Oh this chapter. It spoke deeply to my soul. It spoke to so many areas of my life that I’ve been struggling with. It seemed to give me the words that I didn’t have/don’t have to express myself.
Starting the chapter, the theme was ‘When I write, I find myself.’ That resonated deeply with me. As I’ve already expressed in a previous post, I often need to write through things or talk through things in order to make sense of them. I found my soul resonating with the idea of ‘finding myself’ because I think that sometimes I am most myself in my writing.
It is impossible to spend your days writing and not begin to know your own mind. The page is your mirror. What happens inside you is reflected back. – Dani Shapiro
I believe that the first place that I began writing was in journals when I was a teenager. I would chronicle my days, my questions. Sometimes I wrote our prayers to God. It was really a melange of things. But it seemed to be almost consistent. And in those days I’m not sure that I wondered who I was…although it is a common refrain for teenagers coming into their own (it has been many years since I was a teenager, so my remembering of that time is a little cloudy). The concept of not being good enough or never measuring up was present at that time. When I was younger, we moved about every five years and so I had struggle with making friends, with knowing how to fit in, probably then also with who I was and what I stood for. There were things that I engaged in as a young person that I’m not proud of, but I know that they were entirely inspired by my desire to fit in. And I think that is a common longing for many people.
When I moved to London, I attended one of the local Christian schools. Normal is not a word that has ever been used to describe me, and I’m not sure that I could actually pinpoint what it was about me that made other people think that I was odd, but that seemed to be a common refrain in those days. ‘You are SO weird’ I’d hear from the mouths of those with whom I longed to ‘fit in’. (When you are young you don’t think about whether being liked by the ‘in’ people is a good choice or not, the desire to belong overrides those thoughts. Or perhaps you aren’t mature enough to grasp the idea that there are people with whom being friends is not always beneficial.)
Digging into yourself requires a depth of honesty that is painful but imperative. On the pages of a journal, I wrote with my skin off – bare, vulnerable. – Ann Kroeker
I would often come home and write in journals to try to figure out my emotions and attempt to make sense of the events of the day. I am thankful for parents who have always been willing to be a sounding board for me, and who are willing to have difficult conversations or just listen to me trying to work things out. But there are times when I felt that I could only speak some thoughts into the pages of my journal. Somewhere in my house there is a plastic tote full of journals for over the years. I’m pretty sure that I have at least twenty. It is interesting to me to go back and read through their contents. There are times when I haven’t a clue what or whom I was talking about. But its interesting to see some of the same thoughts resonating back then as I find resonating with me these days. Some things don’t change.
I desperately wanted to understand myself, unearth who I was meant to become. – Ann Kroeker
I wrote a lot of poetry when I was a teenager and most of it was stored in a binder that I kept in my room. Sometimes I would read a poem to my parents to let them know what I was attempting to work through, other times I’d keep it to myself. I was thankful for the form of poetry that allowed me to just express my thoughts and not have to worry about iambic pentameter or rhyming, but just allowed me to have another means of expression. When I was in University, there were several individuals who started when I was in my second year and I found myself spending time with them in the evenings. They mentioned that they wrote on a free blog site called ‘Xanga’ and so I signed up, mostly so I could get to know them better. I found an outlet for myself writing in this forum and came to know other bloggers through this space.
I continued to write through my experiences and moments of life and found that I had somewhat of a voice. At that time (and even today) I have found myself fighting on and off to write for the applause or feedback of others. I wrote consistently but didn’t always share my writing with others because I didn’t know if I was looking for someone to let me know that I was right in what I felt or if someone might give me pushback on an idea that I wasn’t looking for, or didn’t want to be challenged about.
I began through practice – through pain – the lifelong process of finding myself. – Ann Kroeker
As I have come to know more people in the blogging world, I have struggled with finding my voice, and what it is that I’ve been called to write about. Originally I started this blog as a means of exploring what God was calling me to after a difficult time when it seemed that everything that I’d worked for in school had all fallen apart in my life. ‘Pour cette Temps’ means ‘For this time’ in French. The verse in Esther where Mordecai encourages her that perhaps she has been placed in the palace for ‘such a time as this’ continued to appear in my life in that time period and so I thought what better place to record what I am learning along the way. Sometimes I still blog about those things, but it has since been a place where I am just living my life and writing through my experiences and perhaps in some unplanned way it is still reflecting this calling on my life.
(this writing) might shape the person I’m becoming by looking back on the person I’ve been. – Ann Kroeker
I am thankful for the communities that I have been blessed to become a part of. They have helped to refine my voice, given me feedback that I have attempted to take into consideration and inspired me with their individual unique gifts. There are times that I am tempted to compare myself with some of the people with whom I have developed a relationship and also come to adore their writing. But I am slowly learning that we each have a voice, and each story that we have is unique to us, although the reason that so often we resonate is that people have had experiences that are similar to ours. Their reactions and reflections so often resonate. I am a person who generally reacts to situations and I am unable to process that I’m thinking unless I get it down on paper. So often I’ve been able to express myself because I’ve read something that gave me the words to start speaking. Otherwise these thoughts are often stopped up in me and give me anxiety or cause me to become angry because I can’t work the thoughts through.
As my writing became more frequent…I discovered more about myself, like how fear could tempt me to stop living if I didn’t face it in all areas of my life. Eventually the words began to teach me their importance, to lead me deep into myself. – Charity Craig