I should keep a journal

If I kept a journal, there are things I would remember.

For instance, I’d remember specifically what it was my mother asked me that sent me into a frightening burst of shouting and tears about a year ago. Knowing what question it was would make for a better story, but instead all I remember is breaking a little bit in the kitchen, and knowing that it wasn’t about whatever she was asking. Instead, it was the stress of illness, distance, workload, expectations, that bubbled into an overreaction.

That’s what I remember. I don’t remember the question.

I’ve never been good at keeping a journal. I marvel at those who do, especially those like Madeleine L’engle, who go on to turn their journals into great pieces of memoir. But I’ve always been afraid to put specifics on the page, as if someday I would look back at this slight or that crush and be ashamed to have thought what I did at the time.

Shame, or rather the promise of shame, has been a companion of mine for a long time, now that I think about it – or should I say, now that I write about it.

Despite my fear of what I might say, I’ve needed to write for a long time, because, as demonstrated above, I learn from myself when the words tumble out of my own head and onto a page of some sort.

So I’m quiet now, because it’s October and everything hurts and I fear what I might write. My journal is vague swaths of feeling with all the details lost between the lines. But it’s something, even without the details. The questions may be lost but still I write what I can muster, in hopes of finding the answers.

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