Journaling saved my life. Throughout the turmoil of my twenties, writing in a journal gave me a safe space to live. In the pages of my notebooks, I drew pictures, raged, played with words, poemed, analyzed and understood myself, and basically figured out how to go on living day-to-day. I taped in images from magazines and newspapers, voting receipts, tickets to concerts, notes from friends, the poems of others. I was depressed, at times suicidal, and journaling helped me feel my worth. Despite whatever else was going on in my outer life, my inner life was one of growth. I sensed this and it kept me wanting to see where my words led. In short, the awareness that journaling gives birth to kept me alive.
Here are a few excerpts from that time:
i am easily bruised today lying here thinking only of what i am not, what i could’ve been who i could be like, where else i could be . . .
i want to rewake, remake this day wake early, morning tea a poem inner blossoming and no tear, no tears
Someone had copied the poem and given it to me, so I taped it into my journal.
This last image amazes me. I had taped it onto the inside of the cover of my journal titled INCUBATION. Indeed, the image captures the journaling process–one dives deeply into the water of one’s consciousness (sub- and un-) and surfaces with precious insights. At this time in therapy, I was exploring for the first time the effects of the pyloric stenosis surgery (stomach operation) I’d undergone at 26 days old. Here the diver receives oxygen artificially as I did lying in my oxygen-tented crib day after day in recovery in 1952. In 1978, 26 years later, I was beginning to recover my own version of that early story of trauma. I was writing a new script.
Journaling is an act of survival.