I recently started re-reading all of the journals I've kept since I was about eight years old. I've laughed, I've cried and I've learned a lot about myself. One of the primary patterns I noticed is that I tended to hide any feelings that I deemed negative or potentially bothersome to others. In middle school I pretended everything was fine and throughout high school I developed a wall thick enough to hide my real feelings from everyone, including myself. In college I was so far removed from how I felt that my friends actually congratulated me during the one or two times I cried throughout those 4 years.
All of these unexpressed negative emotions are still sitting inside of me like a poison, causing me to feel constantly dizzy and distracted. I'm starting to learn healthy ways of expressing myself, and one of those ways is through art. Last week, I created the following page in my art journal.
A few years ago, I wouldn't have shared this with anyone. I wouldn't have told anyone that I felt sad because I was so focused on creating an image of myself as a strong person without any needs or reasons to burden other people.
Today, however, I recognize the importance of self expression. I'm beginning to understand how negative emotions are a normal part of life and that it is sometimes okay to be vulnerable. This journal page was a way to let myself feel something real, and to assert that I don't need to hide what I'm really feeling.