(Do not be fooled, the fact that I’m writing today doesn’t mean this will be a daily thing… it’s just that I haven’t quite figured out a schedule for these)
So, as I mentioned in my previous and first post, I am shit at keeping track of things. I have a terrible memory for important things (but excellent for the things that don’t count. To quote Oddysseus in Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles (2011) “Useless information is my curse, I’m afraid.” (147)
NOTE: Four years of college have made me terrified of misquoting and being accused of plagiarism.
One of the good things about having terrible memory and a bad habit of only seeing things halfway through is that going through my old journals (cringing at 12-year-old me) is always an amusing experience.
The best journal I’ve had (in the sense that is legible, funny, and actually quite consistent) is the one I kept from October 2009 to November 2010.
Don’t get me wrong, I still cringe like crazy when I stumble upon gems like this:
NOTE: The writing in (parenthesis and bold) are notes made by me as of now. The others are from past me.
“Good afternoon! (past Laly wrote in the weirdest mixture of Spanish, English and halfway learnt anime based Japanese… she was a dork)
I’m reporting back after a long time ha! Can you believe I suck so much at math that I actually have to go to remedial classes (called talleres in Spanish because why not) on Saturdays from 11:30 to 13:00 hrs?
Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either but you see how life can be surprising (my leg itches) I ate mashed potatoes with fried eggs at home.”
So, not only I had completely forgotten about these remedial classes, 2010 Laly didn’t give a crap about punctuation.
Oh, and for those unfortunate souls that lived through the tough times of watching movies/series on YouTube, I left this lovely note for myself in one of the pages:
“On June 31st I started to watch Taiyou no Uta, the movie, I stopped watching at 4/12”.
4/12!? I mean, I obviously never finished it because I don’t ever mentioned again (that was back in 2009) and I don’t remember what the movie was about. (Wait! I just googled it. It sounds like something past me would do… I also remember being strangely obsessed with those actors. Interesting).
But see, I sometimes forget things, like the fact that when we had shitty internet you could only use it as long as no one else was on the phone. Sometimes you were trying so hard to finish one stupid show/movie and someone called! and then everything froze, YouTube went to hell and you wanted to kill whoever called… It was mostly my dad… and he knew what he was doing!
It’s incredible the amount of things I forgot about my life (like the fact that I, annoyingly, liked to talk about everything I had eaten for lunch, every day), the things that were important or annoying or sad, and how dramatic I was! Holy shit! I wrote like I was a connoisseur of life. I used so many weird phrases (probably taken from overly dramatic books and shows) and tried so, so hard to appear mature and serious! But of course I wasn’t! I was a brat, like I was supposed to.
So, yeah… There are so many thing I wrote in those pages, long and short entries about a life that maybe didn’t seem appealing or funny at the time, but that holds a certain melancholy charm now that I can see beyond what I wrote.
I have little notes about school, my family, myself and people or things I saw in passing but that seemed vital at the time.
I have a very detailed account of the 8.8 earthquake that shook Chile back in 2010 (aptly called 27F in here because it happened in February 27th), starting with the fact that Chilean people used to joke that Ricardo Arjona was the one that brought bad luck to the country since it happened after his set in Festival de Viña del Mar. I wrote about the curfew established in some areas because of the rising delinquency (why do people turn to theft the moment things go sideways?) and aaaaaall of the escaped inmates in local prisons. A lot of people didn’t have water or electricity, so many lost their lives, and it took months to get rid of all of the rubble in the most affected zones.
Sadly, I didn’t write about the 33 miners trapped after a tunnel collapsed… I would’ve liked to remember all of the things shown on TV at the time (I have a lot of quotes from radio stations saying things about the earthquake… We were using a radio because we were at my grandparents’ house and we didn’t have electricity, so we made do with what we had).
I love going back to my old journals because it gives me an idea of where I was and what I used to do. I see how I’ve changed and how I’m still the same.
This journal I’ve talked about (the very last one I kept) isn’t sad in the way the others were. I made a promise at the beginning of it that I would write everyday but only about the good stuff. I failed, of course I did, but not because I slipped and was pessimistic, but because on the bad days I didn’t write… at all. I didn’t remember that though… I really believed myself when I wrote I had nothing to say or that writing had slipped my mind, even in those long stretches of time where I wrote nothing at all for months.
And then I reached the very last pages of it.
Now, I said I kept this journal from 2009 to 2010. Those were during my last years of high school. I stopped in November 2010 when I announced the premier of Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows part I, I said I had finished reading a fanfic and was looking forward to reading the second part, and that I was tired because as a grade we had gone hiking as a sort of end of the year treat (we skipped maths… which I actually loved that year!). I promised I’d keep writing, but I didn’t. Instead, what follows after that “Goodbye” it something I wrote shortly after I turned 17, on May 2011, and that was this:
It’s been a while since we talked, uh? Even today… it’s not the 16th but the 30th, but I didn’t have any strength to talk to you before, for my birthday. I turned 17 on the 16th, and you know? -no, of course you don’t- I am bullied in school, it’s silly even to write about…
And that was it, no goodbye, no explanation, nothing. I remember why I didn’t write for my birthday, of course I do, but I don’t remember it hurting that bad. It wasn’t even that bad when I think back on it, but considering the last time I had written something was on November I think maybe it had been hitting my harder than I am now allowing myself to remember.
I assumed that was the end of it (even if I still had a couple of pages left, that last entry was pretty self explanatory: I was done) but then I turned the page out of curiosity and found a surprise for myself. I had apparently gone through this journal back in December 2012 and thought it’d be a good idea to write my future self a note.
I had completely forgotten about this (I picked this up again on 2015… so a long time had passed and as I said I have very bad memory) and when I read it, I guess I felt… moved? by my own confession? This was immediately after that last entry so I guess it was like a rising moment?
Whatever, the actual entry is too long for me to write here but the general idea of it is this: I talked about how I had changed, how I had gone to college to study something that wasn’t what I thought I wanted to do but that ended up being the perfect thing for me. I wrote about hoe I had found friends and a community to talk to others (Tumblr), and I said I was fine, I apologized for never writing after that last thing (I don’t like writing journals in a “Dear Diary” style so I was pretending that I was talking to a friend, almost like writing letters) and I ended it with “Someone who fought her demons, even if she never really told you about them. Thank you for always been there.” and a PS about some of the demons I fought during my school years.
Pretty weird, right? I mean, is the same style as what came before. I was still pretending to talk to someone, like it was someone real who was reading my entries, and I still acted like it was all okay.
I guess 2015 me realized this.
I realized that those last few notes weren’t for a fake reader, but for myself. I was writing to the version of me who would, in time, need to come back to these to heal, to laugh, to remember. So I wrote a new note (Even longer this time) where I admitted to all the demons I had, and why I needed to keep a journal so much.
I will not transcribe the whole thing but I will share the ending with you, because I think this is the reason most of us kept journals when we were younger, not because we had to, but because we needed to.
For those who share that with me, here’s a message from 2015 Laly:
I write today because I’m sure that in the future, just like I did three years ago and today, I’ll read these entries again and think back to who I was and who I wanted to be. And to that person, the one I will be, I’ll tell her:
Be strong, be brave.
We already got this far when we thought we wouldn’t.
We’re writing, we’re alive.
You can do this.
We will get there.
We will keep on writing and keep on living, and We Are Going to Be Great.
Love, The You from 2015
Full of Dreams and
Scared of the future.