#279: The Journal

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When I was younger, I used to write in a physical journal, and I carried it everywhere with me. (Have I told this story before? Inevitably, I’m going to repeat myself; not like anyone’s keeping track, but still…)

As someone with low self-esteem and a predisposition towards telling people what they want to hear rather than the truth, my whole life has revolved around pleasing others. But writing is one of my few remaining solitary activities. It’s something I can return to and rediscover my true self and feelings, without reservation. I don’t have to worry about whether or not I truly like something or if I’m just saying I like something to please another person; while writing, I am honest to the only person who consistently reads my writing: myself. Self-esteem doesn’t play a role in my treatment. Everyone deserves the opportunity to discover their voice and allow it to be heard, and a lot has been on my mind lately regarding what I want to do with my life. At age 24, it’s hard not to think of all the ways in which I’ve slowly lost control over things I used to have under control. Appointments, daily routines, large-scale ambitions. Inevitably, all of these things fall apart over time, but I never expected it to be so sudden and apparent to myself.

But that’s a topic for another blog post. Today, I want to solely discuss the act of writing, or keeping a daily journal, as it allows me to flesh out my thoughts in ways I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. In my journals, I am forced to stay consistent with my own thinking, and I don’t allow other voices to intrude on what I ought to write about. The only person I owe anything to with these blog posts is, ultimately, myself, and hopefully that doesn’t come off as selfish to others.

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Future

What’s out there?
Is there
anyone
else around?
Listen.

What to hope for,
what to dream for,
a mystery to me

Nothing on
the horizon,
the sun is all but
gone

Shambling from
town to town,
a forgetful husk
waits for
Fridays and Saturdays
at the expense of
his Mondays and Tuesdays

When the weekend
is all you have,
you wonder, is there
anything else?

Was there ever
anything else?

I forget.

#104: The Journal

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Awhile ago, in a Sociology class in high school, I started writing in a journal I had in front of me. I titled it “The Greatest Journal Ever!” and, in my excitement, made sure to write every period I had the chance. I penned my thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and it made me a better writer in every possible way. I credit my fascination with writing to my interest in writing personal narratives in my journal; although I spent some time before high school writing fantasy stories and unfinished novels, sometimes involving my friends, but more often invented by the solitary confinement of my mind, it exploded when I started writing about myself. Like my mentor teacher during my student-teaching period, we both were fascinated by the potential of personal writing. It allowed us to shape our experiences into creative stories themselves, to craft narratives out of our memories and the important moments that make up our lives. Without that journal in high school, I doubt I would have started writing blogs like this. I simply wouldn’t have had the experience to call back to, in order to make this less of a daunting endeavor.

I still write in my journal every once in a while, and when I first quit my teaching job months ago, I moved into my journal exclusively as my mode of writing. It preserves my thoughts during important moments, and I like to look back and see what I felt during those times. It provides a perfect frame of reference for the present day, so that I can look back, review my feelings, and observe how they have evolved since then. I love that journal, and when it comes time to write by myself, nothing is better.