Evolution

of  writing that is. This is beyond the revising that goes into a piece, especially for class. There’s a first draft, changes are made and then there’s the second draft. Usually the changes end there. And the drafts are usually pretty similar. If there was any major revising, the essence of the first draft can still be seen/felt in the second draft.

No, this goes beyond that kind of revising. These “drafts” of the same project are so different from one another that they are more like phases. They all have the common theme and subject but that is it.

It all started just over 4 years ago when I was diagnosed with depression and hospitalized. It was a pretty traumatic 6 months where I was diagnosed, hit rock bottom then slowly began the process of climbing back up. It couldn’t have come at a worse time either, right at the end of my junior year. The only benefit was that I had understanding teachers that graded me on only the work I completed and not what was owed so my final grades barely took a hit. I spent that summer working really hard on getting better, going to therapy twice a week. But come September I had to start dealing with school again and while my depression was much better, I was still struggling with what had happened. So I tried putting my thoughts into words.

This is the result. I completely forgot about this version until recently (ie, just now) and it’s not that bad at all. The experience of writing about something so personal was so new (I’m not counting my writings about Crohn’s) that I didn’t really peruse it after I got these initial thoughts out. Even though I agree with my friends revision now, I don’t think I ever bothered to revise what I put down back then.

Almost two years later, in the summer of 08, bits of poetry began coming to me. I wrote the scraps down in a little notebook and soon I started to flush them out, coaxing them into a poem. I needed to write about what had happened and I must have completely forgot about my first attempt back at the beginning of Senior year. You can read my second attempt here. But I have to warn you this piece is BAD. I read this piece as a poem at Writer’s Club and got a gentle but firm affirmation that I should really revise this and turn into a personal narrative.

I always intended to do so but never got around to it. I’d go through phases where the file would be active on my computer for a couple of days, but then I’d get busy and forget about it.

That is until recently. After finding the “poem” again I decided I was finally going to do something about it. I opened another document next to it, and instead of actually revising it, started from scratch and just writing the feelings I wanted to convey.  After  a couple of years, I realize that one of the major problems with the second phase is how over-grown it got. So I kept this piece really short.

I don’t think it has a title – which is interesting because the second phase did: “Memories of an Odyssey”

Imaginary Scars. Drawn on rather than permanent.
There’s no badge for the emotions roiling just beneath my skin.

I knew something was wrong when I wasn’t reading. I’m a total bibliophile.

Mom just said it was a phase. But I was seventeen; I thought I was too old for phases.

Snap out of it!
I hid beneath a mask.

But masks slip. I was in the hallway right outside the library when the volcano erupted. All the tears that I had buried, that I refused to let seep under the mask, burst forth. They were hot lava; nothing could stop them. The next day they disappeared, but the ash cloud remained for days. I was in denial.

Soon after I was diagnosed. I kept getting worse. Mental became physical as I slowly suffocated from the all the ash. My remote’s pause button never seemed to work, and I contemplated pressing the stop-eject button. Intrusive thoughts sprung up, frightening me. Where? Why?

It’s cliché: but I had to get worse before I could get better. A call landed me in the hospital. It was nothing like the movies. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Girl, Interrupted. The goal was to get out and get better. Or was it get better and get out?
The doctor I met at the hospital worked with me for over a year after to get back to where I was. Before. Supposed to be.

Somehow I reached a point where I was able to look back and see how far I came. I could see the volcanic remains off in the distance. Some days I saw it smolder and other days I swore I felt tremors, but I never erupted again.

These feelings remain. They are a part of me after besieging me for so long. At least now I deal with them the right way.
Imaginary Scars. Drawn on rather than permanent.

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