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.

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