Anaïs Nin

Anais Nin

“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.”

Cuban-French. Daughter of musicians. Artist. Writer. Flamenco dancer. Model. Disciple of psychoanalysis. Eroticist. Dreamer.

Ever since I was little, I have adopted influences. Recently, I added Anais Nin to my collection. Her Wikipedia page alone sold me. What can I say? I have a penchant for thinkers, artists, writers, and female icons. Anais Nin is all of the above. I found myself rushing to the nearest library to check out her published works, her most reputable one being her collection of diaries, spanning from age 11 into her 70s.

As chance would have it, I came across a diary I used to keep circa age 11 to 13 last month. I laughed out loud at most of my prepubescent musings. It was also very strange to see the entries dated before the 2000s came around. Like all other kids my age, I had a habit of making mountains out of molehills – complaining about the sibling rivalry between me and my little brother; my heartbreak at not being able to join my cousins at Disneyland one summer; my apprehension for entering middle school; and candid confessions of my first real crush. I couldn’t help but think of how familiar it all sounded but how foreign it was to the person I am now. At the same time, it was an accurate snapshot of my perception of the world at that point in my life.

They say that most of your childhood memories are false — forged illusions that you had of the past. Your memories are shaped by your perception, not reality. Thus, you can never completely trust what you remember as what actually happened. Hard evidence in the form of photos, videos, journals, or a formal account from another party  might possibly be the only way to validate the past. For me, finding my diary was just that: some hard evidence that I did think a certain way at a certain time.

However, even diaries can be victim of our perceptions of reality. When we recount things in words, we construct the events of our lives in words that we know and choose, in manners that we feel most appropriate. A number of things could be omitted, skewed, or erroneously documented. But — I have no other window into my past self. Pictures and videos may capture moments, but we can only rely on our memories to recall the day-to-day of our past.

I’m not going to pull some cheesy lesson out of finding my old diary like, “This experience has taught me to live more simply and blah, blah, blah.” With my overactive mind, it’s only complicated my train of thought (in case you couldn’t tell by this entry alone). The latest whisper from the universe, so to speak, has told me to write more. It may be too much to speculate that it could be worth something someday to much of the rest of the world, but I can at least rest assured that it will mean something to an older version of me.

“It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.”

“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.”

“Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.”

“Life. Fire. Being myself on fire I set others on fire.”

–Anais Nin


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