Every year I start a journal in January, it lasts for a week or so and I stop. Instead of wasting another brand new crisp notebook, I’m here for 2015, my first attempt at blogging. I’m going to try something new to get a different result, I’m hoping to get interested in other blogs, stay engaged and enjoy sharing what’s on my mind. I originally used journals to escape, to relax and to end my day by jotting down and doodling about my experiences. I always journaled as a child but stopped abruptly after my mother and stepfather ransacked my room, found my journal, read parts of it and then quizzed me on my writings. I will never forget that horrible morning waking up to find everything I owned touched and moved around. As I opened my eyes from a sound sleep, I saw odd items were strewn across the floor, a hairbrush, a book, some coins. What happened? Drawers were half open, clothes were hanging out of them, I jumped up thinking we had been robbed. My closet didn’t have a door and on the left side, on the floor leaning against the wall I kept a small antique chalk board I loved since I was very young. It was real slate, a treasure and I didn’t give it up even after I got older and stopped playing school or house or office. I stored the chalkboard in my closet, a memory from my lazy baby days before school took over my life. I was in 8th grade at the time but I would slip my composition notebook into the gap between the wall and the chalkboard so it was always hidden but accessible. Nothing elaborate, no passcode or lock, easy to take out whenever I wanted to write down my thoughts. Apparently it was the very last place they looked and they were mad. The search was prompted by an episode that occurred earlier in the evening when my stepfather came in to my room as I was writing. He grabbed the notebook out from under me and proceeded to read it aloud. I screamed and yelled and asked for it back, I put up quite a fight but he held it over my head and I clawed at him trying to get it back. He opened to a random page, held the book up to the ceiling where I couldn’t reach it and started to read aloud, I was so embarrassed that he was reading from my diary and I begged him to give it back to me. I actually jumped on his back to try to reach his hand as my mother came in and broke it up. She made him give the book back to me and I was so relieved. They didn’t fight over the episode as they often did and I was glad they just left me be. I didn’t have a door on my room, just an accordion of heavy cardboard covered in a sheath of thick vinyl imprinted to look like wood paneling. It fastened with the click of a strong magnet so I slid it into place and remained in my room all night. The book was mine and my stepfather was a jerk, thank God she came in and helped. He had no respect for my belongings. The next morning as I sat there stunned that my book was gone and my room a wreck, I can clearly remember my mom saying how she knew there was something fishy going on because of my reaction the night before. That’s how she justified the “search” and the invasion of my privacy. There was a reference to a boy I liked on one of the pages and they wanted to know details or our relationship so they sat me at the early morning breakfast table and made me answer questions about certain days of the year they had earmarked in my diary. I truly hated them that day, I was so violated and it felt unbearable. In an attempt to sort out and let go of all of these strange memories, I plan to write them down, store them away and move on. I want to be free this year and face my fears. I stopped writing in my diary that very day so long ago, I’m guessing I was afraid of my feelings being exposed again because I could never write in a journal again. I need to communicate now and stop being afraid. When they went to work I pulled a few of my other composition notebooks out of the space between my mattress and box spring and ripped out all the pages for the trash. I didn’t want to do it but I had to get rid of the books and find other ways to unwind. A lot has happened to me between then and now. So here I go.