A journal and a pen were my constant companions as I meandered through junior high school, as I recovered from the boy who crushed my spirit in college, as I felt unsure of myself at my first professional writing job. Eventually my personal prose were traded for tales of chief executives and corporate earnings. When my son was born, the tales were traded for the struggles of motherhood.
My tattered collection of journals serves as proof that I was a writer long before I took any class or received any degree that affirmed my talents. I will always keep those journals. They can instantly transport me to a dorm room, my first apartment, a concert, an exact moment. The words let me relive my first kiss, the subsequent heartbreak, the dramas of college life, and the struggles of being a daughter, a teenager, a woman, a person, a friend, a lover, a fiance, a wife, a mother.
I also have other, less-personal proof that I'm a writer. They too are books filled with stories, emotions, and tales--none of which are my stories, my emotions, or my tales. I have a mountain of journalism textbooks. They contain bits of my past as I think of the professors who taught me, the classrooms I sat it, the assignments I typed. And they have followed me over the years. From Stetson Hall, to Symphony Road, and Queensbury Street in Boston, to someone's basement while I studied in London, to Kelton Street in Allston, to a storage closet while I was in Boulder, to Laguna Street and Lincoln Avenue in San Francisco, to Mill Valley, to San Carlos. Along the way, those textbooks were packed and unpacked. Packed and unpacked. Stored and displayed. Thumbed through or ignored. They have followed me through school, my career, my travels, my life.
As I prepare to move again, I am torn over those textbooks. Do I pack them and unpack them yet again? Those books certainly contributed to where I've come, but they aren't the reason for my accomplishments. I was a writer long before I ever read them, and I will still be a writer even if they aren't stacked on the shelves around my desk.
Mostly, I'm tired of packing them and unpacking them. So I think it's time to let them go, even though it feels like I'd be losing a part of myself.