This morning I was unloading big-time in my journal, typical Monday style, crabby and discontent. Not enough time, sleep, motivation or sunshine. And I was reminded of one of the most powerful benefits of journaling: seeing it in writing.
My pen furiously scraping the paper, writing so intently that smudges splotched the pages like Rorschach inkblots, I was detailing my present list of misgivings. The situations gone awry in my life. These were Very Important Issues, I assure you. The crease between my eyes even made an appearance – the one that shows up whenever I wail “WHY?!” in defeat.
At the instant of writing, all these problems and mishaps truly felt frustrating, disheartening, confusing. I was angry and self-righteous. My world was coming to an end and I wasn’t about to stand by and let it be snatched out from under me.
I paused to sip my tea and take a breath. Glancing briefly at the previous paragraph, all CAPS and double underlines, I suddenly saw myself objectively. Seeing the actual words spelled out on the page made me laugh out loud. I was this upset over that?! I had truly lost myself in three-year-old mode, full on foot stamping and pouting, shaking my angry little fists. Over what? I suddenly felt like a parody of myself.
But in that moment, while writing intently, I honestly believed that all these troubles were worthy of that much negative energy and attention.
It was seeing it out there on the page, word for word, that made me realize how silly I was being. How all I really needed was a change of perspective.
*Sigh.* The care and feeding of luxury problems.
I was able to laugh, and continue writing about more worthwhile subjects.
Had I not dumped that toddler rage into my journal, however, I would have walked around all day feeling that burn. That indignation and resentment. Over issues as devastating as deciding between the sage green sofa and the cerulean blue one? Really?
When it comes to putting it in writing, the “it” can be any number of things. A big, scary fanged monster of a fear. A raging resentment keeping you up nights. A bone to pick.
Yet, time after time, putting those words on the page defangs that monster, gives the bone to the dog, and wins you some shut-eye.
It’s a matter of perspective. Writing about it lets you step back from your fears and gripes, making them smaller in the process. Then you can physically close the cover on them.
Once again, I got to start my day on the page, purge the petty whining from my system, and show a brighter face to the world. I cannot imagine where I’d be without the ability to do this.
It’s truly a gift. Not just for me – but everyone else in my life. Today I am grateful to have it.