“There is no passion to be found in playing small –
in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
– Marianne Williamson
A brief (in the way history can be brief, and in the way a writer writing it is brief) history of me as blogger, and how How I Stay Sane became Life Writ Large.
I have been writing and recording self since childhood (I was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa in 1977). In the days before computers, the internet, selfies. In the days where you had to write by hand (and in cursive), or on your mom’s typewriter, or with your first camera, which you only got when you were old enough because they were expensive and photographs were costly to print.
I didn’t have journals, but I wrote novellas, poems, stories and novels. The ones I regret not keeping are the poems. The novellas and novels of my pre-teen self are darling, in a Sweet Valley High, Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie wannabe way. I regret losing the poems. I also regret not keeping a journal.
That sense of losing touch with who I was as a child, not recording that for myself, and feeling very lost, lonely and depressed as a teen and young adult, without a sense of self and no sense of self to return to in the Dear Diary pages, I began to compulsively record myself and my selves. Journals in my 20s turned into blog posts, which were just journal posts, because I had no audience. I used these blog posts to survive the Great Depression of my 20s. Before I re-remembered greatness, and decided to live life large and create Life Writ Large, there was only surviving mental illness, and my first journals and blog came into being.
All these journals and blog posts would, I knew with a fierce certainty, be notes and longer notes and chapters that would become the framework for My Book. I knew I was a writer before the age of 8. I knew I was an artist around the same time. I also knew I wanted to change the world. I knew that I could change it. This is my first real, authentic memory of little Germaine.
I knew I was different before the age of 8. I knew I was a weirdo around the same time. I also knew I was not as happy as other children. I knew that I was completely alone as an unhappy freak. This is my second real, authentic memory of little Germaine.
I held onto the second memory of me and forgot that the first held the power to heal the second. I also re-remembered that no one is ever truly alone in their weirdness, difference, unhappiness; that no one is ever really truly alone, just as surely as we are always truly alone. Thankfully, I’ve re-remembered that, with gratitude.
That gratitude became Life Writ Large. Which became, but was never re-titled “Germaine tries to save the world and everyone in it, at the expense of Germaine”, but might as well have been renamed this. Because it was no longer just me as Dear Reader, but 1000s of Dear Readers, and my Saviour Complex kicked in big time, and I forgot to remember the reason for writing: writing for me as self-healing, self-care, self-love, self-worth, and because I could not not write (discussed more here). Thankfully, from the jaws of another nervous breakdown (early 2017), I’m returning to living large, writing for me, and writing for little Germaine (discussed more here).
My selves – childhood self, teenagehood self, The Great Depression self – were too traumatic to remember and easier to forget, rebel against, hate, discard. And that was healing. It allowed me to mourn the life I didn’t have and wanted. And allowed me to rebuild myself after the soul shatterings of trauma.
But re-remembering and re-meeting old selves is an important part of healing too. Because it allows me to remember that amidst the trauma, in greater spaces than I have allowed myself to remember, there was greatness to re-remember. The greatness of happiness in the lives of all of those selves, and the greatness of those selves that knew things that I can learn great lessons from.
In that process of re-remembering, I stumbled upon a re-connection with an old self – Germaine Moolman (more on renaming myself here), and that self’s blog today (3 March 2017): How I Stay Sane. I look forward to re-meeting and re-remembering that Germaine, learning lessons from them and celebrating how far I’ve come, as well as re-remembering the greatness of that Germaine, and all the Germaines before.
And I look forward to Life Writ Large becoming larger than just surviving being transgender, just as I look forward to becoming more than my transness once I come out of top surgery on the 14th March 2017, and can focus on my life and healing and becoming, rather than dysphoria and depression.
Here’s to living life large, Life Writ Large, me and all the Germaines to come!