Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I can’t even begin to say how long it has been since I have written down my innermost thoughts and feelings. It used to come so easily to me, as if done by second nature. And it’s not like I haven’t attempted to get back into the swing of things…I truly have. But those attempts have either been shallow and lacking any real insight or they were just never completed. I have had to stop and ask myself what the reason for this might be. I haven’t arrived at a solid conclusion on this just yet, but I do have several theories. The first is that over the past several years, I have been through a couple of transformations, one of which I feel as though I disconnected from myself and that reflective aspect lay dormant. The other is that I have been through so many difficult times I just cannot bring myself to face the depth of those feelings. Perhaps I’m afraid that if I begin digging into this part of myself again, the part of me that transformed may regress back to a darker time. On the other hand, there is probably no better way to finally release that darker part of myself than to write it down and get it out. So, this is where I find myself. I must ask myself what the draw has previously been to focus myself into doing this in the first place. If I think back, I can honestly say that my journaling or writing in my diary began when I was in the 4th grade. When I first started writing, it was simply an account of the things I had done during the day or upcoming events in my life. And then there were times I would write to release my anger or sadness over something that happened. It was a great tool for me because it always made me feel better, although I must admit (like many kids in elementary school) I didn’t have any major problems. The diary mostly consisted of childhood crushes, fights with my siblings or issues with friends. That’s not to say I haven’t used other methods of expressing my feelings. I have always been a writer. As soon as I learned to put words together, I was writing constantly. I have written plays, poems, stories, even tried my hand at song lyrics. It does seem, however, that when life started to get complicated, my writing shifted from journaling to writing more poetry. And it’s not that the poems are not a form of expression; they simply don’t reveal as much as this freehand writing does. In my poems, there is a certain structure and order whereas when I write in this manner, I don’t necessarily have a specific theme or concept. And when I truly allow myself to think about that, I see that I can sort of hide behind myself in a poem. The structure of it allows me to pick and choose what I want to express and when I journal, the words simply flow and I do not try to stop my hands from saying whatever they feel empowered to write (or type) onto the paper. In other words, this type of writing takes me out of my comfort zone. In my world, structure and order are fairly dominant forces. It takes the more courageous part of me to do anything spontaneous or free spirited. Maybe I’ve hit on something here. I just noticed that I’ve said that this was second nature to me when I was younger and that as I got older and life became more complicated, this was harder for me to do. Aren’t we all a little less inhibited about pretty much everything when we’re younger and become a little more structured as we grow older? I’m hoping I can reconnect with that younger spirit and reclaim this part of myself. The one thing I remember about why I loved to do this so much is this is the only place I can go in my life where it’s just me, where I’m just me. My entire life I have lived with other people. I cannot recall many times in my life where I have truly been alone. When I was younger, I lived with four other people. There were always at least two people in the house and I shared a room with my sister. Essentially, the only place you got to be alone was the bathroom and if you took too long there, there was always someone beating the door down, demanding you hurry along. And even when I moved out of the house, I had a spouse so “alone” has always been more of an abstract concept for me. But on paper, it’s just me, just Ashley. Here, I am not a daughter, a sister, or a wife. I am simply me and that is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Not to say that I don’t love and cherish being all of those other things because I do, but when it’s just me, I don’t have anyone else to worry about and I can truly contemplate the essence of my being. To help me along in this process, I have bought a couple of books about journaling to give me inspiration and keep me motivated. It should be a very interesting journey and I’m anxious to see what things I will learn about myself in the process.