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Release, Renew

Posted On: February 1, 2022


Back in early December, Matt and I took a trip to the North Country to see some really good friends. Most of the time was spent indulging in the moment. Indulging in friendship and family – good meals, good booze, good talks, and good wholesome fun (face painting, drawing, cutting down/decorating a Christmas tree, and dancing in a 4-toddler-strong-party). On our last night, once all the kiddos were put to bed, we lounged by a roaring fire feeling satiated in both hearts and bellies, telling stories (as one does by the fire).

I was asked to tell the story of how Matt and I became Matt and I – first dates, first kisses – all that yumminess. As I started, it became clear that one of my friends was missing some key moments in my history. I felt at ease with my friends, which meant that I felt safe to go back, way back, to times I’d rather forget than remember. I told tales of abuse, manipulation, and gaslighting that I had suffered under the tutelage of Yoga to the People. These stories are a part of the story of my love story with Matt, so they needed to be included for the full picture. Once I “finished”, I felt emotions bubble up that I hadn’t felt in a long time- SHAME, GUILT, and REGRET. I excused myself and left the room crying, needing to pull myself together. When I reemerged, I received a giant bear hug, unconditional love, and these words- “we all have painful things happen to us. They don’t define us. They are a part of our story, but they are not the whole story.”

When leaving Maine, I was a little taken aback by my emotional response. I thought I worked all of this out. Usually when I think I have it all figured out, I don’t. This story (yet again) brought me to my knees with its painful past, revealing that these feelings still needed to be felt.  I sat with my emotions and shit got dark, until I was offered a spark of light.

I was participating in a breath workshop online, and the discussion moved to the difference between calendars and journals. With a calendar, you keep them visible and out in the open. You can set goals, record future events, and look back and reflect with gratitude on either completing the goal or knowing where you fell short. It’s informative and less emotional. A journal or diary we covet, hide, and hope that no one will read our deepest queries when we die. I have always been an avid journal writer, documenting all of my pain/questions while carrying these journals from city to city and home to home. This teacher’s musings about journals and calendars wasn’t anything new, but the timing was just right. 

I was ready to hear it and do something about it. These journals contain some of my most painful moments. Moments that I don’t need to sit and revisit–I know them. I can tell you all about them because I have lived them. So, a lightbulb went off. I became rash and out of character. I did something I would never expect myself to do – I gathered all of my journals and BURNED THEM! And it felt DAMN GOOD! 

Ripping out the pages and watching them burn wasn’t just cathartic but seductive. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the fire. I was burning pieces of myself that I no longer needed to carry from place to place.  And as the last flames died amidst a pile of ash, I felt lighter, I felt more at ease, and I felt ready for my next chapter – one where one story ends and a new one begins…

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