So, this is my first official blog entry. I tend to use my Facebook status as a diary, and I really need to chill with that shit. Lol.
It seems I have always been better able to write my thoughts and feelings than express myself vocally. This is more than likely due to my sordid adolescence and traumatic life experiences. Sometimes writing things down was the only way to stay sane. The only place I wouldn’t be judged or belittled…There were times I had access to paper and pencils and nothing more. Journaling seems to be one of the only consistent places where I can allow myself to be… me.
Even in elementary school my friends and I would furiously write notes back and forth, documenting our complaints and crushes, our highs and lows. Middle school would bring the pre-teen drama of anonymous letters stuck in lockers professing love and hate. High school letters were written in secret codes with secret nicknames so no one could prove we were the authors should any crushes, adults or ‘enemies’ find our naughty curse-word laden letters. We conspired for sleepovers and first kisses; sometimes being tardy to a class, just so we could go to detention and write back and forth to each other.
Deep, meaningful conversations were had in those letters. We were, speaking for myself, extremely vulnerable in those letters to one another. Sometimes those letters were the only way I could openly talk about my troubled life outside of school. Our letters were often my only outlet to release some of the pain and shame of my past and present circumstances.
One of my girlfriends gave me a journal for a birthday. My friends (many of whom are still as important as ever in my life to this very day) each wrote a letter to me within it. This cherished book would be the first of many journals in my life. I would carry them with me in my backpack everywhere I went and made sure that regardless of where I was in life I always moved them with me. 16 years later I still have most of them intact and tucked away for (hopefully) my children to find only AFTER I’ve moved on from this life. I would be mortified otherwise lol. In complete honesty, there was one journal that I burned many years later. That one contained intimate things that I could never chance anyone in my life finding. The shame would have never gone away.
Don’t get me wrong; Its not like I have a million journals. There would be dark periods of my life where I physically could not keep a journal out of fear for my life. There were times were I got caught up with my daily life and there would be stretches, sometimes lasting years, where I didn’t write at all. Emails would become my easiest way to communicate and then eventually facebook would enter the world. It would become habitual for myself to air my dirty laundry on facebook, sometimes really upsetting people in the process. Id end up feeling embarrassed the next day but, as most of us know, once some things’ out there on the web…
There were years of my life during a very abusive marriage, where I was told what to write and what to post and basically how my facebook ‘life’ was to appear. If I wasn’t censored enough Id pay the price, and eventually the ‘price’ would become too much to bear. So I conformed, faked happiness, presented fake smiles and a picture of a generally normal, happy marriage. Only on paper I was able to really express the horrors of what life was REALLY like behind our closed doors. Even in attempts at marriage counseling and therapy I had to be censored and careful.
One eventful evening that man found my secret journal and I paid for it… for a very, very long time. That journal was torn to shreds in an angry rant and I lost my desire to journal for many, many years. Nine years to be exact. I only started to dabble in journaling again about four months ago. My current husband purchased me a blank book, and with the encouragement of my therapist, I began to consider putting pen to paper again. (This same therapist also suggested art therapy, and, much to my surprise, I found peace behind a paintbrush or immersed in an art project. He changed my life with that piece of advice.)
The appeal of journaling in the format of years past seemed daunting and I honestly put it off for quite a bit. Then I got sick. Really sick. I had no idea if my days were limited or if I would make it thru one particularly harrowing Fall season. I got better, Thank you God, but suddenly I felt like I had so much living to do. And so many things left unsaid to my children and other people in my life.
I just didn’t know how to get started…
One day while browsing Pinterest (A website I adore btw) I stumbled across an art journal board and became immersed in the world of what some, (and myself,) call a Smash Book. Suddenly I knew how to get started. I pinned some ideas and went out to get markers and glue finally began to Smash. I’ll never look back at journaling the same way again.
My Smash Book is something I adore. I am learning more about myself within its’ pages than I ever have before. I almost feel as if my spirit has started to come alive again. Thru its pages I’m unlocking places inside of myself that have been closed off since I was a child. I’m discovering new desires and I actually have hope for the future. I’m… beginning to enjoy life in person AND on paper… possibly for the first time since I was a child.
This personal growth and healing that I’ve been doing in the past six months, regardless of negative factors in my life, has left me feeling empowered, brave and… hopeful. Trust me when I say that these are feelings I don’t EVER recall experiencing before now. Of course there are happy memories in my past… but there has always been some sort of horrific event lurking in the shadows.
As of today, I am HAPPY, SAFE…PROTECTED. I feel loved and supported by my bestfriend/partner, and I have formed some amazingly strong connections with extremely supportive people. I have been able to SPEAK UP about my past, I have found people who offer a sympathetic ear and advice that makes me feel more complete than ever.
I feel a network of love and all of this has helped me find that VOICE I never really had before. I’ve caught myself sticking up for myself and I’m starting to see that it is ok to defend yourself when you are being torn down. Im… awakening.
This ‘voice’, I’m finding, is incredibly opinionated and stubborn, albeit compassionate and non-judgmental. I’m not very filtered, yet I’m still incredibly emotional and sometimes I completely screw up and say the wrong thing. Life truly isn’t a box of peaches for us, however, Im learning this is ok and normal. We’re human. When we screw up… we can either learn from it or we can keep repeating the same shit over and over.
Recently a new friend suggested that I write. My Smash book is an amazing space for my self expression and it is something that continues to be very important to me. However the idea of writing again has seemed to be lingering in the back of my mind. The Smash book just didn’t seem to quite answer that calling and the idea of blogging caught my attention. I did some research and well, that brings me right here. To this very moment.
I have no idea what I’m doing and I doubt any of the this will be significant to anyone other than myself and potentially one day my children and grandchildren. That said, to whomever is still even reading this at this point, Welcome. 🙂
If you plan on sticking around, thanks for joining me in my journey to self discovery 🙂