Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Once Upon a Time...

I love to read, and today was no exception. I found a book I hadn't read in a long time and sat down to enjoy some quality reading time. Only, the story was different than I remembered.

The main character of the story was really starting to annoy me.

She was shallow, inconsiderate and dense. She made stupid decisions based on nothing. She hurt people without realizing it. She was a complete jerk. All unbeknownst to her.

I was screaming inside! "Are you really that stupid?! How can you NOT realize what you're doing!!" I wanted to pull her out of the pages of the book and give her a serious talking to about the reality of her situation, to turn back time and undo all the things she did that were driving me insane!

I had to put the book down. It was torture to read it.

I started thinking... how often do we do things and make decisions without realizing the impact it has on others? This girl, this silly teenager with a head full of dreams and plans, was so clueless (yet in tune) with what was going on around her! At least, she was aware enough to record these things in her journal - yet still remain removed from the truth of it all. How? How can that be?

As the girl grew older and more mature, the memory of these things was much more rose-colored. And then, as an adult, she wanted to read the pages of her journal once again - to read about what she remembered as fun times and funny stories... only to discover the truth of who she really was.

I prefer my story the way I remember it, not the way I recorded it.

We're supposed to write in our journals, right? And keep them for our kids to read someday?

It's a good thing we don't have a fire pit in our backyard or this notebook would be ashes by now.


annette said...

"How often do we do things and make decisions without realizing the impact it has on others?"

A: All the time. Esp. when we're growing up. The important thing is that she didn't see it, she wasn't being bad. She was just a kid. What is good is as she got older and more mature, she became the person she thought she was being all along.

I think it's good to show our kids that we too were once imperfect. Humility is good for the soul.

Panama Jones said...

Why do you think Nephi wrote his book toward the end of his life? It would have been entirely different if he had written it while still a teenager.

A little maturity is a good thing, and part of it comes by keeping a journal. It makes us re-think our actions. Not that we'll always reach the right conclusion, of course.

Gerb said...

I love the way you said that, "she became the person she thought she was being all along". Thanks.

Allen said something similar - "What do you think the Nephites would say if they read their account today?" (Great minds think alike.)

I just wish I re-read it back when it would have made a difference - when I could have apologized for my actions. If I tried to apologize now it would just be awkward for everyone involved.

Maleen said...

I HATE rereading my journals from my younger days. They are so ridiculous. Was I really that person??
I can only hope that I will still appreciate what I have written on my blog years from now.

Thanks for the tip on O'Keefe's. It looks like a good product, and I am always looking for something that works :)

Holmes said...

Gerb, it was so good to see you at back-to-school night. I can't believe it's that time again. In regards to journals, I seem to remember mine were more about what I wore and ate on a particular day. My life wasn't that exciting...quite boring in fact. I am going to have to dig out my missionary journals and read about you and your family. I'm sure I must have written about strawberries somewhere :o) I think you're amazing so don't beat yourself up. There are plenty of things I wish I would have done differently, but I have to remind myself that I did the best I could knowing what I did at the time.

Chelle! said...

We were actually laughing about reading our old journals at work the other day. I have a few journals that I can not and will not read. I can't believe how they still affect me. But, there is one thing that I really love about journals--some of those experiences whether they are dumb or great--they make wonderful young women lessons.

Rebecca said...

WHAT?!?! Are you trying to say that you were a silly, imperfect teenager? Oh, Gerb, I'm crushed. I thought you were perfect from the day of your birth. And you're telling me now that you've made mistakes?...

I just don't believe it. All of my other friends have lived perfect, Christ-like lives. Not one of them has done anything dumb or short-sighted, ever. In fact, neither have I. That's why I choose the friends I do. We're a club of perfect people.


Take it easy, sista. It's called "live and learn". Like, remember how you discovered that "cup", and made a total fool of yourself in front of other people you cared about? Well, you learned a valuable lesson, and that's one mistake you never mistook again, right? And now, looking back, even though it's still a bit embarassing, it's pretty comical, and definitely forgivable.

Anyway, I'm still trying to become the person I've always thought I was, and at least when I did dumb things as a teenager, I was a little more innocent in my mistakes than I am now, and therefore less accountable. As Pumba once said, "You've got to put your past in your behind."

Rebecca said...

P.S. When I first started reading this post, I thought you were talking about a character by the name of Bella. I have NO desire to read the new book. Too bad Katelyn does...

Gerb said...

I'm learning to just keep them locked away until I'm dead. Then they can all read my journals and I won't suffer any embarrassment from it.

STRAWBERRIES! Oh my gosh, I forgot about that. I am busting a gut here. SICK!!

I do remember when one of my YW (or "adopted sisters") was 15 and was having a hard time - something she thought no one else could understand - and I was 19 and found in my journal my writing about her same struggles and it was great to be able to copy those pages and send them to her.

Yeah, sorry to burst your bubble. I'll have to tell you sometime in more detail what I was referring to in this post. It's just painful to know I hurt someone and didn't have the sense to realize it at the time. But you're right, we all make mistakes and then life goes on.

and p.s. When I re-read my blog after posting it, I thought the same thing. And I am also not reading the new book because the last one was terrible... another topic for discussion that I'll leave alone here so I don't offend people who liked it.

Gina said...

First of all, I totally loved this post, not only because you are always so incredibly insightful, but because you are such a great writer. Though you are shying away for the "journal writing while young" idea, it only made me that much more motivated to write more now for myself. I have dropped off this goal since having kids, probably the most interesting time in my life (at least to me).

Also, the whole Nephi analogy is great. I can only hope that I am slightly more mature than my teenage years. My teenage journal is the most hidden part of my life. What a joke if anyone were to read it. Oh dear.

Thanks again for the insight and entertainment.

Teachinfourth said...

Beautiful post. I've read a book similar to the one you did...only the character in that one still makes some of those stupid mistakes.