Walking in her shoes

old poetry | SusannahConway.com
When it’s quiet here you can pretty much guarantee it’s not so quiet in my head. I’m burning through journal pages like my life depended on it. Which I guess it does as journalling keeps me sane. At the moment I’m journeying back through the 1990s, revisiting my twenty-something self as she grapples with love and life. I don’t have many journals from that time as I stopped writing them after my ex found my notebook — the violation I felt coupled with his dismay at what he read broke us up for a while. Life was so terribly dramatic back then.

Luckily I have hundreds of photographs from that time, and reams of the angst-filled poetry that became my outlet when journalling felt too dangerous. I see my younger self struggle with being an introvert in an extroverted world, not knowing what was wrong with her. I see how her neediness and insecurity were rooted in the past, and how she was destined to play the same song over and over again until she was finally ready to try a different tune.

Old photos | SusannahConway.com
Despite all the soul work I’ve done on myself the last few years I still regard this younger version of me as bit of an idiot, but i know that’s not really fair. She did her best with the tools she had. She searched outwardly for herself, not knowing that the real story would be found inside. But this is just what life is, isn’t it. This contant unravelling, figuring out, learning the lessons, moving on. My favourite part of growing older is being able to look back and see how the story unfolded. I feel like a bird perched on a branch in the middle of my life, surveying the past and marvelling at the synchronicities and connections. I remember so many dark nights of the soul when I thought I wouldn’t make it though to morning, yet here I am, able to recall the days and weeks that followed, cherished proof that it does get better. We do survive. Perhaps if I pay enough attention I’ll know when to avoid the potholes going forward. It’s a nice thought, yes?

8 responses
  1. kelly Collins

    Beautiful. Succint, beautifully written, captures the time of youth so well. Yet still gives a “me too” feeling and that is always so comforting.

  2. Michelle

    I am so inspired to really start KEEPING the things that I write. I did when I was younger but then I had a moment of purge where I felt it would be “symbolic” to burn much of it in a bonfire to signal I was moving onto a new person (and some of it just got lost along the way). You write so eloquently about it all.

  3. Sheila Bergquist

    It is amazing what we see of our younger selves as we get older. And you’re right…she was not an idiot, just doing the best with what she knew at the time. I have felt the same way about my younger self. You cut to the core of an issue so well, one of the reasons I love your writing.

  4. Sas

    there’s beauty in those potholes xx

  5. Ellie

    Love your post. When I look back I’m amazed at and proud of my younger self (finally) who was tenacious and brave enough to get me through. And yes, it does get better especially if we pay attention.

  6. leaca

    you’ve inspired me to take a look back. lovely.

  7. Justine

    I am so amazed at the synchronicity and serendipity that time affords us. And I love that you’re sharing this inward journey-within-your-journey with us. Makes me want to go back and reread my old stuff. I’m sure I would feel more sucked into my old self’s drama than you. But if I could read with empathy – with being able to view the longer story – maybe I could find more wisdom. I love how you said your younger self seems like an idiot, but not really. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have <3

  8. pauline leger

    i am inspired now to look at my old journals… i am bracing myself for what i’ll find there. Thank you Susannah. xox

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