I've lived for a while. I've been a wanderer, a seeker, a flower-child, a thinker/dreamer, artist, poet, working-wife/ Telephone Company clerk/ salesgirl, fashion model (for a minute) photographer, teacher, firefighter and emergency medical field and hospital E.R. caregiver. None of those things really defined me, but they contained me for a while. They set the challenge of the hour and marked the places on the path. They were how I learned things.
I loved to write as soon as I learned how, at six. I was totally wowed with words, loved how you could make things out of them. Collected them like seashells, wrote them down in little notebooks and hoarded them. At six and a half I decided, "I'm going to be a writer and write books." I also wanted to be a jockey and ride racehorses.
But I got busy doing some other things. I grew up, went to college to study and create Fine Art, but got married and handed over my life to someone else, and instead spent a few years supporting him through graduate school. I was the woman, so of course I gave up my career goals for the sake of his. Women did that then, especially Southern women.
It was the loneliest four and a half years of my life, but when he was finally thru school and got a job, I got a divorce, and I set out to find a life of my own, beyond the shadowy periphery of his. My life became a zig-zag trajectory. I had adventures, I made mistakes, and finally, 30 years and several careers later, I made the commitment to writing. I never did get to do the racehorse-jockey thing.
Through the hardest times, my dark nights of the soul, I turned to the empty page when there was noplace else to go and no one else to tell. I wrote in secret. I was very lost sometimes, even afraid my mind was trying to escape this world, which was very scary. And yet, in times so bad that I could not even speak, I wrote. And what I wrote began to tell me who I was.
It was not who I wanted to be. To the waiting page I poured out my loneliness, my regret, my despair at the life I had made, and my fragile hopes for something more. Poetry was my roadway back, my refuge, my therapy, my one true mirror, my small voice singing in the silence, and ultimately, my salvation.