About a week ago, through quarantine boredom, I was mindlessly perusing the internet. You know, as you do.
I had been playing the Sims 4, scrolling mindlessly through social media, and then somehow ended up on Storybird.com.
I first joined Storybird in middle school for a class assignment, but quickly fell in love with the site and have been writing on it ever since. Being the busy adult I am, I don’t write too much on the site anymore, but I do pop on every now and again to converse with the community.
This particular evening, I had been searching through my old writing for a poem to submit to a literary journal. I had a particular one in mind that I had a vague memory of writing and knew it would be a good fit.
But that evening, I found so much more than what I had been looking for.
I have hundreds of poems and stories on the site, most of which I hadn’t revisited since I published them in high school. I slowly began searching through my writing and ended up getting distracted by my other work.
As I reread my old poetry, I found myself transported back in time.
Suddenly, I was a sophomore in high school again, sitting at home in front of my cluttered desk, attempting to put my heartbroken feelings on paper.
Suddenly, I was 17 again, frustrated by the lack of communication in her household and seeking a way out.
And then I was a freshman in college, doing my best to put words to the fluttering feeling in my chest, from that boy from my communication class who smiled at me.
I think that writing acts as a time capsule, holding onto feelings and moments until we are ready for them once again.
Reading through my old work felt like reconnecting with a good friend, one I had almost forgotten about. I was reminded of how much I used to write, read, draw, and photograph. I was reminded of how close the muse and I used to be.
But, once I started college, I drifted from the girl I used to be. I became busy. Too preoccupied with boys and grades to remember what creativity was. I went from writing nearly daily to writing once a month. Once a semester. Once a year.
And I realized — I had been letting myself down.
My fourteen-year-old self would be saddened to see who I had become and where I had placed my priorities. I had been given the gift of creativity, yet what had I done with it?
Even being the writer that I am, I find it difficult to put words to exactly how I felt that night. It was almost as if I had been sleeping, and at that moment had finally awakened. It was almost as if the little girl who had been chasing me for so many years had finally caught up.
It was as if I finally remembered who I used to be and who I wanted to become.
There are many things we enjoy as children that we “grow out of” as we age. We lose interest in playing outside. We stop reading. We don’t doodle anymore. We laugh at how ridiculous our stories used to be and stop telling them.
Yet, when we leave those things behind us, I believe that sometimes we are leaving behind parts of ourselves.
No, you cannot keep every hobby or passion you’ve ever had. Yes, you can grow out of things as your interests change.
But how many things have we simply walked away from? How many times have we deemed them a lower priority, moved them to the bottom of our list or off our list completely?
As I’ve aged, though I have grown in so many wonderful ways, I often feel like I’m losing parts of me. I feel as if my personality is muted. Sometimes I forget who Kim is.
If you feel this way too, I encourage you to try to reconnect with your younger self. Take advantage of the extra time this virus has granted us and go hunting for who you used to be.
Read the books you used to enjoy. Watch the cartoons you loved as a kid. Go to the park and swing. Go the wrong way up the slide. Listen to the music that defined your teenage years. Go read your old journal. Rediscover old writing.
Rediscover who you used to be. I think it’ll help you decide who you’re trying to be.
When was the last time you did what 8-year-old you wanted to do?
What might happen if you listened to them?