Why I Threw Away a 21-Year-Old Journal

I have zero items from my childhood, because I had to pack only one suitcase when I was ten, for moving into the United States. And later, when I was on my own at age sixteen, my parents allowed me to take only a few items that I owned. It was again one suitcase.

Between all the moving and chaos of my life, I managed to keep one especially old item, a journal I wrote when I was sixteen. And just the other day when I was decluttering, I realized that I still had it! πŸ™‚

I opened it and began reading it, this prized possession with so much sentimental value.

And it quickly went from ❀️ to πŸ’”

It was just me asking / wondering why my friends treated me the way they did. Why did they make fun of me? Why did they say what they said? I even wrote on one page I thought they’re supposed to love me.

Looking at those pages, now with the eyes of someone nearing 40 years of age, it hit me like a ton of bricks– my “friends” were my bullies. They were people that acted just nice enough to keep me around, but who picked at my body, my opinions, and my likes all of the time, just for fun.

When I finally confided in another friend about this, they told me that as long as they didn’t hit me, they weren’t really harassing me. Nevermind that they tormented me constantly. I wrote about this in my journal, too, wondering if they were right, wondering if there was something wrong with me instead.

Why?

Why?? Why couldn’t I see that these people were vile??

Looking back, I can see that at age sixteen I was sheltered, inexperienced, and immature. My parents never cared much for me (hence, on my own at age sixteen!) so they were never on my side. And maybe I even learned from them that “love” can look a lot like abuse…

I didn’t have good examples of healthy friendships in my life.

So, there I was just the other day, reading this 21-year-old journal that said why do my friends treat me this way? It was so sad. When I should have been writing about the excitement of college, fun summers with real friends, and sixteen-year-old things, I was writing about working, paying bills, and “friends” bullying me. All the while, I thought they loved me.

Ah, young and naΓ―ve.

Even though I don’t have many items from my adolescence, I decided to destroy and throw away this journal. But it was a good reminder of how far God has brought me, and the new life that He has given me. It was also a good reminder that the hardships of the past are just that– in the past — and I can forgive and keep on going with my life ❀️

And yes, those people still try to contact me to this day.

And yes, I forgive them…

But noooo, they can stay away from me! πŸ˜†πŸ˜… Come on, now! I’m a Christian, not a doormat.


Thanks for reading this longer post πŸ™‚ I just wanted to share something more personal today. And I’ll leave with one last thought:

Yes, it is possible to forgive — to wish people well, never seek revenge, and pray for them when they pop up randomly in your thoughts. But it is also possible to forgive and set up healthy boundaries — if they can’t respect you, they can keep their distance. That’s how life and friendships work!

Being a Christian and/or forgiving people doesn’t mean that you have to include people in your life who betray, lie, gossip, and ruin your other friendships. Here are some Bible verses to consider:

Do not be deceived: β€œBad company ruins good morals.”

1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV

A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

Proverbs 16:28 ESV

Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.

Proverbs 22:24-25 ESV

And more…

I find that healthy boundaries are quite peaceful and good for everyone involved!

μ•ˆλ…•! Bye! Ciao!

jarilissima

thanks for reading!

42 comments

  1. “But it was a good reminder of how far God has brought me, and the new life that He has given me. It was also a good reminder that the hardships of the past are just that– in the past β€” and I can forgive and keep on going with my life.” This speaks volume, Yari.

    Thank you for sharing these personal memories — and the lessons you learned from them. Excellent content from top to bottom!

    (By the way, you’re the same age as my son.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! I added that because I think there’s a difference between forgiving a friend who wronged you and allowing bullies to constantly harass you. That was as best as I could explain it! Thanks again! 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Good for you Yari for throwing the 21 year old journal away! It is amazing what baggage we can pickup along the way. I was on my own at 17 and also made a lot of mistaken assumptions, some about others and some about myself. Where Jesus speaks about the blind leading the blind comes to mind. And then of course, there is God’s grace, where you call out to God and He actually responds and things start to change. There’s an awful lot of lost sheep in this world and I was definitely one of them. I was trying to think of a word that encapsulates what I sense about you and the word β€œdelightful” comes to mind. Witty, youthful, not filled with resentment and possessing a well balanced perspective, from what I can reckon. And of course, we all know that you love candy! Like Mandy said Yari, you are loved for being you and our dear sister in Christ. Jesus is your shepherd and you simply can’t get any better than that. Thank you for sharing, sincerely appreciated.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a wonderful comment, Bruce! Thank you so much πŸ™‚ It’s interesting to know we share a similar background, being independent at such a young, young age. We have probably gone through similar (though not exact) ordeals because of that.

      I was definitely one of the lost sheep, too! Even though I came to the faith only recently in 2018, I credit God’s Grace for seeing me through up to then.

      And thanks so much for the compliment! I also credit God for any delight I may have Hahaha 😊 Not going to lie, I was full of resentment for much of my life, and I 100% credit reading the Bible for me finally forgiving and letting go of resentment πŸ™‚ Dozens of “self-help” books could not do what the Bible finally did πŸ’–

      It’s such a joy to have found such a wonderful family in Christ online ~ which I never expected ~ yourself included πŸ™‚ Have a wonderful day, my friend!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for sharing, Yari. My mother was a very sarcastic person and passed that trait on to 4 of my 5 sisters who all took it to an even meaner level. I maintain some pretty good boundaries.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s sad to hear, especially because any level of meanness or bullying at home is rough to deal with. My sister was similar, and I had a narcissistic stepparent, so bullying was hard to escape. It was at school AND at home.

      Boundaries are definitely good, and sometimes necessary to keep the peace.

      Hoping you have a good one πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Wow, Yari! This is a great post. I have destroyed journals I wrote during different times of my life, because reading them brought back unpleasant memories. But some I’ve kept because they are entertaining. Writing was one of my favorite things to do as a teenager. πŸ˜‹β€οΈ

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so right about the unpleasant memories! That’s why I destroyed it, because I wrote mostly about my troubles at the time, and I think I’d rather just remember the good things and let the rest go πŸ™‚

      I think it would be interesting for you to add your journals to all the family records you keep. That would be neat, to keep the record going in that way 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I LOVE your attitude. Thank you for sharing this story. I can relate to so much of your early history. Growing up with narcissists and bullies… my self esteem was shattered at an early age. But after I became a Christian, everything began to change!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kids are mean. Being a teen is a confusing and difficult time. But every thing that happens to us shapes our personalities and traits and I think you came out pretty cool. ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This is a lovely post and yes, forgiveness does not mean being a doormat. Forgiveness sets us free from the resentment and bitterness! We have more energy to love those whom we cherish. However, some of us suffer from PTSD and the past remains our present despite it all due to no fault of our own. Not everything can be healed, but the love of Jesus always comforts.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You continue to teach me about forgiveness. I know this is something that I need to continue to work on. I also need to separate the same thing you learned – that I can forgive but that does not mean that I need to let the people back in my life that have hurt me – family or not. I also threw out my journals when I was in my 20’s or 30’s. I had amassed about 10 journals at that point. When I was a teenager my mother read my journal and then used my words against me in a negative way. I realized that I did not want anyone to read my journals, like ever. As much as I would like to kind of see now where I was then, I know that I would prefer that no one else read them and threw them all out. I continue to think that what you and I did with this action was the best!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m really sorry to hear about your mother doing that. That’s a huge breach of trust, and I can totally understand why you wouldn’t want that to happen again :-/ I would have been mortified if that happened to me, especially since a lot of times I journaled to vent things that I later didn’t feel. It was just a healthy outlet for all those swirling teenage emotions. Some people do sports, some people do video games, and some people journal to let all that out.

      I also had thrown away journals from my 20’s, just like you. Seems that I only recorded the negatives going on in my life, and they had less sentimental value, so I didn’t keep them.

      Thank you, I think it was the best, too! I actually got really sad reading back on those times.

      I’ve changed the way I journal now, by the way, because I realized I vented a lot. So now I keep a more scrapbook type journal, with positives and family photos and memories, and then a floppy spiral notebook to vent and throw away. It works well πŸ™‚

      Ooops, I wrote a lot! Have a wonderful day!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so sorry to hear about the difficult adolescence you had. It shows how much you’ve grown and your strength that you are able to set those memories free. πŸ‘ And agreed about not being a doormat. So so true!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Boundaries are so, so very important like you say. The older I am getting, the more do I realise that pretty much everything in our human interactions revolves around healthy boundaries.

    Jordan Peterson’s 12 rules for life was a life changer for me!

    I am embarrassed to say that unlike you, I am not yet that far in my own journey of reckoning with my past and family. I can empathise with their struggles and hardships but cannot quite forgive and forget as I feel that if you have suffered in your past, if you’re a decent human being, you vow to do better and let your kids live the way you wish you could have lived (it’s how I live my life – I try to be the person I WISH I’d had when I was younger – listening compassionately, helping people think critically but for themselves, seeing both sides of an opinion).

    You don’t get to take your own struggles out on others or use your kids as a tool to regulate your own emotions or consistently put down your kids / hit them just to make yourself feel better. I cannot forgive this at present and don’t see a way out of feeling like this. I might just have to live with it and vow to do better. Unless you have any tips on forgiveness?

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! It was a big change going from hating them/wishing them harm to just letting it go. It was refreshing, really. That was my biggest change.

        Oh, and 12 Rules for Life was awesome! πŸ™‚ The one that stuck with me is, “Tell the truth, or at the very least don’t lie.” So simple yet helpful, because I used to find myself fibbing a bit as not to offend, when I didn’t need to do that.

        Jordan Peterson treats the Bible like myth (and you know I can’t like that πŸ˜… ) but his advice on life is solid. He has a new book out, I think with 12 more rules. I hope my library gets it πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing so honestly. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had the same type of difficulties with family.

      I should point out that I’m not happy about what happened, and when bad memories come up, I DO get sad/angry/upset. Because forgiving doesn’t erase the past, or make the past okay. What it does is that it makes those memories come up less often, I get over them faster, and I no longer feel a searing resentment for people in the past. I even hope they’re doing better (and treating others much better than they treated me!).

      And I love your way of looking at things. Past hardships are no excuse to abuse others. It’s wonderful to know that you’ve gone beyond what is called a cycle of abuse ~ that’s what I’ve heard it called. You’re a fantastic person by wanting to do and be better than what came before. That’s so admirable!

      It took me reading the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, to get to a place of forgiveness, so I know this is a hard thing to do! But if I did have any tips, it would be this:

      If it’s related to family, a lot of people will muddy the waters with the whole “but it’s your family” excuse. I heard this so much I thought I was making a big deal out of nothing, until I shared some things with a friend and they told me straight up, “Yari, you were abused.”

      So, I would say a tip is to accept that it sucked and it was wrong– even though it was family. It was wrong, period, and your feelings/opinions on it are valid.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. That’s sad to hear. I’ll be your friend. Although having a journal would’ve chronicled my life a bit better, I’m sort of glad I didn’t keep one for this reason. I don’t really want to relive how I thought back then. My closest equivalent to that is my collection of superhero comics I wrote when I was 8. That’s great Christian advice to consider. I do have trouble forgiving people from my past, but I know it’s the only way I’ll be able to truly move on. Thank you for opening up.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to The Empties Diaries Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s