Write Before Thinking


I’ll probably regret this later.

This weekend, while flipping through the channels, I stumbled upon on of my favorite movies of the late 90s, Goldeneye. I watched the first fifteen minutes. Then I realized that a movie that I had originally thought was cool, was in fact cheesier than hell. Which made me think, how many other things had I thought were rad that really were anything but.

Zubaz. I had a pair of black and hot pink Zubaz in 7th grade. They were, for that summer, the most friggen awesome pants I had ever owned. Then I got a pair of Cross Color jeans.

I once thought Milli Vanilli, MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice and the Speed Racer techno remix were cool.

And I was wicked awesome on rollerblades.

In the late 90s I thought it was cool to shop at Abercrombie. I went so far as to work there. Now I can’t walk by the place with out throwing up in my mouth and punching myself in the temple.

Of course, we all have periods in our lives that we wish we could take back, or at least revisit and offer our past selves some advice. I’d have told 9th grade Patrick that despite what he thought, not everyone was looking at him and to quit being a self-conscious teenager. I would have also told him to be a better math student and not waste his money on a liberal arts degree.

Because I always thought of myself as a writer and because I always wanted to be one, I thought that keeping a journal was important. I thought that one day I’d look back on my words and experiences for inspiration. Vainly, I thought one day others would too. So starting in college I kept a journal on and off for a number of years. The goal was to write every day.

That didn’t happen.

Instead I seemed to have only written when I was pissed, unhappy, unsure, depressed, anxious or in love. Though I’m sure at the time I thought I was writing some pretty heavy crap, full of deeper meaning and wisdom.

I wasn’t.

This weekend I dug out and read one of those journals. Then I fed every page through the shredder. The first few went hesitatingly, as if I wasn’t convinced that what I was doing was smart. But then it started to feel good, almost liberating. I tore the pages out and stuffed them down the shredder’s mouth as fast as I could, making diamond mincemeat of the sad, pathetic, self-conscious drivel I had put to paper years ago.

Gone were the memories of new and then failed relationships, career missteps and the death of a close friend. The only recollection of how I felt then is now tempered by time and disinterest. Like a photo of myself as an awkward teenager, this journal was something that I could not stand to look at. To shred it was to purge the evidence of my dorkier self and all his weaknesses, vulnerabilities and pain.

I know I am not cooler now. If anything, I’m a bigger dork. And I’m sure there will come a day when I look back on what I’ve written here, on these blog posts that at the time I thought were good, and think the same thoughts I did when I read that journal.

Too bad I won’t be able to shred them.


Filed under: Uncategorized, Why I Write,

2 Responses

  1. Dan says:

    check it out. Zubaz are back. I know it’s a little scary to some people, but what the hell? They’re still the most comfortable clothes on the planet.

  2. Liberal Hippy says:

    Ha! I did this one night too about three months ago – dug out a journal from the first days at college. The words I read confused me. There is no way I could have written them, felt that way, said those things, been so sure. But I read them, all, twice in fact. Then, in a final gesture of how I truly felt, I punched myself in the chin, and tucked the journal back into the closet from which it came. I’ll read it again when I’m ready to confront my idiot doppelganger.

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