I am often really happy about the fact that my job lets me work from the privacy of my own home — for all of the reasons you’re thinking of, and maybe one or two that you’re not: My facial expressions while writing are extremely animated. Someday I might set my phone up and video myself, just to see it because I imagine that it would be pretty amusing.
The same is true of my expressions while reading further into my diaries and prayer journals from my youth. There have been tears of laughter, and my eyes hurt from rolling so much remembering how ridiculous and naive I was as a child, but the closer I get to the present, the more cringing I do at certain memories and prayers that I read.
It has been an interesting journey into the past, and I’m not caught up yet, but I’m learning a lot about my former self, about why I did certain things or loved certain boys. I am laughing and simultaneously mortified about things I said or actions I took in trying to hold on to ‘love’ when it had run it’s course, and above all, I’m beyond thankful that the internet wasn’t such a force for self-humiliation back then as it is today!
Even though I know what I know now, that doesn’t discount the feelings or the experiences that I had as a teenager. I will not deny my fourteen year old self the truth that she experienced love for the first time (albeit unrequited, but still . . .), even though I now know that love is so much bigger than what I encountered back then. I will not tell my fifteen year old self that her heartbreak was a drastic overreaction. In fact, I would quietly whisper to her, “it’s okay, this is the worst of it. There is more heartbreak in the future, but none of it will compare to this.”
I also have to admit to that girl, that while, yes, she was completely unprepared for certain feelings to begin to manifest in her body, those feelings were extremely real, and as much as my almost 32-year old self would like to think that they were fabricated and based on lies, I was in fact very attracted to my biggest dating mistake, and that was why I pursued him. (I shuddered and put the journal down when I read about that day.)
I cut myself a little slack because I was a teenager. I didn’t have a clue what I wanted or what was possible for me. Everything fit neatly into a little box, and I planned for things to go a certain way. Yesterday I was looking back and thinking how stupid I was to be so blind, and then I dared to play the “What if” game for a moment or two; I thanked the Lord over and over for knowing me better, and for graciously meeting the real needs of my heart, for if he had answered the prayers exactly as I’d asked him to, I would be unhappy, unsatisfied and desperate for something different.
I am realizing that this look backwards is less about writing a young adult series about working at summer camp, and more about telling my story. That’s scarier to me than all of these memories combined.
Everything happens for a reason.
Do you have regrets from your childhood? What would you change, or leave the same?