My 8th-grade teacher, Mrs. Gilmore introduced me to the world of journaling when she gifted me my first journal for my birthday. ( I still have it to this day)
Being an only child I longed to have a sibling to play with and talk to, so naturally, I started writing immediately because now I had an outlet to freely share my teenage adventures.
I use the word “adventures” very lightly because I didn’t have too much excitement going on so I often wrote about a boy I liked or wanted to kiss, my daily activities and how I hated my mother.
I feel like at some point we all can relate to disliking our mothers during our teenage years due to feeling misunderstood, trying to figure out our identity and have some sense of independence.
One day I came home from school, ready to write in my journal about my latest crush when I couldn’t find my journal anywhere.
I asked my mother had she seen it and she said yes and she wasn’t giving it back.
I was upset, mortified and confused because for one why did she read my journal and two why was she keeping it.
She disciplined me for what I had written in my journal however, she did end up giving it back to me later that day.
For a long time, I was scared to write again because I didn’t want to experience someone reading my thoughts and being hurt for how I chose to express myself.
I shared in another post this is where I lost my voice and the relationship with my mother would forever be changed.
My mother abandoned me
When I was about fifteen years old my mother physically abandoned me and I went to live with my grandmother. This later would be the reason that I would end up in therapy for four months.
Even though she physically left me when I was a teen, emotionally she was never there for me like a mother should be.
For seventeen years I carried so much hurt and pain because I couldn’t understand why my mother would choose a man over me. Yes, you read right my mother chose a romantic relationship over her daughter.
I suffered from never feeling good enough, low self-esteem and I feared that everyone I loved or cared deeply for would leave me just like my mother did.
When I was growing up, counseling was never an option, I was told "you’ll be fine just keep doing your best" or "you didn’t do anything wrong, it’s not your fault."
My journal became my escape to express how I was feeling growing up without a mother.
For years I hid behind a mask, I would appear to be happy on the outside while internally I was dying.
Yes, I was college educated with multiple degrees, a family, a house and a "good” job, but I was miserable inside.
I knew how to look good on the outside but internally I was dying.
Here's when I knew I needed help. I would go to church week after week seeking answers and healing but I would often leave feeling sad. There were times when I had to pull my car over and I would just cry for no reason.
I realized I could NOT go on this way. I couldn't allow my negative thoughts to consume me anymore. More importantly, I had children to raise and I knew that I needed to be emotionally and mentally healthy for them.
So I sought out counseling and it was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself.
It was through therapy that I learned that my mother did the best she could at that time and I had a choice to either stay where I was or leave the past behind me so I could move forward.
I chose the latter because I refuse to allow my past circumstances to dictate my future.
Even though my mother and I don’t have a relationship, I’ve forgiven her and I wish her nothing but the best in her life.
Journaling has been my therapy
Through all of this, I never stopped writing and prior to seeking professional help my journal was a form of therapy.
When I wrote in my journal that's when I truly felt connected with God and I feel like I could hear Him talking to me through my writing.
I would write, cry, write some more and I always felt comforted through the process.
It use to be so hard for me to share my story because I was ashamed of what people would think and I never wanted anyone to feel sorry for me.
However since I've healed from my past, my story is no longer my own and now it’s my responsibility to share it with others.
I have, to be honest with you that my journey has not been easy and as I write this I realize that I still have growing to do.
Journaling has been my safe space to free my mind and allow God to speak to me through my writing. It is also how I discovered that my purpose was to teach women how to go from feeling stuck to unstoppable.
Journaling has changed my life
I’ve been writing in my journal since I was 14 and it’s amazing to see how much I’ve grown year after year. My life has changed in ways that I never thought it would.
Not too long ago I was reading some of my old journals (yes I keep them all) and I noticed that I wrote a lot about "being free" years before BeFree Project even existed.
This confirms that God was speaking to me before I was ready but first I had to heal from my past before I could ever walk in my purpose.
When I coach women about getting unstuck and being free, I'm teaching from experience. I know what it feels like to be stuck and not know where to start.
I also know what it feels like to be free and have clarity about living the life you were created to live.
Journaling is very therapeutic because it allows you to gain clarity of your thoughts, reduce stress and helps you identify the areas in your life where you need to grow.
I've wanted to share my story on the blog for a while now but the timing was never right. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that someone reading this today will be encouraged on their journey to being free.
Do you keep a journal? Why or Why not?