Recently while shopping at the Goodwill Outlet, my friend found a copy of someone’s journal and handed it to me with a smirk. Ten minutes later, standing at the counter, he was surprised to see me purchase it.
I haven’t had an opportunity to read the entire thing, but I am catching small glimpses of the thirty-year-old man who began it in 1995. He started journaling because he felt incomplete that his ancestors did not keep a record of their lives. He yearned for camaraderie with both the past and future generations of his family. It’s interesting to observe how this will not happen for his family but is happening right now for you and me.
Through what I have read, it is evident that the human experience confused him. He struggled with depression and described it as creeping up on him, like darkness. He grappled with his life purpose and continually explained to his audience that he was writing for them. The more I read, the more I understand that when we focus solely on our audience, it becomes harder to express ourselves authentically.
In the spring of 2016, I took Gender and Contemporary Issues as part of my Gender Studies degree at the University of Utah. On the first day of class my professor wrote the following on the board and asked us to fill it out to share aloud:
“Just because I’m _______
doesn’t mean _________.
My name is ___________,
and I am _____________.”
I wrote: “Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I should be silent. My name is April, and I am searching for my voice.”
It has been two years since I took that class, and I am still processing how my voice sounds. Studying gender and psychology at the ripe age of 30 was like being inside a snow globe that was being shaken and turned upside down, every single day. There was no calm. I lived in a perpetual blizzard armed with only a windbreaker.
When I graduated in May 2017, the weather changed gradually from heavy snowfall to light snow. Only over the last month or so it has it stopped snowing completely.
I can finally see the world again.
It is time for me to explore the way the earth has shifted. Hopefully, the parts of me that need to be integrated will melt, and the parts that need more time in the atmosphere will be thrown around when my world gets shaken again.
As I continue to read the journal I hear myself in my head saying, “Look Ape, you have the same opportunities for growth. You need to stop caring about what other people think.”