My journal is forlornly sitting with a stack of other things on my desk: my Lenten readings waiting to be put into my binder, an copy of an order for water filters for the fridge and Brita pitcher, a cookbook, my planner and a blank “compass“. I’m avoiding it like it were a pit of hungry alligators rather than an unassuming and nonjudgmental friend as it faithfully waits with anticipation for my words.
Instead of putting words on paper, I’m writing in my head.
There’s a continual litany of ideas flowing. Pieces of my book, ideas for blog posts, viewpoints for articles and concepts for lessons for one of my courses. I know that there are things I need to work through which requires taking a pen in hand and letting my words flow from the green-black ink onto the creamy pages of 50 lb. paper. Yet, I stubbornly shuttle the book aside.
I write in my head about my body image as I drove home from Cincinnati and a day of shopping with a friend and transition to I writing about witnessing a powerful and confident woman be at home in her own body.
As I slather heavy-duty lavender cream on the winter chaffed skin under my left armpit, I compose a lesson for my Make Your Inner Sex Kitten Roar ladies about choosing to make time for self-care instead of insisting we don’t have time. Then, I contemplate using pieces of that concept for blog posts and newsletter snippets.
My journal begs me open it as I contemplate today’s Lenten reading of the Magi, yet I walk away from it when the dryer buzzes. When I discover the clothes are still damp, instead of returning downstairs to write, I take this opportunity to clean the cabinets in the laundry room, removing every trace of laundry detergent and fabric softener from the bottom shelf. As I clean, I ponder the March tips for my monthly 30 Days to Clarity newsletter.
I vow to write them down, yet when I return downstairs, I thumb through the cookbook Clean Slate and mark potential recipes to try with a post it note. I dream of future dinners and recipes to share with subscribers.
Writing in a paper journal is something I’ve consistently done only since 2011. Before, words on paper meant I was at risk to be violated.
My mother read my diary as a child. When I got brave enough in high school to write my private thoughts on paper again, I reverted to plain spiral notebooks in order to disguise my hopes, dreams, and angst amongst my school work. When I was a newlywed at 19, I returned from my honeymoon to discover huge chunks of those high school journals missing. My mother had decided that my (then-husband) didn’t need to stumble across them, so she decided to destroy any of my words that didn’t meet her approval.
Marriage didn’t provide a sanctity for my thoughts or desires. I’d begin to explore my secret desires only to discover traces of them either removed or shoved in my face during a confrontation. Alas, divorce still didn’t allow a safe space for my thoughts on paper. Both of my daughters were nosy and would paw through every drawer and shelf.
For the first time in my life, though, I – and my words – are safe.
JB would never thumb through my planner or pick up my phone to peek at my text messages, let alone look at what I’ve written in my journal. But despite knowing this, when I am working through Big Stuff, I am afraid.
I ache to write about the tenderness and pleasure of lovemaking. How the mix of desire and surrender allows me to get out of my head and into my body. I yearn to capture the myriad of emotions when I log into my 23andMe account and see that I am 4/6th the way into some answers about who I am. I long to work through what I’m learning so that I can dive into my own wisdom.
But the fear of the innocuous pages with a pen in my hand cause me to continue to whirl the words within my head.
So, instead, I return to the medium for sparking my writer’s soul: blogging.
Here, I am safe to share the threads of my thoughts. Though thousands upon hundreds of anonymous eyes might read these words, they feel safer tossed into the digital ether.
My journal precariously sits atop my planner. It reminds me that I am safe to bleed my thoughts and feelings upon it’s pages. It’s patiently waiting for me to stop writing in my head and, instead, absolve me from my worries.
Perhaps tomorrow. After another delectable dinner. Another necessary respite in dreamland. And possibly another morning of lovemaking. Maybe that’s the recipe to stop writing in my head and turning to my sanctity of words on paper. Instead of my head.