I have a soft spot for blank books. I love them. There’s just something about their perfect, blank pages, just waiting to filled with the scribblings of a few story ideas, some poetry, or just the ramblings of how someone’s day progressed. Whenever, I see a blank book on a bookstore shelf, I have to fight the urge to pick it up and take it home. It’s a bit of an addiction I’ve developed.
The very first blank book I ever purchased and took home was a hardbound blank journal in blue, with an odd argyle/paisley design on the cover. It was a gift to myself when I turned 21 and the first entry in that journal was written right after my birthday celebration, where I chronicled the fact that my then S.O. had decided to make an idiotic joke and that my supposed best friend at the time was spending her time insulting me behind my back. It’s a permanent record of how badly that day went, one that can never be revised or changed. There are a lot of those moments in that book: what happened in late October of 1997, of being fired from work, of hearing how that so-called best friend of mine talked about me behind my back. But there’s one that stands out in my mind, one that when I revisit, it absolutely shocks me.
That moment was in June of 1997, when I mentioned that I had wanted to attend BotCon that year. However, permanently etched into the page in blue ballpoint ink is my mother’s reaction. Namely, that if I went to the convention, she would make my life “a living hell”.
I was over 18 at the time. In fact, I was over 21. I was an adult. There really wasn’t a lot my mother could do to prevent me from going. Yet, there I was, even as an adult, willing and able to allow my mother to exert an inordinate amount of control over me and my life.
I read that passage now and I shake my head. I wonder why I didn’t say anything, why I didn’t tell my mother that she couldn’t stop me from spending my own money and taking a trip if I so desired. I wonder why I was willing to allow her to rule over me as though I were a small child but I also realize this: at the time, I had no idea that what she was doing to me wasn’t normal. The things that happened in my house were actually abusive. It’s taken me a long time to realize this, understand it and slowly come to terms with it and that’s a journey that I’m still taking, even now.
I still have that journal. I filled the last page in 1998. I have its successor–finally completed in 2014–as well, along with a newer one that I am slowly filling with my hopes, thoughts and dreams. And I still have a few blank books in my bedroom, waiting for their turn to be filled with my ideas. Only now, the stories that I tell are much, much happier.