today was unexpectedly difficult. i struggled all day, really, after that email from him increasingly annoyed. not mad, not hurt, not upset. just really annoyed. and finally, i realized that i was annoyed that i was annoyed and that it was a spiral that was just repeating itself downward.

and then i started to vent to a friend about it some. and she said “it triggered something for you today”. i mean, obvious, right? but something about the word trigger triggered me to remember to figure out what it was in the first place.

i’m still not entirely sure i have it figured out exactly. i know that it has to do with frustration with old, repeating patterns. i know that i feel like he was trying to drag me into the murk with him and that upset me. and it upset me that he succeeded, even if my response to him directly was measured and aloof.

i’m still trying to figure out what that pattern is so i can express it and, having expressed it, avoid it in the future (with him and with others) or at least better mitigate it. and really, i think it has to do with the sense that i increasingly had over the course of our relationship and marriage where jean-guy would get emotionally triggered and come to me to solve it for him. and we would figure it out. but he would almost never correct his patterns, once acknowledged, let alone figure out how to identify things for himself. it was my job to pull the feelings and the reasons and the triggers out of him, piece by piece.
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Why you should keep a journal

I’ve kept a consistent journal since I was 12 or 13 years old, and somewhere buried have paper journals from ages 8-12 as well. Journaling is the single best investment I’ve ever made in myself, second only, perhaps, to therapy this last year. It forces you to sit down, take a step back from your life and analyze your choices and gets you in the habit of understanding why you do the things you do, learning to own and accept the way you feel and to take initiative for finding ways to make yourself feel better and for finding ways to keep moving your life forward.

It’s all too easy to just *do* things in our lives and not force ourselves to take time and reflect. My journal is my way of keeping myself accountable to me. The me that’s no one else’s, and to gain ever increasing clarity on who that me is at all in the first place.

I kept up with it initially because I thought at one point, “how cool will it be to be able to read back on my life at some point?” And it turns out that is pretty cool (and also pretty embarrassing. No one is at their best ages 12-19, turns out). But more than anything else, the act of consistent journaling has given me a tangible way to mold my character and come to terms with the person I am today and the person I want to be tomorrow. It helps me identify patterns in my life so I can ask the question: “Is this a pattern I like and I’m proud of? Why or why not, and what can I do about it?”

Journaling reminds me that I’m not helpless. My life is my own. It’s quite literally my story to write, not anyone else’s.