I don’t understand people who get online to dump all their dirty laundry. Over and over. I don’t mind brutal honesty and even truths that may hurt others, in fact I think sometimes people need to feel a little hurt. What I don’t understand is rehashing things over and over until you’re blue in the face. I don’t understand constant negativity. I don’t understand people who think they’re suffering is unmatched by anyone else.
I’ve been in a place where I’ve been depressed and felt alone, but I’ve never looked at my suffering as particularly unique. The more people I meet, the more I realize there is pain everywhere. Sometimes I’ll go to a public place and look at the people around me and try and learn their stories. You can see pain in every face. Life in general is filled with pain. We’re all going on a journey together, just living until we eventually die. It’s all so short term, and people are bound to hurt one another. But you’d think that because life is so short term, and the bulk of what’s important in life are our relationships with people, that you could learn how to forgive and move on when others hurt you. Particularly when those hurts happened such a long time ago and frankly aren’t relevant anymore.
When I was very young, I thought that it was the coolest thing in the world to keep (and write in regularly…) a journal, but I never was very good at it. I envied the others that faithfully wrote in their journals. The only journal that I did keep is very precious to me probably because I wrote it during the time when my family was going through a pretty big crisis and we had to move to another city pretty abruptly. I recently went through it to remember the kind of kid I was back then. Most of it was sillyness, and I went on and on about boys I had crushes on (well mostly one boy), or about getting annoyed with my sisters. It’s precious to me because I can connect with who I was, and see what I thought was important enough to remember back then. Was much of it worth remembering? No. I think the most valuable part of the journal was remembering what I was feeling when I had to suddenly leave all my friends at school and church, some of them I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to. It’s precious to me not so that I can be mad that that happened to me. It’s precious to look back and see that at 11 years old, I truly experienced some sadness- a beautiful part of life.
The rest of it? The fights I got in with my sisters, the friends that offended me, the times I felt my parents were unjust, or any other negativity that was present in my life as a child. I have no need to revisit those things because they don’t matter. Who gives a crap that person x made fun of me for something stupid when I was so little? Some things are worth holding on to, but not negativity. Of course, anything negative that I experienced then wasn’t too serious. In general, I had a pretty happy childhood.
The only other time in my life that I was writing a lot was when I was going through some more serious personal crises. I was in therapy and my therapist had me write letters to everyone in my life and then never send them. I had a huge password protected folder on my laptop filled with many, many letters. I always wrote them and rarely read through them afterward. One night I did. I read through most of them and it only made me more and more upset so I deleted the entire thing. I instantly regretted this. I felt this huge sense of loss. All of the things that I’d felt and gotten out of me were suddenly gone. Seeing as I couldn’t get them back, I did my best to just forget about them.
Today, I thought about those letters, the only record of such a dark time in my life and I realized that I’m really happy I don’t have them. Those feelings were legitimate, but I don’t want to be the person that I was then. Thank God that I’ve moved on. I’m over that time, I don’t hold any grudges against the people that hurt me, and I don’t have those things to remind me of that pain. Part of life is pain, getting hurt, and even hurting others. Remembering your life is great, but keeping a record of all the times you’ve been hurt and going over it again and again later can’t be good for anyone.