When I was trying to find the poem I wanted to publish with my last entry How light is too light??, I had to go through some of my old journals to find it. Since I have my journals out of their usual spot, I started reading through one of them tonight. The specific journal I'm reading through at this moment starts from when I was 9-years-old and in the 4th grade. Reading it, I came across this entry:
When I wrote about when Brett broke his arm at Cal-Skate, I forgot to tell you something. Can you guess? Landon** asked me if I wanted to do the couple skate with him. I said no. There are a lot of good reasons I said no too. #1, he was skating with somebody else. #2, I was too tired at that time. Got to go Diary.
Again. Please keep in mind that I was 9 when I wrote this.
Landon was the boy I had the biggest crush on throughout part of my childhood. (And to let you know who the other character, Brett, is - he is my cousin.)
This may be silly to some, but reading this entry, I had this life revelation…Or whatever you want to call it.
Reading my aged pen scribbles, and even though I told Landon "no" at his request - I can tell how much I truly wanted to skate with Landon. I can tell what my true desires were not just through this entry, and other previous ones I read before coming to this page, but I can remember how head-over-heals I was for this kid. (Well, if 9-year-olds wore heals, anyway.) I remember being nine.
As I read it, I can dissect it in deeper ways other probably can't and won't. Not only am I the author who penned this important moment in my personal history, but I am the character who lived in the moment. I know who I am. I know my tendencies and my bad habits.
First tendency/bad habit - I told Landon "no". I wanted to live in the moment and skate with him. Yet, I denied myself what I wanted in life. I denied myself a dream coming true. Sure, he probably only wanted to skate as friends even thought a specific song was dedicated for couples to skate along, but who cares? He offered. I wanted. I said "no".
Not only did I tell him no, but bringing in my other bad habit and tendency - I also made excuses for myself to give him the answer I gave. I made excuses to deny myself a moment in life that could have been a great memory. I was tired. He had been skating with someone else. Whatever.
Really, I think the boy just made me nervous. (You know, since I liked him.)
Again - I realize I was only 9 when I wrote this. Yet, I can't help but wonder how many dreams I've denied myself? I can't help but wonder what would happen if I said yes more than I said no…What have I missed out on? I can't help but wonder, why do I let fear turn possible memories into missed opportunities? And why do I make excuses, and validate doing so?? Why am I sometimes too afraid to live in the moment?
Even when I tell myself I'm not good enough at something. When I think negative thoughts about things that I love, things that I should be proud of, it damages the possible outcome and possibilities. When I say, "I'm not skilled enough at photography" or when I think, "I'd really love to attend Gallaudet University - but it's too expensive and hard to get into. It's too much work and it'll probably never happen."…Every time I tell myself these lies, I am damaging myself. I am damaging myself worth and my self-esteem. I start believing negative lies, making it more likely for them to become true.
My photography could use improvement, yes. But nobody is perfect at any thing. Not even Ansel Adams is perfect with a camera in his hand. He may be great, but I bet even he feels like he can improve in areas. When I start to tell myself I'm not skilled enough, I should do something about it. Instead of marinating in negativity, I should embrace a challenge. I should go out with my camera and photograph something beautiful. Or, I could pick up a photography book and brush up on new or forgotten knowledge.
I do want to go to Gallaudet. I want to be an interpreter for American Sign Language. My theory is, what better way is there to learn a language than to immerse myself within the culture where the language is used?? I feel as though if I attended the college, my ASL skill set would improve…but…The idea of going makes me nervous, just like the time when Landon asked me to skate. That's when I have to remind myself of a few things.
Sure the college is expensive, but nothing is impossible. That's what a search engine and scholarships are for. And the school may be harder to get into if you're hearing (as it is a university for the Deaf), and it might be a challenge to go to a college that is in a second language different from your first...but I will never know what the future could hold if I don't try.
Yeah. I wrote the journal entry with bright, 90's color-changing gel pens before I was in the double digits of age…But that's not really the point. The point is, as I reread it, I've realized a pattern in my life. A pattern I sometimes become immune to noticing. A pattern I can clearly see I have traced throughout the last 13 years of my life throughout different situations.
Here's to pushing fear aside! To living in the moment! I owe it to myself to confidently put myself out there.
Let's shake off those nerves and make memories!! Let's skate with those who ask! After all…You only live once.
The Travelin' Chick,
**Name has been changed.