I had a dream.

I stood alone in what had been my childhood bedroom – staring at the dresser with a familiar discomfort. My fingers clutched at the handle of the third drawer from the top and pulled hard, straining from the weight of its contents.

I reached in with both hands. I felt the contents and slowly, I lifted them, one by one, out of the drawer.

Mystical maidens, unicorns, rainbows, and fairies, dragons, and elves all disappeared, as I placed the journals into the box that my mum had brought in.

She stood by the bedroom door and watched me silently as I carried the box through the house and out of the front door.

I whispered, “I’m not sorry to see them go.”

In that moment, my mum was aware of something that had eluded me for most of my life. And now, as an adult, I was ready to let go of something I had always been attached to, something that had caused me so much pain throughout all of the years I had been writing in those journals: MY FORMER SELF.

My mum looked at me and said, “It’s okay, sweetheart. Let them go. You’ll be fine.”

And I woke up from the dream.

Writing hasn’t always come naturally to me, but I had started writing in journals (not very seriously) at the age of 9. As the youngest and only girl, I found it far less intimidating to share my thoughts with a blank sheet of paper than with another human being. Also, I wasn’t really encouraged to be heard.

I began to actively write in diaries – filling page after page each day and night – at the age of 13 with my tales of prepubescent woe.

I continued this practice until I was halfway through my young adult life, dedicating over a dozen spiral-bound volumes to a verbose body of work seeking to prove my hypothesis that my existence was pointless and that nobody loved me.

Then, I just… stopped. I stopped writing down my thoughts and feelings.
And it actually helped me. I felt better. Somehow. Not for very long though.
But, I didn’t have it in me to continue writing every day. I think it was my way of avoiding my thoughts and what might come out of it.

I probably stopped because I began to see my writing habit as destructive than therapeutic. It was much easier to validate my own negative emotions than it was to challenge my perceptions, ask others for help, or work to make meaningful changes in my life.

—-

And while writing this, I began to realise what my dream was about: LETTING GO..

Let go of the judgement you feel towards who you were in the past

Through therapy and writing again (journalling / blogging), I no longer judge the girl who worked so hard to define herself on the pages of those diaries. I write to her now, with lots  and lots of love and care. I tell her that she is loved and that she doesn’t have to wait for things to get better – that she already has everything she needs to be happy – the adult me (work in progress).

I tell her every day that she has plenty of things to be grateful for, and that I am proud of who she is, and who she has become.

You are not betraying yourself by moving on

I’ve always been afraid to talk to people about my past experiences that caused me suffering because I mistakenly believed that they were a part of me. These days, I need to keep reminding myself that my desire is to live in the present, not the past.

While those experiences – along with the ones I remember more fondly – have helped to shape who I am today, they are not my identity.

I tend to hold onto something that meant something to me in the past, like a shirt, book or even people. I used to feel guilty about letting it go, but now, I feel it’s unnecessary to keep something that no longer fits my identity.

Remember that you are more than the sum of your thoughts and experiences, and that while you don’t need to judge them, these are things that often tie you down from being in the present moment.

Share the experiences that cause you shame with YOUR people

Due to my past experiences and trauma, it’s very difficult for me to trust people. This is because when I wasn’t burying my emotions in my diaries, I was putting my trust in individuals who didn’t treat it with love, care, respect and compassion.

Nevertheless, I’m very grateful for those people and experiences, as they allow me to realise that I’m truly fortunate for the compassionate and loving relationships I have today. I’ve met people who encourage me to share my story and myself with them, who don’t judge me (like, really, they don’t judge) for my choices in life and who support me through my process of self-discovery and more.

 

In a world where it’s all too easy to form superficial connections, I encourage you to take the time to cultivate your real-life relationships. Focus on sharing raw, human emotions with your partner, friend or family, and on listening to them with all the passion you desire when you are sharing!

In doing so, you are building your trust around people and vice versa. And the courage you show in being raw and vulnerable may allow your partner and friends to release one of their own burdens. There are very few things in life that are more rewarding and life affirming than being present in that way for people you love.

It’s a scary step to take, but once you take it, you’ll feel so alive. And you just want to keep going!

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