Words, Memories, and The New Year
Writing is hard. It takes a lot out of me. I’m not sure if I even like writing. Some days I question why I even keep doing it.
My nomadic ways began back in 1995. Back then I didn’t actually own much of anything. But what I did have and what I felt strongly about preserving and keeping safe were my words and memories. Journals filled with my words and thoughts and dreams, of a teenagers dire dramas, and of a vulnerable 20-something year olds awful insecurities, a 30-something year olds search for an identity, and most recently a 40-something year olds need for understanding of the past and a need for truth. And what I found was a truth etched in permanent ink, some of it four centuries old, that had been carefully put away only to be brought out and reread in a half empty quiet house on a California mountain side.
Memories are a tricky thing. Truth is transient and memory is momentary. Our voices can hurt others, our words are powerful, and I think that is why I have been silent for so long. As I sat and reread my words written in my journals I became conscious of just how important words have always been in my life.
There is an elusiveness to memories and this is why words are so important. The truth of my words is what has kept me from drowning in the unkindness of others words whose memories have not been based on truth. Theirs a falsehood based on their own elusive memories, at times seemingly fabricated in order to justify their reality.
It’s taken me months to go through all my journals. All my photos. All my scrap books. All my mementos. Some of these things in storage for more than 20 years. And now that I am done I finally realize why I continue to write – hard or not. It’s where I find my truth. It’s where I find the truth.
It’s December, ten days from the start of the New Year. I didn’t want to end 2016 in silence. (For withholding ones words is as powerful as using them to hurt. Silence can inflict tremendous pain – And that is an essay all on its own for another time.) I don’t make New Years resolutions, what I try to do is just be a better person from the year before. I have not used my words as carefully as I could have this year. I have not always been kind and there were a couple of times where my integrity was nowhere to be found.
I wrote the below New Years message in my journal on December 30, 2010 – I can’t remember whether I actually wrote it or if I got it from somewhere (I googled it but didn’t get any hits) regardless I’ve used it ever since…
Next year will bring whatever next year brings, but what we bring TO it will make all the difference. And the greatest thing we can bring to it is our kindness, grace, and integrity
I will not use my words carelessly
I will use my words with integrity and grace
And I will use my words in kindness
Happy Holidays and Happy Winter Solstice
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