I said back in May that I would be shredding my journals in June. It didn’t happen. It became something that lived on a never-ending to-do list, a task that would take an undue amount of time in exchange for the teeny payoff of a few inches of shelf space. Occasionally I would remind myself of my vow and finesse the order of the to-do list, and I would imagine the photos I’d add to this entry, the hardcore proof. All I needed to do was read through them first, just to prove to myself that there was nothing in there worth saving.
I had been poised to find charming sentences, raw pearls, but it’s possible that I put it off because my lizard-brain knew what was in there. In the reading, I made myself more than a little ill. I was not the kind of journaler who wrote regularly about the events of the day—I only turned to the notebooks when I was having a hard time, in the kind of mode where everyone around me made me see red. From the vantage point of many years later, I could see the way that the writing reinforced negativity, obsession, and self-doubt. Oh, and vainglory; that’s always fun. I actually once wrote this sentence in earnest: I have such ennui. I shredded 1993 to 2003, ten years worth of the worst of me. And as I read, I relived every emotion, every mood swing, every insult. By the end, I had a hangover, even though I drank nothing but water during the process.
I wish I had done the shredding without reading the pages. For a few inches of shelf space, I exchanged more than a little blissful oblivion. I wonder what I’ll be able to forget and what might be in my memory for good. I’ve been rumpled up this late winter-early autumn season and this didn’t help, but it’s something I’ll never have to do again… until I decide to take on 2004 and beyond.