Caught between pain and guilt, I started keeping a journal. I wrote every doubt, fear, and painful moment within its pages. It’s starting to be filled with ink, the bleeding of my heart on pretty purple-lined paper. It’s cathartic, but only in the moment of writing; my doubts and fears return to me after a brief rest, unsatisfied with their inky expressions. I wonder, if I could somehow perfectly articulate the barbed storm within, would it finally subside?
I tell myself that my journal is not shameful, that I am merely attempting to capture the human experience. The truth is that I am mortified at my own brokenness. I hide and hold it within, like a child clutching the broken pottery pieces of their mother’s fine china. The difference is that the child will be found out, scolded and forgiven. I could hold my brokenness forever, and no one would know if I did not tell them. And, because mental illness and internal struggle is not seen as heroic–though succeeding despite self-doubt and panic is the most heroic thing I have ever done–people do not care to be reminded that those they love are suffering.
I don’t want to be a burden on anyone, and though I am more than willing to share the burdens of others, I do not hand off my burdens to those I trust. I’m a pack mule; I carry the baggage of the entire traveling party and endure the heavy weight with little complaint and a trusting expression.
I always said that I would be able to unburden myself if I ever found someone supportive enough that I could trust them with everything. But that is putting the responsibility for dealing with my issues on another person–a childlike damsel-in-distress fantasy that I have long outgrown. There is no hero coming to save me. I shall have to unpack myself.
So, I have started journaling. I’m writing what hurts, in an attempt to patch up the cracks in my soul. I have several saddle-bags full of broken pieces. I’m not sure which ones are mine and which ones belong to others, but maybe I could make a mosaic of the barbed edges, and maybe it could be beautiful.