On a crisp evening in October 2008, the first influential domino fell.
That night embers dimmed and glowed, bellowed with the gentle breeze. Sheets of paper-thin ash, words still visible, wavered before crumbling. Some floated off in huge flakes, disintegrating with my memories on the wind.
Something significant changed. Another chunk of my heart hardened and died, but it was the tipping point.
This time the domino hit another.
He’d been wanting me to get rid of my journals for as long as he’d known me. Too much was in there from my past that made him uncomfortable. He shouldn’t have eavesdropped on my private conversations with myself.
The past wasn’t a secret. But my reflections of it, recordings collected over years of tribulation and triumph, were private. Sacred.
Some of these memories were priceless. How much my children weighed at birth, how long the labor took, cursing over the nurse with long fingernails who kept checking dilation… that sort of thing.
A page lifted in the heat vector, rippled and crumbled. Another domino fell.
Many entries were not so benevolent. In my out loud conversations I am discerning, restrained, and usually soft-spoken.
My journaling language is not. No holds barred, damn the torpedos, full-steam ahead. Anger, hatred even, resentment, sorrow and humiliation allowed full expression. Supposedly safe between the covers of the book that gave them life. My shadow side.
The argument that pushed my buttons and led to the bonfire isn’t important. What is important is that I willingly sacrificed myself in an attempt to appease. What is important is that he didn’t want that part of me acknowledged, to exist.
Notebooks piled in boxes in the attic, tucked on shelves and one always close at hand, ready to receive whatever pressing thoughts I needed to release from my mind. I gathered them and brought them to the fire-side, two full boxes and an armful of defiant stragglers.
Tears blinded me and I refused to look at the words before putting them in the flames. About halfway through, I realized what I was doing. And then I tossed the rest on. More than 25 years of history. My history.
Dominos fell, tap, tap, tapping the next one in line.
My journals represented me. They recorded the parts of my life that were either too painful to hold onto or too fleeting to grasp. Sometimes the pages held ugly words and thoughts that never needed to see the light of day.
Always plagued with memory loss, long and short-term, I’ve relied on the written word to help me through. I read them during moments of self-introspection or to remember why I felt a certain way about certain things. To see if I’d grown or fallen into an undesired pattern.
The last domino fell. Reverberating aftershock imprinted on my soul a new pattern.