Guest Post: “Thanks for being my journal today.”

One of my favorite people and Totes Awesome Channel cohort offered to write guest posts for anyone interested. I am one of the lucky sixteen who snagged her up on her offer. I enjoy all of Ashley’s blog posts and now I find myself enjoying all her guest posts! The one she posted for Peter’s blog,”Why Sharing Fiction is Kind of Terrifying” is one of my favorite posts from her. And now I have an Ashley guest post of my own! Enjoy!

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My name is Ashley and I blog at Writing to Reach You. I recently asked the internet for opportunities to guest blog, and my friend Linda offered up this space immediately, which saved me the trouble of asking her directly. When we were discussing what I might write about, I said I was thinking of something about reading or journaling or friendship, and she said those were the first three subjects that came to her mind as well. So, this just makes sense.

I am a girl with a lot of feelings, but I haven’t always been very good at expressing those feelings. When I was younger, I often felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of them. I had a hard time keeping my eyes open to the world, because I was so affected by everything. It wasn’t just my own feelings I had to worry about. I was so sensitive that I was also always feeling the feelings of everyone in my life. I wonder now at how I kept from dissolving into one big puddle of emotion.

To keep myself together, I built walls to protect myself. Within those walls, I kept myself busy by reading a lot. I woke up early to read, I read on the bus to school, I read during breaks from school, I read when I got home from school, and I read before bed. I had my books and my poetry to protect me. Well, and music, of course. Thanks Simon. And you too, Garfunkel.

When I was older, I started writing. Inconsistently at first, but when I was 18, I started journaling in earnest. I’m not sure I would have survived my first year of college if I hadn’t had a journal to confide in. I wrote because I didn’t have anyone I felt I could be honest with, though I realize now that I simply didn’t know how to be honest with the people in my life. I didn’t know how to say that I was unhappy. I felt like that was too much to burden people with, and what could they do about it anyway? So I filled my head with ideas of perfection and wrote my heart out on the pages of my journal.

Ten years later and I am finally learning what a lot of people have always known: it feels good to share your problems with other people. Your friends will not regard it as a burden when you admit that you are struggling. They will listen because they care about you. They will take satisfaction in being needed. They won’t find the magic words, but they will give you an opportunity to articulate what it is that’s bothering you. You will see once it’s out of your head that maybe it isn’t so troubling, and if not, then you will at least have someone to help you with the weight of it. You will receive hugs, virtual or physical.

When Linda told me something sweet that had happened to her and then said, “thanks for being my journal today,” the three disparate topics of reading, journaling, and friendship came together in my mind, and I realized that I had used them all as ways to deal with a very emotional life. I discovered each when I really needed it, but now that I can count on all three, the world seems a little kinder, even to a girl with a lot of feelings.