What Gets Written
One thing I have never been very good at is journal writing. With the exception of the first year of my LDS mission experience, where I wrote nearly every day for close to 14 months, I have very little in terms of life experiences recorded by my own hand. What frustrates me the most is, I love reading that journal. Yes, it is written by a 19 and 20 year old person who could not spell and was barely able to construct a complete sentence, but these pages are a window directly to my past.
I am leery of memory, as it is always a bit deceitful. Every thing I recall is clouded by time and recreation. I have spent enough time in my recalled past to know that my version of it cannot be trusted. This journal is different, however. In these words I am able to recreate and almost even see the events I wrote about. There are exceptions. When I first started writing that journal, I was worried that if I recorded my exact thoughts, they would serve to damage me later on. I was concerned that if I wrote too much about my doubts, my fears, or in some cases, my actual experiences, people who might later read them would be disappointed in me. The person I believed everyone thought I was depended on following a certain path, and needed to do and say certain things. I can see this coming out in some of the early pages.
One example is an entry written just after Christmas. I go on about how fantastic the day was, how I felt so close to everyone and everything, when the reality was completely the opposite. I was 19 years old, away from home at Christmas for the first time in my life and I distinctly recall (again I know the ability for the mind to distort) hating every second of that day. All our food had been pre-prepared so that the workers at the missionary training center could be home with their families. We spent most of the day sitting by ourselves in these terrible narrow rectangle rooms, talking to people we had only known for two weeks. I missed my family and friends horribly, but not wanting to say those words aloud, or write them down where they would be permanent, I wrote what I thought everyone wanted me to write.
After the first 14 months, I found myself in a situation where I was attracted to a sister missionary who as it turns out, was very skilled in manipulation. As this kind of relationship was against mission rules, I couldn’t very well write it in my daily journal and as those feelings (mixed up, filled with agony, joy, torture, misery) were dominating my thoughts, I decided not to write them. I did write some horrible misanthropic poetry that still makes me cringe to this day, but the journal writing stopped for nearly five months.
I would occasionally throw a cryptic passage in, hinting at my moral dilemma, but mostly I stayed silent.
Something interesting happens after that. I start to write much more honestly, if still infrequently. The pages start to be about what feels more honest as I read them. Much more is said about my misdeeds and failures and it is these pages that I regret not having more to read. Not that I want to read over and over about my mistakes and failures, but that purely honest writing is addicting and over way too quickly.
Often, when I read this journal, I get inspired to write again and I do have some notebooks from college with some events, some writing fragments and some really funny events recorded. I treasure these words, and perhaps that is why I am trying to write this blog. I dont record my day to day events, but they make their way into the words and pages, my feelings and ramblings come from those events, those moments spent pondering what it is I think and why I think that way.
I have a new journal. I am just beginning to write in it. I am unsure what it will look like if it ever gets full, or if I will ever even fill it. I am excited to try though.
Share with me what you think, if you dare!