“You see a wall, you look at it so much and so hard that one day you see clear through it, then, of course, it’s not just one wall any longer. It’s every wall that ever was.” ~Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again
Is it possible to erase an entire decade? Because I would like to erase all of the 90s.
I was organizing a closet and finally decided to go through all my old journals and re-read and shred them. I knew that a) they contain writing full of self-doubt and negative self-esteem and b) I never ever EVER want my daughter to find them and read them. Here’s some of what I found, besides the usual ticket stubs and fortune cookie slips:
Worries beyond anything I’ve thought about recently
“Will he call?” rants
Over-analyzing absolutely everything
Questions about my identity, purpose, future
Entire pages of excerpts of Thomas Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again and many other books
I was a mess. It’s no wonder I don’t remember any music from the 90s. I was so self-absorbed that I barely noticed much at all. Going from one boyfriend to another boyfriend, all the while carrying my sense of low self-esteem and complete adolescent lack of perspective, is honestly shameful. So much unnecessary introspection!
“Loneliness, far from being a rare and curious circumstance, is and always has been the central and inevitable experience of every man.”
I decided to start ripping out everything without reading any more. I was ripping out pages with wild abandon and started to feel so free! It was like the past was gone and I could re-create myself and there is no more negative tangible evidence of doubt and worry and all that gobbledygook. I wished I had done it years ago.
It was cathartic. I feel different. Lighter maybe. I am so vastly different from that person from high school and college. We are always evolving and no one is the same person they were even a year ago. Why hold on to negative self-concepts that no longer apply?
I carried bag after bag of shredded paper out to the recycling bin, so much that it was overflowing. (I didn’t want to risk anyone reading any of it so I shredded it!) I’ve heard of people having ceremonies and burning pages of the past or even burying them. Shredding was perfect for me. I highly recommend it!
I kept a few pages that describe the very beginning of my relationship with my husband. I am hanging onto the journal I kept when my daughter was born. Other than that, I’ve got a new shelf available.