My story and journey to doodling my emotions…
Welcome to Chaos to Blessings and welcome to the inside or behind the scenes that is driving my passion with journaling my emotions.
I used to be a constant journal writer, everyday. I would write all the fun things I did that day, food I ate and what the weather was like outside. The one thing I did not include in my journals was anything sad or things that were going wrong AND nothing negative hit my journals, ever. It had pretty stickers, tons of crazy washi tape, glitter and a lot of watercolor paint! I loved the beauty of my creations that I journaled each day.
Then, there was a devastating event that happened to me and our family. I fell into a deep depression and was controlled by my anxiety and fear. I quit journaling. It was not a gradual quitting but I hit the stop button, and all at once, it stopped. I couldn't pick up the pen to write anything because I felt there was nothing good to write about and I didn't want to taint my pretty and happy journal with the ugly that was happening in my life.
For three years I would look at my stack of journals, I would see ribbons hanging out and the happy paint on the edges of the pages and I could not touch the cover to peek inside and explore the times I loved, creatively pouring out my happiness. I felt sadness looking at the stack, so I moved those journals to a drawer and forgot about the love that journaling brought me.
I was deep into therapy for these few years. I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD. I did Talk therapy, EMDR and Brain Spotting. You name it, I tried it. My therapist was so compassionate and she never gave up on me when I had already given up on myself. She talked with me about journaling and I told her, I can't. I don't want to taint my journals and I can't write anything down without crying. It hurts too bad. Then one day...
I took out a journal. A fresh clean book with no marks. My hands shook as I sat there with a blank page in front of me. Just a pencil in my hand, no fancy tape, no glitter and no paint. Just a small traveler's notebook, my pencil and my thoughts. I felt so small looking at my journal. I was scared to write something, anything, and afraid to allow myself the freedom to express my hurts, pains, fears, guilt, shame and all the negative emotions that were my constant companion over the past few years. I allowed those negative emotions full reign over my life because I felt unworthy.
When I finally made a mark, it was ugly. It was all the sad things, all the hurtful things and everything that broke my heart and broke me. It poured out on the pages and it was there. It stared at me...the gray pencil marks. The hurt. The brokenness. Guilt, shame, fear and humiliation made me powerless for so long that all of the negative emotions that I allowed to set a camp up inside of my mind were looking back at me. I was a mess. I ripped out the papers that I had written on and threw all my thoughts and hurt away because it was all the ugly that I had been holding inside for so long and I didn't want to see them. I cried and hated myself.
Then, the next day I did it again, just the pencil and paper in front of me. Days turned into weeks, weeks into other weeks. Slowly, I accepted what happened to me. I didn't like it, my heart still aches and I was still so wrapped up in grief.
Through this time, I begin sharing my feelings with my husband instead of protecting him from my chaotic thoughts. I would write things down and then felt the courage to speak my truth into words to him. It was the chaos and the calm in-between the pages of my journal and I felt the courage to speak into existence what I was going through and I began to face the fear of the feelings that I kept hidden in the dark. I was being honest with myself and with my husband for the first time in years.
Today, my journal looks different than it did before 2018. Some of my pages are self portraits of me and what I was feeling that day. Somedays, it is writing down my thoughts and then changing the narrative to what if? I learned and I am still learning to be honest in my journal and face dark emotions and then ask myself, what if I wanted my situation to look different? So I write down my circumstances, thoughts, emotions and the action or actions I can take to get the results I want.
Some days I just write "I Am Enough" and I will add water color paint to it and I will allow the colors to mix and get muddy and make beautiful art on their own in the pages in my journal. I now write things like:
It's okay to be sad
It's okay to not be perfect
It's okay for people not to want me in their lives and I am struggling with my feelings about that, but it's okay to be heartbroken
It’s okay to say I am okay and because THAT I can celebrate, and that is really okay!!
My desire and my heart wants to share how to be okay as well with your situations. How to make blank pages transform negative emotions into manageable emotions. Create a safe space to share your thoughts and turn those "I can't" into "maybe I can". There was a sign that hung in my therapist office, opposite where I sat. It was a series of pictures and in the middle of the pictures there was a plaque that said "You Can Do This..." For years I looked at those words and I would roll my eyes thinking to myself, yeah, whatever. That sign is such inspiration to me now, those words that I stared at each session are now my motto.... "I Can Do this"!!!
I have been wanting to help others, it has been on my heart for awhile. What if circumstances happened in my life for a reason? Maybe that reason was to learn how to manage the emotions in my life and help others do the same. So I changed the words around a little bit from an old blog I used to write on, Blessings Amid Chaos, and what was born of my new journaling habits was Blessings Amid Chaos, Doodle Your Emotions.
I am currently getting my certification for Heartwork Journaling and it is allowing me the ability to lead classes, courses, in-person seminars and webinars to help others as well to bring a calm to their chaos and learning to turn chaos and uncertainty into manageable emotions through creativity with simple doodles and color.
I am excited to share my story, my heartbreak, and how I was able to listen to my therapist and ask myself, what if? Then transforming those what-if's into color and being purposeful in how I journal.
I can't wait for you to join me on my journey to meaningful and healing journaling! I am so excited to share what I have learned and to also share my joy and freedom of the new me that I have been able to achieve through very dark times. Allow me to help you find your, You Can Do This, inspiration.
Certified HeartWork Journaling Instructor and Coach
I am a wife to an amazing man named Jeremy, mother to three grown adults sons and a Yaya to a beautiful granddaughter. We are very blessed to be living on the beautiful island of Barbados, and by living here we are able to accept the cards life gave us and we are learning what our new normal is all about. This picture of us was taken while we were visiting Barbados on our 25th wedding anniversary and where we fell in love with the amazing place we now call home.