I keep writing like it’s Ariadne’s thread leading me out of the labyrinth.
Full moon tonight. She’s whispering, what’s in your heart? I listen. There’s something far away, I can’t quite hear what it says, I feel only the ripples. It’s like being on the shore, listening to someone talking to you from the middle of the lake. Oh my heart, how unused you are at being heard.
I started writing before I knew how to write. As a child I would fill notebook lines with waves, imitated cursive, the flow of all I wanted to say. I have a rare distinct memory of this, sitting in the grass in the afternoon shade, page after page, playing at writing.
Another memory, of writing a letter at this children’s community center. How special it felt to be asked to say things about me. My words were sent in the mail, and then something magical happened. Someone wrote back to me. The emotion I remember is so sharp, it’s like I still can’t believe it, like I’m still this little kid in awe of being reminded that she exists. I still have this letter. It’s got blue clouds on top of the page and handwritten words. Words that meant the world to me.
Newborn babies won’t thrive if they are not physically touched. It’s like they need to be told that they exist in order to exist. Just like the particles that won’t show up if they’re not being observed. Because if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
I have been journaling since I was 9 years old. My first diary I was writing to an imaginary Dear Anne (from my Anne of Green Gables phase). Dear Diary, dear someone, please be my witness, please help me feel that I exist. I skipped the whole dear thing pretty quickly, but I never stopped thinking about the idea that someone was reading what I was writing. Secretly wishing. Imagining losing it and someone finding it. Sometimes someone specific, more often than not just anyone. The hope in that is what made me keep every single one of my diaries.
Needing to be heard. Wanting proof of your presence. It’s like taking attendance of yourself. Existence is a fact, an experience, and a need all at once. And existence cannot be fulfilled unwitnessed. It’s like beauty. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Because beautiful is beauty experiencing itself through the act of being seen.
And this, well, this is the diary I am leaving open to be found. It’s the letter I send so I might be responded to. And my videos, they are me beholding myself, a way to hear the sound of my own existence. And then all of it really is about feeling touched so I can keep on thriving.