I wasn't looking for the diary. I was innocently cleaning out a drawer and there it was. A tan leather bound book entitled "Journal". I casually flipped through it. It was from seven years ago. Savannah, two years old; my marriage, three. I skimmed one page, then another. I sank onto the bed in shock. Absolute shock. I did not recognize this girl, this wife, this mother. Could this really be my voice? This person was ambitious, hopeful, kind, warm, and positively yearning for approval.

I am none of those things anymore. Not. One.

I have drifted so far from where I was, from who I was, yet I'm not even close to who or where I want to be.

Martha Beck says that when you feel your world is misaligned you need to get very quiet. Then ask yourself simply "When was I at my happiest?".

Honestly? I was my happiest when I was active in our religion and when I was writing. About here-ish. Two things that I haven't done regularly in at least two years. Basically, ever since we (barely) sold the only house we'd ever owned - (small voice) and probably ever will - I've done nothing but self medicate. With food. With alcohol. With denial. With judgment.

I've avoided writing because I've avoided introspection. I didn't want to admit that I'm partly to blame for my marriage problems, for my daughter's anxiety, for my crisis of faith. And without writing, without the processing it provides, I've struggled. And I've hardened in response to my guilt. Instead of trying to find solutions to my problems, I've tried to find escape. I've tried to shift blame.

Without writing, the only thing that has kept me sane throughout my life, I've had to deal with these nearly insurmountable problems without my resources, without my security, without my therapy.

I've been off my meds.

I once read that the most vital thing an artist needs in order to be creative is to feel safe.


I can't feel safe when I'm in debt. I can't feel safe when my marriage is rocky. I can't feel safe when my drinking worries me. I can't feel safe when I can't remember the last time I've prayed.

I read these diary entries - adoring my daughter, loving my husband, active in my religion, running my own business, going to college, making friends in a new town - and I look at who she has grown into. I don't see a woman who has grown wiser. I see a woman who has grown cynical. Cold. Bitter. Disappointed.

I look in the mirror and see a woman who has not only lost her innocence, but also her way.

Finding my old diary was a gift. An awakening. I know that happy, loyal, trusting girl still lives inside me. And I am determined to write my way back to her.

I feel like I'm finally facing in the right direction, so I'm just going to take a first step.


Kimberly Duncan said...

As a follower of your blog for many years, and now a friend on Facebook, I want to say that your post was raw, honest and very brave.
Do whatever it takes to get better.
I am behind you 100%.

moosh in indy. said...

This was delicious.

I have been both girls.

And I too, have written my way back between the two.

Momo Fali said...

Start with the praying. I don't know if it makes you better to know that someone else has been there, but I have. I'm barely finding my way out of that hole now. But, the good news is that it is not a bottomless pit. A pit, yes, but one you can crawl out of.

Hang in there.

Unknown said...

honestly writing how you are feeling IS the first step in the right direction.

keep on writing. you do it so well.

Robin said...

Loved your honesty and praying you find the safe place again.

Isabel @AlphaMom said...

i'll be here.

Y said...

I love you so much, my Blena.

So glad you wrote this.


Maria Melee said...

Oh I'm glad you're on your way.

Pgoodness said...

Good for you!!

Lisa Lehmann @StudioJewel said...

i remember the day i too, woke up, and couldn't remember THAT girl that i was. the journey back is long and hard...but oh, so worth it.

hang in there....write. write. write. you have people routing for you.

Matthew said...

How brave you are to share that with us. I must admit, it has me thinking of what I need to change as well. Thank you for sharing.

Susan @WhyMommy said...


Not just the post -- you.

You are, you know.

Now ... What's next?

Danielle Smith said...

This is beautiful. And so honest. Good for you..... taking this first step....this writing. Hugs to you.

Overflowing Brain said...

I had a conversation with my husband last week about how I wanted to go back to Temple after a long absence. I think there's something about that sense of community that grounds us, or me at least.

I hope that you are able to find your way back to where you used to be, where you want to be. xo

April said...

Sounds like a great first step. xo

babypop said...

When things are dark there is a small little light that can be overlooked. It sounds like you just found yours. Good luck on your journey back to your safe place it might take time but you will get there.

Find one good beautiful thing everyday it will keep you moving.

You moved me to tears. My thoughts are with you.

Sugar said...

I love you.
No other words could express what I was feeling when I read this.

Unknown said...

You'll find yourself again. That light, life-and-spirit-embracing you. This is a part of you, too, but a darker side. We all have one. I, too, let that part of me get hold and take over. I feel like I have and am rediscovering ME, again, in recent months. First time in years. Not that every moment has been bad, in recent years; but in the midst of being a mommy and wife, I put ME on the backburner. Now? I've come to realize that I am such a better mommy and wife, when I'm taking care of, and nurturing ME. I haven't gotten my own butt to church in a ridiculous amount of time, like you. But the season is upon us, isn't it? I think it's wonderful that you found your journal, and what perfect find it in this season.

Prayers for you, Lena. <3

motherbumper said...

I'm not sure I'd recognize the woman I was seven years ago. Your words are inspiring and I wish you the best with the gift you've found.

Hall Family in MD said...

Good for you, Lena! I admire you and can not wait to see where your journey will take you! Praying for you as you find your way back to you.

the-red-scorpion said...

Hi I have also been there and it really is like reading about "someone else". Prayer can definitely help you turn things around. I hope you will let us see the journey.
Love and Blessings Lisa

shock of life said...

wow. bravo for your honesty. really weird but today as i was driving in my car i thought of your blog and wondered where you have been...glad to find you in my inbox.

Linsey Farley Jameson said...

After all these years following your blog, this is one of my favorite posts. So honest and real. Really, so many of us go through things similar to this, losing ourselves and finding ourselves and the road in between, but how good of you to share it with us. I think (as women especially) we try so hard to put up a front, like we never go through things like this, we try to mask what we are really struggling with and think how much we could help each other if we shared it more.

This just makes me like you more.

Trish said...

Can't even tell you how much I understand and appreciate your honest words. Like looking in a mirror. Hopefully we will take those first steps back to our real selves together.

jc said...

Really, really great to see you back.

Laura said...

As a long-time reader, I feel like I know you (sorry, that sounds a little creepy, but I know you get it). I'm sorry you've been having a hard time, and I'm so glad that you're putting your feet on a new path. I don't know if it helps, but I want you to know that I am so impressed by your honesty and strength. None of us are perfect - everyone's marriage is shaky sometimes, we all make stupid choices and hate ourselves for them, and we all fall away from things that matter. You're not alone, and I'm grateful to you for showing me that I'm not, either.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

And what a first step you took. Wonderfully, wonderfully written. How do you feel for having gotten it out and taken that step? Better I bet. :)

JP said...

I absolutely love this. And not that I love your pain or discomfort, but because your journey back to you will be beautiful. Hard, but beautiful.
I am so grateful for my journey. And to be able to look back and see how far I've come.

Good luck!!!

Al said...

I love this. I (and much of the nation, I imagine) went through something similar these last two years, and when our finances fell apart, it affected me in ways I'd never dreamed. I lost both my parents before I was 24, and yet that didn't sap me of my hope and my optimism the way that foreclosure and financial ruin did. I'm also working on coming back and finding the optimistic, hopeful (skinny) girl I used to be- I quit writing too, for the same reasons. I was trying so hard to escape my own thoughts that I couldn't bear to address them on the page. As someone who ate too much, drank too much and wrote too little these last two years, someone who had a very hard time coping with a new life and a new identity, this post touched my heart. Thanks for putting it out there. Solidarity, sister. I'm fist pumping in your general direction. Go you!

Lupe said...

Thank you for the inspirational post! I'm only 19 but I've been reading your blog from the beginning too. I wish you all the best.

Jen in Germany said...

Feeling rather stalkerish, but I stubbled upon your blog 5 years ago and feel as though you are a distant friend whose life I've sometimes lost track off but have never stopped caring about. I love that you're back and I hope to read more about you reconnecting with the self you want to be. You are a witty and gifted writer. You inspire me with your raw honesty and insights and help me reconnect with the person I want to be too. Good luck to us both! :)

Suburban Turmoil said...

Lena, I'm so sorry you're feeling this way right now. We've all been there/are there/will be there. Write through it- You're so good at it, I feel like writing really is your calling and if you're not writing, you'll never really be satisfied.

Hang in there. :)

Unknown said...

I am so amazed that this post came to my inbox at this moment. If I were to write something it would sound a lot like your post. I have reconnected with my church, yet it just has sort of made me feel guilty about the parts of my life that are not in alignment. I hope that you blog some more so that we can follow and join together in the path to less boozy, tv and disconnected to happy, healthy and faith filled. Thanks! Like um, THANKS!

Laura said...

You are me.
I am you.
I could have written this post.
Today. Right now. I am here with you.

I want to call you...which is ridiculous..because I don't know you.

But I AM you..right now, I swear...
and I will say a prayer for you tonight.
I know what you are feeling.
I know it all too well.

But we are both too cute and smart to not get back on track!
I have faith.
In the both of us

~ Stacy ~ said...

I've been working at finding my way back too. I wish you all the best, Lena. Always. ♥

Nathan said...

Its good to know you found your diary. Sometimes you just need to get to know yourself in order to understand what's been going on. You cannot expect change to happen in an instant when you know the damage has been done, but when there is still enough time to make a difference, you can make the most of it. I hope your determination to embrace your inner self will take you to where you should be. Have faith.

Sheri Reed said...

coming to this very late, L, but this post is so beautiful, so honest. i hope you are finding your way back to you.

Anonymous said...

I hear you. I met you once at BlogHer Chicago and I found you to be very sweet, honest, and friendly. I was glad to have met you since I am kind of reserved/shy in person (I met you through Y).

But this post speaks volumes to me. I was never into religion and believe to each is own but I can relate with being lost. I too have been in marriage therapy, on meds, wondering what is best for me and my family because lately, what we are living isn't it. All we focus on is money, making it, and not losing it. And even though we own a home, a home and a company owns us. I don't like it. I wake up, go to work, come home, take care of our son for 2 hours, go to bed. That is no life. And we are not happy minus for our son.

We need to figure out what that is and we've been doing a lot of talks that might include moving out of thsi state for the first time in our lives (being 40 years old). The problem is we're scared. Where we want to go, we don't know if we can make it (California). We are tired of the same roads, the same people, the same (shitty)weather, just the same, the same, the same. We want something different, happier, and better for us and our son. But we also want a guarantee that it is the right decision.

Now to find out that that is.

IzzyMom said...

You know, I had a similar experience recently.

I found the diaryish thing I kept when my daughter was a baby. It was weird to read myself sounding so hopeful and earnest during one of the more challenging times of my adult life.

I hope you're getting back to where you want to be {{hugs}}

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