Maybe it’s good I didn’t have a blog
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.