I spent several hours today transcribing my old journals. Most of them are written in bound composition notebooks and they take up about a foot and a half on a closet shelf.
The journals have been bothering me for awhile now. What if something happens to me and whoever settles my affairs reads them and is hurt by some of my words? I have especially worried about any family members that I may have been venting about. I wouldn’t want venting to be the last thing I ever “said” about a loved one.
Since there was nothing else to do today, I decided now was the perfect time to start the journal transcription project.
I began with journal entries from 1998–twenty years ago! I was 37 years old. That is the year my oldest son graduated high school and my youngest was in sixth grade. I worked at a job I mostly loved for a boss I mostly had issues with.
I expected to be rather annoyed by my previous self. But it has turned out that I’m not all that different as a person from who I was in those days.
Serious depression was beginning to rear its ugly head by then. Encounters with people that I now recognize as having some issues with narcissism began to be a problem for me. My lack of firm boundaries is readily apparent. It turns out my awakening began earlier than I realized. All these years I saw that time period as a time of many failures. But in fact, I was figuring things out and doing my best with less than ideal circumstances.
I’m working backwards for now, so I ended my day with an entry from Fall of 1997. My youngest was beginning to have issues with his peers in school and I decided that is a topic better saved for the morning light. Now I know that his social woes turned out to be temporary, but in the moment it was heart-breaking not knowing how things would go.
It seems that I had forgotten more than day-to-day events. I think I forgot for awhile who I am. I lost my way for reasons of mental health, some betrayals, and a few really hard losses. I expect this project will help me to heal my wounds and dust off my true and unique character which I have been pushing down for far too long.
I thought I was transcribing my journals to spare the feelings of others. But it turns out I will be taking good care of myself at the same time.