Already gone

“You can’t take a picture of this. It’s already gone.” – Nate Fisher to his sister Claire in the final episode of “Six Feet Under”

It was a great finale, wasn’t it?

Nate’s final words really hit home; I’m always telling people not to get so caught up documenting things with a camera that you’re not experiencing the actual moment.

But I had a sudden shock of recognition tonight when I realized it’s what I always did with words. For most of my life, I kept journals and boy, despite some highlights, they were often an odyssey of pain. Every time I’d go through them again, it was like picking off scabs: Susie’s Greatest Hits of the worst moments in my life.

When I was packing to move into this tiny little apartment, I got rid of all the old ones. (Boy, there were a lot.) I ripped the pages out and shredded them; I felt lighter for it. Out of habit, I started writing in the current journal again, although nowhere near as much.

I finally realized why it made me feel so bad: Not to brag, but I was such a good writer, I could relive my most traumatic experiences with a few well-turned phrases. While many people feel better after writing about their feelings, it mostly made me feel worse. It amplified things, somehow.

I asked myself: Why was I so much better at writing about pain than living in happiness?

Once I had that epiphany, I pretty much stopped using the journal. (The last time I wrote anything of any real significance was when I found out my father had cancer.) Now I make occasional cryptic notes: “So damned hot, can’t wait until it rains. Dinner with X tonight.” Or: “Had to get battery jumped. $10.” Nothing, really. I go weeks at a time without writing a thing.

I love it that there’s nothing intense in that journal these days. Because when I have a bad moment now, I simply feel it and let go – instead of carving it into a stone monument. I’m trying to have a life, as opposed to writing one. I breathe now.

I think that’s why I’m in such a good mood these days; I’ve forgotten all the reasons I should be unhappy.