This I Believe

Annali - Akron, Pennsylvania
Entered on February 17, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Sitting on my bed, pillow propped up against the wall, teeth clean, face washed. December 16, 2005: “I just want to sit here and think. It’s 10:44 but I’m not tired. I have on a new goodwill sweater and it smells of goodwill. Maybe that’s what is putting me into this introspective mood. Maybe it will all disappear when I take it off. If I was in college I would go out to the common room now and sit on a sofa and wait for someone to talk too. Too bad I am not in college.”

I believe in written word, my written word. I believe in journaling. That is how I came to read this 2005 entry, what I just shared, a year after writing it, sitting in my dorm room, and laughing. Laughing at myself for thinking the connector would be dark and quiet at 10:44. Laughing at thinking that 10:44 was late. Laughing at all the memories of preconceived college ideals that came flooding back to me.

This is the essence of what I believe. The remembering, not so much of who I am, but who I was, and this in turn helps me articulate who I am. Memory is power. Whenever this concept comes up I always think of Mufasa’s voice from the Lion King rumbling from the clouds, “Remember who you are”.

Ok, so it might be from a Disney movie and spoken by a dead, cartoon, Lion. But it is a timeless concept. Because I remember what is was like in high school not to hold the majority opinion on goodwill, tea drinking and peace, I try to keep an open mind even here. Because I remember pulling orders for Ten Thousand Villages’ Warehouse 8 hours a day, I value my education opportunity considerably more. I try to live deliberately, remembering where I have been.

I do this primarily through journaling. I have not always journaled. In fact, back when I thought a journal was pink, fuzzy and meant to record what you ate, wore, and did every moment of everyday, I hated them. I keep trying to start one until I realized that I don’t actually care what I’ve done every day of my entire life.

With this revelation, I took a new approach and redefined what journaling meant to me. I started to write whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I extracted the obligation and all the constraints on what “should” or “shouldn’t” go in a journal. I put meaningful letters in, I drew people, I made lists of things I wanted to do in my life and how many towels to bring to college, I ranted about politics and art, I philosophized about my place in the world and why I brush my teeth with my eyes closed. I made them imperfect.

They are my life, in the most raw and unfettered way possible. They are my memories. No longer clean crisp pages with neat handwriting, but bulging, glue stained masterpieces.