I have learned not to worry about love,
but to honor its coming with all my heart
To examine the dark mysteries of the brook with headless heed and swirl,
To know the rush of feelings sift and flowing as water.
The source appears to be some inexhaustible spring
within our twin and triple selves;
the new face I turn up to you
no one else on earth
At times in my college journals, I recorded quotes or poems. The one above came with the notation, “I like this poem.” No author attribution and little else to explain my note of it, though it comes near the beginning of the diary I kept from my senior year of college through the next year, which was also the first year Adventure Guy and I were married.
The striking part, especially in retrospect, is that I had not “learned not to worry about love.” In fact, the diary is filled with accounts of the status of our relationship. If I didn’t know the outcome, I might say, when confronted with a similar account, that the status likely wasn’t one that would lead to lasting commitment. Those years tried us in as many ways as they fulfilled us.
My diary opens prior to our engagement and records the difficulties of a long-distance relationship. Numerous accounts of the difficulty I had in reaching Adventure Guy and of his efforts to keep in touch via pay phone while conducting engineering studies “in the field” testify to the world that existed before cell phones became ubiquitous. I actually had to wait– sometimes more than a day–to speak to him.
Besides waiting by the phone, I student taught, planned a wedding, graduated from college, moved home briefly, learned I wouldn’t be teaching that first year, got married, survived Ponca City, Oklahoma, and moved to Houston. I recorded desire to just be done with school along with the realization that I’ll miss it when it’s over. I professed my undying love for Adventure Guy on one page and expressed fears about making a lifetime commitment at such a young age on the next. While my current self is firmly in touch with the undying love part, I have no recollection of actually having, much less recording, the fears. I find them weirdly reassuring, however. Proof that I may have been young but that I did not enter married life naively.
But what I find even more interesting is the parts I left out. There is no account of our engagement in October of 1989 until a week later. By then, I wrote about my excitement and of the “perfect” proposal. I neglected the part about how we’d fought earlier in the evening and Adventure Guy almost changed his mind about his timing (he promises me he didn’t reconsider the proposal itself). I do write about “the worst fight I think we’ve ever had” in April of 1990. Right now, I know exactly what the fight was about, but only because I remember. There’s no mention of the topic in the diary. I skipped any mention of the wedding and honeymoon completely, other than a later entry about how fast everything went after months of planning.
Since that diary ended around our first anniversary in 1991, I haven’t kept a paper journal. Other than the notes in our photo albums and a travel journal during our tenth anniversary trip to Europe, I didn’t record my experiences or thoughts again until I began blogging a couple of years ago. I wonder if rereading these entries will bring the same cringe of embarrassment that comes with looking back at my earlier writings.
Harriet at Spynotes writes,
Are there points in your life where you have been aware of wanting to remember this in later? If so, what kinds of events put you there? Is it induced from the outside, by someone telling you to remember? Or is internally driven? How important to you is historical accuracy? Is that the true thing? Or is it something else?
My answer is, there are often times when I’m struck by the feeling that I must remember a particular moment. But, typically, I don’t write them down while I’m in the moment. I have written here, though, of two of the times I’ve been most aware of a need for remembrance: a moment on a beach in Grenada while I was expecting DD2 and when I realized that I was completely content with where I was in life and the moment when I nursed Soccer Boy for what I knew would be the last time, not only for him but for me.
Perhaps the self I represent here is a “new face,” someone not quite the same person as the one who lives outside of cyberspace. Will I find that self as embarrassing as I find some of the “selves” that come through the pages of those earlier journals? I don’t know. But I hope that my future self, and eventually my children’s future selves, will find this account to be true, to be a reflection of who I am at this point in my life.