l"I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become." Carl Jung
Since I was ten years old, I took to writing. At first, it was poetry. I would write about flowers, the smell of the ocean or a breeze which made me smile. Writing gave me solace during a time I felt very lonely. My Mom, in an effort to relieve my sadness and manage my introversion, gifted me a diary. She said she would never open it and to use it to express my feelings, openly, like as if I was talking with a friend. Well, she kept her promise and I took her advise. My diary slowly became my confidant. I looked forward to writing in it daily and sharing my deepest secrets.
Flash forward forty plus years, and I'm still filling those blank pages with my most intimate thoughts, uncensored and without judgement. I've kept every single sentence I've ever written. Ink on napkins, restaurant menus, airplane tickets, envelopes, even on dried leaves. I have stacks and stacks of years in a life. I write about everyday life and ideas, I reflect on books, films, art, poetry, performances I've attended. I delve into whatever sparks my curiosity, and literally, vomit what is inside me. Sometimes, words become doodles, doodles become art.
For many years, I never re-read any of my journals. It felt taboo, as if they really weren't meant to be opened, even by the author herself. But, the older I got, the more I looked back to assess my life. With the idea of writing a memoir, or using my journals for various creative art projects I've been thinking about for ten years now, I recently read through twenty years worth of journals, and I'm still not finished.
What absolutely fascinates me about the creative act of journaling, is how the "I" is constantly changing, yet the same. Sometimes I don't recognize who wrote some of these pages, or even remember the experiences I wrote about. It's literally as if I'm reading someone else's life story. It puts the "who am I?" front and center and brings up the deeper inquiry of "what does "I" even mean?".
As a visual artist, I'm awe-struck at how my handwriting, through time, is an artform in itself. The ink, the lightness or roughness of the stroke, the form of lettering, the medium I used, the place I was when I felt the need to write. It is mind-boggling really. And, yes, one day, I imagine some of these sentences and pages as an art exhibit.
The beauty of these journals is that for many years, I wrote from a place of pain, one which didn't have choices, a place where I felt victim of circumstance, where the loudest voice I had fell silent on closed books. Although I was the protagonist, I observed more than I actively participated. But in time, a paradigm shift took place. Maybe the shift took ten years, but it shifted, every day a little here and a little there and I was constantly aware of the shifts, the ebb and flow of my existense. At some point my perspective changed. I was no longer using the pages from a passive place of "this is what happened to me" but rather, "look at what I am making happen!." My journals, and in a way, this blog, are mediums whereby I get to create and document my life. They live in circular and linear time.
I've learned that my past is a story, not the story. I choose how the next journal pages will read; I am its co-creator. I get to choose who I am and who I want to become, the Universe takes care of the rest.
The journey is the story. There are many ways to tell it. Stories live in an alternate time-space. The story is a continuum of many stories and so on and so on and so on.
When we fail to express who we truly are, it's easy to feel powerless and alone. As an artist and culture creative, I strive to share personal expressions that put others into relationship with their own creative, expressive selves so that together, we can create a world of connection and meaning.