Friday, January 20, 2012

Ink to Paper: An Uncommited Story

As long as I can remember, I have always carried some sort of calendar with me, pocket sized, day planner sized or hang on your wall size. And within the pages and small daily squares, contained the abridged version of my life at a twelve month glance.

In my twenties, I prided myself on recording pretty much my every moment, much like facebook, with the exception that it was only for my eyes, my review and a reminder of my memories. Come the end of the year, I would flip thru those pages and re-read the highlights, often smiling and giggling and saying things out loud to myself like “oh yea, I forgot I did that” or “wow, that was such a blast, gotta do that again” or quite often “gawd what was I thinking, so embarrassing!” Whatever the moment was, it was recorded there on the pages of my free Hallmark Calendar in bright bold blue ink. Yes, there were many big gashes and slashes thru things that I actually didn’t get to do, but the fact remained that I did so many wonderfully, soul and heart enriching things and that I committed to those moments using ink to permanently mark my time in history. And sometimes if the moment was so amazing, it would be highlighted in a rainbow of colours followed by several exclamation marks. They were the joyful, memory making moments of my youth.

Sometime during this time frame, my parents went thru a very nasty and devastating divorce, one which lasted for many years, one which would have made a Lifetime movie on some sorry network, one which should have put me into counselling for years and one that scarred me immensely. The details are not mine to share, as they are my parents story. I was only a side player with an emotional outcome that would have been a best selling novel, had I written for all to see. And it was during this emotional and stressful time that my once committed pen strokes started to disappear only to be replaced with a more subtle version of what would eventually become my uncommited pencil scribblings.

The word “yes” was no longer in my vocab as it was replaced with words like “perhaps”, “I’ll have to see”, “ummm... I think I have something already that night” and my very favourite and over used phrase “I am pretty tired and sore, maybe next time.” My pencil notations in my calendar were often marked with question marks, like “hang out with Charmaine?”, “go to Cathy and David’s for the weekend?”, “Melrose night with Deanna?” I could no longer commit and what is worse is that I didn’t really want too. I played everything by ear, used my parents divorce as an avoidance, missed dinners and parties, clubs and outing. I had in fact excused myself from life. I had in actuality stepped out of my life.

Year after year, my calendar entries became more sparse, less exciting, virtually uninteresting till finally the only thing that marked my calendars were birthdays, my semi monthly massages and waxing treatments and the numerous doctors appointments for the never ending chronic pain.

So sad and pathetic my calendar had become that I no longer reviewed my previous year, I just quietly tucked it away into my filing system never to be seen again by the light of day. That was until this past year when I sat quietly down and flipped the pages over and over and over again. I sighed long and hard as the flipped pages revealed a year devoid of anything interesting with one exception. I could only account for one meager highlight. One moment to remember when I knew I must have had more moments than that, that I should have had more moments than that, when I should have celebrated more, remembered more, smiled more, giggled more and shrugged more. But I didn’t. I had only one moment in that entire calendar year that I thought was worthy enough to jot down in ink.

I sat for sometime thinking that day. I reviewed moments I passed up, moments I sat with ice packs, moments I watched the same tv show week after week, moments going to bed early, unexciting, brain numbing, emotionless moments.

And I knew that it was enough, life was passing me by. I could no longer use the excuse that I would do all I wanted to do when my pain became more manageable, because the fact is the pain was not going to get any better, and my parents divorce was far behind me and I had risen past the emotional times and I had grown significantly stronger as person. And that mostly, I just needed to live.

So with pen in hand I wrote the following into my calendar:

Three weeks of art classes; and

18 Days in Italy.

Yes, they are there in bold blue ink surrounded with happy faces. What’s more is they are not just pipe dreams, they are dreams that have been bought and paid for and dreams that are about to be fulfilled, and I sense, that they are just two of the many highlights I foresee for myself in 2012.

And you know what? All it took was:

Ink to Paper.

Who knew?

Until Next Time.



  1. whooo hooo brilliant.

    I know that feeling of watching the days drift by with nothingness.

    Now, at least with my art I can walk in to my room and see tangible proof that I am learning and loving and having fun as I go.

    My New Blog – “Lizard Happy”

    Perhaps not partying as much as I did 20 years ago but still living

  2. Love this idea. And let's be honest, Face book is nothing but cut and pastes now anyways... I love the idea of a more private one.


  3. I like the idea of using your calendar as a journal. I've only used it for appointments and bill due date.

  4. I hope you have many many more highlights in the near future - you deserve them!

  5. I too hope that they are the first of many highlights. 18 days in Italy wow you lucky girl xxx

  6. I had a Hallmark calendar for years! I haven't looked back on them in years. Pen to paper is definitely the way to go...and blogging, of course. :)

  7. i did the little calendar writing blurbs for a couple years & i love going back over them, reading the fun i had with friends or remembering weird little things that happened that i've forgotten all about.
    i'm glad for you that you're going to italy! it sounds wonderful. =)

  8. If ever someone says a journal or diary is a waste, you just proved them wrong. Just make sure you don't take a cruise ship to Italy!

  9. That's a cool concept, using the calendar to review your life

  10. This is fantastic! I have multiple books I carry with me for writing inspiration, thoughts, and doodles and another that I use as a personal journal since not everything is fit for public reading. I am so glad that you saw the pattern and put an end to it. You are worthy of an amazing life and I'm thrilled to see you are making sure you live one.

  11. Yippee for you Tracy. I'm happy you are writing again, but I think your blog is a great journal of your life. I've been with you for over a year now, and have seen how much pain you can endure. I'm go glad you are going to Europe too ; )
    Our days have been better, but Randy still struggles. The pill has helped, but it's still lurking it's ugly face in our lives.
    You go girlfriend.
    Enjoy life as it was meant to be... HAPPY.
    P.S. I have been writing little dribs and drab in a pink book ever since Randy and I got together. That will be 24 yrs. this May. WOW.

  12. You know Tracy, it is a big coincidence that you have written this now! I've never kept a diary, other than the usual one to remind me of dental appointments etc, but when my Mum died, she left about 10 years of them and because she had Parkinsons and her memory was failing a little, she made notes of what she'd done, so she wouldn't forget. And these little notes were hilarious/mundane/poignant, but eloquent: Met Brenda for lunch at the Anderton Arms - armed robbery, man shot in leg (no more details than that!); Megan came to dinner - steak casserole and spotty dick; To Northumberland with Sandy - beautiful sunshine, walked on beach. Snippets of a life, but they tell a story and remind us of things we would otherwise forget. My youngest asked me what I would like last Christmas and I said a diary. Every evening I write about my day, not for anyone else, but for myself; for when I am old and have forgotten; to remind myself of goals and dreams; to remind me of how I actually felt. When you are young you think you will remember everything, but in fact you remember very little in terms of detail. I'm so glad, Tracy, that you are reaching your goals and they do say that if you write down your aspirations for the future, they are far more likely to be realised! :-)

  13. I know this was a long post to read, so I appreciate you all stopping by and reading it and leaving me these great comments! And I think that is amazing to come across your mom's notes Sandy and get a chance to have a giggle or two! Thank you all for sharing!

  14. PS... nice to see your comment Deborah! I have missed you!

  15. OMG please please please take me with you to Italy. I can totally entertain myself once there. You'll never know I was there. lol

  16. I have one main notebook on the go all the time to record inspiration, ideas, and drawings. I would seriously feel lost without having a pen and paper to record things!

    I did try writing a personal diary once, but for some reason I hated the feeling of someone snooping into what I had written, so I wont ever write one again LOL!!

    So exciting to look forward to art classes, and Italy in Spring!! Keep penciling in all these cool things, and this year will be amazing! :)

  17. I enjoyed reading this...NOT because it was particularily happy, but because I could relate in some ways.
    I too used to write everything down and was excited to cross things off when accomplished, and record FUN things.
    I felt sad for you that you had these devastating events in your life that sucked LIFE out of you. I am soooo glad you put pen to paper. Your trip to Italy..OMGOSH how wonderful is that.
    Now that I am actually starting to "adjust" to my new life here and being away from my kids, and "finding within myself a way to settle into" Matthews death. I'm not sure if that is the word.
    I TOO will start to let LIFE be a guest again .

  18. Loved this post. Very positive. I like how you're starting your year!

  19. I wrote a journal yearrrrrrrrrs ago and, every so often, I read back on the story of my life. Part drama, part comedy, part horror story (that would be the part with the 1st Mrs. Penwasser), those pages contain all the elements which make up me.
    And, thankfully, I don't mind the main character.
    Keep at it. You'll thank yourself.


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