( side note: my absence on the ole blog has been partially due to what this entire post is about. )
growing up, i always kept a journal or diary writing down the really dire life circumstances: which boy in my class i thought was cute or how i would never wear yellow and red together. the latter was actually so important that it received a full page in my fourth grade journal, followed by the phrase "ugh, mcdonalds!". i am proud to say that i have only broken that vow once, and with the more sophisticated shades of mustard and maroon. yet, as the teenage years rolled around and schedules began to be filled, i rarely sat down to write just for the sake of writing. unless you count the notes app on my phone or a word document (darn you, technology). i blamed its absence on my busy routine or a lack of inspiration. yet, it was those times that i really wish i would have consistently journaled. will there ever be proof that i once wore polos and khakis on a regular basis? or that paper i somehow scored an A on? and, did that time i walked out of the bathroom as a high school freshman with toilet paper on my shoe really occur? who knows, i did not journal about it. though the embarrassment or excitement of these moments is ingrained in my mind, i feel as if there were plenty more where that came from that are forgotten due to not being documented in some way.
as august rolled around this year, i reviewed my new years resolutions and was reminded of my most specific goal-- journal. other goals included deep, vague concepts like "live simply" and "maybe get bangs" (which i've decided is one big heck no). my dear friend, Sophie, gave me a beautiful journal this summer during my time in North Carolina. it is covered with a vintage-esque map print and has what i like to call "proper paper thickness" (this is a priority for yours truly). so, i decided to write again, no matter how sporadic or messy my thoughts were. i reminded myself that this is for me, and me only. (and maybe my children later in life, when i find high school breakups and tripping up the stairs funny.) for just a few minutes a day, i tried to actively pursue the art of journaling-- with a real pen and real paper-- instead of scrolling continually on my computer, only seeing my words in perfect type.
like i said a few posts back, i am a rule-follower at heart. in the past, i have set up guidelines for myself to form a habit, saying "cate, you will journal every single day." however, the thin margin of creativity left me only seeing my notebook as a chore rather than something to abide in. so my rule was simply this: just write and let it flow naturally. as i go on month four, i now write a few pages almost daily sincerely out of pure desire to document. i am no pro on the art of the journal, but here are a few reasons why i think it is so important for all of us to do so.
one. the therapeutic aspect. somehow getting thoughts from your head to paper, can not only lift a burden from your shoulders, but even help you to figure out situations more clearly after physically seeing your words (especially without a backspace button). plus, it's a big stress reliever. particularly for the person (ahem, me) who cannot get herself to the gym if her life depended on it.
two. kills the perfectionist. when you begin to journal, you are hesitant at first as to how to go about it. i am pretty sure my first page in this year's journal went along the lines of "hey journal. is that how you journal? anyways...". yet, by page three, you are starting to write as you would think or talk to a friend. you learn that this is your space to fill with your words, no matter how ugly or jumbled they are at times. this is one of the only instances where i would stress to be selfish-- for your only audience is the personalized pages of your journal, so if you need to write about how great your hair looks today without the fear that you are "that girl", i say go for it.
three. documents time. this is so important and so beautiful. though a photograph can say a thousand words, so can a thousand words! write down the eventful times and the mundane days. looking back in a month, year, or ten years can be so amazing-- you can see the growth that has happened since then and reflect on how the past has shaped present-you.
therefore, i say: hey, you. go pick up a journal from target (pro tip: if you want to appear as a hardcore journal-er, purchase a moleskin) and just write. write your worries, fears, hopes, prayers, and the day-to-day stuff that you think is not noteworthy. remember to get it all out and leave nothing stirring in your mind or heart. journaling is just one way to allow you to learn the wonderful lesson of being still (in a world that tells you to go, go, go) and letting go (as you are surrounded by people who praise gossip and grudges).
but, if you are a regular journal-er, how has getting your thoughts on paper aided to you well being?