befriending my teenage self

I’m so glad I didn’t burn my journals.

I’ve only read up to age 16, and already so much is illuminated. I see patterns emerging from a young age. Seeds of self-doubt are being planted, forming the roots of what I’ve struggled with for many years. I see a growing disillusionment with female friendships. And at 16, rage is rearing its head.

Before this point, I tried to minimize my anger – even within my own journal. When I was upset with a friend or family member, I immediately felt ‘bad’. I tried to see their point of view. I apologized to my own diary for being negative! Anger was unacceptable to me – but at 16, it spilled out on the written page.

During my twenties, the anger didn’t dissipate, despite my sincere attempts to understand it. I would lash out at those closest to me, especially my best friend and my boyfriend. I would then try to ‘make up’ for it, only to have it happen again. It was a vicious spiral and I felt powerless to stop it.

I endlessly analyzed where my anger came from. Was it because I’m a woman? Because in Indian culture – at least the household I grew up in – women were not encouraged to express anger? Was it karma, past life issues, taking on others’ suppressed emotions, too much sugar?

None of that seems relevant anymore. What I see clearly now is that, at such a young age, I didn’t have a safe outlet to express the feelings I considered negative. They were perfectly understandable feelings, but I felt such guilt and shame about them, and they festered within.

Was I ever really ‘angry’, or was I hurt and confused, particularly when it came to my friendships? I experienced what I perceived as ongoing disappointment with girlfriends. I felt abandoned, deserted, competitive…rejected. I see now that this probably mirrored my own (lack of) relationship with my biological sister, and led me to attending many women’s circles in the years to come.

These gatherings helped, but still today, my relationships with women can be strained. If the Divine Feminine is indeed returning to the planet (not that she ever really left), it makes sense that all this would be coming up to heal.

As I read my diaries, I’ve also been going through old photos of myself in my teenage years. In most pictures, I am smiling and look happy. To read about those years, and simultaneously watch the story unfold through pictures, has been a tender process. I had forgotten so many details and events, yet I can feel myself right there, back in that space and time, feeling exactly how I felt then.

Our past experiences are still very much alive within us.

I’d thought that burning my journals would clear away all my stories, help me become a phoenix rising from the ashes. But the phoenix can’t rise if I’m trying to escape the more painful parts of my journey. I must claim the entire story first.

And something good is happening. My journals have given me a second chance to re-live those years. I was so hard on myself. I can now bring in the self-compassion I couldn’t before.

In revisiting those painful emotions, I’m also re-discovering parts of my younger self that were pretty freaking cool. She was perceptive, sensitive, and spunky. I laughed out loud many times, reading her entertaining musings. She’s still here, and her inner fire is being rekindled through my presence and attention.

I’m going to enjoy being friends with her.

18 thoughts on “befriending my teenage self

  1. Wow, that’s so cool you are getting such insight from re-reading them Aleya. Challenging yet so amazing; you can really tune in to younger you and give her the reassurance she needs. It feels like the time to be owning those early hurts for me too. Sending you huge love as you continue to delve in! 💚

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    • Thank you, Laura. I’ve taken a break from reading but feel ready to dive in again. Age 17 awaits! 🙂 Visiting my younger self, going within, seems especially appropriate with the solstice and new year coming. Much love to you! ❤ Aleya

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  2. I’m not really carrying a lot of words inside, but I enjoyed reading your post; and I love feeling connected to you in ways that I can’t really imagine, they just show up: like here in this blog post. I can relate to you. I truly loved your autumn leaves photo and it made me feel like you are more ‘at home’ in yourself, and I don’t doubt the journey! You help me to not doubt the journey! We need the whole range of our emotions and selves! Lots of love to you Aleya ❤

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  3. I have my old journals too. They’re quite insightful. It sounds like you’re really getting in touch with some of the base feelings that need to be exposed. It’s a painful journey at times, I’m sure. You’re braves to continue to explore yourself so deeply. ❤️

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  4. Thank you .Beautifully written and expressed blog-post, dear Aleya.I think this anger-issue is not only happening within ” female human experiences” . I found myself in similar situations within my life, especially between the age 17-25. I just figured out my ” triggers”, worked on the buttons, so that it was not that easy any more for others to press these buttons, which let me go off like a rocket.
    Physically, it stopped when I step by step quitted sugar consumption. First refined, white, than also the “healthier organic raw cane sugar stuff.
    Psychologically I found the root -cause of it too and eliminated it. Since that I do not take life so serious any more and I can enjoy” the sweetness of life” again.
    Nice to meet your younger self 🙂

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    • Hi Andreas, thank you for sharing your experience. And that is very interesting about the sugar. I do feel that’s a factor in anger/depression for so many people; personally sugar really messes with my brain and I’ve cut down considerably – but haven’t stopped it completely – yet! It’s wonderful that you were able to find the psychological root, and experience life’s sweetness. I like that very much! 🙂 Aleya

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      • Yes , I found out that extreme sugar peeks and downs are causing a lot messy things in the brain , like for example insulin resistance, which leads to mood swings.Many of my relatives suffered or died from the complications of diabetes type 2. Many people do not know that insulin is actually a hormone. I still use occasionally organic honey or dried dates as a sweetener, especially in cooking, as I am a passionate cook. In deed I consider these kind of natural sweet (real) foods and their sweetness rather as a medicine. Thank you that you are working on your own healing. I still believe that by healing ourselves, we automatically heal the world 😉 Thank you.

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  5. I am so glad Aleya that you kept your journals and have had the experience you write about. Spiritual bypass doesn’t work, lol! I have kept all my journals and occasionally revisit them. Often it brings pain, but there is healing through the pain.

    BTW it is NOT too late to join my blogging challenge. Your sisterhood is welcome. PS I can relate about drama with female friends as a younger me also. Fortunately I choose better now and welcome the connections I have nurtured. I do not feel a kinship with bio sister and sense it has past life ties. Just so you know you are not alone here…

    love,
    Linda

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    • Thank you Linda for your support and kindness. ❤ It is wonderful to receive the message(s) that I'm not alone, and I look forward to my relationships with women continuing to heal and become more authentic and supportive. It is already happening, I think. 🙂 Thank you also for the reminder about your challenge! Where has November gone!? I will meditate on this and let you know asap. I hope you are enjoying your new job. Love, Aleya

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  6. You did a right conclusion that shows up we don’t need to be anger with ourselves, and that period of your life when you felt anger and other bad emotions is OK. This is our right to feel what we feel 😉

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    • Yes, it is so important to accept all our feelings, instead of suppressing them. Shame about our emotions can cause so much distress – as anger did with me. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. 🙂 Aleya

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