There is something oddly entertaining about going back to something I wrote when I was younger. When I was convinced writing was my thing. And I did it with a shameless abandon, that I might have lost with age. I wrote with feeling, not with much thought. Because I was just so full of feeling and I had no time to rethink or ponder over what I was feeling, to say it coherently. Rebellious youth, hormone ridden teens and the angst that followed, I was a ball of cynicism and loathing for most things around me. Hate was a word I used easily and freely.
It’s funny how back in the day I had this distant perceived sense of self. It was romantic and rustic to think that one day I would be the quintessential struggling writer. The one with a decrepit, but cozy beach house. Alone, belligerent, always misjudging life. The kind that doles out brilliant writing, that only comes from brilliant suffering. If you knew me back then, you’d have believed that it could be a distinct possibility. But it’s funny how everything has moved so far from that distant, hazy image. A queer thing has happened over the years. And my blog is testimony to it. Even as many people feel they have gone on a journey from carefree and innocently happy young guns to jaded and cynical foggies as they’ve aged, I feel like I have travelled backwards. When I look back on my old writing, I see how the cynicism is brewing deep within. And it is enlightening for the largely happy and carefree person I am today. I am far more calm, positive and open today. As a result, I feel my writing too has turned calm, thought-out, and comes from much quiet contemplation. If the younger me was quick, brash and just needed to say it as it is, the now me is composed, collected and put together. At least as far as the writing goes.
Looking at something I wrote in the old days is a bit like looking into a trick mirror. Like you know you’re looking at a reflection of yourself. But it doesn’t all fall into place like it should. I have a new found starry optimism and I cannot understand what I was always so riled up about back in the day. While I accept it as all mine and can distinctly recollect each of those events and happenings, I find I can no longer relate to the bitterness. I cannot put a finger on the rebel-without-a-cause that I was. I cannot forgive the careless typographical errors, the casual uncaring writing, the forced harshness in some of my posts. Today I write with ease, but no longer with the intentional disregard for punctuation and spelling.
It makes me wonder: Where do the older avatars of ourselves go, when we, um, you know, move on? Do we discard them like old skins and grow into brand new supple selves? Or do we pack them away into a dark nook? Somewhere deep, that we can only get to with a little peeling and scrubbing? Or do we just grow newer selves embedding our older selves within? And do our older selves always stay the same, when we peel the layers back and have a peek within? How much changes? How much remains?
I’ve thought about shutting the older part of my blog down. Because I find myself increasingly feeling removed from it. Looking at it from a distance, and not completely relating to it. But most often I choose to let it be. Because there is something oddly amusing in looking at something you wrote in the past. And by something, of course I mean something embarrassing. Like I felt when I discovered the ton of 55fiction I had almost no memory of writing in the past. Many pieces forgotten, many still untraceable. So I’ve brought them off the high shelves they were stacked on. Dusted them off, neatly tagged and slotted them.
The next time I want to peek in the trick mirror that skews the past, the present and everything in-between, or I want to chafe at the sparkly self that I think I am, I know where to look.