Thursday, September 13, 2007

The assignment was to gather up all the artifacts from a particular time in my life and bring them with me for further examination. I tossed shoes and shoe boxes out of the way and poked around in the back of my closet until I found the Rubbermaid storage container I was looking for. I took off the lid and stepped back into a time when partying like it's 1999 was in the not too distant future, when my current age seemed ancient, and when I was young and cocky enough to think that life was actually going to go exactly the way I planned it. Hidden beneath the college newspapers and freshmen year mementos was my high school layer of memories. This was the era that was requested in my assignment. It was there that I found what I was looking for. The pictures, the key chain made at an amusement park, the programs from important times in our lives. All of these things had lonnnnnnnnnng been pushed to the far recesses of my mind. I kept shaking my head, thinking to myself "damn, I still have all of this???" Oooooh, my diary (before I was the sophisticated woman I am today, my thoughts were written in a diary not a journal. hahahaha). Despite all the warnings of eminent danger written on the front and back covers, I opened it anyway. It was like walking into a some Star Trek episode where they went back in time. As I flip through the pages, and read teenage antics, my adolescent thoughts, I can't help but laugh at the teenage edition of me. Everything was so urgent and dire - no wonder I liked soap operas then.

Now if my assignment was to bring the collected artifacts from that particular period in my life, wouldn't that include my diary?? It was easy to set the pictures, the key chain, the event programs to the side. They were mere representatives of the memories. My diary, though??? How could I betray my 16 year old edition? She explicitly wrote all over the diary: ONLY AUTHORIZED EYES PERMITTED ( I was so official back then...hahahaha). She never specified just who was authorized. How can I reveal these thoughts? Especially to him. Does he really need to know about her impression of him when they first met? Will he laugh at her when he reads how she waxed quite poetically about how she fell for him?? Can he handle the pages upon pages upon tear stained pages when the love affair ended?? This is way too heavy for a first visit and I toss the diary back into its Rubbermaid hiding place.

But the current edition of me steps in. "Janelle, you blog. You've written some really vulnerable, heart wrenching shit and posted it online. You tell millions your innermost thoughts." (look at me thinking there are millions who read my stuff when its more like 5. hahahahahahaha). I sat on the edge of my bed and let the 16 year old edition and the current edition of me weigh the pros and cons of Diary-gate. At the end of the day, the assignment was to bring the artifacts, and good, bad, or ugly this was an item from our history. So I retrieved my diary from its resting place and packed it with the other mementos in my Kenneth Cole cloth shoe bag (hey if its good enough to protect my favorite olive green pumps by Kenny, its good enough to protect these precious keepsakes.)

"So what you got?"
Moment of truth arrives. Here we are sitting across from one another, having dinner, both still grinning from ear to ear (SIDEBAR: it's really really difficult to smile and stuff your face at the same time. hahahahahaha). I retrieve the cloth bag from my purse. Sure, I could have easily just handed it to him and allowed him to stroll down memory lane at his own pace. But no. I needed to be his tour guide. First came the pictures. We laughed at how much younger (and smaller) we looked in those pictures. We had a very spirited debate about the positioning of my booty in a picture. He thinks he's right but I know I am. All in all, laughter was on the menu. One by one I pulled out all the other artifacts; all of which were discussed, analyzed, and debated. We studied our history like nerds studying for a final. He peeked in the bag and saw there was still one item I hadn't put on the table. Through his smirk, he asked me why did I bring my diary if I wasn't going to show it to him (smart ass. how did he know what it was???). I thought for a minute and realized some things have to be classified. Just like any moment in history no one knows the WHOLE story. The 16 year old edition of myself would have been heartbroken if I violated our code. At this moment he was the general public and I was George Bush. I only gave him what I wanted him to know not what he may have needed to know. The information was way to sensitive to pull out of the bag at least not now. Maybe when we're senior citizens, sitting in our lounge chairs on the back porch watching the grandkids splash around in the pool, I will dust off the Rubbermaid container, sign off on the authorization and declassify all of our history. At that point will it really matter??

Assignment: complete or incomplete. Depends on who you ask. Depends on who is telling our history.

1 comment:

rashad said...

Man I admire your cajones..I'd kill a motherfucker before i'd let anyone read my early journals. (Un)luckily for me the fire ruined them. And look at you on that Kanye thinking that millions read your blog..hahaha. i like that