Last night I went hunting for a photo of me with crazy short hair and ended up down a rabbit hole. A Livejournal shaped rabbit hole to be precise.

I started posting to Livejournal when I was just shy of 18 (more than ten years ago!) I remember switching accounts A LOT and I remember the buzz of posting my private thoughts in a public space. I also remember how raw and open I was at that age and so it was with grim curiosity I began to sift through my postings.

This is what I told twitter:

Putting up that humorous barrier (hahhah, wow I was so emotional! Thank goodness I’ve grown up etc) allowed me to look at my old thoughts from a condescending view point and, in such, dismiss them.

I journeyed through my total highs – when I was a new christian and obsessively passionate about Jesus and life – and my scraping lows.

i woke this morning to rain. each drop felt as if it hit me directly, if it hadn’t of been for the roof and my ceiling i’d have been soaked… 2003

From my distance I could see where I’d begun to fight off depression and where it ultimately smothered me. I didn’t have a word for what I was going through at the time so it was freeing to offer that to my old self.

your talking that language that used to breath, mimicking the way we lived. your words hit slow and dull, wounds etch the hands that protect my face & warpaint stains our clothes. 2004

But what wasn’t freeing was my dismissal. It’s easy to look at who I was as a teenager and young adult and roll my eyes. Look how caught up on boys you were, in love with a new person every week, look how you wanted to trade out who you were to sit with the cool group at lunch. From the perspective of my life now, what my values and problems are now, it’s easy to see what I was going through as trivial.

should i pretend and go on sleeping when i have already been made alert to every movement and every sound you produce in me? 2003

But it certainly wasn’t trivial when I was going through it. The love I felt for whatever guy was intense, the way my friends saw me was more important to me than anybody else, the pain I felt was real. It mattered and it shouldn’t be dismissed.

In writing for young people you often hear it said: don’t talk down to them. Don’t talk down issues, don’t talk down problems, don’t talk down their emotional struggles. And I think it’s important to not do that to ourselves as well. What mattered to you as a teenager might not seem like much compared to whatever hot button political issue but because it mattered to you, because you gave it value, it matters. Don’t discount that.

i’m in a bad mood. i’ve started brushing out my dreds. that is all. 2003

The pain I felt over not having a boyfriend, of falling out with my best friend, of fighting with my parents, was real and it hurt. This is the pain I revisit when I’m writing – this is where I pull from. I need to value what I’ve been through and not just because I’ve come through it but because, hopefully, when someone recognises their struggles and pain in my writing it will give value to their experiences.

So I hope you forgive the interweaving of old things but I think bringing some of them here is a good value adding step.