4-17-1982 – I don’t like myself for not liking myself. In therapy I feel very exposed and vulnerable and got an image of myself as a mess of seaweed dashed against the rocks and left exposed to the birds to pick sea-grape from my hair. I remembered that one of the reasons I left therapy with D.T. was because I didn’t think he liked me, even disliked me. I realized I still feel “Dr. Analyst” at least respects me and my struggle. I couldn’t stay with any analyst that I believe dislikes me, either.
4-20-1982 – I imaged me in the womb eating my umbilical cord.
“A pen in one hand is better than two in the bush.”
IF YOU’RE JUST STARTING OUT…
1. Maintain all your journaling In ONE PLACE
2.Make that journal SPECIAL by decorating or otherwise EMBELLISHING IT.
WHY DO I SAY THAT?
Because I didn’t, and have lived to sorely regret it. I’m still finding dreams on the back of empty envelopes, with or without dates.
I value dreams, myself, and keep a journal and pencil next to my bed. I have found advice of the experts helpful: Always give the dream a title and write it in the present tense.
Let me get one more recommendation out and then I’ll stop. If you come across a quote you love and include it in your journal, jot down the author and page, at a minimum. You’ll never know when you want to refer to it again. I was grateful I had done so when I included much of my journal in my book.
John Briere (1989) has recognized the healing value of journaling, referring to it as “being her own therapist,” encouraging creativity, and strengthening self-control by analyzing her internal processes.”
He was speaking about the recovery of those who were sexually abused as children. Barbara Hamilton (1997), a survivor herself, writes that “I marvel at the healing process I found in writing my way through despair; how I have been turned around and put back on track by insights from within.”
Also speaking from the survivor’s standpoint, Bass and Davis (1994) write that “there is no such thing as absolute healing. You never erase your history. The abuse happened. It affected you in profound ways. That will never change. But you can reach a place of resolution.”
When I wrote Fallout: A Survivor Talks to Incest Offenders, I was able to include many entries and drawings from my journal over the years, in an attempt to show incest offenders that incest is indeed harmful.
According to Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, 86), Kafka wrote that “writing means revealing oneself to excess, that utmost of self-revelation and surrender, in which a human being , when involved with others, would feel he was losing himself , and from which, therefore, he will always shrink so long as he is in his right mind….That is why one can never be alone enough when one writes, why there can never be enough silence around one when one writes, why night is not night enough.”