There was a show on in the early 90s called "My So-Called Life", a funny, inventive show detailing the life of a female protagonist, played by Claire Danes. She was insecure but daring, timid but creative, shy but forthcoming, and she narrated the show in a 'here-is-my-diary" kind of way that was very appealing for the age group that worshipped her.
At that time, in the early nineties, I belonged to my first-ever writing group, which was run by a very talented professor of mine from the Creative Writing division of York U.
It was called the Toronto School of Writing, and I was a novice among a group of very talented people, the majority of whom were ten to fifteen years older than myself. However, they took me seriously and I very much appreciated their feedback. Back then, much like I do now, I had a very "journalistic" style of writing, almost writing literal accounts of my daily life, my inner thoughts, my discoveries of early adulthood, my confusions, my (many) mistakes, experiments, and my laundry list of suppressed fears. One woman in the writing group felt that I reminded her of this teenager in My So-Called Life, and she explained that she meant this in the way that I laid it all bare when I wrote a piece, be it a short story or a poem. I was sincerely flattered at the time, as I idolized the show and its cast and I could acutely feel the parallels of my own life as I watched the show, despite the fact that I was in university.
Years have passed since that lively, diverse writing group. My talented, lovely professor lost her life to cancer at far too young an age. I have amassed a series of journals, approximately eight years' worth, from ages 22 to 30. As I detailed late last year I stopped journalling in 2004, for a variety of reasons. One being that I could no longer bring myself to write (or read) the blisteringly descriptive entries about how depressed I truly was at the time.
I was thinking about 2004 recently. One being that it was the year I saved myself. It was the year I spent, for the most part, in my apartment, with the exceptions of getting myself to work and to the places necessary for me to continue to live my independent life as I needed to.
Distinct to 2004 is the fact that I cannot remember ONE special or amazing thing that happened that year, other than my sister's announcement in November that she was pregnant with her first child. Other than that, I truly can't think of another good, or nice thing, that happened.
So much for my memory.
I realized why this is as I connect the dots between the journal entries stopping, my special friend moving away, and my decison to make a clean, albeit very difficult break from what had become some extremely destructive behaviours and, for lack of a better word, addictions. I am not referring to substances, per se, but rather addictions to thought patterns that always, without fail, led me down the wrong path.
I saved myself and started to heal, and in 2005, I started to thrive.
Back to the start of this post, with my So-Called Life reference. I have been toying with the idea of writing a memoir but I have lacked the real commitment to begin.
'How to begin it there's nothing in it' swirls through my head, an old quote from a favourite writer. Truly, there is so much I don't need to dredge up. But those Journal years call to me. Me in my unfinished, unvarnished state. Dark, scary, flawed, open--as I've mentioned before--without a veneer.
Maybe that is my beginning.