I’ve done over the past few months what I often do, which is turn inward. I always tell myself I’ll keep a blog going, and it’s not for lack of words and ideas that I don’t. It’s more just that introvert’s tendency to want to live in your own head, in your own private writings, in your own little world.
I’m recommitted to writing – not that I left necessarily, but I got distracted by other things for a while. Now I’m clearing those other things out of my life so that I can get back to that one thing.
That got me to thinking about why it look me so long to get here…
I’m approaching 40, and for the first time, I’m starting to feel a gelled sense of identity. Earlier in my life, there was a person who attempted to wipe out any sense of identity I had and replace it one they had chosen for me – one that would directly benefit them.
It’s impossible to fight back when you don’t realize you’re being attacked. For a long time, I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t understand how I was being systemically dismantled. And by the time I did realize it, my sense of self has been eradicated. I was left reeling. I knew I had to get away, but that’s all I knew. I struck out and managed to escape, and then all I had left was anger, and I had to overcome that before I could ask myself some fundamental questions about who I am and what I want.
Confusion set in next, and that lasted the longest. You don’t quite know what to do with yourself when suddenly you’re no longer fighting for survival. So I just waded through the muck of the world for a while, tried some different things on, found a career path I don’t suck at, but definitely not one I would have chosen had I been able to recover my life at a younger age. But though all that questioning and all the trial and error, there was always writing. Storytelling. Creating worlds, creating narratives. Writing got me through some dark times.
But I had to let loose and explore and see what other possibilities there were for me. That’s when I realized – there aren’t any that have ever come close to being as important as this.
I tend to run from important things, because when anything you express any interest in is crushed or threatened or maligned, you learn to just put up walls. I got into it for a while, it got too real, it got too overwhelming, and I had to create distance. I’m back now.
If I seem disgustingly optimistic, don’t think that I haven’t lamented what I lost, including time. I wonder who I could have been if someone hadn’t spent years trying to take who I was away from me, tearing me apart, and trying to rebuild me in the image of something they themselves wanted but never got to have. I allow myself to go there, I just don’t allow myself to stay there.
Plus, that’s one of the benefits of writing – you have someplace to put all of those things.