Writing Myself to Sleep

I began writing in my journal again. A few weeks ago life started to become a little… much. That sparked my need to do two things: go to church and write. I am not an outrageously religious person; however, I was raised to be.

Growing up I lived in a duplex — meaning my mother and I shared the apartment upstairs and my grandfather and grandmother shared the apartment downstairs. Growing up a staircase away from my grandparents was amazing and my mom and grandma were my absolute best friends.

My grandmother was quite religious. Growing up with her around meant I attended church with her sometimes twice a week (but always at least once), my mother enrolled me in Sunday school (which was actually on a Thursday) so she didn’t have to hear my grandma complain and I also was in church choir, all the church plays, I prayed before bed and before meals and knew the rosary by heart before I knew how I spell my own name.

I was taught that when life got me down, which it would, to turn to faith. I had it embedded in my head that God would never allow me to suffer alone and that I should always turn to him when in need.

Well, after my grandma died when I was in middle school, my mom didn’t keep those traditions alive for me. So, I didn’t attend church as often, I didn’t pray as often, I stopped saying the rosary and Thursday nights were for sports not religion classes. This was around the time I started relying on writing full-time. I would journal every night before bed. Even if there wasn’t a specific topic, I would just write.

I gave up writing in my journal in college mainly due to falling asleep while studying and not really being motivated to find time to write. When I would write, there would be a purpose. A topic. I forgot how riveting it is to write solely because I can.

So when a series of bad news made it’s way into my life I took a step back and tried to figure out what I had to do to deal with all of it. I remembered my grandma’s sayings and I headed to church, said some prayers and lit a few candles. Later that night I was lying in bed when I remembered a journal I bought but never opening. I grabbed it and started to write. I wrote about everything going on in my head. It didn’t all make sense and I jumped around but that’s the beauty of it, the magic of free writing that I forgot.

It didn’t have to make sense, because I wasn’t writing a paper or a blog or a short story that someone was going to read and need to be able to follow. I was writing for myself. I was putting my feelings into words and putting those words on a piece of paper. I was letting go of those feelings so that when I capped that pen and closed that journal I was closing those thoughts away for the night.

Graciously, I got a good nights sleep for the first time in a few days. And ever since then I’ve done two things: write and pray, much more often. It’s helping. I’m sleeping a little better which is creating a better mood for myself. I feel stronger and more able to handle life which is empowering. And even though writing hasn’t fixed anything or taken away any of the bad things, it’s given me a tool I can use to get through anything and I am so grateful for that.

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