Here's the truth about my absence: I struggle with keeping these things alive. It's not just virtual blogs, but notebooks and journals too. It isn't the first time I took a sabbatical from writing and found some other less meaningful way to spend my time. Recently, it dawned onto me as to why I can't stick it out. I think it comes back to the idea that I often feel that what I have to say doesn't really matter, and that these thoughts that I record here (both literally and figuratively) are indeed useless.
This has been something I've been contemplating for some time. While yes, the majority of my thoughts are probably useless, they are still a part of me, and should that not be granted as something unique and special? I'm not trying to say that my thoughts are in any way more important than anyone else's. But what I am trying to say is that we all have these thoughts, and while it's good that some stay locked in forever, it shouldn't be so embarrassing to share some of the gems that try to surface. Here's my problem, here's our problem as a people: we are afraid of what others will say. I consider myself a strong and independent person, but I absolutely still have moments where I'm nervous or hesitant to share my thoughts, and why? Fear? Rejection? Animosity? All of the above.
So let me explain why and how I'm back here, writing anxiously again, already questioning whether or not I should post this back onto social media and await the responses of my peers.
I've been writing A LOT recently. And when I say a lot, I do actually mean A LOT. I've written every day for the past twenty-seven days. They say it takes approximately twenty-one days for a habit to form. To be honest, I still don't feel like this whole writing business is habitual in any way. But to me, that's a good thing. Because each time I open up to a page in my journal, a part of me opens as well.
Here's what the past month has looked like for me:
For Christmas I bought my friends a journal called 642 Things to Write About. I saw it on the Internet and purchased copies for them and one for myself. Maybe all along, I was buying it for myself, but needed my friends to help motivate me. We agreed to start on January 1, 2015, a welcome into the new year. There were a few rules that Marshall and I applied, like #1 You needed to respond to one prompt every day, #2 You needed to address the prompt (i.e. writing about how dumb the prompt was was not addressing the prompt), and #3 you needed to fill all of the space provided for that day's prompt. Number #1 proved to be difficult in that there were some nights that I had crawled into bed, ready for the slumber awaiting me, and yet I had to quickly get up and run downstairs to write. Number #2 was even more difficult in that some of the prompts are really stupid. (I don't want to write, nor do I have anything to say, about a teacup in Argentina in 1932.) And as for #3… well I found a small way to get around this rule. See, if it's a prompt I like, I purposely write smaller so I can cram more in, and if I don't like it, I'll write in larger letters (I actually have quite large handwriting so this is easy) and I can fill up the space quicker.
In addition to the 642 Things to Write About, I've also been writing in a journal I got back at my birthday and didn't open until the end of December. You see, what I've found is that it's actually nice to write again for me and not just for the prompt. So while 642 allows me to address something specifically, I also get to record my daily thoughts in my journal.
Now let me bring us back to this: This, you'll see, will be a weird compilation of everything. I've decided that I might share some of my 642 things here, but I'll never rewrite them; I'll only post photos of them in their most raw, confusing state. I may even occasionally transfer a thought from my journal to here, although that may be quite infrequently. And lastly, of course I'm going to write here too. You probably think I'm crazy and that I'll burn out under the stress of keeping three journals simultaneously… the reality is: I probably am a little crazy, but I need to write down the bones.
In college, we had to read Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within and this book still resonates with me to this day. One quote in particular really affected me:
"I write because I am alone and move through the world alone. No one will know what has passed through me... I write because there are stories that people have forgotten to tell…"
So I write for me. I write so that my thoughts don't have to dance alone in my head and can instead rest on paper or float in this virtual cloud. However, I also write for you. I write so that maybe you too will see, we all have a story to write. So go and write.