So I decided to step off the crazy train for a while and focus on something that brings me great joy.
I have been thinking a lot about why I do what I do, what I want to stop doing, what I want to keep doing and what I want to make room for in my life and I was struck by a memory from 2.5 years ago.
In the fall of 2014 I went to the Bracebridge campus of Nipissing University for my thesis defense and although my adviser told me it was somewhat of a formality (that she would never let me defend unless she knew it was all good) I was pretty nervous. I remember vividly sitting in a very large room, on the far side of a very large table and there, 3 fascinating, intelligent and revered women spent an hour saying nice shit about a paper that had taken me 3 years to write.
I had been with the paper for so long I could no longer see the forest for the trees. And there, that beautiful fall afternoon, with my husband downstairs waiting to congratulate me with our littlest on his knee, I heard the words that would propel me forward down a journey I feel blessed to be on…
“Dionne you need to keep writing, don’t stop, you need to share your gift with the world.”
Now you might be thinking what does writing a thesis have to do with real writing, that regular people would want to actually read and it is this… My thesis was a narrative piece. A compilation of stories of my life brought together and analyzed through the lens of narrative and qualitative research. It is basically one long-ass paper of me working through that cinder block wall I refer to all the time, that had been my defense against the world, against feeling, against living.
There on those pages I uncovered mysteries about my life I didn’t know that I didn’t know.
I found peace and love and joy in the shadows of myself that I had hidden far from my consciousness.
I realize now, it was simply the first, albeit hefty, layer of shit to uncover and it was miraculous. It was during the journey of doing my Masters that I experienced what I call the TSN turning point (bit of an old-school reference…if you get it you need to call one of the lovely ladies on your Facebook feed that is selling Rodan and Fields…you’re old you need them!). I remember the moment, as clear as if it happened 10 minutes ago, feeling real, pure, joy while learning something about myself.
Most of my life I sought out empirical information about science and math…things that made sense. And I shunned, literally ran from any form of learning, anything, that would cause me to think about my own thinking. I wanted to purely regurgitate and be openly rewarded for it (as I always had)!
As you may know, writing is the absolute opposite of regurgitation. It requires thoughts to be actually processed and contemplated. It requires subjective thinking and a knowing of oneself that relies on openness to the unknown and failure. All things I was completely incapable to doing before my Masters, in my state of pure survival.
Now even though writing my thesis was clearly a cathartic experience, I didn’t feel completely free while writing it.
It was an academic paper after all and advisers don’t take lightly to the word Fuck or Shit of Bitch or well to most of the words I like to use. So when they suggested that I keep writing, even though I knew they were right, I also knew I needed to find a more appropriate platform. It’s not to say that I won’t dive in and make an attempt at my PhD someday, it’s that the life of academia can not be my only writing vehicle.
When I started writing for myself…it was in a daily journal that I lovingly refer to now as my morning pages; then it was simply where I kept the notes from all of the learning and growing I was experiencing. At the time I dove into books I would never have read and considered a waste of time before, podcasts I had no business listening to and started exploring the idea of art as actually something I could do.
After of year of self-discovery I finally jumped into the digital world and started this blog…and it is here that I feel most at home.
It is here that I know I can say Fuck and Shit and Bitch, where I can love and laugh and learn and feel the internal reward that only this art form can bring.
Early on I had also embarked on a journey to free my brain from the stories that were plaguing it. You know the stories, the ones from your past that continuously re-live themselves and each time bring you right back to those raw emotions. Some of the stories appeared innocuous on the surface and once I started to dig into them I realized I had so much to learn. My soul, my unconscious mind, had been walled up for so long and once I started to let the bricks fall out it all came.
From that experience I wrote a book of journal entries written by me at the age the memory occurred and after each entry I followed it up with a response from my soul reassuring my younger self that each piece of the puzzle that is my life, has a purpose and deeper meaning. That my journey and each stumble will bring me to a glorious place when I have the strength to be present.
That book may or may not see the light of day…
Many of the stories told don’t only belong to me and unless I can honour the people in my life who are each fighting their own battles in their own ways it may stay filed away in a drawer. The most important part is that those memories are no longer stored within me, poisoning my future.
There are books in me waiting to be written and I will release them one word at a time, whenever I have the time, whenever I carve out the time. I know that writing is, for me, the purest form of sanity.