I put this in my 30-before-30 list because I feel like my past is very important. It’s hard for me to build this new version of me when I’ve forgotten everything about the old me. I had my childhood crush tell me, recently, that we fell asleep on the bus together and everyone thought we were dating. I fucking missed that! I don’t remember it. My cheerleading coach told me how I used to be one of her wild kids running through the halls. My friends told me how they’d fight to sit with me during lunch because I always made them laugh. What the fuck?! I was the funny kid! I was the wild child. I was someone I want to be even now. I wonder what happened to that side of me. Did it disappear along with my childhood? After all, life is weird sometimes.
It has a way of curving your smile into a straight line. It has a way of converting your fear into courage or vise-versa. It has a way of erasing you. I decided to take my time and write my life as best as I remember it. I tried doing this chronologically but there was always something that I would forget. As I started to jot down these little memories, I saw a pattern unfold. It was odd to see myself like this. Even as I write this, it seems rather difficult to explain. I’ll do my best to convey my emotions. I am a very reserved person or I was or I thought I was. However, I didn’t start off that way. My memories keep only moments that changed my perspective on life. I can remember good and bad moments. But the memories that I wrote down with such vividness held such an importance to me that I was able to relive them. I could provide the smallest detail about those memories.
After writing, reading, and thinking about it I came away with this: I was never alone but I felt very lonely. I grew up thinking I had no one to talk to. I had my family and then I didn’t. I had my friends and then I didn’t. I had a husband and then I didn’t. In each instance, I was afraid of something but I hadn’t yet realized it was loneliness. Any and every time I was alone I panicked. I did something crazy or stuck to someone, even if they were bad for me. After Shadow, I was forced to be alone. I was more afraid to be with someone than to be by myself. It helped me in the long run but it was a struggle to get there. I realize now how sheltered I’ve really been and how much I’ve grown since then. I also realized that the confidence and strength I feel now was always inside me. It’s so fucking cheesy. I’m embarrassed to even say it that way, but it’s true.
I’ve been a rebel and a leader. I’ve been funny and articulate. I’ve been confident and wild. I still am all these things. I realized in writing down my memories that I’m still that person minus one thing: fear. I’m no longer afraid to be alone. I’m no longer worried about meeting that certain someone because I know how to be on my own. I believe we all have a fear, something that’s holding us back from being our true selves, 100%. I would recommend to try writing down your childhood memories, or better yet record yourself telling the story. It’s an interesting experience and you find a pattern for things you remember. You begin to understand what was really important to you growing up. You begin to face yourself, your fear, and your pain.
I understand we shouldn’t dwell on the past. I’m not saying you should. Don’t fucking write down shit your ex did only to call them up and bitch about it later. No, this is about you. This is about your childhood. The innocent times when you had your first sleepover and flashed an empty street because no one was around at the time. Or the epic time when your six grade teacher had a stapler stuck to his crotch. (True Story) I laughed and cried and had some really deep thoughts while doing this. Even if it isn’t on your list of 30 things to do, it’s something I definitely recommend you should try. Write a small book, keep it for later reading, add more memories to it, give it to your kids or your siblings’ kids. Sell it. I don’t care. Not all memories can be captured with a photograph. Not all memories can be remembered just as easily as yesterday’s lunch. But all memories have a hidden meaning and a little piece of you that’s waiting to complete your puzzle.