Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dear Diary

When I was in 6th grade and having a particularly rough, middle-school-is-the-first-taste-of-hell moment, my mom suggested I start writing in a diary. "Oh mom, what do you know? Well, I do have some spare time..." The habit stuck and I'm in my 13th year of diary divulging.

Buying a new diary is a ritual. It should look like the beholder in that stage of life -- the last one I bought was understated, painted leather, and two inches thick because I thought it could be filled with stories about meeting my husband and my first months of motherhood. That was important to me, therefore it's consistent with my needs for the diary.

Unexamined self-talk is vulnerable to worldliness and I think everyone should pour thoughts onto paper. My diaries are filled with milestones...though I cringe at virtually every teenage, twenty-year-old, and "last-week-ago" thought I've written.

Diary writing became such a big pillar in my life that I built my one and only art show around it.
Two autumns ago, I painted four main pieces and picked out a dozen pages from diaries dating back to 11-year-old me, lining the pages atop the paintings on the wall. In each of the works and on each diary page I painted some version of a black area, a consistency that represents a vehicle between all of them.
My objective was to illustrate the concept of memories and how they adapt to our lives

One lady told me that this was a pro-choice painting... news to me...
I wrote excerpts from diaries around this head thing.
When you recall memories that you've thought about before, you're looking through two lenses:
1) All of the experiences since you were younger shift your perspective on everything, including past memories. 2) Remembering a memory is an imperfect task to undertake anyway and acknowledging that opens another pocket for learning about yourself. 

For example, I remember my second birthday and that my cake had no candles on it. Remembering how my parents scrambled to find candles for their eldest child's second birthday cake is more important to me now than it was at six-years-old. At six, I was more concerned with the color of my dress. 

If God wills it, I'm closer to being the parent of a 2-year-old than I am to being a 2-year-old. Six-year-old me liked pretty dresses, simple as that.

I added more diary excerpts underneath and around the tree branches.

If you try to read this, please recognize that I was probably 18 and "artsy fartsy" for artsy fartsy's sake when I wrote it. *Groan*
Reading over the diaries to pick entries was painful and posting them up on walls for others to read them was even more painful. But that was part of the point. We are the sums of our experiences and the product of our equipment for absorbing them. By sharing my impression of this concept with others, I placed a marker in my memory and in the memory of everyone who looked at my show (and now, you). 

This memory "marker" may or may not pop up again in your life, but all seemingly inconsequential moments add up. In a few minutes, days, or years you may think back on any memory with a new perspective. 

The new perspective will meet with the old perspective and the difference will give you even more to think about. 

"I was once incapable of seeing a man as a brother in Christ first, instead of a potential mate. Thank You, God, for constantly de-clouding my vision of that. In a few years, I'll see more results from that."

Or

"Wow, 17-year-old me actually wrote the words, 'I have everything figured out.' Joke is on her... and now the joke is on me."

Or
"I use the word 'I' too much."

There will be more memory collisions in my future. I look forward to them, as embarrassing as they will be.

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9 comments:

vercfamily said...

I really love your blog--so creative! See you Tuesday!

Elizabeth said...

Thank you! See you then :D

Kevin said...

Perhaps the best post of the year...

Couple of things.

Awesome art... and awesome displays. Pretty sweet.

Intense entry in the last picture. There's no way I could EVER post my journal entries in a public place.

Did you intentionally wait until 12:01 AM to post this?

Elizabeth said...

Thanks, Kevin!

I was a freshman in college when I wrote that page. This goes to everyone: please don't judge me on that. Drama drama drama.

No, I wrote this last week and scheduled it to post at 12:01.

Kevin said...

first-year

Katiebatie said...

You know just how to get on her good side, don't you Kevin

Elizabeth said...

"likes this"

Homeboy McCoy said...

I used to have journals and scrapbooks that spanned eighth grade through graduate school. When I was clearing out and getting rid of stuff to begin formation, I threw those out. One, I was afraid my folks would find it among my boxes in storage, and I had written some gnarly, embarrassing things in there. And two, I didn't feel attached to them anymore, as with the other stuff that went. I was clearing out room for God to fill, and this was a lot of space freed up in the nostalgia warehouse.

Elizabeth said...

Well put, Homeboy.

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