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The doors you've kept shut

May 20, 2022

Yesterday I went for a walk in a park with one of my oldest friends from school I hadn’t seen in years.

It was a beautiful, sunny early summer day and just a few days earlier the trees had blown up with their beautiful lush green leaves. The dogs were running free in the park and we could already hear an army of Canadian geese about to land, eat, shit all over the place and make a million babies while loan mowing the grass to shreds.

Our discussion went from parenting during corona to our own experiences of being a child. Therapy session in progress.

When were at lower grammar school she was the smart, artistic girl who got all A’s, and was kind and popular at the same time. The type you dream your own kid would turn out.

I looked up to her as a young punk but I was also intimidated by her. At that time I had two dreams. To be able to draw anything from my imagination and to become a pro snowboarder.

When I saw my friend drawing at the ripe age of nine, I backed down on my dream of letting my pen create what my mind visioned because I thought she was already so good. I know. Sad.

I thought she was perfect in every conceivable way and in my little kid brain I decided there was no point in even trying to get good at drawing.

I never held any admonition against her though just admiration.

Now as we were trodding along the park path and I told her about my struggles with grammar and how I felt like I flunked all my Finnish classes at school, she went on to share something I could never have imagined in a million years.

She said she’d gone all the way till the end of high school getting nothing but A’s and then her grammar teacher told her that she had a chronic problem making out commas and compound words. What?

I missed a few steps, fumbled, and dropped the sunglasses I was carrying in my hand.

In all of her perfection, she had one of the most common problems Finnish people have with grammar (our grammar is very complicated). I couldn’t believe my eyes as she slowly descended down from the heavens and transformed into a regular human being in front of my very own seeing apparatus.

We all come with our own set of scars we carry from the past. And it’s not like we run around telling everyone and their cousin about them.

So I asked her how she reacted to her teacher’s verdict and she said she didn’t give a rat’s behind. She had made her peace with it.

And so will you. Let yourself see your past in a new light and realise you are not the person you were back then. You’ve grown. You’ve developed skills you didn’t have back then. 

Heck, I never thought I’d write a book  and I don’t think my teachers did either.

Your past is your past but it doesn’t need to be your future. Break through that door you’ve kept shut. Heal the scares and start a new.

A black and white photo of the author Jussi's smiling face with shortcut hair and a short beard
plenty more loot in the vault

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