We soared into the world together—the brightness, the cold air, and the strange, new sounds. I sometimes forget the fact that I uniquely experienced life, differently from most. The day I was born, I had a brother and a sister that shared the day too. We were the same in the sense that we shared the bond of being triplets, but as an individual, I often felt alone and different. My siblings were extroverted, talented, social, and outwardly inquisitive. I was hidden, deeply thoughtful, introverted, and quiet.

I was content with stillness—I would watch a bug on a leaf for hours or imagine I was a princess, playing in the back of the woods of our house. I kept my head down in class and cried when my brother suffocated a bee in a glass jar. The world wasn’t so accepting of my views. When my brother struggled with writing, which we later learned was dyslexia, I whispered to him the answer on a test question and unfortunately was caught. I sobbed uncontrollably the rest of the day. I dreaded book reports and reading aloud, and I despised being put on the spot. These moments made me want to jump out of my skin. Even though I was a part of something as amazing as “triplets,” I often felt alone in the way I thought about the world and other people.

When I was 17, my triplet brother lost his life by suicide. I was never good at understanding my emotions, and the loss of my brother complicated those feelings further. The cycle of grief felt like my head was going to explode and my heart was going to burst. People didn’t understand the loss I felt. How could they? Most people I knew didn’t know what it was like to be a triplet, and I knew of no other person who had dealt with suicide. I mourned on my own, hiding these emotions that most felt compelled to avoid. The shame I felt caused me to become withdrawn and isolated.

When I graduated from high school, a friend of mine gave me a journal. I spent hours writing poetry and describing my feelings, no matter how awful they were to write. At first, I wrote beautiful cursive text throughout the pages, but later, I’d angrily scribble my hateful thoughts and hope no one dared to read. No matter how brutal it was and how miserable I felt, it was the first time I gave these feelings a voice. And through that, I’ve slowly learned to heal.

Counseling has helped over the years, but writing has saved me—it’s always been a companion to me. No matter how chaotic my life gets, how many losses I face, how many overwhelming experiences I have, writing centers me. Writing is the necessary tool for me to express and to feel. I think Anne Morrow Lindberg said it best,

“One writes not to be read but to breathe…one writes to think, to pray, to analyze. One writes to clear one’s mind, to dissipate one’s fears, to face one’s doubts, to look at one’s mistakes—in order to retrieve them. One writes to capture and crystallize one’s joy, but also to disperse one’s gloom. Like prayer—you go to it in sorrow more than joy, for help, a road back to ‘grace’.”

This “road back to grace” has taken me many years. At age 38, I still struggle with balance. I find serenity in nature and in times when I am allowed to think and wonder. Writing lets me put things in perspective and teaches me to understand how I feel.

It’s in the quiet and stillness that these words speak the loudest: I am not alone. You are not alone. We have a voice in this world.

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11 responses to “Michelle Buck”

  1. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I
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  2. aga says:

    thank you for your story . I took me 15 years to understand that nothing wrong with me.

  3. Smunkey says:

    Michelle, thank you for sharing your story. In reading it, these words struck me in particular: “People didn’t understand the loss I felt. How could they? Most people I knew didn’t know what it was like to be a triplet, and I knew of no other person who had dealt with suicide. ” But you had someone in your exact position who shared the loss as well. Your sister. Was it due to your different natures that you felt you couldn’t grieve together? I know this is personal, so I wouldn’t want you to answer, but it struck me as curious. I am glad you have found some peace.

    • Michelle says:

      I am not sure..and it’s a good observation, honestly. But it could have stemmed from the fact that our family didn’t address emotional issues. So I didn’t feel comfortable sharing my feelings and tears with my own family. To this day, I still don’t. I just never felt like I was free to grieve, express emotions, ect. My parents both had major problems and unfortunately, it caused me and my siblings to try to cope with things on our own. I think though, had I known a person outside of my family who could have helped me cope, it would have been different. But for the most part, I grew up dealing with problems myself and it was writing & journaling that really made the difference. Later, I would come to understand that God put me here for a reason and that even in those dark times, He was there with me. I think knowing that has made the biggest difference for me. I think my writing helped me put into words what I couldn’t say and later in life, these turned into prayers. So it wasn’t my sisters fault or her personality, but I suspect that my upbringing didn’t encourage it and so I felt isolated in how I felt.

  4. Marlana Sherman says:

    I am sorry for the lost of your brother. I am glad that you have been helped by your journaling and counseling. Grief is a hard thing to deal with but having it be your triplet and I can’t not imagine how difficult that was. Journaling has been and continues to be a way for me to express thoughts and feelings. Thoughts and feelings I cannot express to anyone else. Thanks for having the courage to share your story.

    • Michelle says:

      20 years later, it’s still hard! Grief is sort of an unwelcome friend. I don’t think i’ve really scratched the surface of grief. It shows up unannounced, but it’s no longer a threat. I see it more as being apart of me. It also reminds me of the good things too. Grief isn’t always bad. It shows me that I truly loved. Thank you for your words.

  5. ChickenVII says:

    Writing, especially journaling, has been helping me to learn how to express emotions that, like the author, I found hard to understand. I’m now better able to label and have a better relationship with the emotions I encounter in my life. Thank you for the article!

    • Michelle says:

      I think that being an introvert, we are better able to understand our emotions but it takes time. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I enjoyed writing this piece and so glad others responded to it well.

  6. Nicole says:

    I am also a triplet (two girls and a boy) and have always been “content with stillness,” as you so elegantly expressed. Writing has become an important part of my identity, even more so than being part of a trio. Writing has given me confidence and helped me to realize that I do have opinions, ideas, and emotions to share. I just have difficulty doing so verbally. I use to think that I had nothing important to offer to conversations, but I have found a voice through writing. Some people do their thinking while talking, and others do so by putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

    • Michelle says:

      Oh wow! I love that you are a triplet too! I feel this way too in conversations. I sit back and become a wildflower and let everyone else talk. I have thoughts in my head I could contribute, but I hold back because I feel like they will judge me for them. I do my best thinking in writing. In real life, I talk to people and am very friendly and cordial and a good listener, but talking is not my strong suit at all. I embrace my weaknesses and try to work on them, but i also know what my strengths are and I try to build those up. Keep writing Nicole! You have a voice and I’m glad you shared yours here.

  7. Quiet Revolution says:

    Is writing a “necessary tool” for you, too? How so?

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