A couple of days ago, I picked up a yellow box that had still been sitting in the basement of S' parents. It had some old pictures and other mementoes from my childhood and youth. Among them was a green binder with my report cards all the way from first grade up to my graduation.
Looking at the binder brought me all the way back to when I first got it for my first report card in first grade. I don't know why my mom gave me this one specifically but I love that she did. It is bright green with some cute cartoonish drawings on it. I loved it. It also made me stand out. all the other kids had serious binders in sombre colours with "Zeugnisse" (Report Cards) embossed on it - sometimes even in gold letters. And there I was with my cheerful green thing.
I flipped back to the very beginning and found my first report cards. My teacher's handwriting still looked familiar even though it's been years and years since I have read what she wrote about me.
She wrote that I loved coming to school and learning new things. She gently admonished me for being a bit of a daydreamer but was very pleased with my contributions in science class. I talked about the environment and nature a lot. On every report card, she would also highlight my ability to tell stories in a way that would bring out the storytelling in others as well. I had a tendency to initiate a sort of fantastical competition where we would try to outdo each other by inventing more and more outlandish stories.
Reading these things pleased me and brought back good memories.
Then I found two things that surprised me.
Firstly, the second report card that I got at the end of my first year in primary school mentions that I love poetry and have an unusual affinity for language. I remember poetry showing up early in my life but I wouldn't have guessed that it was already well visible when I was only six years old.
Secondly, the report cards from primary school all mention that I had a tendency to express my opinions openly and confidently and that I was good at assessing different sides of the same coin in a conflict of opinions. The confidence is something I got back over the last couple of years and I still look at most opposing arguments by thinking through both sides and making space for different opinions.
It seems like I am finding my way back to myself more and more.
It also seems like I was myself all along. Everything that I have "discovered" about myself and now see as an integral part of "me" already showed up on those report cards.
So, if you have trouble remembering who you are, perhaps it would help to look at a description of who you were at 6 or 7 years old.