I don’t recall ever keeping a journal as a child, per se, however I do recall various fits and starts trying to keep one in my tweens, early teens. I know that just as I did when I was a young mother and thought I would–could–remember all the important things–baby’s first words, steps, funny things they said, funny things they did–I would have been just as wrong as a youth as I was as a young mom.
That said, I do know that at some point along the way I had some bit of success writing with some regularity when I was around 13 years old.
The reason I know this is because when I was in my late twenties and asked to serve as a leader with all the girls in my congregation who were 12 and 13 years old (there were just over two dozen of them) I stumbled upon that journal and had a read.
I cried. I laughed. But mostly I cried. And I felt. I felt again how it was to feel so insecure. So wanting. So wounded by the world. I felt fleeting hope over the most superfluous things. I felt embarrassed. Disappointed. In adequate. Unsure. And still joy over the simplest of things. And still a less fleeting hope–an optimism–that I could be better. That things would be better. That cup-half-full kind of girl was somehow present in the messy scrawl across the pages even amidst all the teen angst.
And it was good–and not by chance–I stumbled upon that angsty journal. I fell in love with those girls easily. Because I remembered. I judged less and loved more when they came before me with their own heartbreaks and drama. When they were sassy or–walls up over wounded hearts–rude. And now–through the gift of Facebook and that way kids have of coming home once in awhile–I get to see them all grown up–amazing and wonderful resilient women–friends and wives and mothers and all–well past all our teen angst, but no less tried and proven by the world. They are truly amazing women and I’m grateful to have known and loved them as I did, connected through the trials of being 13.
[Day 147 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]