Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Metamorphosis in Retrospect

As I'm reading through my old entries, skimming different journals and reminiscing (and thinking that I ought to go to sleep!), I'm trying to remember that girl. The entries are mostly from when I was about 15. During January of 2005, I posted 90 different entries in one journal. True several of them are surveys and questionnaires but that's still a lot of writing. Do you know what I'm realizing?

I've grown up.

My writer's voice has matured. I've gone from this: 
"Ever seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? Preformed by high schoolers? Damn good high schoolers? [Note: Opps! I said I wouldn't say the damn word again today. Well, I wrote this last night.] Good friends of yours? I have! Tonight. Murph and Jake. I'm crashing now but that was amazing! Jake shaved his head! As did Murph! Eyes won'te let me write more as energy is too low to keep open and move pen at same time. Will write more tomorrow. Great job, boys!

I'm now sitting here, bored, in German. The play was great. Jake wasn't a crazy person. *pouts* He should've been. He's nuts. Murph was the "head goose looney". I'm serious. And he's "quite good at palm reading". He was Dale Harding for those of you who know the play. It was a great play. Jake got lifted in the air by Chief Bromden and let out this huge yell. The theater cracked up with laughter. I was laughing well into the next scene. It was hilarious!" [Taken from here]

That sounds exactly like I was fifteen and talking to my friends at school. I wrote exactly as I spoke back then and I may have been fairly mature but I was still a teenager with a teenager's habits. Now I may still be young but I have matured. I don't write exactly as I speak but it's also not stuffy formal academic language. I don't try to impose my sarcasm on my journal and the inside jokes that peppered my old entries are mostly missing from my newer ones. Which is, frankly, good because I don't remember most of those inside jokes seven years later. How did the friends I made in that community ever understand me? I wrote as if everyone already knew what was going on in my life and understood me and my sense of humor before I wrote. And I wrote as if I had an audience from Day One. 

Dear 14 year old Vickey,
Just because you're posting in a community doesn't mean that people have found you and started to read you yet.
Your older, wiser self.

I also don't pre-write my entries anymore. I might write them in Word while I don't have internet access but it's not on paper while I'm doing other things. Part of that is because I'm not in school anymore but another part of that is just the frame of mind I'm in. Blogging is a part of my life; it is not my whole life. Back then, it basically was. I was writing every day, multiple times. (As the 3x/day average from January 2005 shows...) It was my only real activity outside of school. I know that this blog has an audience (I can see how many pageviews I get a day) but (a) no one comments and (b) I'm not writing FOR my audience. I'm writing for myself, to keep a record, to grow, to help me understand myself and my life more fully. The audience is secondary. Most of the time when I write, the fact that others will read this doesn't factor in much. I just write what needs said. In that way, I think this is more authentic. It reflects what's truly in my heart.

Mind you, from the extremes that I was writing about, my heart was reflected in plenty of my entries from A Moment that is Mine. My emotions were so intense. I find it difficult now, just a few years later, to remember how strongly I felt about everything. Now, I do know that I've dealt with mental illness most of my life. (A normal twelve year old does not contemplate suicide. That is the result of depression.) But at that point in my life I was so convinced that I was bipolar because my emotions were so strong and were so all over the place. I no longer believe that I am. I think these extremes were heightened because of the mental illnesses I do have but that they were for the most part normal.

At fifteen, I was dealing with some very big issues. My life was not simple. I had no idea who I wanted to be or what I wanted to do in life. I was so young. I was such a baby in so many ways. Everything was still fairly new. Love was definitely new, as my entries questioning what love is and if I was in love can prove. Now I clearly know that I did not love any of my crushes. Jon was my first taste at love. He's my childhood sweetheart and nothing can change that. He's the one who first really awakened any sense of sexual desire in me. One thing I do miss from that period in life is just how deeply I could feel and could crush. It does certainly mean the potential to be hurt more or hurt easier but how often do we open ourselves up that much? I got so used to having one person, someone I was committed to. I think I've forgotten how to flirt or how to find someone. But then I never was good at that. Ron and I fell together. I was so so passionate back then about the guys I liked. I wrote poetry about them. I got nervous and got butterflies and I worried and fretted and planned. Oh heavens did I plan. One guy in particular who I went to youth group with I was crazy for him. And looking back there are several characteristics he had and still has that I definitely want in my husband. For starters this boy was on fire for Christ. And I don't know why or when that became unimportant to me, when that got shoved to the back burner. How was that acceptable?

Back to those big issues though. I was struggling with wanting to hurt myself. I, thankfully, never got to the point of a cold metal razor against my skin and I never drew more than a few drops of blood all put together. I have no scars physically and few people if any would know that I've hurt myself seeking relief of emotional pain if I hadn't told them. This struggle is not one that I'm secretive about. If it's relevant to the conversation, then I am willing to share. If there is a stigma around this issue, I don't pay attention to it. It's just a part of who I am. I have sat bawling my eyes out digging my nails into the delicate flesh on my arms. I've turned against myself and let the second longest lasting relationship I'll ever have turn sour (the longest lasting relationship being that with the Creator who knew me before He knit me together in my mother's womb and who I will someday worship unendingly). It was a nearly daily fight not to commit an act of violence against myself. And true to the pattern my life has always followed, the only thing that saved me in the end? The grace of G-d. It was through a week at Circle C Ranch (a Christian camp) that I managed to stop doing this.

I also was debating moving in with my mom at the time. Now I can look back and know that would not have been a stable enough environment for me. I would never have gone to that week at Circle C and may have graduated to more intense means of self-harm than scraping my nails against my arms and legs. (I had already begun banging my head against the wall over and over again. How much farther was a razor away?) I would not have dated Ron. That relationship taught me so much. Some of those lessons were things I should have already known (like that my future husband must be a Christian for it to work among many many others) but some things are fairly new (like just how important it is to be that my husband also be fairly touchy physically). I may not have gone to Houghton since I found out about it through Circle C where I probably would not have gone. I wouldn't have some of the amazing friends that I do. I don't know where I would be in my life if I had moved down there but considering that I like who I am now, I wouldn't want to go back and change my decision against moving.

My life has changed so much since those angst filled pre-medicated days. I was so terribly dramatic and so terribly alone in many ways. I was very lucky to find a few good friends, both online through AOLJournals (B, Sara Smiles, and Madman are the ones that stick out to my mind even now) and through college. Between the words of support I got on my journals, the encouragement to find G-d and draw close to Him, the examples of my roommate/housemates/good friends at Houghton, and the love I found over the years, I've gotten through some rather ridiculous things in my life, things I thought at the time would crush me. Here I sit though at 22 years old nearly 4000 miles away from home, no physical scars of note, having survived a broken heart, a battle against myself, a change of majors after 5 semesters, and puberty. I am not crushed. I have survived and persevered. I have not done it alone but I don't know if I would realize what a different person I've become if not for having found and reread my old journals in part.

If you're curious, a list of most of my old blogs can be found here.


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