Opening the Journal
In many ways, this will be my most personal post yet. These are the thoughts, the words, that came in the first few weeks uncensored by the keyboard and unedited by time. I’m choosing to share this to reveal the underbelly of the healing process. I want to show that it is possible to move on from such pain and I want to highlight the importance of positive thinking and goal setting early on in the healing journey.
I started journaling on July 15, 2009, four days after I received the text.I learned about Uganda on July 20 and the bigamy on July 22. Much of the writing in the journal was done in the early months, as I transitioned to the computer during the late fall and winter.
I chose to divide my journal into three sections and made a rule that each writing session had to begin in section one and proceed through section three.
Section one: This was the space for the unedited vitriol. This was the anger, the poison. I knew I had to release it and there was oh so much to release. The writing is rapid, the angles harsh. I pressed so hard that I tore through the pages in spots. This was the domain of the broken heart.
Section Two: This was for the day to day thoughts and practicalities. It was designed for observation and problem solving. This was the domain of the rational mind.
Section Three: The final section was for dreaming. I let my mind focus on the infinite and wonderous possibilities that the future might hold. This was the domain of the spirit.
I have no idea how or why I decided to structure my journal this way. In retrospect, that was surprisingly lucid for my state at the time. Recent research supports this model, as they found that high ruminators (I’m not sure if I am this but I am definitely a high analyzer) benefited from a fact-based, mundane journal but suffered when rehashing the negative feelings over and over. My three part design and my insistence on not ending with the negativity allowed me to vent but kept me from getting stuck in the sadness and anger.
For those of you early on in your journey, I hope you can find recognition and some possibility in these entries. For those partway through, I hope you can find acceptance of the process and be patient with yourself. For those who have come out the other end, I hope that you will find encouragement for how far you have come. On of my biggest lessons in all of this is the enormity of the damage that can occur when you deny your feelings. My ex destroyed his life and impacted others because he refused to face his emotions and instead kept them locked away and hidden beneath a facade.
So, here goes. These are excerpts from the journal, in no particular order. Names have been blurred to protect identities. The highlights are from my work when I was writing the book. For those new to my site, please remember that this was 8 years ago. This is not the space I am currently in.
I can read these now with some distance. I remember the pain, yet time has dulled its sharpness to a mere whisper. I identify with the woman who wrote this; I can see traces of who she is going to become. I am no longer her; however, I don’t have the anger anymore that fills these pages. I have learned to soften and to accept. I have forgiven my ex and let go of the need for understanding. The messages of hope and the small celebrations make me smile. I almost wish I could reach back and give the me of those days a hug and tell her that it will be okay and that her hopes and dreams will come in time.