When I was younger, I loved to write. I had a journal with a lock on it, and carried the key on a necklace (total Zoey 101 style) so that no one could read about the drama from aftercare I was writing about. I started every entry with “Dear Diary”, just like I saw in the movies, because that’s what I thought the “correct” way to journal was. Every entry felt like a letter to friend. And at times, my journal did feel like my only friend. The only thing that really saw me for who I was. It was my safe place to store my thoughts. A safe haven with a lock to protect my heart.
As I got older, I slowly stopped writing. Besides the secondhand shame I felt when kids would tease about writing in a diary, I felt like journaling had to be done in a certain way. The pressure to be a good writer or for my writing to have purpose outweighed any enjoyment I got out of it. And I think in a lot of ways, I was scared to show up on the page.
Two years ago, my life hit some turbulence. And the only way I found solid ground was by writing. The thoughts in my head were too overwhelming. And I couldn’t make sense of the emotions that were running through my body. I felt lost and journaling was the radar I needed to guide me to a safe landing every day.
I was caught in a situation where the emotions I was feeling were being invalidated. The things that were happening right in front of my eyes were being twisted and spun into stories that were being used against me. I started to feel crazy, insane actually. Like I couldn’t trust my own experiences. I doubted my integrity. My ability to communicate, and my capacity to be happy. I felt like I was being chewed up and spit out week after week. A book that was being torn at the spine again and again.
So I pulled out the key, and returning back to my safe place to write about my experiences. And in doing so, I unlocked the cage that I was living in. Through my writing, I started to connect back to myself. I started to sort out my thoughts. Started to validate my own emotions, and started to realize that I was stronger than I was being told I was.
Through writing, I came alive. I was able to shine a light on the dark sides of my past. I uncovered memories that were collecting dust in my subconscious, yet somehow still running the show. I found patterns in the decisions I was making. I taught myself lessons. But the most important thing journaling did was made me realize the gap between the life I was living and the life I wanted.
Visions of a brighter future came to life for me underneath all the scribbles. And I slowly started to get the courage to make those visions come to life outside of the page.
After making the decision to always go after the things that scare me, I’ve decided to start sharing my words with the world. I have a lot to say, and I often wonder if the thousands of thoughts running through my head will stop. When I think back to all of the ways I was silenced in the past, and how my reality was being questioned and invalidated, it makes this journey of sharing my experiences necessary. Because it pains me to think that there are other people who were feeling the way I did, lost and alone and not accepted for who they are.
I hope sharing my experiences can make someone feel something. I hope it can help people realize that we’re not as different from each other as we think. That by sharing my stories, I can show people that the mere fact that we are all humans is what makes us all the same. That what ties us all together is that we have the same needs, feel the same emotions, and suffer from the same hurts.
The journey through life is not glamourous. It’s messy, and I am still figuring out how to get through life in one piece. Figuring out who I want to be and what I want this life to look like, to feel like. After spending so long trying to control myself to fit into other people’s narratives, I’ve decided to embrace the messiness of life. Because what writing has taught me is that I can be figuring it out and still be happy. I can fall apart and still be complete. I can be a work in progress and still be worthy.
I’m still learning to love myself through all the ups and downs.
To love myself through the tears and the foolish mistakes.
To love my unmanageable mind. My untamed heart.
To love my messiness.
And above all,