Maybe it’s good I didn’t have a blog

by , posted on March 20th, 2012 in Just me




Sage came running over, the blue hardcover book with the yellow tulips clutched in her hand.

“Can I have this, Mommy?”

I snatched it away from her like it was on fire.

It was my old journal. From a sometimes painful, sometimes funny, but always confusing time in my life. A time my 6 1/2 year-old daughter doesn’t need to know about. Possibly ever.

I shooed her away and immediately started reading. Xander sat on my lap and made up his own story as he pointed at the words. I think it involved a lion and a skateboard.

The first entry was Jan. 10, 1996. I had just turned 27 a little over a week before. I’d never heard of blogging. Did it even exist back then? I had barely gotten on AOL. I just had a pen and book and decided to start writing.

There’s something about the neat lines and expanse of white that has intimidated me in the past. I guess sometimes we all possess a strength greater than what we thought we had. That’s what I’m all about now: trying to be strong. I just told the man I love goodbye.

My boyfriend of nine months. Over the next 14 pages I chronicle the drama that was this relationship.

Good Lord there was drama. I’m not sure if I should hug my barely 27 year-old self or kick her ass.

I’m thinking he and I can work something out.

NO!! DON’T DO IT!

But I did. And I was so happy. So hopeful. So stupid. Reading my words was like watching a train wreck about to happen.

Right now, I’m a little scared of getting so close to him. He’s been such a sweetheart lately, but it’s like I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Oh, it’ll drop all right. Nothing is wrong with love, unless it’s given to the wrong person. Which I found out. I obviously know how that relationship turned out, and I’m just sad I ignored that inner voice telling me something was wrong. The gut always knows.

My next entry isn’t for another six months. It was his birthday and we were broken up for good by then. I honestly don’t even remember the final conversation or what happened to end it. After that, my entries are sporadic: I mention an impending move for a great new job, an alcohol-infused makeout session with a soon-to-be former co-worker, and then, after not writing for a year, an entry about meeting someone at a South Beach club on New Year’s Eve, my 29th birthday.

Then he grabbed my hands and said, “Come dance.” So I did… I don’t know how – or when – it first happened, but eventually we were basically slow dancing. We just hugged and hugged and hugged each other. As his friend said, we were doing John Denver to Biggie Smalls.

Nothing ever came of it. We went on one date which ended with us on a beach watching the sun come up, but that was it. The entry was fun to read, though, because I had never met a guy at a club, never had anyone ask for my number. Everyone I’d been with before that was someone I’d known, mostly from work. I’m glad I got that experience. (And, yes, David got my number and called but it took him five months to ask me out. As he likes to say, it all turned out the way he’d “planned.”)

The next few entries appear in the spring and fall of ’98. They chronicle a time when I made shameful decisions, when I was vulnerable and weak and sad, and it is the one situation I truly regret. I definitely needed a hug – and the guy a throat punch followed by a swift kick in the ‘nads.

One entry from this time is this quote, from the book Chin Kiss King by Ana Veciana-Suarez. I think it gave me hope.

“A life turned inside out can be straightened so much more easily than a mediocre one that has never lost its form.”

The second-to-last entry is in March of ’99. Three months before I’d move to California – and meet David on the plane ride out there.

I don’t know which is the worst kind of lonely: missing someone or not having anyone to miss.

I still don’t know the answer to that one. Do you?

The final entry is August 14, 2001. Less than a month before 9/11. Less than four months before my wedding.

There is so much pain and confusion in this book. Now, I feel so calm. I have everything I thought I’d never have, but maybe I had to go through all the hurt to get to this place.

Is that true? Did I really need to have to slog through a pile of insecurity and selfish men and general crap just to, one day, have a happy, stable relationship? Because it would’ve been much cooler if I could’ve just dabbled in some not-so-great stuff instead of diving in and flailing around for four years or so.

That time doesn’t define me, though. It is all a part of me, tiles of the mosaic that make up who I am. But it’s almost like it happened to somebody else; time has done its magic and worn away the sharp edges until it is like the dull edge of a knife.

I hope my kids’ journeys are much smoother rides. I know I will be there to hug them – or kick ass – if they need me.

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38 Responses to “Maybe it’s good I didn’t have a blog”

  1. HogsAteMySister Says:

    March 20th, 2012 at 5:13 am

    Very nice piece.

    And, yep, sounds like you are lucky that blogs weren’t around way back when.

    That’s a blessings Gen A does not have and does not get.

    Speaking of impending train wrecks…
    HogsAteMySister recently posted..10 Reasons to Hate John Elway

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    No kidding. The thought of what kids do to each other via facebook and texting etc is terrifying!

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  2. Nancy C Says:

    March 20th, 2012 at 7:01 am

    I think about the ugly process of being 20 a lot. That flailing. The emotional ups and downs. I did it too. And I’m not sure how to process it.

    I have books like yours, and pages that are so very heartfelt and insane and…embarrassing.

    It comforts me to know that there are lots of empty pages, because I usually only wrote when I was sad. And there were lots of happy times. Why didn’t I document them?
    Nancy C recently posted..RemembeRED: Prayer for a Son

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    Cheryl Reply:

    I know it. I have a couple happy things but most were not. And then there were things that were important to me during that time that I didn’t write about at all. So odd!

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  3. Paula @lkg4sweetspot Says:

    March 20th, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I love this reflection! I always feel I would not have seen the good guy if I hadn’t slogged through all the bad ones. It made me really appreciate him when he came along. And for my part, I think it is much more lonely to not have anyone to miss. Great post.
    Paula @lkg4sweetspot recently posted..You Deserve The Wave Today

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    Cheryl Reply:

    Thank you! i was lucky in that my first boyfriend was really great, so I did have some point of reference. Why I went completely crazy after that I have no idea. :)

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  4. Arnebya Says:

    March 20th, 2012 at 10:03 am

    I wonder about this so often. All the books I have, the ones I’ve hidden up high in the closet hopefully never unearthed by my daughters (or, worse, found when they are the same age and can relate. I never want them to releate to some of the absolute idiocy I lived through (and oftentimes repeated)). I do think it’s worse to not have anyone to miss. With missing a specific person one can always recall, relive, reevaluate. Without that, it’s simply wishing.
    Arnebya recently posted..Watch Out for the Big Girl

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I also must hide this away somewhere the kids wouldn’t think of looking. Mostly my daughter. Don’t think the boys will be as interested!

    And yes, probably not having anyone to miss. Since it’s infinite. Unless, of course, the person you miss is not alive..

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  5. Cameron Says:

    March 20th, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I think learning what you don’t want is maybe more important than learning what you do, and trial and error is pretty effective for that.
    Cameron recently posted..A Message of Portent?

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    Cheryl Reply:

    I knew what I didn’t want. Something just took over my…brain, apparently.. :)

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  6. Jennifer Says:

    March 20th, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Your kids are lucky to have such a kick-ass and insightful mom! I’ve been wondering what to do about all of my horrible journals. So. depressing. Yours clearly have some very interesting gems in them!
    Jennifer recently posted..Thoughts On Forming A Writer’s Group

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    Cheryl Reply:

    I don’t know if I’m either of those things. But they’ve got no choice – they’re stuck with me!

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  7. Emily Says:

    March 20th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    It’s great that you saved it. I think I tore out most of my 23- to 25-year-old journal and trashed it before I got married at 27!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    27 was like the beginning of my train wreck. Can’t imagine being married then!

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  8. julie gardner Says:

    March 20th, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    This is awesome:

    “A life turned inside out can be straightened so much more easily than a mediocre one that has never lost its form.”

    And now I’m really glad my life was turned inside out in my mid-twenties. Because yeah. She’s so right.

    I’m also glad you took that plane ride to California. Obviously.
    julie gardner recently posted..Today call me challenged

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    Cheryl Reply:

    Isn’t that a great quote? Love it.

    The plane ride? Life changing.

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  9. tracy@sellabitmum Says:

    March 20th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    My 20′s sucked. We’re soul-mates my friend. xoxo
    tracy@sellabitmum recently posted..Blogging is Evidently Not a Special Skill

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    Cheryl Reply:

    Sigh. So true. So very, very true.

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  10. John Says:

    March 20th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I read this & I think back to my college days . . . one conversation, in particular. It was a a gorgeous day in the early spring – unseasonably warm. After classes were over (and yes, I went to all of my classes that day), we hung out on a grassy field — I was doing some reading, someone else was playing guitar. We were all drinking, but, hey, it was college.

    Being the first truly nice day of the year, there was no shortage of girls out, showing some skin to get a kick-start on a tan. Someone said “I wish every day could be like this.”

    Of course, that started off a whole conversation which can only, truly, be appreciated by the drunk . . . but, basically, can you appreciate the beauty of a day if every day is beautiful?

    Could you truly appreciate a great relationship if you didn’t see how poor other relationships could be? And, you know, I don’t know the answer to it (though drunk John could argue either way). I really wonder about anyone who married their high school sweetheart — I love that they did, and if they’re happy, great. But, I always wonder how they don’t wonder about the “grass being greener.”

    Anyway, I’m glad that my handwriting is completely illegible, and that I barely ever journaled — my kids are NOT to ever know of what I was like between the ages of 13 and 25.
    John recently posted..Where I think about how my blogging voice was formed

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    It’s an interesting question. I changed so much from high school (ack) til I got married at 32. I can’t imagine having found a person when i was a kid with whom I could go through all those changes.

    I actually think it will be a help for me to be empathetic if my kids go through anything like the stuff i did. Tho I fervently hope they’ll be a lot more self-assured.

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  11. Kir Says:

    March 20th, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I know I am not normal but that angst of my former life, that drama…I’m so glad it happened. I’m glad for the stories and the lessons and the hope they give me now. I made some sh**y decisions for sure but most of them I’m glad about…those experiences have made who I am. I too , very recently found a journal from that same time in my life…27-31 or so…and yes I want to just slap myself or sit myself down and say “he’s not worth YOU” ..ecuase that is where I wish for do overs…to be able to know that HE didn’t deserve me…and I could stop begging him to feel the same way.

    I’m glad you found that book…and then shared it with us.
    Kir recently posted..100 Word Song-Satisfied?

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    Cheryl Reply:

    There were definitely lessons to be learned. But boy, it sure sucked at the time.

    Every time I didn’t listen to my gut was when bad things happened. Now I never ignore it.

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  12. Kathy Says:

    March 20th, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    I kept a journal from fifth grade until right before my son got cancer when I was 39. Only after that did I start blogging. I haven’t read them all in such a long time, but I’m sure they contain more than their fair share of drama. I’m often relieved that I don’t have a curious little girl who will want to read them someday. She’d lose all respect for me!
    Kathy recently posted..Spring Has Sprung

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    Cheryl Reply:

    Wow. That’s amazing. I would love to have a record like that. I kept one for a time when I was in, I think, 8th grade. Talk about drama, but in a different way!

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  13. Cynthia M Says:

    March 20th, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    We all make dumb mistakes in our twenties. Some of us get out of them sooner than others. I married my dumb mistake and it took me 22 years to get out of that one. Yes, I learned a lot from it, and yes because of it I appreciate my husband more than I might have if he’d been the first. But, what a price to pay and how much damage done. It’s a shame 20 has to be so stupid.
    Cynthia M recently posted..Random Blog Prompt Friday

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    Cheryl Reply:

    Our 20s should be fun. I want to go back and do it all differently. What’s that saying? Youth is wasted on the young? SO true.

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  14. elissapr Says:

    March 21st, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Recently my daughter found an old diary of mine…and my reaction was pretty much the same…a lunge from practically across the room. Of course, since she’s turning 12, she starting reading entries…all tame…but, still…how embarassing.

    While I loved your post…I would disagree that this journal doesn’t define you. As with some of the posters above, I would agree those past experiences do define who you are today and your approach to relationships. All for the better, of course…

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Totally embarrassing. I’m hoping Sage will forget about it and that I can find a good enough hiding place. Perhaps the safe?

    It doesn’t define me. It contributes to the overall picture, but I’m not defined by drama. Most of the time, anyway. :)

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  15. elissapr Says:

    March 21st, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Recently my daughter found an old diary of mine…and my reaction was pretty much the same…a lunge from practically across the room. Of course, since she’s turning 12, she starting reading entries…all tame…but, still…how embarassing.

    While I loved your post…I would disagree that this journal doesn’t define you. As with some of the posters above, I would agree those past experiences do define who you are today and your approach to relationships. All for the better, of course…

    [Reply]


  16. Jo Says:

    March 21st, 2012 at 11:31 am

    I have one of those, from high school … o yes the drama. My daughter found it and then gave it to her dad … he claims I was ‘in love’ a lot.

    I remember always being scared that someone would find it and read it so I know that there were many events which I never wrote about or was very vague about.

    And as embarrassing as it is, it’s all part of who I am today and why I am the person I am.
    Jo recently posted..On this day….

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    Cheryl Reply:

    I was alone when i wrote it, so I never thought anyone would ever read it. There are things that happened that aren’t in there and now I wonder why I never wrote about it. Part of it was I just got really busy with work, but still.

    Cracking up over what your husband said.

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  17. Missy | The Literal Mom Says:

    March 21st, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    I’m riveted by this! Probably because it makes me think of my own naivety in my early years and how much I may not want to read the things I was thinking back then.

    I imagine no matter whether I wouldn’t want to read it or not, any early experiences and mistakes brought me to where I am now. All of us, really. And that’s a good thing. For most of us.
    Missy | The Literal Mom recently posted..Kinda Wordless Wednesday – A Must See Video

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I think most of us can relate in one way or another, that feeling of being, well, dumb when it came to love at some point in our lives.

    So much contributed to where I am now for sure, both good and bad.

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  18. Kimberly Says:

    March 21st, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I got rid of my journals when i moved in with Shawn. Yup. all of them.
    i had nothing to hide, but they are personal…like blogging…sort of…well he doesn’t read my blog anyways…
    But I think it’s important to remember where we came from. While we may hate it, it does shape us.
    Kimberly recently posted..Things Will Be Ok

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    You threw them away? Do you regret that? I wished i’d written more, quite frankly.

    One funny thing I wrote started with “I’ll never forget when…”

    Truth is? I totally forgot. Some of the things we think are SO huge at the time become meaningless.

    [Reply]


  19. Jenni Chiu Says:

    March 26th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Oh the DRAMA of our twenties!
    Interesting question of needing to go through all the pain to get to where you are now. I ask myself that quite a bit. No answer, though. I can only see through the experiences I’ve had.
    I vow to hug and kick ass for my kids, too.
    Found my diary from my teens… talk about ridiculous.
    Jenni Chiu recently posted..Beautiful, and…

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  20. Gayletrini Says:

    March 28th, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    I only recently trashed my journals from my 20′s LOL
    My hubster kept using it against me
    and then I thought why keep them around it was the past. I can’t change it and I don’t need it yoking me to the past.
    My 20′s was fun a great time of exploration though wish I had been more of a risk taker, danced on some tables or something LOL
    Gayletrini recently posted..Feeling grateful :D

    [Reply]


  21. Andrea Says:

    April 3rd, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Ooooh, I so have those journals. Yes – plural. I’m amazed that yours covered so many years and moments in one book. But that is great that you found it and can hold onto it. I love looking back at the stupid me. I had those questions – the “why does he – why do we – I don’t think it’ll work …” and then suddenly we’re back together. What the wha?

    I loved this post. :)
    Andrea recently posted..Ten guilty pleasures.

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