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Posts from the ‘revisiting old journals’ Category

Thoughts at a laundromat

Revisiting Old Journals6/8/97

I hate the laundromat. It always succeeds in reminding me of my own insecurities and inadequacies. I am not generally inadequate, but I feel that way most of the time. I feel, almost always, as though I’m not good enough.

This is incredibly hard to reconcile with my knowledge and real belief that I am somebody, and more than that – somebody good and worthwhile. How do you work that out in your mind? For me, I guess, it’s that I think I’m quite alright, but I’m somehow truly mystified to find anyone else who agrees with me. But, I’m off my subject. This has nothing really to do with laundromats.

It’s just that I feel so utterly conspicuous here. A laundromat is just one of those places where people have little choice but to look at other people. And be looked at in our turn. Here I feel fatter than I am, uglier than I am, stupider than I am.

Why am I so deeply concerned with other people? People I’ll never see again. People who will never think about me again?

I hate the laundromat.


The older I get, the less conspicuous I feel. And the less I care what people may or may not be thinking about me at any given time. Mostly I’ve just realized that strangers think about me, or even notice me, far less than I imagine. But I wonder, was that insecurity that made me (and sometimes still makes me) feel observed and scrutinized? Or was it just another form of ego and self-absorption?


Follow through…or not, whatever.

I have no idea when I made this little diary, except that I was in elementary school and it was a special project we did in art class.  Maybe second grade?  And I also have no idea why on earth I started out writing “dear book”.  Seems kinda weird now, but that’s what I did.  Pretty soon I switched over to “dear diary” and I’ve been writing, documenting, journaling, venting – however you want to classify it – ever since.

There are other things about myself that I can trace back to the beginnings of my memory.  I’ve always been shy, timid even, and unsure.  The trifecta, right?  Don’t bet on it, haha!  Get it?  Bet on it?  The trifecta…  Yeah, I’ve had a fantastic sense of humor for as far back as I can remember.  I’ve always had trouble with left and right (don’t ask me for directions).  I’ve always struggled to understand others or to  make my own meaning understood.  I think that’s why I over-explain things, and often end up repeating people’s words back to them in my own language.  I think I know what they’re saying, but I’ve been told I was wrong so much, that I feel the need to clarify.  

And then there’s the little problem of follow through.

Dear Book, We have to write book reports every week, this is my book report, ↓


Love the arrow pointing to all that nothingness.  And clearly my expectations were high, considering I felt I would need to “con.” on the next page.  That’s just so me.  Well, all we can do is keep on trying to improve ourselves, right?

And what about you?  What are some of the ways that you are the same now as ever?

I’m just being nosy – something else about me that hasn’t changed!


Lather. Rinse. Do Not Repeat.

I came across yesterday’s journal entry just the day before, and of course I had forgotten all about writing it.   And yet, don’t many of the words seem very familiar?  I wrote it nearly a year and a half ago (long before the idea of blogging ever crossed my mind), and lo and behold, it’s one of my resolutions this year.  Following through on my good intentions, on the internal prompts I get to reach out to people, falls under the Being Nice category, that resolution of ill-defined proportions.

As I look through my old journals and pick out pieces from this year or that, I see how consistent I am in my thought processes, my opinions, my desires, and in the things that I want to change about myself.  Perhaps the biggest consistency of all is that I don’t change.  I don’t believe that’s unique to me; I think it’s simply a characteristic of humanity.

To begin with, we don’t always recognize the possibility (probability?) that we need to change.  It’s so easy to criticize other people and so hard to see undesirable characteristics in ourselves.  And when we do recognize the uglier parts of ourselves – the thoughts or actions that repeatedly cause us heartache, discomfort or just minor irritation – they are quickly forgotten.  We behave in ways that we don’t like and we suffer the emotional backlash (hurt, anger, sadness, distress), but life keeps moving forward and we are soon emotionally and mentally past the upset.

Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

I’ve long understood that I am who I am, and without putting diligent, targeted effort into changing things about myself, I will continually repeat the same patterns over and over.  This is clearly evident in my journals: write about it; forget about it; write about it again a year later, using much of the same vocabulary, phrasing, tone and emotion.

One of the things that blogging has afforded me is public accountability.  We are, as bloggers, publicizing our thoughts and opinions, our feelings and experiences.  And this year, since I started blogging, has become quite a bit about facilitating change within myself, moving forward in a positive direction.  Posting about it – knowing I will post about it, victory or loss – has helped keep me motivated to trudge on.  I feel as if I’ve stepped off the treadmill and my feet are on the ground for the first time.  And I may actually get somewhere.

I don’t expect that to be the last journal entry in which I chastise myself for not listening to that still small voice, for not reaching out to others, for not walking my faith.  But I hope it’s the beginning of the end.

walking my faith


I don’t always say everything I’m thinking in (Sunday School), because I already feel like I probably talk too much.  And I do have a fear of being offending to other people, or other people just thinking of me as being… mouthy, I guess.  What I didn’t bring up today was, “What are the things that we want to run away from, instead of living in that moment?  What are we not facing or not walking through?”

It’s not just the big issues in our lives that we don’t want to face, like cancer, losing your job, or family disharmony.  We also avoid so many small things, every day and every week.

It’s not reaching out to someone because of a fear of being rejected or fear of saying the wrong thing.

It’s knowing you should reach out to someone who is hurting or going through a hard time in their life, but only offering help in word and not in deed.  Maybe you don’t want to add another complication to your life, and you know if you just send an email or a note saying, “Let me know if you need help,” that they won’t ask for it, because we typically don’t.

It’s not listening to that voice inside you that tells you what to do, because it takes effort and it takes follow-through and it takes the planning part of it that we were talking about in class.

These are ways in which we do not live the moment, we do not walk through it.  Instead, we turn away from the opportunity that was presented to us: to minister, to uplift, to ease a burden, to help.

There are lots and lots of times when I see something and I’ll say, “Oh, I’ve got to ask so-and-so about this, if they’d like to do that with me.”  Or, “I should tell so-and–so about this great program that’s available for her and her situation.”  But I don’t do it.

It’s that little voice that speaks these ideas to us, but we ignore it and we let it go and we let it drop.  We don’t following through.  And maybe that was God telling you, “Hey, that person needs you!”  And that you need them, and you need more people in your life, and you need to be a person of action and a person who walks their faith instead of just thinking their faith.

I need to get my faith past my thought life and into my actual life, and into the action of my life.

It’s also keeping your mouth shut when God is compelling you to speak.  Because you’re afraid to say too much, say the wrong thing, or be annoying, or be perceived in anything but the best light.