Journaling (or ‘woah, now I feel bad!’)

Journals are kind of strange.

I’ve kept a journal since I was made to write one for grade 10 English class. I was fifteen. My teacher said that we could mark parts of it private, and he wouldn’t read it. He lied. I know this because he put encouraging remarks on the heartfelt teenage angst that I had marked as private. I had lamented about my small breasts when other girls had wonderful, beautiful breasts (oh, 15 year old me, you silly girl!). I remember feeling conflicted when he handed the journals back and I saw that he had commented on these private thoughts: vacillating between outraged embarrassment that he’d read it, and thankful for the kindness he had put in it (I seem to remember some inappropriately appreciative comment about my long legs, and the observation that I was really smart and kind and that the size of my breasts didn’t matter one bit. He was right, of course). I came down on the side of gratitude. I appreciated his kind words more than I was outraged by his breach of trust.

Since then, I kept paper journals, many many of them, before I had a computer. And I now have thousands of pages of personal thoughts that live in documents on my hard drive. There is always a place for me to go to write random things out. And I do that a lot.

I rarely read back on them. Sometimes I want to remind myself of something, to validate a feeling, or to clarify it in my own head, and I will go and search for some elusive memory, no longer surprised when what I read doesn’t match the shape of what it has become in my head.

Too often, though, what I read makes me sad. My journals are relatively balanced with happiness and not, but they are where I pour out sadness in great detail. Not because I am a sad person in general, but because I need to get those thoughts out of my head, *especially* if they are spinning around and around and I can’t get rid of them. They spill onto the page in a kind of stream of consciousness, and if I read them later, it’s like a rewind button and I’m back there with a kind of intensity that never ceases to surprise me.

I’d love to pretend that it happens because my writing is so amazingly good that it elicits this response, but the truth is that once things are dealt with, I put them in a drawer and forget about them. Opening the drawer in my mind is one thing, but reading about what’s in there with the excruciating rawness of the moment is an entirely different thing: It’s an assault on my senses, it throws me straight back into the middle of those emotions.

There is not really a point to this except that I was going to write a post about casual play, about why the D/s and the chemistry worked with bambi for that short, bright and shining time that we had together when I always say that I can’t do casual play. I went and looked back on my writing around then to jog my memory, and we were so sweet with each other that it made me suddenly sad. I lost the will to write about it in the sadness.

Maybe another time.

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8 Comments

  1. What an odd coincidence, we seem to be in the same state then. I was rereading a journal entry a few nights ago that it was such a rewind for me it sent me into tears. My daughter walked in and found me crying and asked what was wrong and I had to explain it was just a memory that I had found again.

    It’s odd because I do that often. I will say that I have dealt with something and really I have but then when you bring back those memories it is like dealing with them all over again. Depending on the memory it can be sad or happy.

    Just know that I am always wishing you brighter memories in the future.

    Respectfully,
    Mysticlez

    1. “I will say that I have dealt with something and really I have but then when you bring back those memories it is like dealing with them all over again.”

      I think both can be true at the same time. That is, feeling those emotions in their raw state again doesn’t necessarily mean that you haven’t dealt with it (I mean, it might, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true). ‘Dealing with it’ doesn’t mean it’s disappeared, it just means you have made your peace with it and moved on.

      I think it can still have impact, especially if you happen to be vulnerable when it surfaces.

      Which is great for all the happy stuff! Not so great for the sad.

      Ferns

  2. I have, in times past, kept a journal but found it really difficult to keep up with. The hardest part was that the only time I was every able to write anything even remotely evocative was when I was musing over some sad, angry, or other highly emotional thing that I just *had* to get out of my system.

    Years later, as I read through it again, it came across as turgid, self centered, and a bit frightening and as it was primarily an autobiography of my dark side, I decided to let it go.

    1. I have a theory that for a lot of people, photos show how happy their lives are (smiling, friends, going to interesting places, doing fun things) and writing shows how unhappy their lives are (angst, sadness, anger, hatred) etc.

      Neither is a full picture of the person. Both have value.

      “highly emotional thing that I just *had* to get out of my system.”

      This is true for me with a lot of it, especially negative things. I HAVE to get things out or they will just spin around in my head. For me it’s healthy, and I NEED it as an outlet.

      “Years later, as I read through it again, it came across as turgid, self centered, and a bit frightening and as it was primarily an autobiography of my dark side, I decided to let it go.”

      *nod* I can understand that. I write more and differently when I am in pain. And a lot of it is ugly. But I’m okay with it.

      And I write the happy things mostly because I have *such a terrible memory*, and I know I will forget, and I think that’s a shame.

      Ferns

  3. I’ve never been able to keep a journal for a similar reason — I look back, hate what I’ve written or the feeling that inspired it, and then I tear pages out, delete files, or otherwise destroy the thing.

    It just makes me want to go back and shake some sense into past me — to tell her to appreciate the moment, to get over it, to make a different choice, or to otherwise do/be/feel something she couldn’t (or wouldn’t).

    My blog is the longest personal writing experiment I’ve ever kept up with, but even now, I have over 200 drafts of stuff (sometimes good stuff) that I really, really wanted to finish and post, but I can’t seem to — I hate what I said, how I said it, or I just can’t go back to that place again.

    Kudos to you for continuing to write for so long, regardless of whether you return to your thoughts or not, I think it’s healthy, and certainly characteristic of a thoughtful, introspective person.

    1. “It just makes me want to go back and shake some sense into past me”

      Ha! I can relate! I sometimes get frustrated with past me also.

      I have also sometimes been amazed at how clearly I wrote about some situations where the obvious conclusion was obvious, but while I was *in* it, I was completely blind to it. I find that fascinating, *especially* because I think of myself as pretty self aware (lies, all lies!!).

      “My blog is the longest personal writing experiment I’ve ever kept up with, but even now, I have over 200 drafts of stuff (sometimes good stuff) that I really, really wanted to finish and post, but I can’t seem to — I hate what I said, how I said it, or I just can’t go back to that place again.”

      *nod nod* I have a bunch of those also. Can’t finish them, but can’t quite bring myself to delete them either. I also have a ‘blog document’ where I throw things that will probably never see the light of day.

      For me blog writing is a very different experience from journal writing. In my journal, I just bang stuff out and once it’s left my fingertips, I’m done with it.

      Writing outwards has a different quality (in my mind I mean, but also, obviously, on the page). It’s thoughtful in a way that my journals are not, and I like that a lot. It’s more about clarifying versus just being cathartic.

      *smile* Thanks for the kudos, though it’s more for my own sanity than anything else. My head will just fill up with ‘stuff’ if I don’t get it out.

      Ferns

  4. *pet pets* Have some chocs Ferns, this is why we read your blog the honesty shines through it’s not all rainbows and unicorns ( not that that wouldn’t be awesomesauce as the youngsters today say) Sides when your as old as me you wont remember anything anyway, So cheer up, drink some Moet and eat chocs then write some HAWT SECKS stuff and such like
    *hugs*
    Coug

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