I began these journals with the idea that someday I’d become a writer. The kind of writer I wanted to be was the kind that you could jump into any story. You could find me at any part and not think that you missed out on anything.
I suppose this came from my first real experience of reading a book, which is not to say this was my first book or anywhere close. But more, I connect this to a time when I was sitting in a hospital next to my Father, The Old Man, and reading a book that was written by Robert Fulghum.
There was no catch or plot or anything more than random stories from the heart. I thought about this for years after my Father passed. I thought about the need to find my voice. Or better yet, I thought about the outlet which is what this has become.
To speak plainly, to hell with the critics. To hell with anyone who has their opinions. I say this to myself as well as to anyone else who has the need to cleanse themselves. To them, I say write on. Find your spot. Create your place in life. Build it. Feel it. Love it. And at the risk of repeating myself too often, I go back to the very first words I wrote when I began my journals.
My redemption has nothing to do with your response.
This is why I say to hell with the critics. I say to hell with anyone who stands in our way. Besides, who are “they” anyway?
Where were they when I was sick or when I was so alone that the ideas and tragic contemplations took me to the depths of my depression or depressive thinking. And dig it – I say this as clearly as I would if the words would leave my mouth – this isn’t written for everybody. In part, this is written for me. In part, this is dedicated to the people I love. In part, this is written on behalf of the people who struggle to find their voice. And in part, this is written on behalf of my wrongs as well as the people who I’ve wronged. In the effort of making amends to all, except when to do so would injure them or others, this is written in part as an explanation, in part as a means of understanding and, equally, this is written in part because the world waits for no one. Life is too short and most of us have fought for too long. At least, I know that I have. I know that I’m tired too.
I have spoken about this in my earlier diaries. As well, I have spoken publicly about being someone who identifies as a person in recovery. I say recovery with the understanding that the word itself is usually connected to substance or alcohol abuse disorders. However, in my case, my version of recovery spreads wider and encompasses far more than the symptoms of drug or alcohol use. In fact, my recovery is more than mental health itself. To me, my recovery is all encompassing. To me, my recovery is based on the concepts of constant improvement.
Regardless of all and regardless of what I’ve said or done, I began these journals as a means of personal absolution; to both forgive myself, to pay what I owe and to square myself with the house again.
I say this often because this is true; I am like anyone else in the world. I have my fair share of mistakes. I have missed opportunities and ruined others. I have been through my share of trauma. I’ve done bad things to good people and good things for bad people. I am as normal as anyone else in this crazy world.
However, there was always something missing for me. I’m not sure how to describe this in any other way but there was always a barrier between me and the rest of the world. There was something depersonalizing as if to say no matter how I tried or reached, or no matter how I tried to fit in, there was something odd or misshaped about me.
I could never connect or find the language to explain myself. I had spent years with this, torturing myself. I spent decades trying to shove my problems through some kind of moment of instant gratification or phase or trick. Yet, no matter what I tried and or how I tried to make sense of my life (or myself), I found that my ideas are part of what kept me somewhat crippled. Dare I say this word and it’s a shame I say this word – but still, I thought there was something wrong with me; that there was something unfitting about me and, try as I might, there would always be something different or otherwise defective.
Yes, I understand that this is subjective. I also understand that this is irrational. However, we are all subjective and oftentimes, we are all irrational, which is fine. But in the case of me trying to find what I was looking for, I had to start to define what I was looking for.
I had to break down and understand my thinking. Or better yet, I had to find ways to reframe my thinking.
I began my journals with the primary notion that whether I am read or not and whether people like me, hate me, agree or disagree, I chose my writing as an option to find my voice. Again, this had nothing to do with anyone’s response – least of all the critics.
I chose my journals to act as my escape so that I could find peace and obtain a moment of clarity. This is what I wanted, at least for a minute or at least while I was here, with you, I could be at rest in this place I call my head.
I am human which means I have spent a lifetime trying to live among the masses. I’ve been trying to find my place in the circle. That’s all. I’m trying to find myself and trying to find out who I am and who I want to be. But also, I wanted to learn why there were times when I betrayed myself or put trust in places where my trust did not belong.
What was I seeking? Acceptance?
Was I just looking for something new or shiny or for something that could hold me over for a second?
Why did I fight or argue and be part of the machine that did nothing else but degrade my truths?
These were questions that I had for myself and if I were to find the answer, then the only way I could find this was by taking a true inventory of myself.
I wanted to find out why I’d say the things I’d say. I wanted to understand why I felt uncomfortable in moments of silence or why there were times when I was unable to sit still.
There were nights when my thoughts would wake me up and though I was tired, my initial response was to get up and run.
But there was nowhere to go and as the saying goes: no matter how fast you run or hide, you can never get away from yourself.
Wherever you go, there you are.
As I saw it, I was never a traditional person. I did not have a traditional upbringing or youth. I had a strange introduction to my love life (if you want to call it that) but more, my inability to communicate or think clearly due to fear and restrictive thinking became part of my social and emotional handicaps.
I had to find out why I responded the way I did. I had to figure out why I’d behave in ways that contradicted my true beliefs.
I was unsure why I followed the leader or been part of the crowd; yet, I wanted to step away. I wanted the bravery to be myself or by myself and not feel so alone or disregarded.
My reason for this journal and my hopes for these entries is to promote my search and yours as well.
In my first entry, I mentioned the inner narcissist and the separation between us and each other. There is a barrier that comes up, which is a defense mechanism – and I can see where I was blind. I can see where I saw nothing else but me and my own survival. I can see where I said or did things without regarding the people I love.
I can see where impulse and compulsion took away the options of sanity and rather than think clearly or think about the consequences of my actions, my words or my behavior, I focused on my personal comfort. I focused on myself and explained away or rationalized my behavior. This was wrong and, in which case, I’m sorry.
Come to think of it, I was part of an interview where a person discussed unforgivable acts and that for certain people, there is no recovery. There is no redemption and for people like this, there is no forgiveness or peace.
I had to think about this. I had to think about the places where I lived and the people I knew. I thought about my connections and the abuse thereof. I thought about my emotional blindness and the fact that at one point, I believed that the person in the interview was right. There is no redemption. There is no relief and there was no peace. This would all be true – if I allowed this to be.
My journals have become part of my redemption. This has become more of a mission than a pathway of being a writer.
When I was younger, a man who I will name as Tony used to tell me, “Selfish, self-centeredness is the root of our disease.”
I heard this said at least a thousand times. However, perhaps it wasn’t until I truly investigated myself – or perhaps it wasn’t until I broke down my thoughts and behaviors – and once I had, I realized why we contradict our better selves.
Good people do bad things. In fact; I have met some of the warmest, most beautiful people this world has to offer and they either have a jacket or collar around their neck because of a crime or a past life. It’s not that they or I are (or were) bad people. Not at all.
I started this journey to find my place and, in fairness, I know that I am still looking. I’m looking to pull off my trick.
I’m looking to find my place in the circle. I’ve come here to make sense of myself and find accountability for my thoughts, my feelings and to learn how to challenge my assumptions – to keep myself straight.
I’m looking to find what’s missing and, of course, I am looking for the satisfaction when I can raise my hand and say, I’ve found it!
Everyone is looking for something.
And me, I’m just looking to find my way
And that’s why I write to you . . .
To keep from being alone.