Lisa Birch

Aug 19, 2017

4 min read

Just like that…

I wanted to track down some notes from high school, and I had a whole bunch in one journal which I carried around with me everywhere in some attempt to have a blog before blogs were really a thing (this journal was an open one, you see…) until the last few pages. But before we got to that point, there are so many silly notes and letters in there from people I cared about once upon a time, and I laughed for a full minute at an email I had stuck in which was a running commentary about what people were doing in the library. Actually, I’m still laughing about it now.

Although I have an excellent memory when it comes to, well, memories, I tend to recall them a lot better if I have written events down. So I was kind of surprised to see what hadn’t been transcribed and what had been. My journal finishes with a half torn entry and then blank pages. I forgot about that.

Just like that, my life starts over again.

And again, and again.

You see, once I had a boyfriend, my journal entries halt until the next break up. But there were only a few pages left in this journal, and I must have started another one. Though, what that looks like is beyond me, I know I trashed at least one of the skanky things (a yellow journal which could be entitled Seedy Interactions With Slightly Older Boys), but what comes after this one.

And to be honest, my journal now is just bucket lists and cute things Natalie did. I even threw out most of my badly written poetry in a fit of rage last year, but, let’s face it, I did already explain it was bad.

You could suggest that maybe I don’t want to hold on to bad memories. That’s not so much the case as… well, maybe I just don’t need to write them out. The really little things, like the first fifteen minutes of homegroup each day with my core group of friends, or how I used to say ‘morning gorgeous’ in the mirror after stumbling out of bed, or what I wore to break up with someone (yes, always have a break up outfit, totes worth it), none of those things are in there, and those things made me or managed to break me, even if just for a short while.

Truth be told, I probably don’t need these journals. I thought my future daughter would want to read through them, but on rereading… these are the ramblings of a mad woman. No one else should read them.

They are telling, though.

They show that at one point, something mattered enough for me to write it down. The four and a half page detailed experience about coming to Adelaide for two nights shows more than my scrawl ‘I am at the eisteddfods and got dumped last night.’ (Honestly, don’t do that to someone. That’s just mean.) But that night of the old dumperoo probably meant more. Sometimes at night I used to stand on the footpath where my first boyfriend and I had that awful conversation:

I have to tell you something.

You’re break up with me?


(According to my journal, I actually expected him to say no. Silly old me).

And, for years afterwards I would reach down and touch the window ledge, where we had sat, looking at Woolworths and talking about why we couldn’t be together. I don’t recall any of the conversation, and the old journal wasn’t telling either.

What I can tell is that sometimes I would lie, even to myself. Which was kind of silly. I’d had a big fight with a friend, and was convinced I was in love with him and we were soulmates, so I’d written out several letters in an attempt to stake my claim. The letters, of course, were never sent, and after a very difficult conversation, I realised that we were never even going to be friends, let alone ‘get with each other’ (hey, I forgot this was a phrase, and man, is it revolting). For some reason though, I kept writing these dumb love declarations, until I realised they were empty words.

I think, other than the notes, I was looking for something from younger, and sometimes wiser, Lisa. What I learned was who I remembered myself as wasn’t quite who I really was, and she didn’t have any answers. And lately, I have had a few questions in my mind and I don’t know where to start. But if I was to go back to vintage Lisa, I know her opinion, and while the opinion of others is still far more important than a figment of my imagination, I think we might have got it right this time.

Just like that.

Those silly scrawly pages reminded me that hormones reigned supreme when you’re a teenager, that words don’t matter but they bloody hurt, that your passions can sometimes die and that’s totally okay and that sometimes you are on your own — which is totally fine.

Just like that, those pages ended. It didn’t seem fair, but I knew the rest of the story, and I didn’t care to read any more anyway.