I'm a different person today than I was yesterday. It's not that something totally mind-blowing happened to me yesterday afternoon that made me go home and think about life for four hours or anything like that; it's just that I'm finding that I change in little, barely perceptible ways in every moment that I live. I'm always thinking forward, thinking about how I want to change myself and be a different person, but in doing all of this I never realized until now that in thinking things like that I was changing myself. I'm a different person than I was this morning because today I read the past year of my life.
I've been making journal and diary entries since seventh grade, but it wasn't until September of my freshman year of high school that I started making entries online. It was these entries that I read just an hour ago. I wasn't really looking for anything to change in doing that; I'd just been thinking for a while about reading my words and today I ended up with the opportunity to do so. It's kind of funny how life works out sometimes, because the simple act of reading all of those words again made me realize a lot about me.
My first words on that website went, "Um. Hi. Not sure what to say… I really suck at this so far." The last words that I wrote were in my ninety-fifth entry, and there were a lot more than fourteen words there. I wrote that entry today, and I wrote about how different I really am now from when I first started high school. It was the way I wrote itself that really opened my eyes- a year ago, I was peppy. Everything I wrote had two exclamation points at the end, and I never shut up about things that I now consider to be really frivolous. What I almost did while reading these first few entries was reply to them and give my freshman-self a piece of my mind- my current mind, that is. I was on the verge of doing so when I started to notice the changes.
They were subtle at first, in the way I used less exclamation points and more ellipses. I saw me changing in how I talked less about characters in books and more about how I felt about myself. My entries that had previously been an average of two or three paragraphs evolved into pointless essays about how I felt at the moment I was writing. Reading the entries, I could pinpoint various milestones in my writing life that I hadn't even really considered before. The changes became more and more obvious to me as I read through December and January, and then in February something in how I was writing at the time just sort of broke.
During March and April, I'd only written two entries altogether, and I hadn't talked at all about how I had switched schools at the end of February. Before this time period I'd just deemed it appropriate to write in my journal when I felt depressed because it would help me come to terms with what I wanted to do, but now I was staying silent. In deciding this, I reasoned with myself that I just didn't want anyone at my old school to know how much I was struggling at my new one.
It wasn't that the people at my new school weren't nice to me, or even that I wasn't nice back to those people- I just didn't want to cooperate with the idea of moving on after switching schools. I didn't want to make new friends and forget my old ones, be happy when all I wanted to be was sad. I kept comparing people that talked to me to my old acquaintances, and none of those new people made me care about them like I cared about the people at my old school. And that's why I stopped writing journals during that time. I didn't even want my old friends to know about me and my feelings because I was being a masochistic, depressed loser. I wanted to deprive myself of words, and I did just that for a few months.
This wasn't even the biggest change in my writing that I noticed today, though. Unexpectedly, my writing started to evolve into the cynical thing that it is now when I got the chance to go back to my old school this September, a year after I'd begun writing in my online journal. While writing the new September entries, I was realizing just how shy I really was being around other people. During freshman year I had acted the same way, but during this new September I was beginning to really hate how I acted. I asked in one entry, "How do you be happy?" Feeling guilty, I'd added at the end of that entry, "Sorry for writing a depressing journal, by the way... I know that I'm usually cheerful and I write about totally cheerful random crap... so, sorry about that... Idk." Because I really didn't know how I felt about anything then. I was confused, and, reading those words again, I pitied September-Constance for being so different than the Constance that was me now, reading. I almost felt guilty for wanting to call freshman-Constance a little punk, because that version of me was also this other me, and it made me sad that I'd lost some of my innocence starting out the school year, even if I had wanted to lose it.
I didn't realize that I'd already lost a great deal of this naive way of thinking over the past few months, so after September I was almost sort of trying to become less innocent and more mature- in doing this, I was only trying to be more of myself, but it didn't work out like that, naturally. By December my journals had become less depressing and more mature, but I wasn't acting like myself. I was acting like the Constance that I wanted to be, except that that version of me wasn't me at all, or even that mature. It was someone else that I'd idolized in my head- but one day I was brought to realize that I didn't want to be like this. I wasn't the kind of person that I was trying to be, and I was just realizing it then. Ironically enough, that day was yesterday.
Maybe I shouldn't be thinking about change like this. Next year I might be reading these words and hating them as much as I love them now. Next year I might switch schools again and make the same mistakes I made last year. The thing is, though, that I doubt that this will happen. Having written these words, I'm understanding more and more about myself. If I had never begun that online journal, my life would be different than it is now. Because I was able to read it today I know more about me and I'm not going to repeat my mistakes as history tends to do. Because I read my journal today, I want to be myself and no one else more than ever. Because I read my journal today, I was able to put my whole heart into writing these words…
The meaning of my name is "constant and never changing". I used to pride myself on the fact that I never changed, always tried to be myself and not change myself for the sake of others. Having read my words from the past year, though, I see now that change is the very essence of what I am. Every journal entry that I write, every word that I say out loud, every note that I sing to myself signifies how I'm changing.
I'm a different person than I was an hour ago, because an hour ago I hadn't written this narrative and put all of my thoughts onto four pieces of paper. An hour ago I was writing something similar to this, but definitely not the same thing. Earlier today I wrote my ninety-fifth journal entry, but this is journal entry number ninety-six, and nothing I write tomorrow can change that.