To Thine Own Self be True

The entry below is an excerpt handwritten in my paper journal on 7/27/2008:

I wrote down an idea in my previous journal for a writing topic, but never got to elaborate on it further. It was about one ordinary weeknight when I was at home. I had left a music channel on my television and as I was crossing over to the bed or the bathroom I noticed that the song playing was ‘Besame Mucho’- but an instrumental version. For some reason, hearing that song took me out of my immediate present reality, and into an alternate one. I imagined I could be on the streets in Europe, listening to it play at a cafe. anywhere else but where I was. I had the feeling of being on vacation, with everything feeling slightly removed and unfamiliar. But it was something comforting at the same time. A break from the everyday normal routine. It was a reminder of the fluidity of life – of the possibilities that abound there.

In starting this journal I was reminded of how I used to start other journals in my teens and early 20s. I used to write in big flowery letters ‘Karen’s fairy journal,’ drawing pictures of flowers and butterflies around the curvy lettering. This journal didn’t seem to call for an opening like that. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’ve been 29 for a couple of weeks now, and part of me may feel like this journal needs to be about exploring a newer, different side to me. The person I’m growing into being.

I never used to weigh my values on conventional, societal ideals. I found (and still find) value in creativity, living simply, sucking all the juice out of life, living as if in the magic of poetic language. I find value in living life with a purpose and meaning that one defines for one’s self, no matter the opinions of the common masses. Holding onto one’s freedom, individuality, and singular expression has importance over everything else. A person cannot rest or be at peace unless he is heeding the call of his heart, his own personal song, a vision of what true happiness really means.

I think within myself there may be a bit of a fear of success. I may be one of those people who goes mad if I’m given too much money. Last week I finally succeeded in my long-term goal of wiping out my student loan debt. – it was $20,000 in total. And the idea of no longer owing anything, of no longer having to set aside huge portions of my paycheck anymore was somewhat unsettling. As crazy as that sounds it actually made me feel anxious – I suppose because I no longer had a major, definite goal to work toward. I had finally reached it and I guess a part of me was wondering what was next..

A sketch of me, right after I had been crying, is the decoration in the inside cover of this journal. I hope that doesn’t doom me to a bunch of morose journal entries. It’s strange to be afraid of happiness – I guess the fear of losing it. I try not to let that get to me and just give myself over to those magical, out of this world moments- those moments of being and feeling whole, natural, healthy and free.

I hope for myself that growing older is not difficult. I hope that I will still find things in life that will motivate me, satisfy me, make me feel fulfilled, complete, at ease and happy. I hope that it won’t be a downward spiral, as most people are led to believe. There is so much change everywhere in the world, in one’s family, in one’s own self that it can become hard to keep track of the self. Most people, when they get close to the age of 30, feel disappointed only if they feel they should have accomplished more by that age. I think I may be suffering from a bit of that. There are people my age who live in grand houses, who write scripts that become Hollywood movies, who write books, who play live shows with bands and sing in front of an adoring audience.

Sylvia Plath died at age 30, but before she died she wrote countless plays, poetry, a novel. She became a well-known writer, her journals were published. her one novel, The Bell Jar is still widely known and read, regardless of the fact that it was largely autobiographical. And these things make me wonder what I have to show for being the age that I am. Will only I be the one seeing and reading what I’ve written? Will all the journals I have locked away in a fire-proof box one day just be discarded without so much as one soul showing any interest in them, in me, or in the world and life I am currently inhabiting?

Sometimes I remind myself that its OK to keep it simple in writing. I don’t have to sit to write 10 or 20 pages all at once or not write anything. In her journals, Sylvia Plath would sometimes only write a paragraph describing what the rain sounds like falling on her roof in the quiet of her bedroom. Nothing else was needed because that was all she had to say on that day.

I want to continue to like myself as a person throughout my life. And I think a big part of that depends on being absolutely true to myself. Never wavering in my belief as a singular human being, and never bending to the will of others who want me to be someone else more to their liking.

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November 14, 2012. Tags: , , . writing.

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