i have not believed i should write. i have not wanted to write for public consumption. i have not thought myself a good writer. i have not thought i would make a good writer. i have not wanted to add to all the talking and writing that leads to more talking and writing. i have not wanted to be selfish or to appear selfish. i have not wanted to worry over punctuation.
i have kept a journal consistently since 10th or 11th grade. this summer Changa Bell told me i was already a writer and an author. he pointed to the five bookcases in my living area and pointed out to me one full shelf of my journals. it never occurred to me that i was a writer or an author because i had a shelf full of journals. it never occurred to me that i had been bold enough to shelve my journals as i do the books i have completely read. it never occurred to me that my writing was right there with all these incredible thinkers and writers.
since Changa’s observation over this past summer, i have thought about what he pointed out on that day many times. i have wondered if he was just wanting me to feel better or do more or if he really meant what he said, “You are already a writer and an author. There is a shelf of your journals.”
yesterday after writing in my journal, i asked myself, “why it is so easy for me to write in my journal yet so painfully difficult for me to write?” my response. my journal writing is authentic. my right hand and my soul are connected without a filter, other voices, eyes, critiques, or fears. my right hand tells my truths and my stories. my right hand is not afraid. my right hand is my witness. my right hand works it all out. my right hand feels density, texture, movement, and grasps colors. i connect to the process of my right hand touching the fully blank pages of my journal. there is enough space for my voice, my stories, and me. the pages of my journal can bear the weight of me, my voice, and my stories. the pages have no boundaries. i can write in any direction diagonal or horizontal. the blank pages do not reject me, deny me, or correct me. the pages of my journal and my right hand ask me lovingly to show up and require me to show up…all of me to show up. in my journal writing i get to be me, myself, and i. i am free to be me. a Black girl. a Black woman. a believer. a scholar. an idiot. a reader. depressed. discouraged. delighted. determined. hopeful. and so so much more.
this is the beginning of my writing beyond the journal pages. word processing is not my preferred way of writing. i believe that so much of my story and my voice is eclipsed by not seeing my varied handwriting. in the world of word processing i am forced to choose a font but i will aim to get past this for the sake of my beginning. this is the beginning. i am choosing to show up. i am choosing to come out of my journal. i am coming out.