I’ve been going through a “Digging through boxes and chucking out a lot of things” Phase the past month. Feels good to get rid of things that have no meaning to me anymore. One item was of particular interest and I am unable to discard it.
A good many years ago I got the notion to write a journal in 3rd person. It was an experiment to see just how long I could do it before slipping back into 1st. I managed to keep it going for 2 years, but that’s not the kicker.
The interesting, and repugnant, part of all this is how shallow and self-absorbed I apparently was at this point in my life. I was truly horrified when I read through this journal again after all this time. For the two years this one book covers, there is almost NO mention of my children, my husband, my friends or my family. Holidays and birthdays are almost totally ignored. At best, “It’s so-n-so’s birthday today” and that’s it, before diving back into Its All About My Wants & Needs & Misery. GAWD! I’d love to toss this book into a huge bonfire, but that would defeat the purpose of conveying who I was and how far I’ve come since then.
That journal is part of my journey through this thing we call life and as disgusting as I find it now to look at and read, I feel it would do a disservice to the other paths I’ve walked were I to destroy the record of those events. Clearly, I was not happy at that time. I was directionless. I was searching for something and didn’t really even know what that something was. I moved from one experience to the next hoping that maybe this new interest would hold my attention and make me happy. None of them did.
It’s interesting that I chose the 3rd person for those two years, too. In a way it detached me from what was going on. Those things weren’t happening to me, myself and I. They were happening to someone who just happened to have the same first name as me. She did this or that. She sat and cried. She was the frustrated and angry one. It wasn’t me. I didn’t want it to be me. I hope it’s never me again.
I also remember an old friend actually telling me how self-absorbed I sometimes came across. Thinking on it, I realize that this was during the same time period as when the 3rd Person Journal was being kept. I was shocked when he told me what he did. Me? Self-absorbed? WHAT?! I have never pictured myself like that, ever – – – until now, when I looked back at that journal and realize he was absolutely right.
Each time I’ve started a new journal, I’ve considered doing this exercise again. Now that I’ve gone back and read what I wrote during the first experiment, I’m not so sure I want to. Then again, it might prove beneficial to see what difference so many years can make. Would it come across like the old journal does or would it reflect more from the world and people around me? I’d like to think that latter!
If it were not for the hard lessons I learned during those years, I’d be completely ashamed of all that was expressed during those two years. The fact that I’m horrified at the whole things says a lot. It has made me much more aware of what I share in my personal writings. I want to be remembered with honesty, as being 100% truthful about my life, its events and ALL the people in it that have made me a better, less selfish individual.
You have to see the ugly in order to appreciate beauty. I have certainly seen the ugliness that I was. I hope that from those days forward the beauty I strive to be on the inside becomes more and more visible with each passing year.
Very interesting. Thank you for sharing – it’s can’t have been easy.
It was a very weird time, that’s for sure. Weirder than I even realized at the time it was all happening.
I think it would have been quite a loss if you had never found that book again. Strange how things happen sometimes.
I has never occurred to me to keep a third person journal. Now I think I might try it. I understand what you’re saying here, but I think it would be good practice for writing fiction in the third.
I would think that observing yourself as a distinct person and working to capture things like mannerisms and dialog would lead to more self-awareness rather than self-absorption.
Indeed, notewords. The book was never lost. I knew exactly where it was; in a box along with all the other journals I’d kept since 1977! YIKES! I’m old! It is strange how you come across things at maybe the most needed times. The same thing happened about five years ago. I was looking for my record of an event that happened back in the early 90’s and found something else which led to, believe it or not, finding my long-lost big sister!! 🙂
You’re right, Renae. If I did this again, and I still may, I’d certainly be VERY much more self-aware as well as more in tune with what the people around me were doing during those documented times. I’m glad something else called me to dig out the book again and give it a quick read through. Very enlightening.