Writing to find myself
I’m not sure why it took me so long to admit to myself I’m a writer. The irony is I’ve been writing a journal since I was a girl. So you think it would’ve been a natural revelation.
I still keep a journal every day. It’s the way I wake up in the morning and how I settle myself before I go to sleep. It helps me feel more connected to who I am. And was a self-defense mechanism I learned in childhood, because my feelings were not heard and I didn’t feel safe saying them out loud to my family.
Writing in my journal was a safe way to express everything I couldn’t in my life.
Obviously writing for myself in my journal and writing for a client are very different.
My journal writing is free form. And can jump all over the place.
When I write blogs for a client they are very organized with a clear goal in mind.
But I would argue that my journal writing is organized too in a way. Though it’s more spontaneous, it’s also an exercise in revealing my true feelings to myself. So as my entry unfolds, I may go off course, but I do ultimately end up expressing what is most urgent and what needs to be acknowledged.
Admitting I feel sad or angry or frustrated or anxious about a situation is not easy for me, even in my journal. Because those feelings (the bad feelings, as I was told as a child) are to be pushed down and ignored as you get on with life.
I was taught by example and through interactions with my family to ignore bad feelings.
And it was clear to me that it was more important to my family that I was there than if they actually knew me. As long as I was making up the numbers for the tribe I was accepted, in a way.
But being the rebellious child that I was, I found that really lacking in humanity. So I abdicated my responsibility of just showing up and moved to Montreal, Quebec at 18, and never went back. (Well I visit from time to time, but infrequently.)
I can credit my journal writing for helping me see an escape from that tribe was necessary.
And that’s really what writing has done for me, it has brought me back to myself. And that doesn’t make me popular with my family perhaps, but it has kept me sane and whole.
Writers are often characterized as unusual characters: drinkers, recluses, intellectuals, outspoken rebels, troublemakers. I think that’s because we walk the line between living in the real world (which can be a pretty depressing, hard place to survive in) and the soul life that comes from the interior of who we are.
For me, writing has taught me to be honest. That may seem like a simple thing, but it is anything but. Because if you can’t be honest with yourself, when you are talking with yourself to figure out your life’s path, then you certainly can’t be honest with anyone else. This I’ve learned the hard way.
So writing has made me more real. And that’s been quite a journey.
I wouldn’t change it for the world, because I’ve gotten where I can say I’m a writer. I am many other things too (editor, mother, daughter, cousin, friend, woman, animal lover, interval training nut, avid reader), but I am also definitely a writer.
There, I said it.