Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Half-truths and sugar-coated memories

I said something out loud recently. Something I hadn’t had the guts to say to anyone before. Not even to myself. I may not have even realized it until the words left my mouth.  

Saying this out loud not only took me by surprise, it shocked the hell out of the imaginary voices in my head.  The conversation went something like this:

#1: “OMG, did she just say that?”

#2: “Yeah, she did. Is she crazy?”  

Me: “I’m not crazy… Nooooo... Shhhhhh!”

#3: “Shut up and let her talk.”

While having dinner with a friend, I said: “I’ve never been completely honest in my journal.”

Say what?

I continued: “I never honestly documented what was really going on.”

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While looking back at old journal entries, I realized that, in some cases, I had only scratched the surface. In others, I had so drastically glossed over the truth; I had to double check to see if it was actually my journal. 

It’s as if I was afraid to “go there.” The pages were filled with half-truths and sugar-coated memories.

What was I afraid of? Why couldn’t I be honest in my own journal?

Upon the realization of this, I became increasingly pissed off at myself. I’m talking chicken-neck, finger-wagging, “Oh no you did-ent!” pissed off. That’s right. I wanted to go all “Jerry Springer” on, well, me.

But there I was in a restaurant, surrounded by strangers, confessing this to a friend. Not a close family member. Not an inner circle girlfriend. But a friend/colleague who was hearing for the first that I was getting divorced and that I had committed a journal-listic no-no. 

I was guilty of fudging.

Why so pissed off? Because I lied to myself, and by lying to myself it kept me from seeing the real truth about my marriage, about my ex and about myself. It kept me from seeing the damage that was being done to my daughters. 

I don’t think I can ever forgive myself for that last one.  

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I started writing a journal in early 2005. Ironically, it was late 2005 when I realized my marriage was in trouble. I spent the next five years trying to save it, with no luck.

My initial intention was to honestly document family events and life lessons for my daughters. Something they would read when I was long gone – mentally or otherwise.

“I dedicate this book to my girls… Never forget that my love for you is absolute.”

Aw, how nice…  

“I also dedicate this book to the love of my life …”

Wait… What?

“I can’t imagine my life without you…”

Someone please make it stop!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

 Suddenly, on Nov. 25, 2005, I got real. There was some truth. Finally! Unfortunately, after this journal entry, the truth faded.

“I’ve never hurt like this before… The thought of my marriage coming to an end knocks the wind out of me.”

Even now as I write this, I have to catch my breath.

“But I love you enough to let you go…”

And I did. I let him go. By doing so, I set myself free. 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Once I set myself free I saw the real truth. However, with real truth comes real pain, and that kind of sucks, to be perfectly honest.

Haven’t I been through enough pain? Isn’t divorce painful enough?

Apparently not!

OK, so setting me free has a price. But it’s one I’m willing to pay. I have to. If I don’t, I’ll end up in the same boat of lies and half-truths that I was once in and I can’t – I won’t – do that again.  

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Now, for a chuckle, at my expense… I can’t help but cry-laugh (that’ when you laugh and cry at the same time) at the following, mostly because I’m not into horoscopes and because I found it by following a link on my oldest daughter’s Facebook page. (Snooping? Me? Nooooooo!)

So here goes…My horoscope for the upcoming week.

“Your mind will touch on emotional events that you may not have fully dealt with at the time they happened.”

Do they know me or what?

“Old feelings that you thought were gone could well up and bring tears to your eyes.”

Pass me a tissue, please…

“Honestly face these feelings now instead of stuffing them back down for another decade.”



  1. If your initial intention was to let your daughters read the journal when they were older, then I think you did the right thing by not saying the whole truth. That you can save for this blog!

  2. Let me help you out on this. Remember what Elwood Blues said in the Blues Brothers? "It's not lying, it's just "bullshitting"... In your case it's not, "Fudging", it's called "Creative license". Relax...

  3. I suspect that beginning a journal with the idea that our children will someday read it would keep a lot of us from being completely honest! But I also think that a journal holds what we need to say at a particular time in our lives. And sometimes, we're not ready to tell ourselves the truth; sometimes we need to ease ourselves into it. Committing an idea, thought, fear to paper can be frightening - it makes it more *real* - and we're not always ready to commit to those scary truths in our heads. In other words, I'll bet you're not the only one with a sugar coated journal. :)

    On a much lighter scale, I recently found an old journal of mine from junior high. There were a lot of entries about the object of my affections, mostly about how much I *didn't* like him. Ha! I was completely in love with the guy, but he didn't like me back. Lies though they were, they were what I needed to tell myself at the time in order to deal with my young unrequited love.

  4. It is ever the *real* truth? I mean... all that I write is what I'm feeling at the time. That doesn't make it real tomorrow but just what I felt then. It's all perceptive, isn't it?

    I've been soul searching and trying to deal with things for 5 years now. It's invigorating and exhausting. I'll cheer you on on your journey. I wish you well.

    And I hope you find your peace along the way.


  5. Pauline: Very true, since that was my initial intention. Sadly, it turned into something else along the way. Considering starting all over. A do-over for my girls!

  6. J.R.: "Creative license" - Love it! And yeah, trying to relax over here. This ice cold Corona is helping! :)

  7. Martini Mom: You nailed it! I wasn't ready to deal with the truth. I've been spending so much time beating myself up instead of realizing that I wasn't ready. I just wasn't ready. And that's a tough pill for me to swallow.

  8. T: Perspective. Another "You nailed it!" moment. I know there were times when I was really hurting, but the words on these pages don't reflect that all.

    Five years is a long time so I understand where you're coming from and I understand your decision. Wishing you much peace and love!

  9. my biggest "journal" fear? me dying and my mom reading my journal. I have to be able to say what I need to say but would hate to think that after I am gone, I would hurt her that bad. Friends have instructions. if I die...1. take all my journals and well...I don't know yet. 2. empty the bottom drawer of my bedside table and the bottom shelf of my bookshelf. oh, and the survivor books...and the book about being the daughter of a narcissist needs to go byebye as well. I better live longer than her...the guilt would kill me again!