Growing up I kept a journal…
I didn’t write in it every night, but used it as an outlet for all the emotions I felt from the age of 12 until the age of 22.
I mentioned in my Tidying Up Challenge post that I am not particularly sentimental about “stuff.”
However, these journals are different.
They are snapshots into the heart and mind of my younger self.
Every couple of years I’ll pull one out and reread a little…
Often it is a little humbling.
Sometimes it’s painful.
But it is always a reminder that even as a kid, I was me.
So why did I get out of the habit, you might ask?
Well, years ago, I loved a boy very much.
He was a deep thinker, but not a deep communicator.
He aspired to be a writer though, and he wrote everything he couldn’t say in his journal.
And it was through reading his journal that I found out he didn’t love me anymore…
This whole traumatic experience soured me towards journaling.
After we broke up, I looked back at the writing I had done during our relationship—over three years!—and simply put, I felt stupid.
I could see all the places where I was unhappy or disappointed by our love but couldn’t let the relationship go.
It was just such a clear window into my heart and mind.
The loss of my first love was acutely painful for me.
To move forward, I had to actively harden my heart against him.
I dismissed our time together, and did everything I could to erase his memory.
You will notice I haven’t added an old photo of us here in the post. That’s because I don’t have any…
I burned them all.
And I couldn’t write about it, because in my diaries the truth always came out.
And in this instance, the truth left me feeling so angry and so devastated.
It is only through writing this post now that I can understand my actions around buying a new journal…
I went into this challenge thinking I was going to discuss “bullet journaling.”
It’s a journal-meets-planner technique that allows for creativity while being organized.
However, when I went to buy the physical journal to get started in, I had a totally unexpected experience…
First of all there are many, many choices.
The wonderful woman at the store asked me questions about my journaling habits and helped me identify what options would best suit my wants in a new journal.
She asked me:
Did I want to use it to write stream-of-consciousness style or did I want my writing to be more planful?
I wanted a place to simply write what I’m thinking and feeling when I want.
Did I want lines to do that writing on?
No, I wanted to doodle as well as write.
I wanted this journal to be an outlet for however I was feeling on any particular day.
Did I want the journal to be thin, so that it would be easily filled and would mark small chunks of time?
Or did I want something larger to capture a longer period of time?
I wanted it longer, so that I would be able to read back over it and see patterns.
And then it came down to the look of the journal.
Consciously, it was my goal to get something practical—a journal that looked grown-up and minimalistic.
However, the truest part of me likes pretty things. And so I went with the one with an elaborate design and shiny metallic detailing.
I brought it home…
Where it sat undisturbed for days.
I couldn’t think of what or how to begin.
But finally the deadline for this post pushed me to start writing...
You can see that it’s a rocky start, but it is a start.
I woke up this morning after a particularly vivid dream and immediately wanted to unpack the emotion of the dream in my journal…
Also, I know “journal” sounds more adult, but I’m gonna call this my “diary,” because I intend to use it just like that.
I am giving myself permission once again to take out the censorship of my emotions. I am not only going to feel, but I’m going to put those feeling into words.
I know they will be dramatic, childish, and painful at times…
I also know that they will be true, and when I need to look back and clearly see the truth of my heart, my words will be there waiting.