Being Mormon

Writing. Divorce. Gifts.

How do I feel about writing? Well, let me write about it…

journals-glases
Photo Credit: Leanne Leatitagaloa

Writing found me.

 

And I’m glad it did.

Someone gave me a small blue diary with a lock and key for my tenth birthday. I had already had the desire to write things down and was very excited when I unwrapped it. However, I didn’t know what to write. The everyday stuff seemed boring and the real stuff seemed too risky.

I grew up in a chaotic household. A family of seven. My mom and dad, older sister, older brother, then me, younger sister, and younger brother. I’ve got one of every sibling, indeed a blessing. Our parents were divorced in 1979, I was eight. I don’t remember exactly when my dad moved out but it must have been after my birthday because I was the last kid to be baptized by my father.

I’ll never forget the day my dad moved out. It was a fight.

I was standing by the window next to our front door watching my dad taking stuff out to his car, screaming and angry at the world. Picking fights with my mother to prolong the inevitable. She let him have whatever he wanted.

When he was almost done—yelling and moving out his half of everything he saw me. He noticed I had been crying, watching my eight-year-old world cave in around me. I didn’t understand and no one had the energy to explain it, or maybe they didn’t understand either.

He stopped. He embraced me. He didn’t say a word or tell me it would be okay or say the usual things a daddy might say to comfort his young daughter. But somehow, I felt his hurt and the love he had for us, his family.

He picked me up like I was a feather and hugged me. He hugged me so tight I couldn’t breathe and then he just held me. I still remember the smell of the white t-shirt he was wearing. He put me down, wiped his eyes, grabbed the last of his belongings. Without looking at me he walked towards the front door. He paused in the doorway and yelled “I CAN’T WAIT TO GET OUT OF THIS HELL HOUSE” and slammed the door. He was hurting, he was angry, he was lost without his family. My mom was hurting too, doing her best to stay invisible downstairs. She knew we couldn’t move forward with him.

I remember the fights they would have—not having enough money must have been very hard on their marriage. They always seemed to fight on ‘bill paying’ day. Later I remember my mom telling me about how much she hated paying the bills. She always had to choose which bill wouldn’t get paid for the month. She had a rotating system.

Money was very tight and sometimes us kids went without but my mom was always going without. I never realized just how poor we were until fifth grade (never got the Jordache jeans I so desperately wanted).

Our mother gave us all she had. Especially her love and she still does.

Things happened. Yucky terrible things but we survived them. I started writing more often. I wrote down things that needed to get out of me, the sadness, feelings of rejection, and failure. I wrote down the happiness too, as that was more enjoyable to write. I appreciated the church leaders who reached out to me.

Everything I wanted to tell someone about, but too afraid. I turned to my journals. My survival came in the form of writing. Writing saved my life.

The last time I counted, I had over a hundred journals.

 

my-journals-shelf-full
If there was a fire…Family, Photos, Journals…in that order!

 

In the pages of my journals, is where I felt safe. I entered another world, not a fiction made up world, but a world of writing down questions in search of answers. Even if the answers didn’t always come, I felt better getting the yuck out.

I also learned that some things shouldn’t be written down (that was then, now I write it all down). I had a sneaky little sister who had ninja like skills when it came to finding out people’s secrets. At times her skills came in very useful but it was hard to keep things private, especially in a now family of six.

Writing is my air, writing is my peace, writing is my gift.

Writing is me.

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