For almost all my life, I have been writing stories. On paper, on the computer and in my head. As a little girl inspired by Thea Beckman, I even once optimistically started an entire book.
But at school, I learned that my grammar was poor, my handwriting the opposite of perfect and I should be paying attention rather than dreaming. I don't know where the little document went, it probably quickly disappeared into some folder.
So I wrote mostly in my diary.
I told my diary everything until my adolescent pain wore off. I didn't know what else I could talk about to 'my sweet diary' and was tired of the daily repetition of my sorrows. A diary seemed like something ridiculous and so I stopped.
As an adult, I wrote mostly notes during and about my therapies. And since that was specifically part of those treatments, that's basically where it stayed.
Until, when my unconscious self was struggling with my marriage, another man's deep life questions opened up a whole new world in me. Like water, it purified me. It took away the rose-coloured glasses and pierced through the unquestioned assumptions from which I was living. I wanted to be honest, to him, to myself, and so I replied at length, with eyes full of tears. I wrote back to him about my incompetence, my inability to dare jump out of the self-constructed golden cage.
Eventually, I did jump out and came back to Europe. Our conversations became less frequent after my return to the Netherlands, but I continued to ask myself those critical questions. Honest answers and a drive to want to understand myself, through those conversations the year before, I knew the healing, enlightening and illuminating effects of that, so I continued.
"Let feeling come first, the words you share are exquisitely beautiful, emerge like loosely strung pearls from the deepest layers of your consciousness." - Rachel, Aeolian Heart
I can honestly say that journaling dragged me through the first few years after my divorce. Keeping asking questions, no longer taking anything as normal and logical, even no longer taking my own feelings and reactions for granted. Writing about that brought me to places I could never have found in my golden cage.
During that period, I felt like an addict. Often enough, I had to immediately reach for the pen to write down whatever came to mind. I have notebooks full of loose comments and sentences, answers to questions that came to mind during the day or in the middle of the night. The internet was also my best friend: workshops, online seminars and dumb Google Search gave me so many insights.
But what I could never be satisfied with was with the first answer, the first hit. I had to scroll further, listen longer, watch another video, to get the answer I felt was the right one. Constantly going in search of the 'why', looking for a deeper explanation, for the answers I would rather not hear and yet was eager to face.
The 'why' eventually took me to my deepest and darkest places, full of mud, stones and the stagnant waters of my feelings. Through writing, I got to the root of much of my pain that lay waiting for me like a stinking pool. Journaling was not at all beautiful and wonderful.
It was bloody, a real battlefield.
Perhaps you journal yourself, or have heard of it. With a quick search on the internet, you can usually find pictures of little works of art full of beautiful handwriting, drawings and stickers. Even my old journals were always neatly written per day, always starting at the top of the page, sometimes a drawing, sometimes in different colours. But my journals of recent years are a mess. A succession of unrelated sentences and comments, in Dutch, English and sometimes even Spanish, testify to a messy search, the seemingly blindfolded groping for my true self.
Journaling, journey, travel
Letting go, leaving behind stories, my own assumptions, the rose-coloured glasses, I succeeded by seeing them, by literally seeing them in black and white. There on the battlefield of these sacred jewels, hidden in little caves in my subconscious, came healing too. By really looking, I no longer walked like a blind woman through the world of my feelings.
"The poison goes away little by little, not all at once. Be patient. You will heal." - Yasmin Mogahed
For me, the notes of my findings are a testament to the passage of time, in which I was able to let the poison that dwelt in my cells drain away bit by bit.
The disordered writing down of my own musings allows me to change my position for a moment. Answering critical questions honestly, from myself or from someone else, takes me on a journey to places I would never have reached from within myself.
It throws me off my pedestal. It shakes me up. Because I wrote without any purpose, without any boundary to consider, other than the search for my own brokenness, I could follow the words to where they went. I no longer had to listen to that primary school teacher telling me how it 'should be done' and could write down what came to mind, without guilt and with full honesty.
Currently, I no longer use notebooks, I write in an app and sometimes, if one of those notes has more potential than a seemingly illogical addition to a long list of questions and answers, I write about it further, and post it on my blog. But is this a personal, online diary? No, it doesn't feel that way.
I still write to answer critical questions myself.
I write my own story, as a testimony, not to give you advice or bite-sized solutions, but to untangle my concoctions with you. So that for a moment, just for a moment, my stories might flip your bubble.
Throw you off your pedestal. Shake you up.
I want to give you 'food for thought', honestly break you open a little further and let you marvel at the special world you find inside yourself. Instead of entertaining you with small talk, let me be the host of your musings.
"I have never seen a life transformation that didn't start the moment the person in question finally got fed up with their own nonsense." - Elizabeth Gilbert
So, grab pen and paper, find a notebook, just not pretty enough so it may be messy and answer this question:
In what area of your life do you still believe in your own nonsense?
Thanks for reading Daphne Drinks Tea! Subscribe to receive new posts and support my work.