Keeping a Journal 2: My Journal

July 25, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Posted in Experiences, Mental Health, Writing and Life | 13 Comments
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myjournal

Although the word ‘journal’ comes from the French word for ‘day’ (jour), I see it also as relating to the word ‘journey’.

The journals I have been keeping on and off for the last forty or fifty years are both a diary of events and a journal of my personal experiences, and much more than either of them. They are a record of my journey through life to this point.

Journey -journal

Journaling has been part of my life for more years than I care to remember. I first wrote a ‘diary’ before I reached my teens. Then, it was the usual childish notes on nothing, in a tiny, lockable, shiny diary I got for a birthday.

Pink diary

As I grew up, I periodically wrote my thoughts in notebooks left over from school. There was nothing much to them either. Nothing of the teenage angst one goes through; nothing of the day-to-day coping in our family’s difficult circumstances. I don’t think I really knew what a diary was for in those days.

A few years after I married, I did begin to keep a record of what I was doing and some of my thoughts on life. However, my then husband saw nothing of mine as sacred. He found and read it, and didn’t like some of the things I’d written. He even showed his mother, who was visiting at the time, and they both confronted me about a couple of my entries.

quote-if-you-must-keep-a-journal-for-purposes-of-sanity-adopt-an-illegible-hand-r-bryan-love-284531

After that, I knew I couldn’t have the privacy of writing my own thoughts. So I didn’t write anything at all for a long time.

Then came the time he legally had to stay away from me for several months. They were times of stress and anxiety; fear and anger. But with him out of the house, I allowed myself the luxury of putting down my thought and feelings again. It was a way of working through several huge issues I faced at the time, including trying to work out how I could keep our children but not have him.

Writing is therapy

One day, I discovered that he had been coming into the house when I was out. He was apparently searching for something he could use against me. Even though I had hidden my journal under my mattress, he found it. I discovered that when he stood outside the window one day, yelling at me and waving a couple of pages he’d torn from it.

I was gutted. I felt like I had been raped. Even though I couldn’t remember exactly what I had written on those pages, I knew they were my deepest feelings; thoughts that I hadn’t shared with anyone because they were an intimate reflection of the very vulnerable me that I was at the time.

Quotation-Jonathan-Franzen

After I moved away, I felt much more secure in writing down my thoughts. My new partner respected my privacy and never violated it the whole twenty years we were together. My second husband also believes I am entitled to privacy in my writing. The gift they have both given me allows me to sort through my thoughts & feelings without fear.

If you keep or have kept a diary/journal, has its sanctity been violated? How did/would you feel about that?

© Linda Visman

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