My first journal was a flip-the-page, week-at-a-glance calendar that my father gave me when I visited his office. I kept it hidden under my mattress and wrote while huddled in my safe spot, between my bed and the wall. I must have been six or seven because the sentences are very basic and I hadn’t learned cursive writing yet. Most entries are one sentence: Dad mad at mom. Got an A on spelling. Visited cousins today.
This rudimentary diary was enough to get me hooked, and then I started asking for proper ones. Ones with little keys that I could lock, to safeguard my thoughts.
As the length of my entries grew, so too did my emotional expression. At eight, I wrote about unfairness, and my growing anger at injustice. Mostly, it was expressed like this: Tommy said girls can’t play baseball. Beat him up. Got to play. Leslie always gets picked first for everything. Told the teacher that wasn’t right. She let me go first.
The pattern that emerges through those young years is one of increasing isolation, as I discovered that I really didn’t fit in the world. Time spent alone, and writing, increases.
At twelve, I get excused from regular English lessons to work on a novel. Writing overtakes my life, and becomes such an intimate companion that I let go of the need for external friends. I have stopped trying to fight my way into acceptance, and resigned myself to the fact that few people want to be friends with a nerd like me.
The summer of my fourteenth birthday, I learn that my father is a cross-dresser, and somehow I think that the world can tell by looking at me. I start sitting at the back of the classroom, and journaling instead of taking notes. My grades slide, but I discover the power of poetic expression. I am a loner.
I never speak of what I have learned, but trying to process the information will be the topic of many entries for years to come. Into adulthood, my daily writing consumes pages and pages, and I have now switched to three ring notebooks. I have boxes of notebooks, labelled “Mom’s Crap” by my children. I take them with me on every move: a piece of my soul not yet revealed.
It has only been in the past year and a half that I have ventured to share my writing with an audience, albeit unknown, through blogging. Recently, I have received responses, and visited other blog sites, and to my delight, I have discovered that I am not alone. There is a whole community of therapeutic writers like myself. We write because we have to, because it is our passion, and our lifeline.
The internet has given us the opportunity to break through the barriers of our self-imposed isolation and helped us uncover commonality.
In the greater scheme of things, we are, after all, all one.