- Reland Diva Johnson
From Memory To Lover’s Lane
I’m making this post to get personal with you for a moment. My name is Reland, I’m thirty years old, and I’m a writer. My journey thus far has been a wild ride filled with ups and downs, and I’ve often found myself confused and unnerved as I waterski down the freeway of life.
As I sit here before you I’m smarter than I was this morning, even last week and yesterday I was striving to learn something new. I’ve been a great fan of books my entire life, I would spend hours reading and writing - immersing myself in another world. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that I could transform my surroundings simply by picking a book or turning on a good movie. As a child my daydreams would take me far, but often the sweetest of dreams were fuzzy and intangible. As I grew older I had a distinct sense of who I was, but no sense of direction on how to achieve my dreams. I knew what I wanted, I’ve been writing for years and dreaming of the day when my name would appear on book jackets everywhere. The dreams of being a writer followed me through my adolescence like scuttling clouds across a windswept sky - shadows, memories, and dreams all bound up in my sense of self.
After years of making what felt like the wrong moves, I felt defeated. I had all but given up on being happy and I watched my dreams slip a little more every year. Sometimes the days seemed to encompass an odyssey, an entire lifetime of heartbreak, trauma, and bitterness that this was my life. Other days seemed as finite as a grain of rice, with no correlation to any other day, a carbon copy of so many that came before. The world turns quicker every year it seems, and after a few wrong moves it can be so easy to feel defeated, empty, and as if nothing will ever come together. I’ve been there.
As a child one of my daydreams was to be able to see into the future, perhaps to game everything out, to make good choices, to have it all turn out right. And of course those in my generation will never forget the effervescent TV show ‘That’s So Raven.’ But what does ‘right’ mean anyway? I used to think that I couldn’t possibly write a novel without having been to college beforehand, or that I wasn’t smart enough to be somebody special. Like so many before me I woke up one day and realized I was so unhappy, so I opened up my phone only to realize that emotional healing isn’t available on Amazon Prime.
It is often our natural inclination as humans to subscribe to the idea that if we get a certain amount of money, then we will be happy. Perhaps for you, it’s getting that big house that you’ve always dreamed of. For others it might be landing the dream job that will carry them through the remainder of their working years. For all of us it might look a little different, but the idea behind it is remarkably simple. As a society we are always striving for more, treating happiness as a destination rather than a journey. In turn, the journey of life ceases to be enjoyable as we scrabble for more and more every year. I’ve been there.
When looking at the entirety of my life it was so easy to be struck dumb with indecision. Seeing my way clear of the past and toward a brighter future seemed impossible. So for a long time I did what any sensible person would do and did nothing. But when doing nothing was no longer working, and I could no longer ignore the unhappiness, I started to work. In the past I had used writing as an escape mechanism and a way to express myself, but now I’m working on empowerment. I’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes, and I’m pushing forward. Something I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that knowledge without action has no value, and as much I want something - if I don’t follow the yellow brick road, I’ll never get to Oz at this rate.
The simple truth is that I was asleep at the wheel of my life and I spent several years just going through the motions. I used to think that I wasn’t good enough because the home that built me was broken, so I was broken and therefore worthless. This falsehood I carried through the better part of my early life not knowing that by setting my burden free I would be able to rid myself of the shame and guilt of my past and move on for good and all. I am not my mistakes, I am not my upbringing, and I am not my shame or fear. I am not the coal in the mine, rather I am a diamond born through the fire to stand before you in the light today. I stand before you fallible and fabulous, learned and learning. I am turning my mess into a message so one day I can help someone like me turn their lives around too. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to find myself, and get it together. I have come more alive in the last two years than the previous decade, and if not for anything else, for that I will always be grateful.
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As Always, I'm Diva, and thanks for dropping by.
All of this and more was made possible by the incomparable and amazing man that will join me in saying ‘I Do’ in just sixty short days. He walked into my life and by simply loving me, he allowed me to see what had been buried by the burden of living. He gave me the space to believe in myself again, and prove to myself that a wrong turn doesn’t mean a bad life. I stand before you a born-again Diva, happy to be living a good life, and getting better all the time.
In the coming weeks we will have some reading recommendations on Diva’s Doorstep.