I have been been journaling since I was about 13. I don't like the sound of the word journaling, but I love the habit I've made out of it. I can still vividly recall the cover of my very first proper diary (I say proper as I recall using my aunt's ledgers as a writing material): it was a cushioned PVC, with the image of a brunette girl in a Victorian frilly dress sitting in a field of daffodils, writing in her diary.
|My laptop is temporarily evicted from my home desk to make way for my journal|
It had a padlock and a set of keys. I kept one in my wallet, and another somewhere in my bedroom where no one would find it but me (but I was too good in stowing trinkets I used to forget where I hid them). I religiously locked my diary even though I knew no one would dare touch it. Looking back, it was the initial stages of my attempts to build a wall around me, which, as I got older, meant that my defences were reinforced around people I have just met or I'm not comfortable sharing my private self with, or my thoughts on issues that really matter to me. There are things that are locked away and not meant to be shared with just about anyone.
I used my birthday money to buy it from National Bookstore--think of that place where everyone wherever you're from goes to buy school and office supplies, and books, of course. It was a tough decision between a Trapper Keeper and a diary (a teenage choice between being seen as cool or being branded as a geek). I got the former the following school year.
Just slightly above the girl's hair was a line that says, 'Life Is A But Dream." Mind you, I claimed that line first before Beyonce made her film (I can't stand her by the way, nor her music, so my childhood diary's tag line has acquired a cheesy pop feel to it that dampened the nostalgia). At 13, I had no immediate grasp of what it meant. I just thought I liked where the girl was: on her own penning her thoughts away without a care in the world. And the frilly frock was lovely. Just the kind of dress I would never had the chance to wear in a tropical country. I wanted to be that girl: lost in her thoughts in a field of daffodils.
Many moons after, I do find myself lost in my thoughts--at work, while seated on my office chair, surrounded by the humming and buzzing of the printer slash photocopier slash scanner, tapping of keyboards, slamming of folders on the shelves, and shuffling of papers, sans the daffodils.
'The Artist's Way' author Julia Cameron encourages writers to jot down whatever comes to mind first thing in the morning. Three pages' worth of subconscious musings are the equivalent of morning exercise for the gym buff. I'm not a morning person, so I write at night, when the whole world quietly sits down with me. It's my form of meditation. Writing down my thoughts and feelings about anything I'd like to talk about is the only time nowadays when I completely put aside modern communication gadgets. I'm very happy I do not have a work phone. I would hate to have one issued to me.
For Christmas 2017, a colleague gave me a diary that says on the cover, 'Memories & Milestones: The Journal of a Future National Treasure'. I thought it was hilarious. We barely knew each other at the time, so it was exceptionally intuitive of her to gift me with something she probably didn't even realise I'd greatly appreciate. I could never ever topple Samuel Pepys as Britain's greatest diarist (perhaps I'd come in a close second to Bridget Jones), but everything I write down is an immense personal treasure from my heart and soul.
|Grabbed from my IG|
Journaling gives me insights into the various emotions and thoughts about certain issues at random periods in my life, and how my feelings about them have evolved, were resolved, or buried in time. My diary doesn't judge me or attempt to process things for me. It's a friend who pulls out a chair, offers a drink, who doesn't say a word while I speak but nods in understanding of my complexities. When I'm done ranting, I close the page, and we meet again at an undisclosed time to pick up where we left off.
It takes courage to let ourselves be vulnerable in the presence of others. Or to disclose our darker side. Not everyone will be receptive. Or we may misplace our trust. I turn to my journal especially at times when not even the deepest conversations with a friend or special someone are enough. There are times when all we need is a written dialogue with ourselves.
How about you, do you keep a journal?