As you may have figured out by now, writing is my therapy. If there is an issue I am struggling with – the first thing I think to do is write about it. Similarly, when a great idea strikes, “I’m thinking where is my journal?” In fact, I have several journals that I’ve started over the years because when inspiration hits, I have to get it down immediately – but I also have somewhat of a short attention span, so each journal probably only has about 5 entries before it got trapped in a bookshelf never to be visited again. So when I started this blog I decided to keep an electronic journal – basically a word document in which I free-write and shape my thoughts. It isn’t as pretty and there is something missing by not being able to put pen to paper, but I like that I can go back and re-read everything from time to time. Doing so really takes me back through the memories and emotions of every single post, and lets me re-live those moments that I hold so dear.
Today, inspiration struck! Over the past week or so, a particular scripture had been running through my mind so I decided that today was going to be the day that I write it out and see what I come up with. As I opened my up “Journal” document and started to scroll towards the bottom to find an open space to write, all of the titles of my prior entries began to jump out to me and made me scroll a little slower… so much so that I just started reading entry after entry until I got to the end. And with each passing entry, my mind changed about what to right about next. “Oooo, I should write a follow up to this one,” I thought, “No, what I need to do is explain how my views changed on this one,” next. But then I started to get to some entries that I hadn’t posted. Some that I didn’t even finish because they were too hard…
The last post I made public was for my birthday, over eight months ago, and the one before that showed a 3-month gap – effectively confirming that it has been almost a year since I was publishing blog posts on a regular basis. Clearly, the writing never stopped, but the publishing did. And it goes to one of the points that I dislike about social media: people only really share their highlight reels. When I turned 30 I struggled with measuring my life against others’ and one of the tips that I shared in my post “Tips for 30” was that we’ve got to stop comparing our lives to what others choose to post about theirs because it isn’t the whole truth. In carrying that thought further, I find myself wondering that “since we all go through struggles from time to time, what is the purpose of hiding that truth about ourselves?” We post literally everything we do and think on a daily basis – except the tough parts.
In my case, it’s no coincidence that the dates when my blog posts stopped coincide with the fact that I was going through a breakup. I mean, who wants to write about that, right? Her Lenox Stoop is supposed to make me feel empowered and unstoppable not depressed, heartbroken and scared. I was trying to move past it, not dwell in it. Plus, why would I want everyone in my business?! Though, for some reason, I wasn’t so concerned about people being in my business when it was something good happening for me… Despite the fact that people go through breakups all the time, and my perspective on the matter might resonate with most, I just couldn’t bring myself to air this dirty laundry to the world.
So what’s the point?
If you’ve read any of my other posts, this is right about where I would drop some gem of knowledge or insight or food for thought. But not today. Today, I encourage everyone to do some self-reflection – and I mean everyone, especially those who think they are hiding it well. Sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, quiet your thoughts and take some deep breaths. In your nose and out of your mouth. Let your mind wander to the deepest corners of your consciousness, where you are holding something you just don’t want to talk about, think about or deal with. Go there. Sit in it for a couple of minutes. Cry if you have to. Do whatever you feel moved to do to let it out. And when you are ready, open your eyes. But don’t wipe any tears away that may have fallen. Instead, go to a mirror. Look at yourself. Truly see yourself in your reflection. Feel proud that you let yourself be vulnerable, that you loosened the fists you were clinching, even if only a little bit. Stand a little taller, hold your head a little higher. And wink at yourself. Whatever it is that you’re going through hasn’t broken you. You’re stronger than you think you are. You have the power to change your situation. You have everything you need, already inside of you.
However, if you don’t think you can go it alone, I am also an advocate of therapy, I encourage you to find someone you can talk to. Mental health should be taken just as seriously as physical health and spiritual health. We all need a little help sometimes, and there is no shame in asking for it – in fact I believe that is a sign of true strength.