Tag Archives: journal

Bless My Stupid Heart

A Woman Reading by Camille Corot courtesy Met OASC

A Woman Reading
by Camille Corot
courtesy Met OASC

Fifteen years ago, I kept a journal of sorts for a writing exercise. Each morning, I wrote three pages of stream of consciousness writing. This afternoon, I read it for the first time since then.

Oh, bless my stupid little heart.

I thought he was my best friend. I thought he loved me. I thought I couldn’t live without us.

I was writing those words while Fartbuster was sneaking around and cheating on our marriage. I was so clueless. So much of it was devoted to me trying to convince myself that it was all going to be OK. So much of it was explaining away how he treated me. So much of it was about how my insecurity was the REAL problem. So much of it was me trying to be the reason it was going wrong so that I could be the one to fix it.

One morning, I wrote about how the night before, someone had rung the doorbell at 7:45 p.m. I had found myself hoping that it was Fartbuster, surprising me with a big bouquet and a spontaneous laugh. No, it was a teenage boy selling the newspaper. And in my writing, I chastised myself for being “tough” on Fartbuster when he did finally get home at 8:30. Eight thirty on a Wednesday night and I beat myself up instead of him.

One morning, I wrote about how he was helping out around the house more. How I had returned home from a Saturday outing with a friend to find that he had washed the sheets. Now I wonder what he was washing away. My heart is tightening up in fury now, just thinking about that Saturday, fifteen years ago.

It hurt my heart to read that journal. I skimmed. I fumed. This woman I am now, this wiser woman wanted to judge my younger self for being so dumb. I gave my younger self some grace. Trusting someone you’re supposed to trust isn’t a bad choice. Being a lying asshole is a bad choice.

She wised up, eventually. That mess didn’t ruin her. I’ve come so far, but I’d still like to give her a hug and a good talking to.

Make a Resolution To Practice Gratitude

I write about gratitude a lot, and gratitude journals in particular.  Several of you have mentioned starting the practice for yourselves…so how about now?  Why not add gratitude journaling to your New Year’s resolutions?  

This week, when you’re out shopping for gifts for others, wander on over to the bookstore and buy yourself a beautiful journal.  Put it by your bed.  Each night, jot down at least 5 things that you appreciated from that day.  It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence or punctuated or spelled correctly.  This journal is for you.  

Here’s an early blog post called “Gratitude Grows” that I wrote about the stack of journals by my bed.  It’s been growing there since 2004–that explains the dust.  Richard was still alive in the bottom of the stack.  The purple one is from the year we bought this house.  The red one holds the year he died.  I met G and my children higher up.  The stack has grown by one more since I took this picture.  

gratitude fixed

A Letter To My Daughter

This is a Mike Letter, complete with photo montage and watercolor.  Rufus the cat is completely unrelated.

This is a Mike Letter, complete with photo montage and watercolor. Rufus the cat is completely unrelated.

It’s my turn to host the blog hop!  Our theme this week is “The Last Letter I Wrote By Hand.”  Mike Miller, if you’re reading this, it’s in honor of you and the exquisite letters you’ve sent my way over the last 28 years.  Y’all seriously. Mike not only writes REAL letters, he writes them on paper he has made and/or painted by hand.

Letters are dear to me but have faded from my life for the most part.  There’s a Heineken box in the basement filled with all the letters I got while in high school and college.  When G and I were decluttering the den this weekend, he found a “To My Wife” Valentine stuck in a cabinet drawer…signed by Fartbuster.  Yeah, it was time for a cleaning!  I remember writing a letter on mint green paper to give to  Fartbuster on our wedding day.  I wonder what happened to those promises I meant so deeply that day.

Well, that was then.  This is now.  I do still write some letters, about two a year.

I keep a little journal for each of my children and I write letters to them about what’s going on in their lives at this date and how they are growing and changing.  I’ve been writing these letters since before they were born.

The first letter in Vivi’s journal is addressed to “Dear Pollywog,” because we didn’t even know then if we were having a boy or a girl.  That letter was composed in my cozy compartment on a train trip across Canada with the Cowboy Junkies.  Yeah, that was a cool letter.  A few months later, I wrote Vivi a letter from a beach in Puerto Rico before she was born.  I was watching a pelican dive and dive and dive for its dinner and it made me think about persistence.  I wanted her to know that it’s important to know that it sometimes takes 100 tries before you get what you’re aiming for.  There are letters about her first step and first word.  Her favorite knock-knock jokes and a picture she drew for Santa on a napkin we left next to the cookies and milk.

Old journal, new media

Old journal, new media

The last letter in that journal was written a year ago–I’ve had less impetus to write now that she and I TALK so much.  The letter described a typical Saturday morning, the games we played all piled in the big bed together and the mango she and Daddy shared for breakfast.  The pirate game we made up on the playfort and her favorite Octonauts shows.

On the page behind that letter is a little note she wrote to Daddy when she and I were on an adventure:  “I mist u som uhc dad. I luov u.  Thak u.”  One day, she’ll meet herself in these letters.

I guess that’s why we hold on to letters.  They capture those moments in the folds of the paper, the people we were on those days.  

What’s the last letter you wrote out by hand?  Want to read more stories about handwritten letters?  Follow these links to read more!

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