SECRET PAGES THAT SHOULD REMAIN SO

Somehow I’ve been recalling an invasion of my journals, way back when there were only a couple of notebooks, or maybe a few more, as my collection.

Decades later, I was told that nobody has any business opening anyone else’s journals – it’s an invasion of not just privacy but personal integrity. A form of abuse, actually.

The reaction at the time, though, continues to haunt me: “These look like they’re for publication. There’s nothing personal!”

Meaning, as I still hear it, no deep feelings or emotions.

This, mind you, was coming from a neighbor and dear friend, not a lover.

She had no business – absolutely none – for violating my psyche. Remember that, if you must when facing a similar temptation.

When I started journaling, about the time I graduated from college, I was attempting to construct a thread to help me identify the scope of “my problem” through a period of rejection and deep depression. What emerged was more a matter of observing the world around me and the many startling new experiences my encounters were presenting. To my surprise, I started recording far more of the highs than the psychological lows. Many of the entries have ultimately worked their way into my fiction and poetry, either as prompts or details. And many other pages remain embarrassing claptrap.

Apparently something similar happened when I was living in the ashram. In reviewing those journals much later, I was appalled to find someone had ripped out whole pages. I wish I could see what I’d written – it must have touched realities too close to raw truth.

Much later, when I was more candid in recording my feelings and emotions, a girlfriend did clandestinely dig into my more recent pages and then, when I came home from the office, turned those confessions to myself against me. This was in something that was a difficult relationship from the get-go, and where else could I pour my confusion and anger, much less look at issues I needed to work on? The underlying message was stifling. Bottle your emotions. Keep quiet. Anything you say or write may be held against you.

This countered an underlying problem I’ve had in that I’ve always had trouble fully acknowledging or owning my feelings and emotions. The reasons are many and deeply buried, but one result is that I live far more in my left brain than the right, at least as far as human relationships go. As for expressing them? A first draft might land far from the mark.

Well, for those who might wonder about those journals – now up to volume No. 188 – I can say you’d find most of them pretty boring. Much of the time my biggest challenge comes simply in trying to track the events of the previous week or so. Unlike my wife, who can remember in vivid detail events from decades ago, my days become blurs. She’s come to realize I’m defenseless in arguments, simply because I have no idea what I meant when I allegedly said or did such and so years ago. (Anyone else have that experience?)

Add to that my penchant for an idealistic outlook and, well, what results is often more an outline to be filled in later, should I get a chance.

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