Since young, I’ve loved to write in diaries – especially the ones that came with those flimsy locks that never really stopped anybody from opening it up and reading it if they really wanted to. As I grew up, it became more difficult to sit down every night and write an entry. After a while, I allowed myself to not write in it every day. As a result, my recent journals are compiled of a different range of entries: high highs and low lows. I wrote about my worst and best days.
You know how people always tell you, “One day you’ll look back on this and laugh” when you are going through hard times? That was the sentiment I felt when I read my low entries. On my low periods, I definitely wrote more frequently and instead of ranting about other people, I mostly wrote about how much I disliked myself. With pages of self-loathing printed bitterly in neat cursive, one of my journals repeated the same themes:
I feel sad. I feel lonely. I feel bitter and all these ugly feelings make me feel like an ugly person.
Going back and reading them was like reading the mind of my younger self and it was clear to me that my younger self was not a happy one. She was not happy with herself; she didn’t like herself, and that is just the pits because how can you even get away from yourself?
I feel so discontent. I want to peel off all my skin and find a different person inside of me.
I closed this journal while feeling sympathetic for my past self. If I was an anime character, there’d be a scene of me giving my younger self (the girl huddled in a dark corner) a hug and then light and sparkles would burst into a soothing piano instrumental OST. What bothered me the most was that my low entries were so neatly written in comparison to happier entries that were scrawled quickly with excitement. The content never rambled off, as if all the ideas in the entry were clearly thought out – as if everything I disliked about myself was a simple fact and not my own opinion.
I was relieved to find improvements in later journals. Instead of focusing on my flaws and insecurities, I started to focus on improving myself. I came to a realization among the lines of “If you don’t like something about yourself, change it.”
I am not a perfect person, but I am a good person. Smart with passion. A filial daughter. A loyal friend. I define myself. And I will try harder.
From that realization onwards, I began to write more about my new endeavours and about the people who supported me in them. A whirlwind of great opportunities and experiences came up for me as I began to rebuild myself during this time as well – new jobs, new hobbies and interests, and new friends. Combined with people who have always been there for me, I began to surround myself with people and things that gave me energy instead of draining me. Gradually, I began to like who I was becoming and I learned how to forgive myself for times when I disappointed myself. And in doing so, I was able to learn how to forgive others.
Reading my old journals made me feel like I walked hand-in-hand with my younger self in a self-journey. I must have not realized it while I was writing those entries, but reading them again after a few years allowed me to piece together different moments and developments. I feel as if I picked myself up from a dark place and slowly walked to somewhere brighter.
To the people who have no idea what they want to do in life, to the person who doesn’t think there is anything substantially good about him or herself, I write this post for you. And I hope that one day you will also see that you’ve come a long way from where you used to be. Kudos to you.
Things will get better. I will get better. And I want to be there to see it.