January (2 years after)

The last time I woke up early, the sun was hiding. Instead, there were gray clouds hovering above when I look out from my windowpane. It wasn’t the same anymore– except for the breeze. It was the same gentle blow of breeze that always kept me nostalgic during January. This time, I embraced it in my bed from my dorm. I kept my reclined position against my soft mattress. Turned my fan off and held my blanket closer to my body, covering my torso down to the bare softness of my feet. Two years ago, I would head out as early as 6 am to get ready for another tiring day at school.

This time, I have realized, it is different.

The memories haunted me again when I found an old journal of mine. It was a gift from a best friend who lives in the Netherlands. After avoiding it for 3 years, I have finally read the musings again– some of them I wrote when the memories were still fresh at the back of my mind, some are notes that I’ve taken during seminars and forums that I was chosen to attend to.

While I was flipping through the pages of poetry and prose that my 14-year-old self had written in that journal, I came across a poem that was too late to be finished now. It reminded me of my copy of “Wreck This Journal” by Keri Smith. When I brought it at school to show it to my friends, I received nothing but scolding. They’ve always asked me why I spent a lot of money for something that was only sold to be destroyed (at least, in a creative way). I would defend myself saying, “It was worth it”. So what I did after reading the unfinished poem was rush to my mini bookshelf and find my copy of “Wreck This Journal” on the stack of books that I perfectly organized according to their sizes.

And my, oh my. What a joy it was to read all the silly, meaningless stuff my friends and I wrote in its pages.

There was this one page that I have given up for them to doodle on. The instruction was clear, I have to hang the page on a public place and let the people doodle in it. Being a meticulous book hoarder with severe trust issues, I have allowed only my grade 9 classmates to do it. Excited to have finally been allowed to join in the fun (and destoy a priceless property of mine) , they grabbed the journal and wrote (and drawn) all the things that they can think of during that time.

If I have decided to see their doodles again two years ago, I was certain that I would feel sad. But now, what I only heard was laughter. And to my surprise, it was coming from me.

In that page, a name of a particular person was written for so many times. The initials were written in the center, with a large font size, by my bestfriend. It is a common name. So generic that back then, I wished I could never see it again in souvenir stores. I was thinking to myself, “God, I was so naive back then”.

I flipped through the other pages and saw my favorite doodles. I admired how I was able to manifest my creativity by gently destroying that book. However, I was upset, too. There were so many questions running in my mind. All of these emotions I felt simultaneously when I was trying to remember, “What was in my mind back then?”, “What was I like back then?”, “Would 14-year-old me like me if she could meet me one day?”, and most importantly, “Did I change?”, “Was I able to find my old self?”.

For once, I brushed all of them off. It was sad to think that I have already forgotten what it was in my mind back then. Or what was I like back then. Honestly, I couldn’t remember anything. It feels like I have really convinced myself to forget everything that made me feel something warm, and sappy, when I was in junior high school. I guess that what happens when you get terribly hurt in loving someone– in loving yourself. You make yourself forget that thing, or person, that has hurt you. You tell yourself never to go back again. You tell yourself to heal and never do the same mistakes again. And once you’re done with all of it, you are left with a new version of you. Unfortunately, this new version of you can’t recall anything in the past but the hurt that you have been through. And that’s alright.

That’s alright.

But please, if you’re going to hurt, do not convince yourself to forget again. Learn to accept the way things are. And I tell you, it would be easier to redeem yourself once you have found yourself lost again.

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