Things That Give Me Hives #1

“Being My Best” is one of several badges that does its level best to help girls boost their confidence and self-esteem, so bravo for that.  In fact, several badges across a multitude of disciplines can improve self-esteem by helping girls recognize their strengths–physical, emotional, intellectual–and their unique value. Again, bravo.

I’m clueless when it comes to understanding how boys and men concern themselves with these issues, but I think it’s safe to say most girls–and women–struggle with self-acceptance and confidence. And I’ve come to the conclusion that aging really helps out with this one. There just comes a day when ya gotta say, “I am what I am, it’s all good, now let’s make the most with what we’ve got.” Everything else is just exhausting, isn’t it?

Is this the definition of maturity?


One of the tasks for this badge is the creation of a journal: “a special book… in which you can write your thoughts, feelings and anything else you want… you can be very honest and serious, or you can be happy or silly.” I appreciate that this language allows for a broad range of experience and isn’t prescriptive (i.e., “this is how you must do your journal”).

But reading this task gave me hives.

If you’re anything like me (or about as old as me), at some point in your life you’ve probably done some “serious” journaling. For me, it was the period from about 1994-2001. I wrote down whatever I thought was important, with a few dreams scattered in there. Part of that time, I followed Julia Cameron‘s guidance for writing the morning pages that are an integral part of her famous work, The Artist’s Way. Mostly, though, I just did your standard journaling at any old time of day or night.

Last winter, while slapping some fresh paint on the bedroom walls, I found sixteen volumes of personal scrawl collecting dust at the top of my closet.  They hadn’t been cracked open in years, but I pulled them all down off the shelf and starting turning the pages.

Let me characterize the entirety of those pages in two words: “Poor me.” Or how about this: “Oh, boo hoo hoo.”

It started with the first sentence of the first volume and did not stop. The ink oozed with whiny misery. The second, third, fourth volumes each descended into some new ring of personal hell.

I was really grossed out by the experience. Blech. These pages represented a really boorish woman –I would never want to be her friend. It didn’t matter where I was living (six dwellings in three states during this period), or what I was doing, or who I was doing it with. Blech, blech.

Worst of all, the writing was lousy.

I scanned a few more volumes until I just couldn’t take it anymore. I threw the lot of them into the trash and felt significantly lighter. It was great therapy.

I confess all of this publicly, because I am asking–no, begging–this project’s Virtual Troop Leaders to consider letting this blog, this online journal, fulfill this particular badge task.

In my case, it seems best not to waste the paper.


2 thoughts on “Things That Give Me Hives #1

  1. You are so brave. I have a lot of those morning pages in a box that I have carried around to 5 states in 10 years. I’m chicken to open it up are read any of them.

    • Oh, I feel ya! If you ever decide to crack those spines, I recommend you bring your sense of humor and a glass or two of wine. For me, reviewing them–and then throwing them out–was like good feng shui. It’s like it cleared the space of past negative energy. No regrets for me, but I’ve also got friends who have very sound reasons for never parting with their old journals. Maybe if I could’ve mined those pages for some good writing for songs I’d have kept them, but omg, they were just awful! Hope you’re well!!

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