Why Journal?

As a youngster, I remember the novelty of walking through store aisles of writing tablets and drawing utensils and seeing tiny books with narrowly-lined pages, shiny clasps, and keys to lock them tight. Being raised by an artist mother, I was (and still am) enamored by the sight of fresh new paper and assortments of pens and pencils. But there was something about having a place to make thoughts come alive on paper where no one could read them. I don’t remember what age I acquired my first diary, but recently came across it in a box with other long-hidden memory items. The sight of it flooded my mind with a remembrance of thoughts scrawled on its pages with the careless hand and hurting heart of a teenager. It was the place I shared my heart at times when friends were physically unavailable.

Life has long since generously handed out circumstances of varying levels of difficulty, softened by even more moments of joy. When I think about and read the words of that old diary, I am taken back to the memory of painful experiences, but see myself and those circumstances in a different light from when I first expressed them. I often hear the cliché, “Time heals all wounds,” and agree to some extent. In reality, the pain of loss never goes away. The faces of loved ones who have passed are burned into our memories. However, we can heal. We find ways to go on. But we still have scars and meaningful stories to tell when asked about them.

So, what is the point? One of the ways that is significant in aiding those wounds to heal is journaling. There is something about writing out thoughts of grief, anger, joy, disappointment, or any other emotion, that relieves it like finding a clean truck stop restroom after a 2-liter bottle of water and a 2-hour road trip with a dad who hates to stop! (Yes, that has happened.) In our day of super technology, many of us resort to a keyboard to release our thoughts, although the preferred method, in my opinion, is pen and clean sheet of paper. (I admit, my perfection addiction leads to frustration when the pen in my hand can’t possibly keep up with the thoughts going through my head and the crazy thing makes a mess. In ink!)

When I started the remaining classes for a second graduate degree almost three years ago, I started this blog. I truly get the importance of writing thoughts and feelings, particularly when you’re the type that tends to over-think EVERTHING. Of course, ironically, I began to overthink, without writing one word here, and this blog sat here waiting for me to heed the advice I repeatedly give my clients. “Write,” I tell them. “It’s therapeutic,” I admonish. “You’ll benefit by seeing your words in black and white, and be able to identify faulty thinking patterns,” I say. Yet here I am, three years later, just getting started because I allowed my fear of having someone think I might not be perfect limit actions that would certainly benefit me, if no one else. It’s a silly title. No one will read it. If they do, they’ll think it’s stupid. They’ll think I’m stupid. And on and on. You know the pattern, don’t you?

But what if? What if someone else has the same issue of self-limiting or self-deprecating thoughts? Maybe someone, somewhere needs to know they are not alone? What if they read my words and felt empowered to do something courageous? I’m here at this laptop today because someone, somewhere, sometime faced their fear of the unknown and wrote what he was passionate about, in the hope that someone who was struggling with similar issues could find the strength to face theirs. I read it and found the courage to dive into the thought-sharing pool. And I have to tell you: it feels extremely freeing to stare fear in the face here. (I may need a life jacket, so be ready.)

Yes, I will most likely stress about whether a reader might express contempt or apathy for my content. But if even one person relates and feels empowered to reach for a goal, small or profound, I have fulfilled a purpose, and that. That. Is. Enough!

8 thoughts on “Why Journal?

  1. I have a friend that turns (or blocks) her screen so she can’t see and correct what she types until after an hour of writing…daily! I prefer to talk into my voice recognition and then email to myself for editing. Although, if it’s just for me I don’t edit. I like your blog, my friend.

  2. I loved it Vicky! I applaud you for putting your thoughts down and find I am much like you. I have a terrible time writing because I am afraid it won’t make sense and think no one would want to hear it or read it. Keep going! Maybe one day I will too…
    Long time friend,
    Ruth Croy

    • Thank you, Ruth. I have some great memories of time with you and our girls way back when. It is crazy that we judge ourselves so harshly, but I believe God has been nudging me because someone needs to hear it. I know your writing would be excellent and encouraging as I pray mine is.

  3. loved the blog, Vicky! I, too, can stand in the isles of beautiful journals, pens, stationary, etc. but I never start the journaling for some of the same fears you had. Maybe someday…

  4. Vicky, Writing authentically is what draws in the reader. We can relate to someone who exposes their imperfections and is irrational at times. We are all different and yet very similar at the same time. Your thoughts released in black and white might be the key that unlocks someone else’s desire to share. And, if there is an addiction to empty books, I have it. 🙂

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