for my big brother, who violently invaded my most private thoughts as a 14-year-old and threatened to show my mom. I guess my tears must have gotten to him, because I somehow ended up with my journal safely in my hands and ripped the page out to destroy the evidence. That wasn’t the last time I would feel the need to rip pages out of a journal. As pages fill and pens empty, I change. The whole point of a journal is to document those changes over time, but I’m sometimes frustrated when the journal in its entirety doesn’t reflect who I am at a given moment. I actually wrote that?! I often find myself wondering—What was I thinking? I want to rip the pages out and pretend that certain seasons of my life never came, that certain heartache never happened, and that certain words were never written in response to it all.
That’s why I found myself the other night with my cursor hovering over the “private” button on many of my recent blog posts. My husband told me to leave them—that they’re part of my journey and nothing to be ashamed of. “Why would you want to hide them?” he asked. “Who are you trying to hide from? Russell & Pascal? Me?—we are the only ones who even read your blog.” Uh…thanks. I told him that I was trying to hide them from myself. I told him about my first crush—Dillon. “Haven’t you ever written anything in a journal that you later felt silly for writing?” I asked.
Curiosity got the best of us and we turned to social media on a hunt for Dillon. It wasn’t hard—I remembered his full name, and his picture popped up instantly when I typed it in. Oh. Wow. Yikes. I clearly dodged a bullet. Let’s just say he’s not my type. The love-sick first-grader was wrong. I’m glad those pages are gone from my journal. I’m glad he never read the letter I wrote to him there.
Since first grade, there have been many pages ripped out of journals and many letters written there that I’m glad I have never sent. I have been foolish, reactive, blind, infatuated, desperate, emotional…you get the picture. Some of you have seen it here. I was so often writing to convince myself—not to express what I’ve already been convinced of. Many of my posts did not reflect where I truly see myself, so I broke the cardinal rule of journaling and removed them. And I feel better now—less at war with myself.
So, faithful readers, let me start fresh. I still want to believe. I still don’t have a reason to.
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