Are You There, Dear Diary? No, It’s Not Sylvia Plath. It’s Me, Penelope.

Dear Diary,

I’m sorry I haven’t written in so long.

That’s how I always started after skipping more than a day or two. Year after year, you were my consistent, listening friend.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
One of my favorite books as a girl!

You gave me an outlet before I knew how desperately I craved one. You helped me formulate clear thoughts before I realized authentic verbal communication was challenging for me. You gave me a place to lay it all out before I knew I needed a table.

I used to hold a little back, sure that some day I’d be a famous writer, like Sylvia Plath. Everyone would read you, unabridged; it was important to keep a few things private. To avoid embarrassing my family and destroying myself in the end. That’s what they told me would happen if I thought those things, did those things, shared those things. What else was I supposed to believe?

There are still stories I hold back, secrets I keep. Mostly because they’re not just mine. They also belong to people in my life who are not writers. Not artists. Not the variety compelled to express themselves in ways that go far beyond pillow talk or confiding in a best friend after a few beers. I wish all that had been easier for me. Maybe my life would have been lighter in some way. My mind more settled as a young adult … less on the verge of exploding.

It’s taken so long, Dear Diary, but I’ve come full circle. Remember when I was 12 like Margaret? I’m 51 now. So much has happened. Things I dreamed about at 12 and things I never could have imagined.

My 50th year was life altering on multiple levels; a miracle occurred. The defining relationship I have with my mother has healed and continues to do so. Now, I see life through yet another new, clearer lens.

As I emerge from this cathartic summer, prepare for our younger daughter to leave for Stanford, and look forward to becoming a grandmother in October, I have a peaceful desire to stop worrying so much about other adults, to let it all go. To relax and simply enjoy the fruits of my labor.

As a result, I’ve put a lot of thought into how I want to spend my time.

First on the list … I want to go home to all that I was at the beginning, all that I didn’t know I was until now. I want a place to simply write what’s on my mind, in addition to sharing my theories, philosophies, etc. on how to apply the underlying concepts of quality management to everyday life. For this reason, I’m moving my recently launched 5-Star Life Facebook Group content and communications to this blog.

I write because I write. That’s always been who I am. I want one central place to do it, just as I had when it all started, a long-ago blank book with pretty flowers on it, sitting next to my bed at a time when there was no Facebook, no cell phone, laptop, etc. Nothing but a girl and her ink pen.

I want to do my best as a writer; it means so much to me. For me, that boils down to plucking everything out and expressing it in a truthful way that is ultimately positive for the reader. As a young person, I wanted that, too, but I was packed so painfully tight. And like responding to the hard throb of inflammation, I had to slice myself up in various ways to relieve the pressure. I did that in my life and in my writing. I’m not sure how positive it was in the end. And so I turned to painting and it throbbed, too.

Leaving Her Behind
Leaving Her Behind
42″ x 48″ Acrylic, Ink & Pastel on Canvas

Now, that pounding throb has died down, so low, almost gone. But I still feel it like the brag of Plath’s heart.

I am. I am. I am a writer.

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