february 1, 2003
What is real—
– Is it the smile I put on for everyone to see?
– Is it the things I say for people to like me?
– Maybe it’s a certain shirt or a specific way to dress.
– What would people say if I came to school a mess?
– I don’t want to be fake; I want to be a person all my own.
– Not someone who inside feels terribly alone.
– How do I find what’s real and meaningful to me?
– I want to be someone different, someone everyone can see.
february 1, 2022
I recently unearthed 16 old journals from a box in our basement. Most of them span 2000-2007, but there are two outliers on either end: one from 1995 (I am mad! Dad won’t let me watch California Dreams because it’s too old! Yeah right!) and the other from 2020 (Last Monday was completely normal—school was on and “social distancing” was only a whisper.). As I scan through the pages, the things that consumed a younger me are blatantly obvious (March 7, 2004: Boys this, lonely that, friends here, broken there). 2022 Molly is tempted to shake my head at the former versions of myself; there was so little to actually worry about back then. But to look at the pages of these journals—the hearts in the margins and the block letters on especially angsty days—is to see real emotion. It’s to read words that mattered to me—whether or not they still matter to me now.
I didn’t realize how lonely I was back then or how desperate I was to feel known and seen and understood. At 35-years-old, I’ve grown into my skin, but also? I’m still looking for what’s real and meaningful. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what it looks like to live authentically—to let people in. I still fight the tendency to plaster on a smile when everything feels anything but okay.
I won’t shake my head at the younger me. Though the stage of her struggles was much different than mine today, the tendencies and inclinations and natural bents remain. I think, maybe, we might have something to learn from one another.
So, this is an exploration of sorts. A quest to ask questions of the past as I think through the realities of the present and the hope of the future. I’m not sure what will emerge, but I can say that I’m not the same girl I once was and also I am still very much the same.