Talking to people isn’t easy. How do you start the conversation? Hello isn’t enough, there is no segue from compliments, all that’s left is questions.
But even asking to share doesn’t guarantee a bridge of compatibility will be built.
I’m on my 60th journal in eight years. I look at my bookcase that has all my handwritten and typed entries chronicling life around me. All the words I couldn’t trust to say among peers, I jotted down.
They could be a symbol of loneliness had I not done it by choice. I learned when I was 12 information was power. When you trade secrets, however much you trust that friend, there is a chance for them to use it against you.
I was that person. On a bus ride home, Shimmy and I told each other the names of our crushes. Just between us, but I didn’t trust Shimmy not to tell. The next day as lunch gossip, I told the girls I sat with who Shimmy likes. The more “knowledge” I got and shared, I became the Source.
Even after doing that, though, word never got around about who I liked.
In not trusting anyone, I became the Untrustworthy. Not who I wanted to be, I took advantage of my 8th grade free-writing journal assignment: write whatever we want. That freedom made me fall in love with words – and helped me be honest with myself.
I know what makes me tick, like mean jokes. There is trending relationships news that our meanest friend is really the one who wants the best for you, but I spend most of my time with that confidant: rereading my journals and twinging with regret. I don’t need another mean friend. I need someone who’ll support me to overcome my harshest critic, myself.
I know what makes me vulnerable, loving someone. To get that close to someone and to have it end is abrupt and deeply dissatisfying. I know that I avoid relationship titles – either I tell every person I love them or I tell no one. Because to pick the very best one and still lose them is like finding someone ate the last slice of your triple chocolate cake.
Most of all I know I am a bad verbal communicator. These past 8 years I have had a nose buried in a journal to vent. So now when Rich asks me how I am after a long day at work, I just stare at him. I’m not ignoring his question, I just need time to process! My journals are patient with me and accept me unfiltered. I can whine as much as I want! Aloud, I’m cut short and told to be positive. But I need to pour out all my oozing negativity first to stand tall like a glass of sparkling lemonade.
My journals highlight my weaknesses, but going through my first one from my freshman year in high school shows me so much growth! I bet my journals could have never predicted the slumping girl in the same sweater everyday would come to love her beach hair and have a closet of 200 dresses. I was waiting for someone to tear my walls down, but my confidence did it for me.
In the upcoming years I’m sure I’ll have fewer journals, just enough to showcase the better communicator I plan to be.
It’s true, you can’t be in a healthy relationship unless you are happy with yourself. The beauty of writing is you get to express yourself uninhibitedly. A cathartic outlet, scribbling will always let your prioritize yourself.
So date a journal today, April 29th, and hear yourself think.