To Journal is Divine
When I think of keeping a journal on any part of my life I’m am literally petrified with fear. My sister has been known to keep a diary when we were younger but of course I’ve never been privy to what’s inside. Okay! I peeked once, just to see if she was writing about me but I digress. Many years later, as my memory isn’t as reliable due in part to Parkinson’s disease (PD) and reluctantly to admit, old age has dulled my once razor sharp recall. Recently I received a gift in the mail from my dad who is having health difficulties of his own. He sent me a black leather bound journal with my name embossed in gold across the cover with explicit instructions on how to use it. At first, I wasn’t impressed or interested but through a series of events and a promise that I would put it to good use encouraged by guilt, I haphazardly jotted down a few thoughts. I remember thinking what I wrote didn’t make much sense at the time.
One particular morning, I was sitting in the kitchen having coffee, awaiting my medication to kick in and my brain wasn’t fully alert yet. I became fixated on what I had written previously in that journal. “Parkinson’s sucks! It takes and takes and some more. It never lets you forget that you have it and it slowly drains your ability to fight.” I dwelt on those words for a while. They began to haunt me. I would lie awake at night thinking about their meaning. I wrestled with why I wrote what I did. I mean, it was so off the cuff, totally impulsive… or was it? I remembered something my dad said in his handwritten note to me. “In these pages, you will find freedom from your pain and suffering.” I suddenly had a breakthrough. If I were to write my feelings, doubts, insecurities, suffering and pain into the pages of this journal, I could relieve myself of these things. Sort of a transference of negative energy onto paper.
At first, I struggled to pen my true feelings about how this disease affected me. It wasn’t easy to put into words how PD made me feel. Then, I began to think about my original entry, “Parkinson’s sucks!” I thought about the many different ways in which PD sucked and developed a list of things I could no longer do because of Parkinson’s. The list started slowly but gradually grew in length. Included are: tie ties, tie shoelaces, count coins, making coffee, preparing meals, cleaning my house, swallow food without choking, and more. On initial glance, my list is depressing and hard to acknowledge but I began to accept more of what this disease has cost me and now I can translate each sacrifice into a sentence even a paragraph. Now, I feel liberated, and although I still have these disabilities, I’ve stopped identifying with them and look for ways to actually overcome and adapt to them. No longer is my life limited to my disease. It is defined by my imagination. These days I no longer worry about what my sister is saying or writing about me, I know she is a big part of my fan club and I thank my dad for helping me free myself from the effects of Parkinson’s disease.