Monday, June 20, 2016

Journal as Protection

I forgot Just Write and Father's Day were already scheduled for this weekend, so I owe you all three more days of my open journal posts. It was actually a good thing that I had to skip a few days, as I had to deal with some things that I would rather not describe on the internet. Dealing with them would have been much harder if not for my journal. I worked out all my anger issues in the privacy of my pages (which is why they won't be scanned and posted online. After I wrote them, I tore them out and burned them in the fire pit, just as I advocate that everyone do when they write things they never want read by anyone else.) I can now get on with my family and my work and my summer.

I did make this quilted slip cover for my journal over the weekend that will protect the original moleskine art and remind me of what's important with my journaling: for one thing, not to write so many pages that I have to burn later. The colors of the Japanese yukata fabric I used for the cover were chosen deliberately to invoke mindfulness over negative emotion. By physically protecting my journal I'm symbolically protecting both myself and my writing.

I want my journals to represent me. Beauty, love, and creative, like-minded souls are welcome in my life. Ugliness, hatred, and toxic people have no place here. That's another reason I burn pages I don't want anyone to read. That's not who I am. They don't belong in my journals.

Your journal can be very powerful for others as well, and help you from becoming toxic to the people in your life. I finally told my daughter what was going on that produced those burned pages, but only after I had worked out my anger, dealt with the problem and, most importantly, calmed down enough to talk about it without anger or hurt. My family is already furious about this situation, and they don't need it in their lives any more than I do. My journal gave me the opportunity to vent safely and privately, and that comforted me so my daughter didn't have to later. In that sense, my journal protected her. If everyone could write down their anger issues and leave them in their journals (or better yet, burn them) the world would be a much better place.

At present I'm catching up with all the work that was derailed by my temporary crisis, but stop by tomorrow for another look inside my journal, and I'll show you how yours can be a work of art and heart.

6 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry about the problem. I know what that's like and I too have written things when I'm angry that I later burn. But it makes me feel better. Sort of the same way responding angrily to a troll on the internet. I type my answer out, venom and all and then delete it rather than publish it. I feel better and I don't look like an ass.

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    1. That's the process for me, too. I think expressing our feelings on the pages, and then destroying them, allows us to release all the negative aspects while preventing them from hurting anyone else.

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  2. This post comes as I just wrote about a situation a work I am awaiting the outcome on...and it could get ugly. I had written about it in my journal so I could keep the negative feelings and pessimistic view of the situation off my chest and under wraps.

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    1. I'm sorry you're dealing with that at work, Judy - it's hard enough to do our jobs without the additional stress of negativity at the workplace. I think I'm more optimistic when I vent in my journal, too -- it channels the emotions appropriately, and once I do, I don't feel I'm carrying them around in silence anymore.

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  3. Usually by the time I reach my breaking point, I've held it in so long that everyone around me becomes part of my scorched earth policy.

    I can see venting on paper and destroying it, but at the same time the problem doesn't go away. If I explode my partner knows it's serious. I don't raise my voice unless there's a good reason.

    Hope your issues are settled quickly.

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    1. You're absolutely right -- venting in a journal doesn't solve problems or deal with them in real life. I still had to do that with my problem. I think being able to vent first made me calmer and more focused, though, so that when I attended to the problem I made good choices and didn't lash back. In the wake of all that turbulence I was also able to ride the waves without falling into an abyss of depression (also a huge problem for me; toxic situations always shove me in the pits.)

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