I’ve been doing a lot of blog reading lately, which has me thinking about how I got here, and why I’m writing. Text has always been the medium where I’ve been most comfortable. I started writing at 11 or 12, shortly after my dad drilled grammar rules into my head through many tearful home-school sessions. After memorizing 436 proofreading symbols, I finally learned to love words.
My first online platform was “Teen-Open-Diary”. Yes, it was as bad as it sounds. This was before MySpace was on anyone’s radar. I created an “anonymous” profile, which I promptly emailed to my closest friends, and I began to write with gusto. I filled page after page of internet content with my every angst-filled teenage thought. “Relationship” trials, school drama, prayers, tears, depression. I treated that platform like my personal diary – completely uncensored as though no one was reading it. I cringe now, remembering that I thrived off of the drama my “honesty” created. Eventually the open-diary network was hacked one too many times and shut down, gratefully leaving me with only a few entries in my hardback journal as a reminder of the emotion-crazed pre-teen I was.
Shortly thereafter I joined a new youth group and found out that – wait – there are some deep, dark thoughts that only a few should know about? And the opposite sex shouldn’t be on that list (especially at 15)? So, I stopped writing in all public forums and began to write for myself. I internalized everything that year, filling two journals and a sketchbook. I wrote pages of letters that I never sent, and some that I did. In that year I laid aside several destructive relationships and began to learn to relate to real people in real ways. This was a process. I can’t tell you how many hours I wasted trying to speak my heart only to give up and write it down, passing it to the person across from me. Writing became a form of bondage for me.
Because this continued to be a problem, someone challenged me to give it up for a season and told me that, “It’s out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, not the pen writes.” I laid my pen down and put the journals aside. That year I learned to talk. I learned to voice my heart. I was no longer bound to the pen. But I still didn’t trust it. I was afraid that in this medium where I felt so comfortable I would say too much.
I tried for a while to write anonymously through Xanga, but I gave up after 5 entries the first time I crossed the line of “too personal” – even though no one was reading it. Then my friends jumped on the blogger bandwagon. I quickly found where I was safe – writing exclusively about the things the Lord was teaching me. I spoke only of struggles in the past-tense, from the side of victory. Prudence dictated that I keep things on a surface level while I learned to safely relate to the opposite sex, both virtually and physically. Eventually it came naturally – at least in person. But when it comes to writing, I have danced on eggshells for years, careful not to say anything that might later incriminate me.
I’ve realized that as a 22 year old young woman I can trust myself with a pen again. With some maturity has come discernment, proven in the fact that the hand-written version of this (I’m a little old-fashioned that way) has sentences with lines through them that won’t end up in my final draft.
I want to tell my stories – both past and present. To testify of what I have been saved from, now safely removed from who I used to be. Maybe by removing the vague cloud that has covered my writing, I’ll find out that I am not alone. And maybe… you will too.