Saturday, November 3, 2007

tout passe, tout casse, tout lasse

In the bookcase on the third floor landing are seven identical notebooks with pale brown covers and spiral bindings, journals that I kept when I was seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty. In each notebook, on the top line of the first page, I've written: I was right to be afraid of no thief but myself, who will end by leaving me with nothing.

The rest of the pages are crowded with small pointed handwriting that sounds the unvarying themes of love, pain, and doubt. There's too much to be taken in all at once and, in any case, reading them makes me uncomfortable, as though I were looking over my own shoulder. But in one of them, I found these two sentences, set off from the rest of the text by empty lines:

Because J doesn't love me I can't help thinking: I wish I were dead.
I feel as if my wish has already been granted.
I have no idea who J was.

21 comments:

Aurelia said...

Ooooh this brings back memories.

Because I too wrote diaries and notes like that. I know I wrote about being so IN LOVE I would've died if I'd been rejected.

And of course, so many of them did reject me in the end. And darned if I can remember their names...

Bon said...

you're braver than i, just in going back and looking. given the way my mind is constructed, i'd not only remember who J was, no matter how fleeting a fancy, but would remember exactly and precisely how i'd found out he didn't love (or even like) me. but i would have forgotten, in the twentyish years of the interim, just how stilted and self-conscious my written "voice" was then, and thus the whole walk down memory lane would be not just uncomfortable but acutely embarrassing.

Julia said...

I know! J was clearly an idiot. And a looser.
Sorry, just had to go there.

cinnamon gurl said...

I never kept a journal per se but I wrote poems in notebooks. I have a number of heartbroken poems that are about people I cannot remember at all. If only we'd known then what we know now, huh?

LAS said...

I found my old journals - at least what is left of them. I started writing them when I was 12 - but I don't have anything from 12-20. I only have stuff from the past 10 years. There really isn't anything left from before I was 18 - no remnants of my childhood even - it was all thrown out when my parents got divorced and the house was sold. But it is interesting anyway to read what I have. I always like to go back and read something from this date - however many years ago - you had a post before asking about how we changed - or if we are the same as in those old journals. I am the same. I seem to be unhappy, jaded, skeptical, I come at everything from the negative side. I am not optimistic. It's funny because people tell me all the time (well, not like they used to) that I am the most negative person they've ever met. But the thing is - inside my own head - I think I really am optimistic - I just don't seem to be to other people I guess, and certainly never when I write anything down.

mkv said...

Yeah, I found my old journals and promptly trashed them after reading about one page. It's a wonder I turned out semi-decent b/c I was a complete idiot back then. ;)

Becky said...

This is precisely why I never wrote in journals. I was always struck by just how melodramatic I could be.

Anns said...

Haha, I wish I could find my teenaged journals...

Unfortunately my Mom found them first and disposed of them for me. Such a shame. She never really DID understand me I guess.

meg said...

I never wrote a journal, so I'm not sure how bad they would have been. But I imagine, pretty bad.

It's too funny that you have no idea who J was.

Lori said...

I SO relate to this.

Makes me wonder what my 60-something self will think of my 40-something worries.

thirtysomething said...

Alas, I have no journals to look back through and it is probably a good thing too.

Really? No recollection of someone who must have really turned your feelings inside out?

susan said...

Somehow, the title of the previous post seems to gloss that discovery, too: it can't all be wedding cake.

Tash said...

No offense I hope, but I snorted out loud. Sadly, I remember my "j" and he was a real patronizing, egocentric a-hole -- if I met him today I wouldn't give him 2 minutes of my time. Just knowing this makes me embarassed to read through the rest. I would probably have written down the lyrics to a "pertinent" song as well, which, ugh, double the shame.

The Town Criers said...

I love going back and seeing those names and trying to guess and stretch my memory and remember. J was important then. I wonder if an image will hit you out of the blue when you least expect it. Suddenly you'll have mental clarity of his/her face.

My Reality said...

I remember all of my J's. I tore up the journal pages long ago, but the memory is still there.

Sara said...

HA!

I found some journals recently that I write when I was 12. Wow. Worse than I could have imagined.

thrice said...

I. LOVE. THAT.

Jitters said...

The worst thing someone could have said to you at that time was that you will get over it. You did, but it was for you to experience and others not to comment on. I am not certain that all things are comparable to a high school crush, but it would be comforting to know that could happen.

I wish more people would understand that concept - from old boyfriends to the pain that can come with creating a family.

Julie Pippert said...

So many times I've caught wisps of strong emotion---usually angst---and been puzzled who it meant.

Someone mentioned that being a lesson learned, that things become less important. I'm not sure if that wisdom would have been well-served back then. There's something endearing about all that passion LOL.

Julie
Using My Words

painted maypole said...

the persecpective of time is amazing, isn't it?

Beck said...

That's funny about J - I actually burned my teenaged diaries because nothing in the world could be more humiliating than them.