Old Notebooks

I went to pick up my grocery order, and they tried to tell me that they didn’t have any record of it. I gave the poor confused girl standing at my car window my order number – “the money has already been taken out of my account,” I informed her. She looked helpless and confused, and said she’d go check with a manager.

Miraculously, my order showed up, was loaded in my car.

The experience did nothing to improve my mood.

I came home, unloaded the groceries, talked to Sophia and Noah, watered my garden. . . I was trying to distract myself from my bad mood. I picked some radishes, rinsed them and cut them off of the stalks.

Still annoyed, I figured I’d come in and finish a draft or something.

None of my drafts spoke to me. None said ‘Finish me!”

I checked Pinterest for some ideas. I don’t know what made me do it, but I remembered a box of old notebooks under my bed – I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I turned around and pulled the box out.

I opened the first notebook, and came across a draft for one of my first ‘books’ that I wrote in high school. I gasped in amazement. I thought these were way lost. Like, super lost. More lost than Atlantis. The final drafts, written in Composition Books, had been lost in a move. It never occurred to me that I had the fucking drafts. Excited, I began to dig. Old poems, journal entries. . . Oh, there was a plethora of material inside the box.

A card in between notebooks caught my eye, and I picked it up and opened it.

It was a birthday card from my dad.

"All my love, 
Your Dad 
Always remember that I'll be here when you need me."

I’m not ashamed to say that I fucking lost my shit, right then and there. Instant tears, I stared at the card and just cried.

I carefully set the card aside, knowing that I needed to keep it handy. “Now all I need is Mom’s,” I thought to myself.

And lo and behold, a card and letter from Mom, underneath some other random pieces of paper.

"All my love, 

It was over for me. I just sat there in complete awe and disbelief, crying, missing my parents, wishing they were here to guide and help me through the shitstorms and uncertainties.

This is the first time I’ve read their handwriting in years, and it hurt. My mom wrote so elegantly, using roman numerals to number her pages. I had forgotten that. I’d read a few lines of her letter, and put it down and let myself cry.

I’m a firm believer in signs. On my list of summer to-do items is to finish my tattoos. One of the tattoos I want is my parents signatures. Best believe that’s happening in the very, very near future. I didn’t find these by accident.

To try and bring myself out of the sad emotions, I started paging through the old journals. The first one was from the fall of 1999 – Putting me at about 15 years old. I consistently wrote down the ‘Top 8 at 8’ each week, off the radio. I was into more pop back then, so the station played current hits – Kid Rock, Savage Garden, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, *Nsync, Backstreet Boys (a personal favorite) etc. I wrote really shitty poetry. I did catch a glimpse at my obsessive, over thinking nature, so it’s nice to know that I’ve dealt with that my whole fucking life. . . But there was also the music interest, and the fact that I was constantly writing something, even if it was shitty, angsty, teenage poetry.

They spanned from about 1998 all the way to 2005, when I had Matt. I found a notebook where I wrote down the lyrics to songs that Oliver and I wrote for our band, ‘Victim of Environment’. I immediately sent him a photo of the cover. “Are there lyrics in it???” he asked. There sure were, and he was a way better lyricist than I was, let me just say that.

I came across an intriguing quote – “What has eyes yet cannot see? – A true lover.”

I came across a short story about a school shooting, from the view point of a victim – this was right around the time that Columbine happened.

I moved onto the next notebook – Summer 2000.

I used the journals for everything – drafts of poems and stories, venting about whoever I had a crush on at the time, or in turn whatever guy was pissing me off at the moment. . . I wrote of my parents actions, my friends heartbreaks and my own. . . a mostly typical teenager. The ever recurrent theme was my own insecurity and second guessing everything. I scanned through the shitty poetry, trying to find a ghost of talent. I wrote one about abuse that shocked me – it was awful deep for a then 16 year old girl, written in July of 2000.

How Many Times
How many times
have I waited?
For a visit,
a letter,
a call.
How many times
have I cried?

its hard to believe you
love me
sometimes it's hard to see
how bad you treat me.
But I go on believing in,
and I go on
loving you.

How many times
have you hurt me?
With a word
a slap
or a look. . . 
How many times
have I ran?

How many times
have you been with her?
one time
two, three?
How many years
have I put up with you?

How long must I wait?
How long must I believe
I'm the one at fault,
It's already been too long
and it's too late.

How long will it take
for me to die?
Because this time,
it wasn't a word,
or a slap. . . 
It was a knife.

I mean, I’m no poet, that’s for sure. That’s the best one I found, after quickly scanning through at least 100 randomly written poems through out the notebooks.

In between journal entries I wrote these random poems, threw in pages for the book I was working on (one notebook picked up at page 165, another on page 99. . . notebooks were hard to come by apparently.) I wrote down the schedule for my days, even back then – when I was going to do chores, so I could make sure they were done before dad got home. I figured out a budget for how to spend the occasional money I earned from babysitting – things like razors, and socks, shaving cream, etc. $20 went a little further back then than it does now, that’s for sure.

I wrote a lot about how no one seemed to care about me, how people constantly talked about me, how people constantly back-stabbed and treated me badly. . . it made me sad for the girl that wrote those things. I wrote about our electric being off, and wondered in the journal entry if it had been disconnected or if there really was an issue on the utility companies end, and I was pissed at the possibility that dad hadn’t paid the bill. Back then all I saw was a man who drank incessantly. I didn’t have an understanding or knowledge of how hard it was to raise two kids on your own, and have an addiction, too. I don’t exactly excuse my parents behaviors. . . but I understand them better now.

There was even my reading response log, and our writing journal that we used for writing exercises in my 8th grade English class. Even back then I overshared – lol.

And it made me proud, that despite all of the negative feelings, I turned out the way I did. I still over think and obsess over shit, but I didn’t let all of the things that hurt me, all of the stress of my childhood, effect me negatively. I’ve used all of that to build myself up, somehow.

The same water that softens the potato, hardens the egg.

I felt a range of emotions going through the things I wrote. And I gained a lot of insight, the means to check a tattoo off my list, and it flipped this horrible mood I’ve been in all day around. Between looking back in time, and taking a moment to cry, I cleansed my mind and soul a little bit. I’ll sleep better tonight, and be ready to tackle tomorrow – and whatever it may bring.

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