Monday, September 3, 2012

False Positive Writing

Have you ever written about something that was very upsetting, and then found yourself feeling upset when you read it again? That's the explanation I've given for deleting my online journal, my old Facebook account, and other things I've written. But the truth is, my most unsettling journal entries are not the ones that are depressing, but the ones that are positive and hopeful, thinking that something would turn out okay when it wasn't okay at all.

It hurts more to see that I thought things would get better when they didn't. I also feel like those positive things give other people the power to refute what I say.  I once said that I would never let anyone read my 8th grade scrapbook (an autobiography project for English class) not because it was private, but because I told everyone that I didn't like my K-8 school, and everything I wrote in the scrapbook is positive. It had to be positive since we had to let everyone in school to read our projects, and I was always afraid that someone who read all the nice memories in my scrapbook would think that I was lying about all the bad things I had said. It's the same way when I find positive entries written about college - I'm afraid someone could use them to deny my convictions.  It makes me wish I had proof, that I had written exactly what was going on in college while it was happening.  I love to have a record of what really happened, but I hate having so many positive entries that turned out not to be true.

For the 8th grade project, all of the happy memories I wrote about were completely true - I just didn't include all of the not-so-happy memories. But all the positive journal entries about college weren't about true  events - they were hopeful, looking towards the future and thinking, I'm gonna like it here. They include a lot of misinterpretations and it's harder for other people to see that.  It's like the difference between someone describing something bad that has already happened to them vs. someone who is on their merry way when you, the reader, know that something bad is about to happen. The second scenario just feels worse.

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