It has been since August 4th, 2018 since I have written anything here. There have been plenty of words in my life, but I have chosen to not be so public with them. I have, in the past month or so, gone back to my writing roots . . . a good ol’ ink pen and spiral notebook. There is something to be said about writing the words down in a location that nobody else will see, in a location that is not a public cry for attention.
Journaling, as it’s called when you’re adult, has been an on-and-off part of my life since I was a little girl and it was called “keeping a diary.” I have always loved the feel of an ink pen in my hand, watching the letters form on the paper, hearing the slight crinkle of the paper as the pen glides across it, the character that an innocuous spiral notebook takes on as it fills with words, the rugged appearance of a notebook that has been repeated opened and closed and its cover it scratched, the spiral slightly bent, the edges of the pages that are folded and frayed.
I got back to journaling a little over a month ago. Life was completely crazy and I knew that I needed to get it out of me, all the anxiety and fear and noise that I felt was encompassing my whole world. Work was nuts. Home was in chaos. Even church had been reduced to just another noisemaker to me. There was a lot going on. I felt like I was jumping out of my skin. I couldn’t relax. I would come home at night and go right to bed so that I could get up and go right back to work, only to come home and go right to bed so that I could get up and go right back to work. There was never any down time. But I didn’t want to take to this platform to type out my tales of woe.
I scheduled a few days off work and booked a cabin in the middle of nowhere.
I left my husband and son at home, packed a few days worth of clothes, and I sat in the cabin alone. I was there for three nights, and it was wonderful. I’ve already got plans to do it again next year. There was no television in the cabin. There was no phone. There was nothing, and it was perfect. I sat on the couch and read during the day. I sat on the porch swing at night and listened to the sounds of wind, and bugs, and silence as my cigarettes, the stars, and moon provided the only light.
A few days before I left for my retreat I bought a purple spiral notebook. My plan was to write rough drafts that would later be typed and posted here. But the more I wrote and the more days that passed, the more I realized that some things are meant to be kept just for me.
In the first few days of my notebook the words came fast and furious. Pages and pages and pages of word vomit. Every single thought came out almost at once. Some of those thoughts were important and worth the time spent writing them. Some of those thoughts were nothing more than taking out the mental trash . . . meaningless. But sometimes writing is like an inventory sale at a discount furniture store . . . “IT ALL MUST GO!” My hand would be left in pain and I would be exhausted as a person can only be after a heavy emotional purge. But as days passed, the words just kept coming. For once I wasn’t worried about punctuation or grammar. I wasn’t worried about spellcheck, or finding the perfect photo to accentuate my post. The only thing I was focused on was the paper.
Those three days in the cabin brought some much-needed quiet to my life. I found peace in my life and within myself in the porch swing under the stars. I found serenity as the breeze blew gently across my skin. I found silence in the chaos of life as I sat in a cabin hidden just off a highway. I found myself when I escaped from all that was trying to suck the life out of me. I felt alive as I stood completely naked on the porch under the bright light of the moon and stars.
I got back home after a few days and felt strong and empowered. Nothing was going to bring me back down. I had recharged physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I was at full-power and ready to take on the world. The world quickly got back to trying to drag me down again . . . so much going on, and so much demanding my attention. Yes, there have been a few bad days . . . two just this week at work that each reduced me to frustrated, angry tears. But through each good day and bad day, through each smile and tear, through each moment of doubt and moment of confidence, is my notebook and pen. It’s getting a little more frayed each day. The ink in my pen gets a little lower each day. But opening the cover of that notebook, turning to a blank page, and simply pouring out my day onto the paper is like wrapping myself in the hug of a friend. I don’t have to worry about anyone clicking “like,” or posting a comment. I don’t have to worry about whether or not someone will follow me or unfollow me because of what I wrote. The only thing I have to worry about is whether or not my hand can keep up with my thoughts.
So that is the explanation behind my silence over the past almost-three months. The silence will probably continue for a while. It may be broken periodically with some random poem or post, but for the most part I’m sticking to a notebook these days. It is not here, but there, that I am reminded of who I am.
Until next time . . .