This pass Sunday I reminisced with my email community about a journaling experience that left me and my newborn baby stranded at the hospital. The ordeal was dramatic and rather traumatic. It left me feeling very uncomfortable with journaling ever again. Although I continued to journal, most of the emotions I wrote were filtered and shallow. My intentional journaling turned into a “dear diary” sort of experience. After a while I did stop journaling because I wasn’t getting anything out of it. It felt pointless.
I even went into a bible that my dad gave me for Christmas many years ago and took out the letters I had hand written to God Himself. I hid those letters in there thinking that:
I ended up taking the letters out and throwing them away. I really couldn’t afford to take anymore chances with my deepest thoughts becoming ammunition for someone to use against me in my life again. Even when I would sporadically journal to process some major life events, it was so washed down it didn’t help at all. Deep down, it just made me angry that I was forced to filter my emotions.
Growing up, I was taught to be strong. Crying, whining, or hurting were weak emotions for weak people. I think all it really made me do was feel like my emotions didn’t matter. My cries for help didn’t matter and my pain was irrelevant. Journaling was my way of making my emotions matter until my journal betrayed me. Then even that wasn’t safe.
I often hide my emotions seeming cold and heartless to some. I’m really not that way. I do guard my emotions. I know that some people take advantage of them. However, two days before Christmas I found myself having to face my true emotions and it brought me to tears doing 60 mph down route 15 on a rainy winter’s evening.
Initially I felt anger. I was so angry at my son that I was sure I was going to yell and fuss and curse until I lost my voice. However, I sat down fuming and trying to figure out how I was going to fix his fuck up. As I thought about what he’d done, I realized I wasn’t angry. I was actually hurt. I was hurt that he hadn’t called and talked to me about what was going on. I was aching that we had become so disconnected since he left for college. It surfaced feelings about never feeling like I was a good mother to him and how I probably don’t deserve a connection to him. It was manifesting as anger on the outside, but on the inside is where the truth was.
So, when he came home for the holidays, sure that I’d be livid with his actions, I simply told him the truth. The truth brought tears to my eyes, but a freeing feeling to my heart. We talked about what I’d said, and it’s opened the doors to better communication for us. Without that honesty, I’d be mad, he’d be sorry, and we’d be not closer to mending the real issue in our disconnect.
Journaling requires the same honesty. I talked to my guest Patrice Garrison about journaling in a podcast episode and we touched on the important components to journaling. The components that make journaling successful on your journey.
No journaling experience, or any experience, can be successful without honesty. It’s important to stop lying to ourselves. It makes the process of growth possible.
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After spending a year in grief counseling, I started to see that my life needed a major overhaul. Yes, my boyfriend died making me the single mom of our infant twins, but I was still grieving my loss of innocence from decades of abuse. I decided to turn my pain into a new purpose and to share this journey with others that may need some motivation.