I started keeping a journal around age 12, but since the start, I always self-censored myself, never being completely honest, and leaving out any mention of emotions or what I was feeling. I noted only events, happenings, ideas, and plans for the future; where I had been, what I had seen, heard, experienced, and where I dreamed of going next. I always focus on the past; what was, what could have been, what should have been. I have always terrified of someone reading my journal for fear of being judged.
I never really opened up to anybody; I never told the entire story of my to anyone only a thumbnail view of how my life and feelings really are. So much hidden behind blue eyes; so much of my existence constantly shrouded in mystery. The only person who really knows me for who I really am is Angie; it is she who knows and sees me, it is her who doesn’t judge, her who sees the painful secrets I keep hidden from everyone else.
My writing journal has always taken a birds-eye-view of my life. From an early age, I would use my writing as a means of dealing with emotional upset; obsessively organizing and categorizing my pain. I constantly questioned everything through my writing, trying to sort through things to find meaning and sense behind every experience, though many experiences defied any sense or explanation. In my journals I often ruminate over my unhappiness, going over all the painful memories of childhood, in a futile attempt at trying to re-examine and re-write the past.
Angie is the only person who has ever read my journals from start to finish. I allowed her to read through them a few months after I asked her to marry me. I was anticipating her reaction to be one of rejection, or worse, an end to our relationship, but instead, she accepted what I had written in my journals as the past. In many ways, it made our relationship stronger; I knew I was able to tell her anything, no matter how intimate, and she would never judge it. I destroyed my journals in a large fire shortly thereafter; it was a cathartic experience knowing that at least metaphorically the past was behind me, and any documentation of those painful childhood events had been destroyed.
In the past, I toyed with the idea of writing a tell-all memoir about my childhood, specifically naming, if not flat-out placing the blame on those responsible. But what would I get? Would I get revenge? Or would I simply educate those who read it that everyone goes through some sort of emotional trauma in their lives, and although you learn through mistakes, despite sincere apologies, revenge, and retribution for what happened to us, as much as we try to forgive and forget, the past will never be undone.
This post was inspired, in part by, a discussion I had recently about social situations where people aren’t always whom they appear to be; specifically one who talks behind anthers back, yet is friendly to their face.