15 March 2013

Mortal Journaling

Woman Writing, Pompeii
I’ve come to realize—a little late in the game perhaps—that life never slows down. I always find myself thinking that somehow next week, next month, next year, I’ll have time to think and reflect and write and paint and meditate and scry and sculpt and be me. I keep thinking that just around the corner is a break, that I’ll be able to breathe again, to relax. To spend time with the ones I love. And week after week, month after month, I’m wrong. Life never slows down; it just speeds up.

I picked up my diary today for the first time in over a month, and last month marked the first time since 2011. So much happened in between then and now that I didn’t know how to begin to cover it. I deleted a lot of phone numbers, opened an Etsy shop, moved to two different states, deployed, redeployed, grew deeper into my Pagan practice, made some new friends, finished writing a novel, fell in love, got engaged. Too much has happened to tell it all in one or even several journal entries. My life is moving in a completely different direction at a hugely increased speed than when I started, and yet my feet are still walking the same path. Or, perhaps, running would be a better analogy.

Once upon a time I wrote pretty regularly. I bought this journal at the tail end of high school, and the first entry coincides with my graduation. I wrote through all that last summer of freedom before I sold my body, time and energy to the government in return for two undergrad degrees and a steady paycheck (well, at least until the White House runs out of money). I wrote off and on throughout my university days, about once or twice a month until my last year, when I left my diary at home during a break and just never brought it back to school. Half a year went by, and in the absence of a diary I began a blog. Then life got in the way of even maintaining that much, and how easy is it to sit down and write for a few minutes once a week and post? The answer, in case you’re wondering, is entirely too easy for me to justify my blogtacular negligence.

The journal—which I have neglected even more than my blog, if you can believe that—is a hefty little volume, over 1000 pages bound in brown Italian leather with a metal, flower-and-vine styled medallion embedded on the front. It’s heavy, and it looks like something out of a medieval library, which is one of many reasons I chose this journal in the first place to contain my innermost thoughts, thoughts even I—outspoken and open as I am—won’t post anonymously on the internet. Something about today just made me pick it up again, and instead of writing, I found myself flipping through my old entries. I opened to a random page, and it was back when I was first dating DouchebagEx (or, as I prefer to abbreviate, DBX). I drowned myself in those memories, surprised at the insight I had as a 20 year old and yet disturbed by some of the words I expressed on those pages. I read through fifteen, maybe twenty entries before I realized the feelings I have my for my fiancé are so much more powerful than those I thought I had for DBX. The emotional place I am in now is infinitely stronger and steadier than it was back in my freshman year of college, and little did I know then that my early doubts were indicative of an ultimately unhealthy attachment to a sociopath. I do now call him DBX for a reason…

It made me realize, once again, how lucky I am to have found my Orion, and how precious my time with him is.

Most of my friends from college are now scattered throughout the world. Some are presently deployed, some lucky ones haven’t deployed yet, and some have already come back to the States. One of my good friends won’t be coming back at all. It’s the price every one of us is aware of, to some extent, and it’s been weighing on my mind lately. I wonder if that’s what drew me to my diary today, the knowledge of my own mortality. As a Pagan with a predominantly Druidic/Celtic leaning, I believe in reincarnation and celebrate the circle of life; as a member of the profession of arms engaged to one who shares the same profession, I am painfully aware of life’s fragility. Thus, I am presently feeling the need to record the life I have, to write about the times I share with the friends and family who walk with me. Who run with me.

The handfasting is still a year and a half in the future, but in between now and then my fiancé will deploy. I don’t know when exactly he will be leaving or coming back, and even if I did I would not post it here. I only know that he will leave, and I will be lighting a candle for his health and safety every night until he returns to me.

And I’ll be sewing a wedding dress, and missing him, and I’ll be writing.

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