I rarely go back to read my journals. I have a whole stack of them in my room at my parents' house but they all get shoved around from one shelf to another, piled up on each other or spread out and wedged among other books here and there. I have been writing stuff down ever since I knew how to write, and -surprise surprise- most of this stuff is about myself and how I experience the world.
Most of the stuff I write is also boring, even to my self-centered self, and it begins serving no purpose almost immediately after being put down on paper.
As of late however, after having recently embarked upon life as an adult (and by that I mean the stage where I am finally out of a hormone haze and fully the captain of my own ship, and all the decision-making and consequence-bearing that that entails), I have realised that the frequency with which the important phases of my life occur has increased, and with it, the frequency with which I go back to my adult journals.
I went through incredibly important phases in my life when I went to Borneo, both times, in 2010 and 2011. As such, some of the things that I wrote during these phases affect me even a year or two after writing them. I have been going back to my Borneo journals from time to time and some of my realisations help me through the most difficult and important time in my life yet.
Such as this excerpt, whose gentleness and comforting words that aimed to help me get through a difficult situation then seep through to the present moment and soothe me, like a honey lozenge that has stayed in my pocket for a year but still does its job. Today was a case of my past self comforting my present self, an interesting realisation in itself.
Be positive. Why all moody all of a sudden, isn't this what you worked so hard for and what you wanted all this time? Why stab yourself in the heart? Why all this self hatred all of a sudden? You are a good person, who has not deliberately harmed anyone and you deserve to be happy and proud of yourself for who you are. Recognise the strength of others without jealousy.
Do not think of the bleeding tree stumps or the burnt earth. Do not think of the polluted river and the open sewers. See past the rubbish and the bureaucracy and the greediness and into peoples' hearts.
Think of the woman selling pineapples and her cinnamon complexion. Her glasses tied around her head with string. Her daughter and granddaughter sitting among the pineapples laughing.
Think of the market with the roots and spices spilling out of their boxes. The fish in the basket still alive, begging for the river.
The sweet smell of rotten bananas.
The teeth of the laughing men- their smiling eyes. The woman looking from behind the carriage with her blue blouse and sarong- her red painted lips and her stillness, as she looks out on all the bustling movement.
Think of the kids in the street that are too small for their bikes.
The way they run to shake hands with the strangers, and bring them to their foreheads. And how they stand on the blue roofs of the white houses with turquoise panels and orange interiors.
The tailor's apprentices -boys working on sewing machines.
The insects and animals.