I love words.
Words have power. Long before the days of fancy facebook memes, my mirror was covered in little post it notes with inspirational quotes, messages, notes from friends. I looked at them every morning and felt a sense of empowerment. I still tend to write down phrases that really catch my spirit. Sometimes there are words that are just too big for a screen.
Words remind you of who you used to be. I have stacks of journals- the earliest one I started when I was 10. I used to journal faithfully, but over the last few years my beloved leather bound friend has been sadly neglected. But as I read back through the words of my 10 year old self, I become reacquainted with that little girl I used to be. While the childish woes of a 4th grader lamenting that the popular kids are making fun of her for having the “wrong” shoes seems trivial now, I remember that feeling of just wanting to fit in. And while this 34 year old woman doesn’t really care what people think of her shoes, she does still occasionally feel like she doesn’t always fit in.
Words are a journey. Some of what I have re-read in those journals is horribly embarrassing. Self-centered, petulant, naïve… the kind of stuff that would make you wish for a black hole to swallow you whole if anyone ever read them. I feel like I need to destroy them, but I can’t quite bring myself to do it. Some of what I wrote is ugly and angry. But we all have that part of ourselves that’s ugly and self-centered. And journals are a repository for those raw feelings. When you write something on paper that no one else is supposed to see, you don’t have to censor yourself. You write down the insecurities, the ugly thoughts, the hurts, and all without having to worry about how it sounds to someone else. So I put my faithful friends back in their box and close the lid. You know, the lid that has the faded-used-to-be-a-bright-pink-sticky-note that says “stay out of my stuff, and if I am dead you better burn these without reading them or I will haunt you for eternity”. Surprisingly as a 10 year old, I had a bit of a dramatic streak.
Words leave a legacy. They allow us to live on in ways that are more than just memory. They are clues to a past, and they allow us to share a part of ourselves that normally stays hidden.
Blogs are a curious thing. These days, it seems like everyone has a blog. Including me obviously, since you’re here. If you’ve followed me from the link on my “old” blog, you know that I’ve been sporadic the last few years or so in posting anything. When I started blogging, it was because I needed an outlet to write about my younger sister Emily’s death. Why a public blog and not a private journal? I started writing a blog initially as an open site for anyone to write and share memories about Emily, but it ended up being mostly me writing. And for a few years it helped. But then I ran out of things to say. Or at least anything new to say. The story never really changes- and there are only so many times you can say “I miss Emily”.
So like me, my blog got stuck. I started the blog centered around Emily, and when I wasn’t sure what more there was to write about her, I didn’t know how to write about anything else. No, that’s not really it. I felt guilty writing about anything else other than Emily. If I wrote about my life instead of her meant that I was starting to get over it.
I believe this is what they call “moving on”. It took me awhile to realize that this is not a bad thing. Life goes on, as much as I wish sometimes I could go back. And while there are times that I find myself missing my sister so much it hurts to breathe, those moments are not as paralyzing as they once were. I felt like I wanted to start over with my old blog- to make it mine and not a shrine to my sister. I debated how I wanted to do that. I thought about deleting the whole thing and starting over. But there’s a lot of history there- good, bad, and sometimes ugly, but history that I don’t want to forget. I thought about making those posts “hidden” so only I could see them. There are a lot of posts that I would like to forget- and in many ways my beliefs have changed so that I don’t even feel like the same person, but yet there’s a lot of who I was in those words. But at the same time, a lot has changed in 9 years. I’ve moved. I’ve changed jobs. I’ve made incredible new friends. I’ve traveled. I’ve fallen in and out of what I thought was love. I am not defined by the death of my sister anymore, and I like the fact that the people I interact with on a daily basis don’t know about her unless I choose to tell them. I feel like I’ve crossed that line of “then” and “now”, and in many ways I feel like I need a clean break. Emily will always be with me. But those writings and that history are then. I am ready to be here in the now. So I’m leaving Emily’s story right where it is.
So in an age of a blog for every topic, what do I have to add to it? I don’t have a fascinating life to write about. I’m not famous, I haven’t invented anything, and I don’t travel to exotic places (often). I don’t have anything to contribute to politics, religion, or solutions for world peace. I don’t have cute kids to post pictures of, and I am afraid to post too many photos of my cats because I am dangerously close to being labeled as a 30- something year old crazy cat lady. So where does that leave me and my little blog? No idea. But I like to write, so here I am. Musing my way through an ordinary life!