I've been keeping a journal with me at all times since April of 2013, right before I graduated high school. Since then, I've filled up 30 journals and have the 31st sitting right next to me. Anyone who writes will tell you that you have to go through a whole lot of bad to get to feeling like you've got something good, which is why I hardly ever go back and actually read what's inside those first dozen or two journals.
The first one is always hard to read/look at because I didn't know what I wanted it to be yet and I didn't have the stupidly elaborate system I have going now to keep my writing somewhat organized. It hasn't been long enough for me to find those words and random lists endearing yet and honestly, I will probably always be embarrassed of what's in there, but in the kind of way that someone will always think there parents are a little bit embarrassing. We all come around eventually.
All that to say that I realized how truly embarrassing I am because I had to go back and read through most of my past journals recently. I put together a book of poetry and essays on all the moments of love I've experienced in my pseudo-adult life, which are all housed in the pages of my past indiscretions. The good times, the bad times and all the times in between. I read through every shred of doubt and certainty in my relationships and every mistake I ever made. It was hard and it was painful, but I got a book out of it, so all's fair.
In reading about all the love in my life and in remembering every moment of feeling loved or unloved while putting all these words onto new pages, I couldn't help but feel so grateful. So incredibly loved.
In the first journal you'll find a young little rebel who is clearly lacking something so vital: the ability to accept the love she deserves. It's not that I didn't have people who loved me, because I have always been so fortunate to always have someone in my corner, I just didn't know how to be loved. But as time went one and as pages were filled, I started to get it.
By pure divine ordination, I was handed a group of friends in college that completely derailed my life. They became my rock and my family and my greatest love story. They loved me so much and I couldn't deny it and I couldn't reject them. These group of hooligans weren't the first people to love me, but they really made me realize that I deserved to be loved and I deserved to feel loved. They filled my life to the brim, so much so that in reading all of our great and not-so-great moments, I cried and cried and couldn't stop crying. I could cry right now.
If it hadn't been for these people telling me that I was being an asshole or that I was making all the wrong decisions or that would listen to me when I had to have hard conversations with them, I don't think I would have become the person I am today. I don't know exactly who that person is yet, but I know my heart and my sanity wouldn't have survived if I didn't feel so loved and known by them and this book never would have happened.
Because that's the huge part of it, I guess. The me I found in the pages of my journals didn't feel understood and it wasn't until a few journals later that the shift happened. I let myself be understood and I found people that wanted to know me. They wanted to love me through it all and that has made my life worth living. They have made my life more full and they have taught me how to love people right back. Most of all, they taught me that I don't ever have to settle for less in this life because if love is all you need, then what I need is to keep searching for people like them. Our time on this earth is too precious to waste our time settling for something less than the love we all deserve.