Yesterday I ran into a friend of mine - we met when she and her two small kids lived across the hall from me at Inasmuch House, a women's shelter. My friend came to Canada two years ago from Nigeria and is one of the most gracious, spiritual people I have ever met. I remember being awed by her composure and quiet strength when I knew her in that place. She has since told me that she coped by going into her room, closing the door and crying - her faith sustained her. As we chatted yesterday and I shared with her about what is going on in my life these days, she told me that in her country there is a saying that goes something like this:" If you don't have anyone to talk to, dig a hole in the ground and talk to it"...the point: talking is helpful, getting it out is healthy.
I have gone to many groups over the last two years, all of them helpful as I have struggled with the reality of abuse in my life. One thing I have heard over and over is the importance of finding a channel or an outlet to express what is going on. Keeping a journal is one such outlet : I have friends who fill book after book with words and words and words..pouring out their pain and triumphs - letters to themselves that they can go back and read when they need encouragement or solace. I know other women who do art - I met one such lady recently: we attended a group together called "Wonder-full Wild Women" and in it we were given free reign to experiment with different artistic means of expressing our feelings. I have to say...I didn't quite see me fitting in here...crafts just are not my thing...but who would have thought?? I loved it! I got right into painting, cutting shapes, gluing and glitter...I found a creative side of me that I didn't know I had. My friend in that group is so excited by how creating artistically is so helpful for her that she plans to start her own blog about it....Go Girl!
Personally, I'm not that great with journaling...I spend a lot of time finding just the right book and picking just the right pen, write in it a few times and then lose interest. But I love writing this blog. I have found an outlet and it has come at a time in my life when I am ready to share my story, in fact it is helpful to me to share my story. Maybe you would prefer to sit quietly and write in a journal that only you will ever see...maybe you could try doodling on some paper and see what comes out ...or maybe you could try going into your room, closing the door and pouring your heart out like my friend from Nigeria. I don't know, but like digging a hole, we all need to be able to find a way to express our pain and struggles - it's one way we move forward and that my friend's is what it's all about.