Early on in married life my [then] husband read my journal. Without asking. I remember being very upset about this. I felt it was a breach. Of trust. Of personal space and belongings. And really just a snoopy, immature thing to do. He disagreed strongly. Feeling that I didn’t share my feelings openly, which I agree, I’m not the greatest at sharing what I’m thinking or feeling, he believed it was his prerogative to read away. And then discuss what he’d read with me. In length. Mind you, much if not all of what he came across was written BEFORE we were married. I’m not sure if that matters one iota or not, but it seemed worthy of note. I’m sure there are those who believe a husband has every right to read his wife’s recorded words. I, as stated above, disagree. I’m sure there are also those who would believe it was most likely some “girlish” type diary filled with immature rambling because I was fairly young at that point. I don’t think it matters what the journal contained. It was MINE and obviously not something I shared openly with others.
While the above incident was something we moved past [or maybe we really didn’t (!)], I never wrote with any kind of reckless abandon in my journal again. At least not while married. I never fully trusted that my words would go unread. And so, while I kept writing away for years and years, I never, ever let myself be completely unguarded. I’m not sure it was always something I fully considered….him again reading the journal. I think it came and went in my stream of consciousness. But a marker was placed in my brain that day way back when, telling me to be careful because I might have to explain my way around something I’d recorded in ink. I will say I seriously doubt he ever read one of my journals again.
Why do I bring that up? I don’t generally write about the ins and outs of my failed attempt at marriage. I suppose it’s because I’ve been thinking about journaling quite a bit, as of late. My job has changed a bit, and I’m now more involved in the after school programing at my workplace. I’ve begun working with some of the kids on writing. Tomorrow each of these kids will receive a journal and [hopefully] begin writing their thoughts. Our theme?
Each child is a masterpiece. Actually every person is. So they’ll be provided some prompts and each week it will be a little different. But I’m hoping they can wrap their minds around the fact that they’re each unique and intricate and not just like anyone else on the planet. Oh, and beautiful. They’re each beautiful.
Which is where the challenge comes in. Because I’m not so sure I believe that I am a masterpiece. I don’t necessarily struggle with low self esteem. Oh, I have at points. Many points! But currently I think I’m alright in that regard. At least I’m not floundering. It’s just that I realize I have so many shortcomings and imperfections. I still compare myself to other people. In terms of beauty and success and achievements. I have this little network of college girls / young women I’m connected with. And I wonder at times why they even give me the time of day because I am so old and often naive and out of touch! I doubt at times I can offer them any kind of helpful advice. Because good grief! Look at the mess I’ve made of so many things. Poor life choices abounding. So while I think of each of them as a “masterpiece”, I don’t always consider myself to be.
Which I suppose is part of the lesson in it all. Realizing that we are something lovely even if we don’t see ourselves as such. Or feel so lovely or special. Realizing we are something lovely even if not perceived as such by the people surrounding us. That’s the story to be told. Not that we’re just becoming, but that we already are. That’s what I hope at least a few of these little people grasp. What they already are.
I also hope that at least some of the kids will develop a long term interest in writing. For their own enjoyment and therapy. I remember my mom telling me, in either 1979 or 1980, that my sixth grade teacher had recommended I start journaling. I guess he felt it would be a good way for me to express myself. Yes, I was in sixth grade in 79-80 and my teacher was male. So there you have it.
I don’t remember when exactly I actually did. Begin journaling. Sometime post sixth grade is all I know. I now, at times, have as many as four different journals going at once. They are in different forms….written, laptop, etc. They cover differing subject matter. I have been known, if someplace without my journal handy, to find a piece of paper and just start writing on it. Keeping it for later. Expressing my thoughts. Mainly for me.
Not that we’re just becoming, but that we already are.