Monday, June 20, 2011

How Did I Get Here?

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.


  1. Putting our personal lives on the internet is always a really interesting process.

    I had a livejournal account that I also treated as a personal diary, and I can recall several situations where drama was created because I just wrote whatever I wanted.

    I got into the habit of reading through the previous years entries every day (so if it was june 21, I would read all of the june 21 entries throughout the years) and there was always something to cringe about haha.

    i'm glad you haven't given up on writing and blogging

  2. Ouch! Reading all entries for that day each year? I can only imagine. I have only one annual document that I write in for my birthday. And I was just overcome by how old I feel when I say I've been doing that for 10 years.

    Thanks for reading!

  3. I kept a diary for a few years in my early teens & I also used to read back over the previous entries for that date - I agree: cringeworthy!! But very interesting. One day a couple of years ago I tore all my old diaries up because I couldn't bear to read them. I regret that. I like having an anonymous blog now, where so far it's working really well being able to be pretty much totally honest.