“Do you journal at all?”
“I used to, but I don’t anymore. Everything I wrote bogged me down.”
“I say give it another try so you can get everything out of your head. You’re analytical.”
“Yeah. I can tell.”
—Conversation between my AA sponsor and I
I live in my own head the majority of the time.
The scenery often changed depending on what I’m feeling that day. Some days, it’s like living in a tree house filled with killer squirrels and dying leaves that fall and brush against my body as they cover the wooden floor. Some days, I’m fantasizing about being in a corn field running from He Who Walks Behind the Rows. But most of the time, unfortunately, my mind is set on hiding from YOU. The world and reality.
Whatever that is.
Let me explain. The majority of the time, my head is a dangerous neighborhood where murder takes place on a daily basis. Which means that something shitty and lowdown is going to happen to me or someone I know simply because I thought about it. Very rarely do I think a happy thought and, when I look in the mirror, I noticed I have this worried look on my face. Of course, this isn’t all the time. But when my mind is set on darkness, it’s like I’m living a John Singleton movie all day everyday. If not that, then I’m thinking about what you would think of me if you knew who I really was. Which is one of the reasons why I’m reserved most of the time. If you knew my thoughts, I tell myself, you’d run. You will not like what I see, hear, smell, or sense. In other words, this is a tiring existence and I wish this on no one. I feel a little ashamed because I tell myself I should know better than to give into my morbid unhappiness as if I were the Black Emily Strange (whom I love, by the way). At the same time, I blame myself for not evolving, which holds me back from pursuing a life that I would deem oh I don’t know…sane?
These types of thoughts, and much darker ones, is the reason why my sponsor recommended I start journaling again. She believes that, when I write about the darkness painting my mind, I would make sense of it and it won’t be just sitting there. I used to journal on and off throughout the years, usually stopping because what I wrote on paper was (in my opinion) so painful that I couldn’t allow myself to be overwhelmed with emotion. My emotions had to be controlled at all times simply because I had to function–to survive. But I think about the alternative: keeping every thought and emotion contained and allowing it to dictate my every move and how I feel about myself; allowing my Dark Passenger to whisper in my ear that I am nothing but damaged goods who is always going to be used or lied to for sex; letting my thoughts become so dark that I would actually deem myself unlovable, unloving and incapable of changing my life. And it gets worse from there. And this is not a life.
Why am I saying all this? Because, for anyone who has gone through trauma, silence will kill us. By allowing our darkness to dictate our lives, we are basically giving up on ourselves in a sense. We are so used to keeping secrets that we either live in our own heads or lie to ourselves in order to survive. Either way, we are not living. We are surviving. And there’s a HUGE difference. So starting now, I am taking my sponsor’s suggestion and starting a journal. For me, words are a powerful tool because not only do I feel myself getting better by writing every word, I know it’s not inside me anymore but on paper. What I’m doing now is journaling in a sense. When I type these words, I know longer live in the darkness in my own mind because I know and believe that I’m not alone and someone understands.
Granted, you don’t have to write, but the darkness has to come out somehow. Remember, we are here to live in the Light, not hide from it.