This is from my journal written in July 1968. I was living with a guy because I was so desperate not to be alone. The use of lower-case letters for “I”, the Roman numerals, the names of the days were part of my attempt to express both my negative value for myself “i” and my wish or hope that there was a mythic dimension to my life. That’s what I would have called it then. Now I recognize it as my search for Spirit.
The marginal notes were from any of the many times I would go back and read my journals and comment from the perspective of the present.
VIIxxvii day of veronica sun leo, moon leo-virgo
in the morning i walked in the woods and fought with devastating doubts. then, suddenly, peace came, and i fled to the sea. now is the time to take my place in the ordinary world — to live with a man and keep him happy. i have no Self — i will be a shy vortex in the house, cleaning cooking, weaving webs for the dog, the cat, and the man.
[Marginal note: More LIES! ———— do you not see the SACRIFICE of SELF — the only way I could have been “happy”]
July 31 day of the millrace: deadness of denial
its hopeless. ive been trying but my best efforts aren’t worth much. it takes all ive got just to go on wearing a cheerful mask. there’s no real joy in weaving or sewing, no joy in finishing a product. i took speed the last couple of days so that i could keep busy — but i guess it was just to hide the awful truth from myself. if i push hard enough i can awaken a sort of joy, but it doesn’t last. fred is discouraging. when i got back, i tried to be happy & confident, but the old habits were still with me, and he seemed angry because i hadn’t changed enough. i guess we both expected too much. so he’s been down on me ever since, and its been an uphill struggle just to try to act cheerful. but i guess he knows its an act and so doesn’t respond, but stays glum. so ive given up and entered a sort of despairing calm.
[Marginal note: and that was july. it took me SIX MONTHS before i could leave AAAAARRRRRRRRRGH————]
i don’t know what to do. there’s no one i can turn to. what i’m feeling may be wrong, but how can i tell what’s right. if i accept fred’s view of me, all that does is undercut my confidence and leave me stranded. there’s a little voice inside calling me a coward and a quitter, but that’s not enough to push me into something positive.
what can i do? stop feeling sorry for myself. that means getting positively involved in something outside.
why do i get so discouraged so easily? — it seems like i haven’t changed or grown at all in ten years. the same old things the same old problems.
ive been trying so hard to be cheerful & act as though nothing is wrong and its all a lie. it just doesn’t work, its all built on too shaky a foundation. one thing at least — i don’t feel all shaky & torn in the fabric of my mind as i used to. suicide & nervous breakdown no longer seem real possibilities. i guess thats a step forward though it still leaves me many steps behind any kind of normal happy existence.
where am i now. in a long blank corridor of closed doors. ive closed the door on the old feelings, but the habits are still with me and i haven’t been able to open another door. halfway up a cliff, unable to go down, unable to see the way to climb higher.
THIS WAS TRUTH
thats something i can do is make snowflakes a definite feeling for the first in a long time — ebb tide. the tide is out, stationary, many things are revealed that the sea had covered. no i don’t want to take a walk or go to the sea. the escape of sleep is another closed door. im going to sit here staring into the wind until a solution opens. thank god for alcohol. you quit poor little girl and you’ll stay in a crazy house for the rest of your life. OK but if im going to be crazy i want the heights back as well as the deeps. if i have to walk in the dark valleys i want to hit a mountain peak once in a while
im one of the living dead now. i just walked over the grey line and joined my mother and father in greyness. no more feelings because feelings hurt. also of course no possibility of suicide because that takes courage and something alive that can feel pain. but i don’t need to commit suicide because im already dead.
[Marginal note: The greyness, the deadness of denial. I was denying my true life, my true self, I even say it in so many words. I knew I couldn’t go on doing this, and yet I thought something was wrong with me that I couldn’t do it. Thank god, goddess, tigress, whoever was watching over me, that I chose to be “bad” rather than live a lie. Feb 90]