Every era of my life has been documented.
As an adult, I’ve (obviously) taken to blogging, sharing overly personal accounts from my ordinary life in hopes that my own wounds might heal through the process, and others might find a gem they can clasp in their minds. (Isn’t that what all writers aspire to, in one way or another? Sharing words that others will find meaning in and remember, perhaps even quote or share with others?)
As a child, I wrote daily — sometimes multiple times each day — in my diaries. These journals, covered with glossy images of Ariel and Jasmine or elegantly loping horses, contained details of petty arguments with my sister and descriptions of minute details from kickball at recess or mysterious school lunches. They also contained the beginnings of my discovery of my deepest need: to express my inadequacies, fears, and anxieties, as a means of self-repair.
Insecurity has reigned over much of my life, seemingly stemming from seventh grade and the start of a longterm relationship with eating disorders; but truthfully, it can probably be traced back to my grade school years, when I loved everything about life — except those all-too-frequent moments when others told me, “You talk too much.”
My family used to tease me relentlessly about my chatter, because that’s what Simons do: We poke the bear until chuckling turns into a bit of a low, rumbling growl, which quickly turns into a tearful roar. It’s not an intentionally spiteful thing, this teasing, but for me the continued ribbing about talking became a burr. I vowed over and over again that I would change. I would stop talking so much, starting today. I’d grab a journal, curl up between my bed and the wall, and furiously scribble in a very loud, very obvious silence. Thirty minutes later, that resolve for silence quivered. An hour later (this is probably a romanticized approximation of time), my lips were practically trembling in my effort to keep them still, to trap that chatty persona that dwelled in my throat.
Writing, then, became a solution for my deepest need . . . and in turn, writing also became a critical part of my existence. On paper, I didn’t have to apologize for talking too much. I didn’t have to worry that anyone would beg me to be silent for just a little while, please.
Writing also became a means of captivating my audience. For years — even now — I’ve found that people tend to tune me out when I speak more than one or two sentences at a time. As a ten-year-old, this tuning-out probably occurred because my stories frequently had some obscure point that could only be obtained after ten minutes of descriptive banter about backstory or ambiance. As an adult, I think these distractions come more from society’s inability to devote attention to speakers for more than 90 seconds. Who could possibly pay attention to a story about my mid-run dance with a hunchbacked badger, when there’s Facebook and Twitter and email to check on that glowing palm-sized screen?
Most of my life I have been told my stories are too long, or too pointless, or too unnecessary. But now, when I share my writing, people “listen”. They read my words, because they trust I have pared my story down to its most important bones. They trust there will be a “point” at the end. They believe what I have written is important; not just important to me, but also, somehow, for them.
This trust, at long last, is why I write.