I first knew I wanted to be a writer when I was nine. I dreamed of writing novels and sharing stories that would inspire people the way stories inspired me. I spent more hours writing on my desktop computer than I did doing anything else. This produced a 100 page fantasy novel that I am still a little proud of (but maybe not proud enough to show anyone). I haven’t stopped writing since.
To me, writing is easier than talking. I write stories, research papers, poems, blogs, etc., but what I write most consistently are journal entries. I write several entries a week, unless it is too boring (rare, because my mind can turn an ordinary day into an existential crisis) or it is too busy (also rare, because the busier I am the more I want to close myself up in my room and vent to my future self). Sometimes I, future self, read the words of younger me. It often sounds like it was written by another person, but then younger me will write something so familiar I wonder if I’ve changed at all. The reason I read these [often painful] entries is to see where I’ve been and what I’ve learned. I travel back in time and visit myself.
Behind the words I see a teenage girl with her unmanageably curly hair under a crochet beanie, dreaming of being a writer but aching with fears of the future, believing deep down that her anxiety will make college and work and life impossible for her. I see a girl crying about some crush who won’t notice her and beating herself up for caring so much. I see a girl with few friends and fewer close friends who really understand her, quietly content with her solitary hobbies, yet wishing…
Little did she know.
We are all time travelers. (Which goes along perfectly with the analogy I made on the About page that we are like Tardises–bigger on the inside, traveling through space and time through memory, through books, through stories–and there’s an eccentric little British man living in all of us, changing occasionally, dying to a part of himself but being made new…okay, enough with the geek analogies).
The problem with this kind of time travel is that you can only observe. You can’t speak to your past self and tell her or him that it’s going to be okay. The reverse is true. It is your younger self who speaks to you. Sometimes that voice seems to tell you that it’s hopeless. You’ll never change. You’ll never get over him. You’ll never forgive yourself for that. Silence it. Listen to the softer, gentler voice saying, “Look how far you’ve come.” And move forward. Don’t live in the past, but visit it occasionally. Learn from it. My past has taught me a lot. Even the darkest moments have become encouraging, because I survived them.
Little did she know, she would still be teaching me to this day.
I’d like to share some stories with you, some from the past, some from the present. Maybe I’ll share some old journal entries–maybe some new ones. If you’ve ever had a panic attack, if you’ve ever felt alone, if you’ve ever laughed so hard you got the hiccups, if you’ve ever chased a dream, then I’m sure you’ll find something that rings true for you. If, when reading this, you can laugh, you can relate, and you can look at the world a little differently–and if I can succeed in telling the truth and enjoying the process–then that will make this all worthwhile.