Reading through past journal entries and old emails is like traveling back in time. I read things I said, things I did, things that happened…and it is all surreal. I believe it but want to change it. The person I am now, with the knowledge of the end results, wants to step in and fix everything. It is really hard to look back at the things I wrote when I was going through some really difficult times. I was, and am, still just a kid trying to make the best of things. It is insane how quickly things can change and how intense life can be. I think it is important not to dwell on the missteps of the past, and I think it is equally important to not forget those times. So, I finally read through some tough stuff. I cringed, it made my heart beat faster, but it had to be done.
Here it is: a portal to the past. Strap in. Check wrist watch. First, its hands slow gradually and then stop all together. Everything is frozen, then stretched, then blurred, then rapid again. Another glance at the watch reveals that time is now travelling backwards. Images and sounds of the past overwhelm the senses, everything gets louder and more vivid, it is unbearable…MAKE IT STOP! Tic…tic…tic…tic.
Welcome to the past:
• “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”
• “My life is not an apology, but a life. It is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady.”
• “Travelling is a fool’s paradise. We owe to our first journeys the discovery that place is nothing. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern Fact, the sad self, unrelenting identical that I fled from.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
When my eyes brush across the recorded thoughts of Emerson, which are immortalized in the sleepless internet, I see so much of what I want to say. I see so much of what I think about everyday, just delivered with much more deliberation and eloquence. I do not seek to become the great thinker that he was; I simply wish to make sense of my own thoughts. I am a coward, I fear myself more than anything else. I fear that I am wrong, that I am ignorant, and that I am inept and alone. However, I find comfort in the fact that such an intelligent thinker once felt as I do. And although the grand reputations his works have received are of little importance to the principals they contain, it is reassuring to me that our brain waves are in sync. The last thing I would do is claim to be a genius or a philosopher, but I do just think constantly about the trials, tribulations, and the mysteries of the world. I think about these things so much in a hypothetical context, that the reality in which they reside often seems to get in the way of my contemplations. I try so hard at everything all the time causing me to live in a perpetual state of exhaustion and depression. I wish that I could depend only on myself to be happy; I wish that my sadness could not be determined by others, but I am weak. The smallest insult swells up like the sting from a thousand hornets, and I refuse to take the epinephrine. I fear that the relief that the antidote provides will make me strong enough to deliver a lethal dose of truth to whoever crosses my path. It is more painful for me to deliver injury than it is for me to take it…so that is what I do…I take it and take it! Do I secretly relish in the searing pain of life’s devastations? Although, all signs may point to this, I genuinely feel as though that is not the case. I think the truth is that I am petrified of being myself, being honest and upfront, and saying everything I am thinking. I cover my thoughts in a protective barrier, cautious not to impregnate another’s mind with the seed of my honesty. I fear that they will abort the thought once they become aware of its existence, or carry it full term and then choose put it up for adoption…put it out there for some unintended stranger to try and understand…I fear that it will face a lifetime of rejection bouncing from one foster home to another. I fear the pain that this could inflict upon my delicate soul, so I self-censor or I temporarily vow to abstain from verbal communication all together. But this does not protect me from the inevitable arrival of destruction caused by a wrecking ball of judgment, because I do not tell people what I think or feel…they invent my thoughts for me in their own minds. They create a persona to paint upon the unfinished canvass I have provided them. I bestow upon them the power to make me whoever they want me to be. I create a monster that contains only fragments of who I actually am and scraps from the figments of another’s imagination. I lose all control. Now I cannot say what I think, for my lips are no longer mine, the lips on my face are only able to birth the senseless offspring of another’s seed. I become trapped in my mind. The layer surrounding me that was once meant to protect me has now become a prison, from which no amount of good behavior will free me.