I did it. I shared 31 pages from my journal–31 days of basically writing to myself and now I can finally address you guys.
Here’s what I did: I blogged for 31 days straight on a focused subject. I challenged myself to write about something that was going on in my life right now and I did it. This is why I’m feeling so good about it:
I was true to myself.
I wrote when it was hard.
I feel like I found that balance of simply sharing from my heart and oversharing.
I reached out to you. You reached back.
I have 31 posts to save reread and savor and remember.
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This was a good challenge was good for me on so many levels. I learned so much.
I learned that writing, and writing publicly, can be so healing. By the bottom of almost every post I felt like everything had been drug out of me–leaving me purged. I thought about what I was going to write that day, I spilled it out, hit publish, and walked away. I know some of what I said probably did not resonate well with some of you. I know some of you are bothered that I’m struggling in my faith life or say some swears. But here’s the deal: regardless of how my 31 days was accepted, it was healing for me. For once in my blogging career I feel like I didn’t let real life hinder what I wrote–I wrote real life. And not that I’m normally not genuine, but so many times I could not bring myself to write because of personal things because those things got in the way of really sharing my heart. But I shared my heart anyway. And everytime I laid it all out there, you responded. A lot of you commented but more of you emailed me privately–sharing your deep stories, shared from your hearts, loved me with your words. Your words, combined with literally laying it all out there concocted this healing balm that was salve for my heart.
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I learned that I’m not alone. So many of you have been right where I am. So many. This place where nothing seems right, where one thing after another comes to kick you in the shins. This place where you feel forgotten–but we’re not. So many of you read my words, took my name out, and inserted yours and shared your stories right back. I would begin reading while standing in my kitchen and have to make my way to a seat by the time I finished–foreclosures, near-divorces, mice, rats, bed bugs, sickness, death, fires, lay-offs–it was deep. It was your most painful stories and you shared them with me. Me. Humbling doesn’t even begin to describe it. You guys are brave for sharing. Brave and completely compassionate. I have saved your letters and your comments. We all sat down together and cried it out, hugged it out, and loved each other through our difficulties. It was beautiful and sisterly and amazing and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I learned that I love writing everyday. I pretty much journal everyday, but getting up and writing every single day here. It became a routine with my coffee and my heart. It kept me focused. I realized that writing a blog really needs nurturing and I loved nurturing this spot everyday. I want to keep this up–maybe not everyday–but more days of the week than not. Writing has become a must for me. I’m looking forward to keeping up this regular schedule. Not necessarily spilling my guts every day, but at least sharing something everyday–a project, a quote, a thought, a story.
I learned that there really is always something to be thankful for. In my real paper journal, I always start with a list of thankfuls. For this it felt more flowing to put the list at the end. But I still put it in there. Even though I was sharing things that were really hard, I never had a problem with the thankful list. This is important to remember.
I changed this month. I didn’t know what to expect when I started. Secretly, I wanted the month to reveal some secret code that would show me how to end in a different place than where I started. I didn’t think it would actually happen–but it did. In a different way than I expected, but it did. Mostly just my outlook, but my backbone is stronger and the winds seem to be shifting and it feels like we’re closer to the point where we turn around and say, “Wow that sucked, but we’re through it and we survived.” This change was good–needed.
I just want to say one more time: thank you. Thank you for doing just what I asked: to listen and read. But you threw in a bonus of love and stories and loads and loads of encouragement. You guys are awesome.
Here’s to a fresh page…or wait no, a fresh new journal with a new cover to crease back and begin with refreshed ink.