Ever since I was a child, as young as six, it's been my therapist, my expressive outlet, my home remedy, my confidant in solitude, my most favored healer. When I'd fight with my parents, when I felt lonely, when sadness overcame my spirit, when tears tore me apart. And just as much when I'd fallen madly in love, when psychedelics took me on otherworldly journeys, when verbose verbalizations could never quite grasp overwhelming emotions. It was always there for me, it never left my side, it never abandoned my soul, it never changed. Never. It always waited for me to come back to it, even if I pushed it to my periphery (and sometimes beyond, out of sight and reach), even if I disappeared on it for months, even years, on end. It stayed. True as ever. Ready with open arms and helping hands, with ears to listen to my every thought, and shoulders to lean on when I could barely hold myself up.
Sanrio diaries with the shitty generic locks, infinite daily journals, countless blogs, innumerable poems, umpteen pieces of semi-fictional non-fiction, foreign magazine articles I'd just about forgotten by now; there are leaves upon leaves upon leaves of my life expressed through the written word, helping me get through the ups and downs. My life has been narrated by me upon paper scraps with raw edges, waxy napkins that barely held ink, unfolded airplane vomit bags, empty margins of my favorite novels, filthy bedroom walls, putrid alleyways, cute Japanese stationery with matching envelopes, binder paper notes passed betwixt friends during monotonous lectures. And I cannot even begin to recall the neverending phone memos that have been lost over and over again due to broken phones, as if on purpose so I could start anew.
I always knew I could turn to it, but as I've gotten older I seem to have created a space between us. A distance that often disquiets me, and instead of giving in to what once eased my every slight ailment, internal or external, the past few years I've given myself to destructive paths instead. Fully knowing how much it means to me, how much it helps me to see more clearly, how much it helps me grow in every aspect of my being, yet still blatantly denying its impatient omnipresence in my life -- that not only puzzles me but, in a way, pains me. And not a physical, tangible pain, but a mental one, a spiritual one.
Being the object of crippling social anxiety, I was always subconsciously grateful for the written word. It helped me to communicate with others eloquently, on my own time, without pressure, without stuttering, without the struggle of having to translate the billions of thoughts racing around my head into verbal sentences.
It's bizarre because I do recall at one point coming in second place at my school speech competition. I recall being able to socialize normally with the other kids. I recall a time when I could be around people and not be consumed with anxiety and nerves, with a sick feeling in my stomach, with sweaty palms and a hot face, with slight trembles and shifty eyes, with insecure thoughts telling myself I shouldn't say anything because it's going to come out stupid. I can't help but wonder what the fuck happened. What traumatic event singlehandedly switched my character from normal kid to mute kid? Perhaps it was merely the insecurities everyone experiences as a teenager, but mine tainted me deeper, mine stuck with me. Perhaps it was society as a whole that fed me the narrative that females, namely Asian females, should only speak when spoken to, and should otherwise remain meek and unnoticeable. I really do not know.
What I do know is that whatever happened that caused me this late onset social anxiety, consequently and naturally also got me into recreational use of anti-anxiety medication, namely Diazepam. And, after a whole childhood and teenhood of being anti-drugs, Diazepam crashed into my existence and became the one true destructive love of my life every single day for five years straight. And, like how Picasso had a blue period or how the Beatles had a black album, I had a blackout phase. Five years of my life I only remember through photos and through writing. But the photos do not explain much for me, the writing however speaks volumes more. Crushing to say but, it was probably the best writing I ever did. It was raw, and it was depressing. It still induces tears whenever I revisit it in my present existence. Reading it I can so easily feel those exact feelings again, remember the scents that surrounded that era, remember the songs that were looping on my iPod at the time, remember the outfits I pieced together in a blurred state.
Writing has the ability to stir up not only old emotions, but past sensory experiences: the perfume that rubbed off on my pillow each night, the beer that met my tongue at each outing, the rhythms that entered through my ears and led me astray from reality each day, the feel of those secondhand dresses against my upper thighs when I danced, the look of unfamiliarity when I'd steal a glimpse of myself in the mirror sometimes.
Those glimpses frightened me. There's so much more to the story but, basically, there were the innocent years, the blackout years, the rehab years, the sober years, the semi-sober years, and now there's this year. And this year I haven't had any desire to go out, to party, to indulge in substances. I want to go back to constructive forms of escapism -- writing and reading and cooking and exercise and yoga and creating and art. I can't let myself regress to that blackout phase again. I can't. The thought of it alone has been giving me anxiety the past couple of years, and that anxiety compounded with my social anxiety? That's too much fucking anxiety for a hundred pound girl.
So I guess I'm back to writing.
Sorry for the sabbatical.