I was a mad woman.
There they were from a long time ago, private words on the lined paper, written in my microscopic handwriting. My handwriting had changed somewhere along the way during my childhood and my words were small and neat, not wishing to be seen by anyone else. As I read them once again not so long ago, I wondered to myself, with some amusement, why I still wrote such tiny letters in diaries that would not be read by anyone else. But it didn't matter, did it. My microscopic handwriting was here to stay as I had grown accustomed to writing in that manner.
And what was the mad woman doing inside my head? She was on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, quite sure of herself one day, then undecided the next. A litte later on, she was more confident again. After a day or so, she was depressed all over again, especially where matters of the heart were concerned.
She talked about others, saying things she would never otherwise say out loud. But then that was what a diary was for, wasn't it? It was a way of recording down one's most intimate thoughts and feelings. And they were indeed intimate. She never censored a word. She never censored anything. Even when she was angry with God, she told Him so. Even when she felt distant from Him, she told Him so.
During her Secondary School days, she mentioned two friends in particular in a few of her entries. One was apparently rather smart and knew all the answers in class, someone she felt rather inferior to, for she certainly didn't know all the answers in class. She could relate very well to the other friend but that friend also seemed to be rather temperamental at times and she wrote that she had to make a joke of things, to help lighten the situation. They were her friends but there she was, writing about them as if they were being observed from a distance. Or was she just venting? At least she was honest about it, about how things were. No, these were not the sort of things she would say to another. But the thoughts and feelings were within and who better to tell than the empty pages of a diary which promised her total confidentiality for the rest of her life.
And when he entered her life, she wrote about him. It wasn't a relationship that she understood but it was a relationship that she longed for. And how she longed for him. It lasted, on and off, from the time she was nineteen until her mid twenties. He was a little older. He was also far away and they had never met. His letters were precious to her. And she felt that her entire mind and body belonged to him and only him. He had awakened something within her. But she was never completely confident with him, for feelings were so strong and, at the same time, so fragile. Uncertainty could set in so easily.
It was difficult being so far apart and one could only tell so much from one's letters. She was up one day, down the next. She longed to see him then decided it would never come true, anyway, so why bother. She wanted him and longed to be wanted by him. She thought he did. Then she thought he didn't. For how could he when they were so far apart from one another? She was almost schizophrenic about the relationship for that was how she saw it. Maybe she even confused him. He was too far away to do anything and maybe he had done all that he could with what he had. But he never called her over the phone. She called him two or three times for she longed to hear his voice. That was normal, wasn't it? That was perfectly natural. She certainly thought so. And if she had come to be someone special to him, why didn't he reciprocate? She never knew. In one of her diary entries, she wrote that she didn't trust him. Maybe she was just too rash, too impatient, wanting something to happen when that something wasn't ready to happen.
They never met. Would they have? Were they supposed to? Did he ever really want to?
And later, he got married. She found out because she hadn't heard from him for a while and decided to write again. And a postcard came in the mail for her. There it was for the postman and her mother to see (her mother read it to her over the phone as she wasn't living at home at the time). It wasn't anything too personal, merely telling her that he had married, bought a new home, had a job promotion. It was a "whirlwind," he said, and she wasn't a part of it. She wasn't exactly heartbroken, but there were tiny cracks, she had to admit. She wasn't devastated but she had always harboured some glimmer of hope within, tiny, miniscule. But now even that tiniest of hope was gone. In her diary, she wrote that she felt hollow inside.
Their relationship resumed once again - through their letters - but he was no longer unattached. More than that. He was a married man. But she still treasured his letters. He did send her two gifts later on at different times. But he was no longer available then. The relationship had changed but the gifts were still precious.
And he sent her another cassette of his voice and music he had chosen - he had sent her a similar tape a few years before when they were both unattached - and at the end of it, he said, "I love you."
And the mad woman wrote that she cried when she heard those words. He wasn't there in person, only his voice could be heard. She cried because she was happy; she cried because she loved him too.
But she knew better. Some time later, she knew better. This wasn't honest nor good nor kind. It certainly felt good. But he was no longer an unmarried man. And as much as she still desired him and longed to see him, she knew it wasn't the right thing to do. And she so wanted to do the right thing. So she ended the intimate correspondence.
Many years later, I was introduced to the song, "Silver Springs" by the group, Fleetwood Mac. I had never heard it before or never remembered hearing it. I didn't particularly like it at first but when it was played several times over the radio, I kept listening to it, and kept wanting to listen to it. And the music and the lyrics grew on me. There was something about the song, something about the words. They drew me in. And later I understood why.
"Time casts a spell on you, but you wont forget me
I know I could have loved you, but you would not let me"
("Silver Springs," Written by Stevie Nicks)
Fanciful imagination that I have - where that wild, mad woman resides - I imagined myself singing the song. And it was him that I was singing it to, or singing it for. Apparently there had been no closure. Closure. I'd never completely understood what it meant until I experienced those pangs, those yearnings, myself. It was very quiet, very subtle, but something was there. Something unfinished. And yet, it was finished, wasn't it. I needed closure but I would never find it. Or perhaps closure is supposed to find you.
Now that I'm a little older, and had time to read the microscopic words of the mad woman, I begin to realise something else. It is a beautiful song, that is true, and it tells a bit of my own story, a story that still hangs in mid-air. And even though the singer of the song is a woman and I am a woman, it could be sung by a man as well. Or those words could have been his words. Perhaps he did try to love me and would have loved me in person. But I wouldn't let him. My insecurities and doubts got the better of me. I had my highs and lows where he was concerned. He meant everything to me at one point. Then later I thought it would be best to forget him. And now I can't forget him. Maybe I'm not supposed to. I don't know. Maybe some day I will. I don't know. Do I even want to? All together now, I don't know.
I was so young when it all began. Even though it was long-distance, he was my first love, or my first "someone special". He had other loves before me so he was the more experienced one. I was still naive but I also experienced it in a very emotional and physical way. And maybe he was not meant to be in my life. Sometimes I even think that maybe he was lucky that he "got away," so to speak. Or maybe he knew better. The word "love" scared me at the beginning. I didn't want to use it unless I meant it. And there was a time when I meant it. With all my heart. And I'd hoped that he meant it too. I shared everything with him (at the time, I really thought that I did) and there were times when I wondered if he had shared everything of himself with me. Maybe whatever it was - a mere pen-friendship or a relationship of sorts - meant more to me than it ever did to him, even though I was the one who seemed hot or lukewarm at different times. It happened so long ago.
And maybe I'm supposed to find closure by writing all this down. Writing is my art. And art is healing. I wrote that recently. Somewhere else. These are still only bits and pieces. Someday they will be made clear, I think.
What else did the mad woman write about? She wrote about all sorts of things in her diaries. And the different entries helped to paint a clearer picture of the past. They helped to confirm that certain words had, indeed, been said, or certain events had actually happened.
There was that infamous love-hate relationship with her mother. There was always love, there was no doubt about that. But she also felt infuriated, irritated, judged, that she had to distance herself from her family. Far, far away, if possible. And it appeared that there were times when she measured her success and failures by how she was looked upon by her mother. Simply put, her own mother's words could make or break her.
She had so much to write about. Whether it was at day's end or in the middle of the day, she wrote in her diary. She shared with it about her crushes on certain young men, misunderstandings, even hurting another. She concealed her secrets within its pages, observations that she cared to write about, her views and opinions, even casting judgements. There were also all those television programs that entertained her and her fascination with the group, Queen, the one and only rock band that she actually went ga-ga over. Thanks to her oldest brother, she went into the back room and rummaged through boxes of his vast collection of records, absolutely delighted when she would come across a Queen album. She was young and intense and it showed.
There were also the moments with her brothers and cousins, her love for her brothers and even her uncle (the joy she expressed when he remembered her seventeenth birthday), her impatience with others or with herself, her conversations with God, her prayers to Him, her own spiritual journey, even the confusion that arised later on.
She also wrote about the times when she knowingly sinned (she could never not write about such things), her most private of desires, outrageous and improbable fantasies, words that she uttered in anger or frustration. And yes, even loving words. And that world-reknowned roller-coaster that played havoc with her emotions carried her through her life and all over her private pages. It seemed that she was depressed a lot. For that was what she wrote about every so often.
And has the mad woman gone for good? No, fortunately or unfortunately, for she grew older just as I grew older. She resides here still and remembers fondly the days when she was a much younger woman and writing her sometimes haphazzard, sometimes crystal clear, thoughts, in her diaries.
And even this entry that was written on 12th October, 1979 (I was a mere sixteen years old), brought back some unpleasantness but at least it also told her that she really wasn't so mad, after all.
A rather frightening incident occurred today. Frightening for me.
When Daddy came home, I had to open the door for him. He reeked of whiskey all over! Yuk! And the way he spoke made my skin crawl. I was afraid to go too close to him in case he touched me. I can't bear him to touch me. I hate him .... and love him.
That incident of about 2 years ago still lingers on in my mind. Whenever I remember what he did to me, I feel afraid and I hate him."
It was a very long time ago. And yet I still needed to remember parts of my childhood to reassure me that it wasn't just my imagination. The lingering cloud has been lifted. After all this time, I am reassured once again. How odd.
Amazingly enough, I could be very chatty in my diaries, sometimes chatting away to myself nineteen-to-the-dozen, not at all the timid, shy young thing that I was in person. I hid nothing from myself. And that's what it was all about, wasn't it.
Thank God for diaries. Yes, thank You.
And maybe someday that mad woman, who has grown a little in wisdom through her life's experiences (although it's a little hard to tell sometimes), will, with her microscopic handwriting and all, be transformed - evolve - into a much wiser woman. I can hope. I can always hope. And I can pray.