October 1, 2015
Another year older, another year wiser, at least that’s how the saying goes. Our first year of letters is complete and I wonder if that adage is true to any degree of significance. My plan for this letter was to go back through the archives, read over my past offerings, and reflect on my words. As I skimmed through my letters looking for themes, growth, or change, I became uncomfortable. Rather than being able to reflect on my writing, I saw my reflection in my writing.
It was disconcerting. Reading over my own words had the same emotional effect as looking over old pictures of myself. Not the ones I posed for, but the ones I didn’t know were being taken of me. Those snapshots catch weird slices of time, awkward facial expressions, distorted gestures, moments taken out of context that I pour over, trying to recreate the scene within my mind and judging the way I look. It’s like eavesdropping and hearing people talk about you. Every flaw is exposed and feelings of vulnerability turn into self-flagellation.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of this project. What I didn’t expect was this level of dis-ease while reading back through my work. In a sense it’s like a diary, exposing my real feelings about issues. Have you ever stumbled upon one of your old diaries or journals and read through some of the pages? Imagine sharing those intimacies with the world. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to expose oneself this way, and for that I’m satisfied. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to pull the covers over my head and hide for a bit.
I think the issue is facing the reality of myself. I think we all have a concept of who we are, what we’re like, how we’re perceived, or at least how we think we present ourselves to the world. It’s like those pictures. I didn’t leave the house thinking my butt looked so big, or that I looked so tired, or unkempt, but the pictures are proof that how I see myself in the mirror is not an accurate view of myself. My self-perceptions aren’t always the reality.
I read through these letters and I see a person with strong convictions, who’s passionate, has interesting ideologies and a sense of humor, but I also see a person struggling to feel confident in her own skin. Or maybe that’s my reaction to my letters. I do know that what I thought I wrote about isn’t exactly what my readers may have read. I think without intending to, we reveal more about ourselves in the way we share our ideas than the meaning of the words themselves.
Another year older, another year wiser? Perhaps, but more importantly, another year more aware. Another year braver. Another year more passionate and another year closer to becoming the person I want to be. One Year of Letters, finding happiness and fulfillment one letter at a time.
I can’t wait for next year.
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