Sins of the past

A blast from the past got me full force in the gut this evening. I accidentally stumbled across an old Blogger account from 12 years ago…

I knew this account was out there and it haunted me slightly. The blog was never public – I had set it to invite-only. I was holding tight to the belief that, due to years of neglect, Blogger had  simply stored it on some dusty cyber-shelf, in the old storage lockers of the internet, where no one but me would ever think to look for it. It was quite a shock, therefore, when I went to comment on a Slicer’s post and next to my reflection on the piece was my 12 year old photo from my Blogger account.

I quickly logged on. I was both thrilled and appalled to find the account exactly as I had left it back in ’07. There were just 4 posts, the last one reading something like “I always have such great intentions to write daily, but I can never seem to keep it up…” Oh dear. That’s not even irony, it’s just a sad, honest reflection of poor performance.

I read back through the posts and I cringed predictably. I’m definitely not happy with my level of understanding of the world back then. I have always been a late bloomer, not one of those 20-somethings that could write eloquent, poignant musings about life. Actually, what I find most galling was that I know I was trying to be eloquent and poignant, but reading it back I now realise I came off as brash, judgemental and insensitive.  This was especially bad because the blog was a travel journal of sorts, my way of recording my experiences as an intern living in Malawi.

Reading my old posts, I can see that I attempted to use a lot of humour to explain the confusion I was feeling adjusting to a new culture – the humour was meant to demonstrate my quirky understanding of different customs and my ability to analyse my culture shock. I know that’s what I was trying to do, but that’s not how it read. If anything, the blog was a great example of what a young woman with white saviour complex looks like freshly out of undergrad; very aware that she doesn’t know what she’s doing or talking about while simultaneously making shallow and careless statements about her experiences.

I wrote a lot more about this but the post became more work than I first thought and I was no where near finished. It’s past midnight now so I will end this here.

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5 thoughts on “Sins of the past

  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You reflected in a very meaningful way. We were all young and know-it-all-y. And the good news? You’ve grown as a writer and human being and will continue to. This is what matters. IMHO 🙂

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  2. I agree with the above. Don’t be hard on yourself. Isn’t writing just documenting your life at that moment. Reflect on how much you have grown as a writer. I still have journals from high school (almost 30 years ago). I like to read them from time to time to see how much I have changed.

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  3. Are we living parallel moments? I’ve been cleaning out our attic and just stumbled across some of my old journals and writing – along with approximately 11 million other papers. I have tried to turn the experience into a post, but I’m not there yet. So much of it is funny and ridiculous, but so much is profoundly unsettling. Seeing our old selves through our more journeyed eyes is challenging. Sigh. Let’s raise a glass to us as late bloomers – may we be as generous with others as others were with us; and may we be as gentle with our younger selves as we would be with our students. We are all growing and learning. And hey, maybe you can reflect more for tomorrow’s post. 🙂

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  4. I love Amanda’s words for this experience: “profoundly unsettling.” It IS profoundly unsettling to run into our old selves and all they didn’t know and all they weren’t shy about announcing to the world that they didn’t know.

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