I’ve lived half my life in my head. Sometimes it’s tough to find that line between reality and mind’s creation. Sometimes things happen in the head, good things and not so good things that never come to fruition, that stay forever in my brain. I’ve carried out entire conversations that never existed, played out scenarios that happened only in my thoughts, accomplished things I would be incredibly proud of myself for accomplishing had I actually accomplished them. I’ve fostered the development of positive relationships and talked myself out of situations I probably should have talked myself into. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what’s real and what’s not. Sometimes the feelings are just the same. Some people hardly live in reality at all. Their reality is ugly. Pretend is so much prettier and hurts so much less. For me, the mind is more like a parallel universe, one complete life that I live in my dream world while this other life is going on right out in front of everybody.
A writer learns early on that the empty page is a best friend. That giant blank white space will listen to anything you have to say, without judgment, without interruption, without question, without any attempt at fixing the problem. It just sits there while you pour out what’s inside your head--better than therapy and much, much cheaper. The problem is this. On occasion that blank page will betray the writer. It will take the words the writer has so carefully and painstakingly laid out and share them with others. It will be that friend who promises to keep the secret and then, without regard, passes on the news as if it is front page headlines.
That’s why I keep a secret journal in my head.
It’s sort of like that one I got from my aunt on that birthday I turned twelve. It has lovely purple flowers on the cover and a tiny gold key. I don’t use it this time as a diary, however, but simply as a pretty little spot to keep private thoughts, both happy thoughts and sad thoughts, because I do have both of these, you know, in forms that I cannot share. And I’m a very good hider, so no one will find this diary of mine, ever.
And that would be problem number two. I have never been a good secret keeper myself. I want to run grab that diary of mine sometimes from between the folds of my good-hider brain and share with someone. I want to throw that key on the table and say, “But look!! What do you think about this?!” I want hugs and words of wisdom and sympathy and consoling and a shoulder to cry on for as long as I need to cry. Or, again, depending on the material, I want the reader to celebrate with me the possibilities that I have spilled onto this paper of mine. I want words of encouragement and praise. I want the reader to jump with much excitement and to say, “Yes! I see it!! I so can see it!” I want to feel that smile on the outside that to now has existed only in my heart.
This very moment I have a dilemma. I want to run grab that journal right now as I’m typing. I have thoughts in my secret journal that I want to show you, not happy thoughts this time, but the other kind. I want to sit my journal in front of you and let you look at that page. I want to hear what you think, to hear your guidance and suggestions. I want to cry a bit, not much this time, but just a bit. I want you to put your arms around me. And, then, I want you to tell me that it will all be ok, that I am ok, and that life is not so bad as I have written.