Journal Writing and the Healing Process
March 10, 2013 § 11 Comments
If you saw the list of unpublished blog posts that have stacked higher over the past few weeks, you’d know something was going on. Having sent a few of those unpublished pieces to friends who “could handle the truth,” and whom I knew would then shine the mirror back for me to see, openly shared that I might want to sit on them for a while. Things like this should never be published in the spur of the moment.
It became ever more obvious to me that what I’ve been writing aren’t blog posts at all, but journal entires; a different kind of writing for a totally different purpose.
My history with journal writing is intermittent, because I can’t stand the process. I’ve had only two periods of intense journal filling in my entire life. Both times I hand-wrote hundreds and hundreds of angst filled pages, until the day I didn’t have anything more to say, and the books were shut and hidden in closets (under beds, in storage, always exactly where I can get to them if I need to).
The thing about journal words is that they hold value while they’re being written, and maybe even a few days later. But they’re also like clouds that float on by, and once they’ve disappeared, are wisps of the past. They aren’t lies, necessarily, but perceptions of reality that sometimes hold less weight once they’ve been released.
Authentic journal writing is stream of consciousness. Other people’s feeling don’t matter. It’s a purely selfish and healing process.
For the sake of truth in writing, and because of a conversation I had yesterday with the wise and beautiful Monica, I am going to post a segment of a piece that I wrote a few weeks ago entitled, What it Feels Like to be Adopted, which I carried around for days until I found myself in tears over it late one night in a dark corner of Starbucks.
When everything gets stripped away and you find yourself in a place of confusion, fear and worry, how can you begin to heal in the tornado of that storm?
It’s not possible until the storm has passed.
Instead, you must care for yourself gently and without too many expectations, difficult for a person like me, absolutely full up of “self-pectations”.
If you can, you should write. Don’t add to the worry and fear and confusion about what it means, but accept it as a tool to lift you out of the pain.
Do you write in a journal?
You don’t look like anybody, so you never really belong anywhere.
Since you don’t look like anyone, you feel like the ultimate black sheep, but you’re born blond and pretty so you don’t look it on the outside, so you just stay kind of quiet, except when you throw temper tantrums because the crazy has to come out somehow.
You are very careful and loving, because you know that you are lucky to be there, and you’re pretty sure something’s crooked on the inside. But you’re a child, so your mind just goes through the motions. Days and nights.
You are loved and you know it. You are living in the 1%. Life is perfect.
But it is your life after all, and maybe the apple isn’t meant to fall so far from the tree, and I did fall from her, and “perfect” she was not, and so ended that fairytale. In its place something got fragmented, which seemed to fit better anyway.
I got used to it anyway.
My sister’s answers filled in the holes that I didn’t realize needed filling.
And suddenly it made sense.
Some people say that adopted people are the lucky ones because they were chosen, but you are smarter than that and they must think you’re really stupid, because the truth is that you were given away by a selfish mother who didn’t want you. She was more worried about her after-life and what God would have to say about the sins of abortion.
Who knows why the first two weren’t given away? They should have been. Boy, should they ever have.
When she woke up and realized that God was a good guise for forgiveness and redemption, she read his words and sang his praises and Lord did the people come to flock.
But her daughters were damaged and she never made amends and I’m the one left who holds the anger that no one else has the strength to carry.
I’m good at holding anger. I’ll harness it for all of the others who’ve dismissed it because they can’t understand it, for the one who is too far gone to understand it, for the one who is too loving to understand it.
I’ve been told it’s not mine to hold, but it is.
It belongs to me and I hold it in the same place I hold my loving God and all of the prophets that serve Him in their way. All those loving prophets help me hold the anger and lift it to the heavens and carry it around and sometimes release it and sometimes use it as a shield.
I might have been saved from it for all of those years; frolicking on sandy beaches, summer trips to Europe, pricey private girl’s schools and fancy houses. I didn’t have to wash my clothes in the bathroom sink for school the next day. And worse. Much worse.
What it feels like to be adopted was a bad title for this post.
It should have been titled, What it Feels Like to Learn the Truth.