Just . . . Stop

I am a self-proclaimed-crappy-journal-writer. When friends post blogs and pull lines or pages from previous journals, it makes me sad. Sometimes I can’t even read the blog. I have a few journals with scattered thoughts, tucked away in a box somewhere. But I do not possess notebook upon notebook. I have more than one, but only one or two that has actually been filled. Instead, all my thoughts are crammed into my head, and it’s no wonder I have a hard time shutting off my brain.

For background, I started out at a young age, writing anything I could write. I copied definitions from the dictionary, just to feel the pen or pencil glide across the paper. I started silly stories, wrote down the things that made me angry, and scribbled other nonsense that only an eight-year-old can dream up.

My scribbles were found, read and scrutinized. My stories were mistaken as a reflection of my real life, my angry ramblings were criticized, and my nonsense was taken out of context and almost ridiculed.

It was hard for me to write again, for a long time. And even though I have worked through a lot of the issues (although, not with the person who gave me the issues), I hesitate to journal.

I know my husband won’t go through my things or read my words, but someone else might, someday. What if I am brutally honest and write the things I am feeling while being pregnant, and my child reads it one day? What if I’m gone, and my words are found, but I can no longer defend my feelings or choices?

I was 14 when my aunt passed away, and her parents read her journals. I remember my mom telling me how upset everyone was by her words. That only increased my fear and anxiety.

I carry my journal in my purse but rarely try to fill its pages. I ache to write more, and the more I write little nothings, the more I want to write blogs, or dabble with the two main books in my head, or try to find a “real job” where I can write (in addition to, not instead of, my current job).

Yesterday I started to write more. It was glorious. I had started lugging my laptop to work again, but I know this will not be feasible when my stomach prevents me from seeing my feet. Sometimes I’ll send myself an email, filled with blog ideas, book excerpts or quotes I want to expand.

Maybe I should email myself my journal. Maybe that will help squash the fear until it’s completely gone. Will it ever be gone?

I won’t know until I stop being afraid. If I wake up every day and tell myself, “You are not afraid of your words being read,” perhaps I will start to believe it. Maybe it’s the same principle as “Choose to be happy, and you will be happy.” My inner snarky self is already laughing at me, knowing it’s hard for me to change.

I’m going to try anyway. I want to write about everything. The beach, working in bridal, basketball, being pregnant, my dogs, my loves, my life. The things I want read and the things I want to keep hidden. The good and the bad, the issues and the triumphs, the family who stayed and the family who flew away.

So I will. If someone reads it and gets offended, oh well. I will never be truly happy with all these thoughts in my head.

And maybe these darn headaches will finally give me some peace.


10 thoughts on “Just . . . Stop

  1. Zen says:

    That’s always been my worry about journals. I fear that one day somebody will read them and get offended. Fortunately my parents (and family in general) don’t know how to read English very well, but I still worry. I used to write in my journal all the time, but now… not so much.

  2. Anne Katherine says:

    I’ve the solution for you: write one journal full of ideas and thoughts opposite of your own. Completely opposite, saying you love those you hate and hate those you love….everything like that! Then just write away all you want. I suppose you’ll have to do a new anti-journal every year or so. But then if something were to happen everyone would just be terribly confused. Except for me 🙂 I would know!
    I am so sorry for all your anxiety about writing and wish you lots of peaceful moments writing with abandon in the near future — your words are wonderful!

  3. K.B. says:

    I read this earlier today and was hesitant on replying until I could formulate something helpful.

    I wrote all the time as a child. I would sneak books into bed and hide under the covers with a flashlight just so I could read all night long. My mother asked a therapist what to do about my late-night habit, and she was told to buy me more books.

    I read and wrote a lot as a child, and I wish I still had some of my old material. Life happened, as it usually does, and it wasn’t until my divorce and subsequent “enlightenment” that I needed to get back to it.

    I can certainly relate to your problem with turning the brain into the off position. I have so many ideas that it’s like a super highway inside my head, and I keep telling myself if I could write 5% of what’s in my head I would feel productive.

    I think the biggest hurdle with writing is to start. I find myself with so many ideas and projects that I don’t know which to turn to next, and paid projects seem to take time away from my personal ones I really want to write. Starting to write is a beast all on its own. I have these topics, I know what I want to write, yet the motivation isn’t there. Sometimes it hits you like a truck and you start writing, other times it comes when you least expect it.

    I have published 3 books, soon to be 4, and I have about 50 more in my head. Sometimes I can’t bring myself to write; other times (and these are rare) it just hits me and I type away. Don’t rush it. You will know when you are ready.

    If you’re worried about journals and someone being offended by it later, one idea is to create a fictitious person. Write about her daily thoughts, loves, hates, aggravations, and everything in between, and this way you can still write and release all you like without fear of backlash or horror of future generations finding your ramblings and thinking it’s about them.

    I think another roadblock is worrying if people will like what you write. My poetry and propensity for rhyming in children’s books drives a very close friend of mine crazy. Bonkers-type crazy. He can’t stand how I rhyme, but he also acknowledges and appreciates that others do enjoy this format. You’re never going to please everyone all of the time, or even some people some of the time. Write for you, and you alone, and you will find happiness.

    If you ever need someone to offer an opinion on your writing, you know where to find me. I truly enjoy your blog posts and think you have a great ability to tell a story in a way that flows, keeps the reader engaged, and makes people think.

    The idea of you not writing more is disheartening to say the least.

    • Jen Hurowitz says:

      It took me a while to respond because, to be honest, your comment made me cry! I’m always looking for advice from writers, and part of the reason I love to write about my struggle with writing is so the advice flows in! I truly appreciate the offer of your opinion and hopefully will take you up on it, one day. I’m happy I’ve been writing more this week, and maybe as my belly grows and being active is more difficult, I will reach for my notebook or laptop instead of the t.v. remote.

      “Write for you, and you alone, and you will find happiness.” I love this line, and plan to remember it. Thank you so much for your kind words!

      • K.B. says:

        You have a story to tell. You have emotions to share. Don’t worry about a N.Y. Times bestseller list or what people will think of what you write. I meant it when I said it; write for you. If you find it interesting, compelling, or just need to get it in writing, chances are someone else will be interested in reading what you share.

        I know I’m one of those people, and I’m sure there are more of me out there. Whether it’s your passion for your husband, your constant struggle against BSL to protect your pups, or your new journey into motherhood, you have plenty to share and even more people who love to read about it. You and I have never spoken on voice, but I read everything you write and will continue to do so.

        So stop second-guessing yourself, get an attitude (blame it on hormones if you want, perfect timing!), and reaffirm your belief in yourself. We already know you’re an incredible person, and we want to learn more. Get writing girl.

      • Jen Hurowitz says:

        We are going to the beach tonight for nine days, so I hope to get some writing done while I’m there! I’ll take my journal on the beach. 🙂

  4. I’ve kept a journal since I was a young girl. Don’t know what I would have done without it?! I am like you, I have too many thoughts in my head that I need to get out. 🙂 I remember worrying when I was a kid that someone would read my journal, as far as I know, no one ever did, and eventually those worries left me.

    I did burn all my old journals several years ago, it was just a cleansing activity, you know letting go of the past and making room for the future. It wasn’t easy to do, but once I made the decision, I did feel a lot of relief. Maybe knowing that you could do something like that would make it easier for you to write in a journal. You don’t have to keep them forever, if you don’t want to. 🙂

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