Man I'm glad being a human being doesn't involve psychic static cling. If it did, I'd still have biscuit bangs and you'd find me on any given Friday night desperately chasing men who'd spend a lot of time afterward convincing me not to say anything publicly or press charges.
I keep (sporadic, which is how I like my writing life) hand-written journals. I have these going back 20 years. When I look back through them, I can always tell which weeks, months, years of my life were most crazed and filled with wishy washy inner angst; all I have to do is find the journals with the most frequently updated and long-winded entries. Years that were relatively drama-free have no journals, or journals that are quite empty, often unfinished. Years that would make good reality TV scripts have produced journals with overflowing, bizarre rants and occasional entries like this 1996 classic: I HATE YOU RALPH I HATE YOU RALPH I HATE HATE HATE HATE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I HOPE SOMEONE BREAKS YOUR HEART WITH A (expletive deleted in case my mom reads this) CHAIN SAW!!!! I HOPE YOU DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ......I mean, dear god. Clearly all I lacked at certain points in my life was a damp, dark basement and an alter, a lot of candles, and a dart board with Ralph's face tacked to the middle surrounded by a lot of crazy affirmations cut out of newspaper letters, haphazardly glued to pieces of ripped up bar napkins.**
And I can virtually FEEL all the craziness, all over again, because I can see where I go from positive and productive in one journal entry to cursing the Universe and begging God the next. Trying to be all cool and non-chalant-who-frickin'-cares one day to please God I don't understand why this happens to MEEEEE the next. I read like a middle schooler on meth. It is not attractive, but a good lesson in humility.
It's the beauty of being a human being. Someone who knew Amy 1995 very well and then met Amy 2005 wouldn't even have recognized her. Way hipper, more ironic. And Amy 2005 is completely foreign to Amy 2010. Less ironic, more faux Zen. I simply don't see the world the way I saw it 1995, I have a different sense of humor than I had back in 1985, I write differently than I wrote in 2005, I like different colors than I liked back in 1975 (I actually don't remember what my favorite colors were back in 1975, I just needed another year with a 5 at the end) (in 10 more years, I predict Amy 2020 will not even care about flow in writing or will laugh haughtily about how there WAS no writing flow by using years ending with a 5; what in the world was Amy 2010 even thinking?).
I once had a therapist who told me: Life is about progress, not perfection.
That's one of my life mantras; I feel a deep soul debt to her for sharing it with me. So I keep that in my head, and all my journals with the most cringe-worthy moments in the back of my closet just to remind myself: Remember, Amy? You were SO crazy in 1997! You're, like, 25% less crazy now. In another 10 years, you'll be halfway to sane.
And I think halfway to sane is good, don't you? It's certainly a lot farther along than some of our well-known conservative politicians and talk shows hosts are right now. And it's definitely a lot farther along than those Westboro Baptist fringe people; I bet not one of those crackerjacks even bothers to keep a journal marking their life progression.
**Seriously. His name was Ralph. I was going mental over a man named Ralph. My entire 20's were spent operating without bolts on my nuts; I really have no idea how I made it to my 30's.