I still own journal entries from when I was as young as 10.
Decades ago, at 9:39 PM on a Monday (yes, I always wrote the exact date, day, and time), 11 year old Arielle wrote:
"I really want to be different, do something that no one else has ever done."
I'll admit that from time to time, the entries waver on humorously dramatic, such as when I wrote that same year, "Please read this with respect for your childhood." I always chuckle to note how I gave myself directives, as though I knew I would always be the kind of girl who would save her writing and look back many years later. It wasn't out of character for me to write myself a note on the page, addressing myself by name, like a letter to the future.
But I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is not my experience with tragedy and widowhood that makes me the way I am...or that causes me to write the way I write. Long before I was ever grown up, my old little soul was writing journal entries that are eerily similar to the tone and depth of this very blog.
At 9:21 pm on a Tuesday in 1996, I was 11 years old, sad and conflicted about something...and I wrote: "What will I do? My good, strong, fearless spirit will help me."
2 days later, I wrote: "There is a saying: 'Those who endure most are rewarded most.' I believe it is true and I have endured a lot so maybe my reward is yet to come."
I read these sentences from my childhood and realize with some surprise that they could be posted here, in 2015 - on this blog - and still hold the same weight, still resonate, and still be true.
When I was 13, I wrote: "I feel years older." And I've always felt that way. I carry that girl with me every day...the 7 year old, the 11 year old, the 13 year old... she has taught herself along the way to 30 that the act of feeling - really feeling - is the pathway to writing... and by writing, she can be the person she wants to be.