Justine and I got together this week to discuss the book we are planning to release soon, but more on that when the time comes. The point of this post is to give you my thoughts on what the last year of entries has meant.
To that end, instead of me rambling here on and on about what I thought we achieved and how I regard the changes I noticed in Justine, I decided to do an interview. On seeing Justine, I ran it by her and she was at first reluctant, citing that an interview was too personal. When I pointed out that every entry she wrote and I posted for her was also personal and yet she gave of herself week after week, her choice, she agreed.
We then agreed to keep it short, ten questions only. I have to tell you that choosing even one question was hard, choosing ten became quite a mission. Once I started writing potential questions down, I discovered there was a host of them I would like to ask!
1 Why did you choose a pseudonym?
Well, you know yourself I don’t have much of an online presence, so it wasn’t the digital world’s response that had me worried. I do have a large circle of real world friends, though, and many of them would have been too judgemental. That is what I thought at the time anyway. Now I realise real friends don’t judge in the way I thought they might. Today I would consider using my real name … well, maybe. I sort of prefer the anonymity, I must admit. It freed me to say things I wouldn’t normally say.
2 What exactly prompted you into starting the Journal?
I felt alone, really isolated, pretty scared, and saw no future. I didn’t have a life, I thought. Then, one evening, I sat and watched a cactus I had on my windowsill at the time, begin to bloom. It’s one of those that bloom once every so many years or something, and only for one night. It hadn’t bloomed before and for weeks a bud sat there waiting. I saw pink pushing through and I was quite excited. Okay, now imagine sitting and watching a flower – nothing happens when you watch it! Hours later, though, there were furled petals and by morning (I was up early) the full flower was there. It was like magic! By evening of the second day it had begun to shrivel.
I saw myself in that bloom. Waiting. Suddenly something clicked inside and it started to change, after so long waiting. For a brief time something beautiful emerged. And then it returned to waiting, but I knew it had the ability to emerge one day again, when everything was ready for it to bloom once more.
The next day I cried (lots) and decided it was time to emerge, if only to be for a brief moment something beautiful.
3 In three words describe your state of mind when we began this journey.
4 In three words describe your state of mind when we ended this journey.
5 Which one thing made you sit up and think?
The déjà vu thing with the dog running across the road as I turned a corner! Until then, the premonitions I had experienced were somewhat distant, although they were real. That dog was right there in real time. All the hairs on my arms, legs and neck stood up. I really started thinking then.
6 What scared you the most?
When my partner lost his phone while visiting family up the coast, I assumed the worst. It is frightening how easily we think the worst first.
7 What disappointed you the most?
I can’t say anything disappointed me. Everything was part of the journey and remains part of the learning process. If I had to choose, then I would say I was disappointed that I couldn’t always find the right words to explain what I was feeling.
8 What made you laugh the most?
People! Not people as a concept, but the people I met at charity functions. Because I put myself out there, I discovered laughter. I realised we like to laugh together. This is a great feeling.
9 What made you the happiest?
Definitely reconnecting with my brother!
10 And finally, where to now?
Nowhere far in geography, but I will definitely build on what I have learned. I intend to continue my journal entries, for the blank page is now my therapy. Also, I am looking forward to strengthening my relationships, with my partner, with my brother, with you and with old and new friends. I am no longer alone. This too is a good feeling.
Also, I have an idea for a new book. It’s as if all this has opened doors in my creativity as well. Maybe I’ll publish soon, maybe I’ll wait until I’m ready, but I will be writing no matter what. A really good feeling!
I admit, I cried when Justine spoke of the bloom on her windowsill. She never told me that before. I also understand her disappointment with words – sometimes they simply don’t do justice to what is inside. As for Justine’s writing? I have read some of her work (she’s still a bit reluctant to share, fearing judgement) and it’s good. I hope she does publish. That will be the real ‘Justine’. Watch out world, the girl has stories to tell!
A final note from me. I want to thank Justine for doing this. She has not merely helped herself stand up again; she has helped me stand up again. Thank you, Justine.