From My Journal…

I decided to go back and start reading my old journals. I picked up the first one I got to and this is the first entry. I thought I’d share it. It’s nice to see that I have evolved. Sure many of the things I address here are still works in progress, but I am not the same person entirely who wrote these words. Here’s a peek in to my most intimate world, my journal…

13 April 2006

Today and all this week I have been struggling against an anxiety I’m not sure I can explain. I’m not exactly certain what it is connected to — but I know I have avoided this process– my process–journaling–for working these things out.

On the pages of my journals I am forced to see myself — to hear myself in a way that has proven far superior to the muffled meandering thoughts clamoring about inside of me. Getting them out of me helps — and has helped — yet, I’ve avoided it. I’ve been afraid to see.

Part of it is self-censorship. I am afraid of my journals being subpoenaed by ******’s attorney potentially should we ever seem to make it to court. This fear has held me captive. I’ve been blogging a few thoughts — but on my blog I write for an audience. My journal is for an audience of one –and often I have an invited guest with whom I share my thoughts upon these pages. I’m feeling like I’m doing something detrimental to myself by censoring what has proven so therapeutic and what has gotten me to this point in my healing and personal growth.

Yesterday I had unquestionably one of the best days I’ve had in a long time. The sun was shining. I was in a great mood. I had even decided to lay aside some of my cynicism concerning marriage — realizing that it has never protected me before and it won’t protect me now (from going back) or in the future (from making the same miserable mistake of marrying a jerk). I was at least open again to the possibility (no matter how remote) that perhaps, one day I might marry again. I felt good. It was a good day.

Today started out well, I went to a WOCN meeting and in a room of 6 black women I felt somewhat insignificant and fat. They were both horrible feelings. I felt like I didn’t measure up somehow, like the world didn’t love me and yet, I sat in it. I noticed that I didn’t become chatty and try to prove myself or overpower the conversation. I contributed at times and asked more questions than anything. It was different for me.

I felt like I usually do around black women — like my hair was wrong, my clothes were wrong, my stance on certain issues was wrong. I felt like I was on the fringes, like I didn’t fit. It was a familiar feeling.

And yet, on the way home I was – or back to work, rather — I was listening to Michael Baisden’s show about Stolen Innocence: Rape and Molestation. I listened to 2 stores of child sexual abuse from black women and connected deeply. I knew their story and their pain. I fit. I fit too much. It ached and I didn’t want to listen anymore.

I’m tired of being able to connect with women because of my pain. I hate that being a victim of child sexual abuse is what I most often feel I have in common with other black women. This hurts — I didn’t know this is what I’d be writing about.

I feel like my interests are not always appreciated or understood and like I just don’t fit. What DOES it mean to be a black woman in 2006 and is that even how I want or need to be identified?

What is this I’m going through with my hair? Do I really want to be natural or do I just think I should want to be? I never realized how confused I was about my identity as a black woman —

–and then, I shouldn’t be surprised when I’m in the process of trying to unearth identity from beneath the rubble of victimization.

I feel the limbo. I feel the tension, the longing, waiting to see who shall emerge from these ashes.

I long for eyes to see — even if only in small glimpse — who I am, what makes me unique. I’d love to know what others see — not to puff me up. I don’t want to be lied to anymore. I want to know what/who people see when they see me. I long to know my NAME!!!

I went to an interpreting class today and I didn’t get a chance to interpret. I was disappointed. I wanted to be seen. I wanted the affirmation. That’s probably not good. Or is it? I don’t know.

I got an email from ***** today that said just that he was in a meeting and thinking about me. I felt like a million bucks. Is there a day and a time when we are completely convinced of our worth? Does our level of persuasion increase with time?

I believe some good things about myself and that some of the things others have said are true –but I wonder about me sometimes. Things like — why do I read my blog posts over and over again? I am enamored, it seems, of my own voice. Is that narcissistic or am I relishing in the novelty of hearing my own voice? I like to hear my voice in my writing. It somehow makes me seem more real to myself. I become somehow when I hear my own words, my own voice.

I guess in many ways I have been voiceless for a long time. I was without a voice with regard to what I wanted out of life — where my life was going. In my marriage I was doing what ****** wanted — i.e., the church. I would have packed that shit up a long time ago. I was there. I spoke. I believe echoes of my voice came through as I spoke, but I felt stifled — confined. I couldn’t really say what was screaming in my soul. Now I can and I’ve been quite reckless at times, I think. I’ve been really angry — but I’m glad about that. No one really let me be angry about my marriage. God! I kept so much inside. It’s a wonder I’m not ill.

I had not my own voice — but an expected voice in the family. I had a role I was supposed to play and a script to go with it. I was supposed to be obnoxious and cynical to make people laugh. I was supposed to pretend to say what everyone else was thinking — only what we were pretending to think. What a farce. To even feign the unspoken. Wow, truth doubly suppressed.

It’s my new instrument, my voice. I’m enjoying playing with it, tuning it, seeing all it can do. I’m enjoying the feedback. It’s been good for me. Healing. Refreshing.

I like having people respond to me — to Lexi, as she is, where she is at the moment. I want courage to be even freer and not to hold back and self edit as much as I do. I want to say what I really want to say much more often than I have.

I feel the tension leaving my body with every stroke of my pen. I am relaxing. I’m less anxious. I’m writing. It’s healing –it’s me. I’ve never thought of myself as a writer. I guess I never thought I was any good. But which matters most? To be good or to be heard?

Why does it matter that I’m not the best writer ever? I just want my voice to be heard. I don’t need to be the best writer, I am the best instrument to sound my song. No one can play my tune but me. I have a song, it’s mine. It’s mine to sing.

This may prove to be quite a worthwhile exercise after all.


11 thoughts on “From My Journal…

  1. As a writer, I assumed my journals/letters would be read and collected, at least after my death. As the paranoid private member of a family of nine, I managed to write them to an audience but without censoring myself, though I wouldn’t have written much on the sexual front.

    Lindo: I am the best instrument to sound my song.

    Though the circumstances may not match, your journal voice reminds me of Martina McBride’s “Broken Wing.” Man, you oughta see her fly!

  2. This is very interesting to me. I think I stifled my own voice, rather than letting others stifle it for me, and have no clue how to tune it.

    I told you looking back would be a good thing. Maybe not just for you, this time.

    Read on, Sister!

    Speaking of… I never fit either. Let’s discuss this more, because why should we, as diverse a creation as we are, have to fit at all? Why isn’t the mold broken? We have the power to break it, so why haven’t we?

  3. And it’s a beautiful song you sing. The highs and lows, life’s lessons always allow for growth sometimes while we aren’t looking or fully aware. thank you for sharing : )

  4. @ ~m~

    Man, that song brougth tears to my eyes!! I love it. I love it. It will be my next download, for sure!

    My cousin C has been tasked to collect my journals if I die first. I hope she publishes every last word (unless I’ve written a book first, in which case it will all be out there already).

    Y gracias!

    @ Katrice

    Do you remember being in a choir and singing really softly because you were unsure of the notes? Well, my choir directors always told me that I needed to sing out so that she could hear what needed to be tuned. I think that’s where you start. Open your mouth and let it rip. The more you sing, the more in tune your voice becomes — or so it seems.

    When I read the part about not fitting in, I was most amazed by how much I’ve grown. I work in an office full of black women now. I know I am anomaly and I love it. I feel quite comfortable talking about it and being on the fringes. I try to invite people to explore some of my interests, but if no one bites, I go alone. I’m completely fine with that. At first I struggled with the “crabs in a barrel” issue here. It helped me see that I’m not the girl I was in 7th grade. I’ve internalized that my “playing small does not serve the world”.

    I definitely think I’ve grown from wanting to fit the mold. No one else is going to make me happy. I’m responsible to find my own joy and I can’t be about that while I’m busy trying to be like someone else.

    I’m loving this thing called life!! Everything is better when you can see the progress.

    @ eslocura

    Thanks for reading. Life is beautiful.

    This helped me realize how far away I am from the pain I described in this entry. I was just coming out of a long period of walking back into pain I’d try to stuff so that I could heal it. It seems like such a distant memory. I remember the story, but it doesn’t hurt anymore. Thank God!!

  5. You are so beautifully self aware that it amazes me. You’re willing to face your foibles rather than hiding them from yourself. That’s courageous.

    I call the ultra black sistahs – mystical magical black chicks. Some of them really crack me up.

  6. @ Jali

    You know, I’m learning that the sooner I acknowledge who I am at any given point in time, the sooner I can choose to be who I really want to be. I can’t explain how it all works, but it really is about making that choice. I wasn’t able to make those choices to be someone else until I was willing to face who I was.

    Courage is funny. I’m still fearful sometimes, but I go anyway. I think that’s what courage is all about.

  7. I’m glad you like McBride. She’s really great at songs you belt out with full resolve because you mean every word.

    My cousin C has been tasked to collect my journals if I die first.
    Yeah! Don’t burn them like the Jane Austen/LeFoy letters. I mean, they could’ve at least allowed for a reading after everyone involved was dead.

    I thought you were comfortable being and identifying as black, without having to check off any boxes. I know if I ran for office, I’d get, worse than Obama, “Is (s)he black [enough]?”

  8. @ Debbie

    Absolutely! I was still in victim mode back then, ya know? That feels like it was so long ago.

    Instead of waiting to “see who shall emerge” (so melodramatic) I feel like I’m in control of my destiny. Sky’s the limit. It’s all up to me. I can be whomever I choose to be. And you know, that change in mindset has its practical benefits.

    My life is changing quickly in lots of ways at once, especially financially. When I stopped being a victim, I started demanding what I was worth and aiming higher. It’s paying off more than I could imagine!

    I’m so much more emotionally stable. I don’t have the as many ups and downs, and no one has the power to affect those changes as before.

    Spiritually I feel like I’m settling in on a belief system that feels right for me. I don’t feel the pressure to believe what anyone else believes.

    So, yes. I definitely feel like I’ve grown in many ways.

  9. Lex

    your tween, tween youth and maturity. I have seen and had relationships with various women at various ages, and it is so easy to see that women dont really get comfy with their WHOLE being; body, dreams, issues etc, until they reach early 40’s. I peg the ideal age for women at 42 give or take a year or two. I always inquire about the behind the scenes when I talk with women, and I have found that the women at that age wish they knew what was really important when they were (fill in the number) years younger.

    Men, we always feel that way, which is why lots of men are so bad, they never have guilt about themselves when maybe they need some mid course correction.

    I was never afraid to open my mouth and speak my mind. I have had many times later on when I was reminded of something I said as a youthful jerk that makes me cringe, but hey, its was me AT that moment, and we change. So dont hide yourself from the world anymore, get out there front and center. Stand out in the crowd, stand for something, right or wrong, it shows strength and character. Of course, if its wrong too many times, well then you become a “colorful” character, but hey, at least people will remember you. Better than hiding under the radar screen.

    Life isnt a reality TV show, you cant fly under the radar if you want to be a force to be seen, heard and hopefully acknolwedged.

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