I am not one of those extraordinary blog-writers who always seem to have the right words to spit up. In fact, I’m terrible at making beginning entries to journals. I’ve kept journals my entire life because of my love for writing, but have always had a hard time with introductions and an even more difficult time saying, “good-bye” on my last notebook pages. So, unfortunately, I can’t promise you that my first cyberspace post will be any better.
Initially, my beginning entries would start out with something similar to an ice-breaker game that’s hosted at a new-employee orientation or some core-level college class. “Hi! My name is Erika,” I can recall writing in one of my journals in first grade. I’d vividly describe where I lived, the names of my parents and relatives, the name of my dog, the name of my school and hometown (you can see why this is not a good idea for the internet, correct?). Pretty simple and straight-forward.
As a little girl, I was shy. My intricate politeness and quiet, subdued personality won the hearts of teachers in grade school compared to a classroom of brats. I always shared my toys (well, except with my brother, of course), let other kids copy my answers to my homework; or, somehow, got involved in fights between girls I barely knew, arguing whose “best friend” I was. Mothers of my little munchkin friends liked me well enough. My own mother always made it very clear to my brother and myself about expected behavior and words of respect before going out in public, but loved us infinitely, including our hang-ups. Babysitters always bragged about me, saying that I was the best kid to watch (“all she ever does is sit in a corner and draws or writes in her little notepad”). Despite wide acquaintances in grade school, I always pretty much kept to myself and didn’t initiate many conversations or become any type of “ham.”
Various personal factors in my life lead me to further clam up right before I entered junior high school. One of the biggest factors was dealing with (unknown to me at the age of 12) the beginnings of my mom’s chronic neuropathy condition right after a car accident. In addition, the further “quirks” and “hang-ups” in my subdued personality were quickly transitioning from cute, innocent imperfections to (seemingly) horrific taboos. It seemed that every conversation I tried to start at the lunch table began with some quirky comment in effort to make friends. Sometimes, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t grasp any idea as to how to respond or keep the conversation flowing. Other times, socializing misfits could have been something as simple as letting my literalness or anxious nature get in the way of enjoying a joke. Oh, and I cannot tell you how many times I found myself apologizing for….well, just about everything.
…Okay, I’m still guilty of apologizing or being “sorry” all of the time…I’ll admit that. : )
The point is that I have always enjoyed writing but learned to especially use it as an outlet, almost as a survival clutch in some extremely difficult times, in my adolescence. My mom, picking up on my withdrawn personality starting junior high, encouraged the idea of writing to express emotions. She one time bought me a notebook with a cute Coca-Cola polar bear on the front. It was a red-colored-spiral notebook made to appear more as a journal than as a school book. My mom handed it to me, urging, “I want you to start writing down about how you feel about some new things that are going on in your life. You can talk to me, but you may find that you enjoy writing as well.” Of course I enjoyed writing. Just about every old notebook my poor parents had strictly invested for school purposes became a tool was used for writing silly short stories or “novels” about fictional characters. While girls my age spoke of crushes on boys and going out on dates (which, looking back, makes me laugh to think that 11 year olds thought they could be in serious relationships) or obsessions with boy bands, I craved for the weekends in which I’d be able to indulge in my hand-written works or snuggle under the bed covers with a good book.
Fortunately, I also began to realize through free-association writing and continuous reflections that I not only seemed to feel a release, but also began being true to what my heart and soul felt. It was no longer about how everyone else wanted me to feel, but instead about how I felt. It was no longer what I had to cover up and polish on the outside, but what I needed to unravel and expose to dig to the very cores of darknesses. Lastly, it was also not what I thought I once knew about myself, but all of the things I learned about myself through writing in private journals my entire adolescence.
That last sentence in the above paragraph is key. It is perhaps the most important concept I had utilized in my “growing up” years in which I was working towards some sort of identity for myself. I am forever fortunate and grateful that through the power of self-realization in writing, I have been able to teach and expose myself to ideas on spirituality, trust in oneself, courage and determination in oneself, true love and forgiveness, and straddling a sense of faith into getting by hard times for both myself and my family. I feel that many of these values are loosely sought out by the questioning teenager or fed to the hungry individual, dying for some sort of epiphany. Finding a sense of identity may be described as perhaps one of the most fragile stepping-stones into our adulthood. Without a sense of identity, how can we stay true to ourselves and offer the greatness we have to this world? How can we even begin to fathom what’s best for us or best for other people? Or make the most out of our dreams and successes? These common statements are cliché for a certain reason: they hold truth of importance in concocting a purpose to our lives. With my writing, I hope to inspire you or make you realize about your very essence, as I have found myself doing among great works of novels or essays.
* ~ jimon-jito ~ *
Oh, hell. Look at the down-to-earth crud I just wrote above. Perhaps I did realize one other thing through my writing tonight: I will NEVER lose that “good girl” aspect of me, will I?
Many Blessings for Tonight,