I keep a journal.
It’s not what most people think as a journal. It’s what I imagine therapy would be like… if I’d ever gone to therapy… which I haven’t. I have nothing against therapy. I have friends who go. I think it speaks volumes that my kids go to therapy, and my eldest grand kid… and my kids’ mother. And since you’re reading this on a blog, you might think that I subscribe to that very-often-quoted maxim, “I don’t go to therapy, I blog”. But I don’t. Subscribe to that very-often-quoted maxim, that is. I’ve read blogs that purport to be self-therapy for their bloggers.
All I can say about that is, those bloggers need therapy.
Oh, yeah. I keep a journal.
It was about a year ago that I finally gave into someone’s idea of a daily practice that could best be called ‘self-care’. It started with the only thing in my life at the time that could be identified as such. My morning cup of coffee. One cup, about a half-hour to drink it, no more—no less. It was to become a quiet time, a sacred time, filled with nothing but my thoughts… or lack of thoughts… as I sat in remembrance of what was, and the day that was to be.
That was when my journal came to be.
Originally a place for gratitude, eventually this journal took the shape of… well, a landfill… for thoughts and feelings that had begun to overflow my ability to process in the moment. I’ve hinted at this in blog posts before, but the truth of things is, about a year ago, I was in the midst of an undiagnosed depressive episode. My long-overdue first, and since, only, fall down a mineshaft of emotional and spiritual darkness. To sum it up in a sentence, I was in a really fucked-up place. But it was in those months that I began to listen to the words that had become stuck inside me, and wrote them all down as they surfaced, in real-time. The words were full of sadness and anger, hope and confusion, love and hate. It wasn’t fun and it wasn’t easy. But I learned that there was a landfill waiting for a whole lifetime of garbage to fill it up.
So I filled it up. I still do. Some days I miss, most days I don’t. And every day I do it is one more day that I stay out of the mineshaft. Also, in case you wondered why I don’t share it on the blog, it’s because I don’t believe a blog is therapy. I believe therapy is therapy, just like I believe a journal isn’t therapy. But between the coffee, and the quiet, and the pen, and the ink, I’m not where I was a year ago.
So this day, I’ll make a second cup of coffee, sit in the chair between my bed and the window, and drop another page into the landfill.
© Copyright 2018 William S. Friday