I am writing this entry to you from the dimness of a late-night thought. Mainly because I cannot sleep and partly because the thoughts I have are swirling around. There are no lights on but the soft gray from my computer screen brightens the loft where I keep my journals. I call this place my Writing Loft because this is where I write and like you, I need someplace sacred. I need someplace that makes sense, a sanctuary, someplace devoted and somewhere that I can retreat and find salvation.
I am writing in the quietest setting with some soft background music, playing with just a hint of sound. I come here each morning to mark my daily confession. I do this to leash my thoughts to keep them from running away.
I do this with no distractions and for no other reason than to deliver this to you with an open heart. But more, I do this to wipe away all the sorry images and decorations that we wear throughout the day—to just be real, so that I can be me and you can be you. There’s no need to be tough here. After all, it’s tough enough just to get through the day.
Know what I mean?
It’s very interesting to me, the language we use when we talk to each other. Sometimes, I tilt my head and wonder, “Are we even saying the same thing? Am I lost? Are you?”
It’s interesting to me that I set the stage this way. But there is a reason for this. Then again, I suppose there is a reason for everything. There is a reason why I find myself at the start of November. The autumn months have changed the leaves and all the branches will be empty soon. I find this time of year comforting. Maybe it’s the color. Maybe it’s the change of season. Maybe it’s the silence of the heat that makes us all go wild. Or maybe it’s the warmth of my memories from colder months or better yet; maybe it’s all of the above.
I can remember when I started this journey—journaling, I mean. I started this as a personal lifesaving device. I suppose that from the beginning, it was important for me to write everything that was true—or, if something was not true; at least, I wrote what was true to me.
I wrote what was true to my heart. I had to because if I was going to open up to this process, then the only way to do this successfully was to write wholeheartedly. This meant writing fearlessly, regardless of feedback or worst of all—the critics. I realized that I could never be the hero or the villain. I could only be me. This meant that I could not glorify or demonize or write with bias. This means an honest search and that should I choose to expose myself; then I would have to understand this leads to a new world of judgement and interpretation. But fine.
If this meant that I was going to be better—then so be it. If hurting meant healing, then fine. So be it. If discomfort of exposure meant that I would find freedom and if humility meant weakening me into strength, then fine. So be it.
And as for my life, as for my friends, my loved ones or even my family; if I were to make the decision to purge and be honest so that I could rest with a semblance of peace, then fine.
So be it.
I found myself in the vast categories of loss and heartbreak. In fact, it was here that I learned the old saying is true. You find out who your friends are and of course, you find out who they aren’t.
You find this out when you need people the most—and sometimes the position people take is surprising. Other times, this comes as no surprise at all.
However, like the light now, which is dim but steady—I know there is always hope. I know this because there are times, out of nowhere, real friends emerge. I know this because of you, my most special friend; my heart, my reflection, and more; I know that even when beaten, somehow, you and I have made it through wars together. We have scars that tell stories. We have wounds but nothing can hurt us here.
We are approaching Thanksgiving:
I have great memories from this holiday. In fact, this holiday created a tradition that was kept in my family. We appreciated this so much that we adopted this tradition for each and every family gathering. The tradition is simple and wholesome; and to me, the tradition is a link to memories with my family. This goes back to when each seat was filled by someone I loved. Regardless of whether the guests were friends or family, on this day and at that moment, we were all family and thus, we will always be family.
Each person at the table was to tell what they were thankful for. This is the tradition. Come to think of it, one of the most endearing reasons to be thankful was told by my Aunt Peggy. She expressed this when she looked at her husband, my Uncle Alan. She gleamed at him with love and a smile.
She said, “Well, I got to have another year with Alan, so that’s something to be thankful for.”
Age is funny and yet, age is an excellent reminder that time is finite. Moments are fleeting. So, enjoy what we have today because tomorrow is not always guaranteed.
I want to take advantage of this moment now. I want to use the quiet by starting this tradition and sharing this with you.
(I hope you don’t mind.)
I am thankful for the fact that I have not quit, that I’ve kept to my commitment and each day, I come here to find you.
I am thankful for the little surprises that I never expected, like some of the emails I received from the students at some of my lectures.
I’m thankful for the unexpected messages from people who I never thought would take notice.
I am grateful that I have people in my life that help me see the good. I am thankful because they redirect me when my vision turns the other way around.
I am thankful that the year has not taken more than it did. And yes, I am lucky. I am lucky to have you. I am lucky to have important people in my life. I am lucky to have real friends and true believers. This helps me, especially when it’s hard to believe in myself.
As it is with this book or any other that I’ve written, I suppose there is always someone who asks me, “What’s it all about.” I suppose it is about me. It’s about you too. It’s about a homeless woman I used to see on the shuttle from Times Square to Grand Central Station.
This is about a young man who I met only a few times and though I only knew him for a short while; he will be a memory that I take with me.
This book is about a portrait someone drew of me during one of my empowerment classes.
But more, this is about the connectivity between us and how we attract but to others, we repel.
I wanted to write this because everything I tell you is true. I am neither the hero nor the villain. I am only the storyteller. I keep notes, which is why I have come here when no one else is around. This way, we can keep our secrets between us. This way, should I need to feel or show myself, there is no threat to my anonymity (or yours) because of all the things that we are in this place; we are safe to be us without the threat of an outside concern. That’s why I come here.
I am grateful for you, for this and for now. And I’m not sure that you know this or understand why. I am not sure that you can comprehend the depths of this or its importance to me. Then again, I suppose this is why I’ve built this place—my loft and sanctuary.
This comes from a place which is way down deep. This comes from the depths of my heart; and with all I know and all I have—I want to share this with you.
I think of a little boy excited to show off his bedroom to someone who visits.
I think of the eagerness and the openness and the vulnerability because in a sense, this is me showing you my bedroom.
I do not invite too many people here. But now that you’re in, I hope you’ll have a seat and stay for a while.
I have some secrets to share. I have some games to play and some laughs to have.
Maybe tomorrow I can tell you about the first time I changed my bedroom around to “Be cool.”
I put black felt posters on the wall; the kind that glow in the dimness of indigo lights—or black lights as we called them. I had my stereo set up. I had my music. I had lights that moved and flickered on the walls. I tell you this place was a trip!
When I was young, this was the place for me to be.
I am older now.
And now that I am older, I have my loft.
I have the soft gray light that reflects across my face as I type to you.
I have soft music playing in the background.
I have this.
I have my stories and above all else . . . . .
I have you.
My most special friend.
With all my heart: I love you.