On Reflection / by ABMann

I just wrote the following in my journal:

You can’t get anywhere new without
knowing where you you’ve been.

I have been wondering lately what my intent is with my
journaling. I started it foremost because I enjoy *the act*
of writing as much as writing itself - the “act” here being
putting pen to paper. I love the scratch of the pen (though
that is a sign of a mediocre pen or paper) on paper. I love
getting ink on my fingers (though not on my nice, new table
which i also did this morning).

Is that my intent? Am I doing it, paper journaling,
for the sensory experience? *Is that enough*? Journaling
is intended as a way of capturing the past, of seeing the delta between Old You and Today You.

And i bristle at that, bristle at the idea of reading
about who I was. I have spent most of my life running from
who I was, trying to forget who I was for the better me of
Today. So when I think to reread all the things I’ve written,
I get a little sick.

All I see are the mistakes of the past and none of the growth that accompanies it. It is as if acknowledgXXXing
who I was is a failure in itself. This is despite noXlonger seeing myself as a failure; rather, I think the last
decade has beenX pretty spectacular for me.

Something about acknowledging who I was negates who
I *am* in my head. I dealt with years of psychological
abuse at the hands of my brothers who would bring up
things that had happened years ago in order to manip-
ulate me into doing things i didn’t want to do for fear
they woukd tell my parents (in retrospect, it was exceed-
ingly stupid stuff). Or my friends threatening to do
similar with my teachers.

I suffered immensely at the hand of my past. Re-reading
that is to relive it, invoke that shame and disgust. And
it is hard to get past that.

But.

But I recognize that these are the things that have
shaped me. They no longer *define* me. Yesterday is not
today and I am not things I feXlt or did in the past.

There isn’t anything wrong with making mistakes or feeling shame or being immature. There is only failure in ignoring who you Were and what got you to Today.

That was the final passage I wrote today and it is true:

Today is not Yesterday is not xTomorrow. Not looking back gives you an ill-informed tomorrow.