Well hello, awesome readers!
Recently, a friend asked me the following question while we were having lunch.
“You write at your job. You take on freelance writing projects. You blog. And you’re writing books. Why do you still bother with journaling? I mean, isn’t that like working in a restaurant and then going home to cook?”
“BECAUSE THE COOK STILL NEEDS TO EAT, LISA.”
That was my response. And then the waiter came over and instead of asking us for our order, he asked us to keep it down.
But now thinking back, I’m realizing that I was perhaps more philosophical than brash. While the restaurant worker needs to eat regardless of her day job (because humans are quirky that way), journaling can also be considered food. Or possibly therapy.
Every once in a while I flip through the pages of my journals. Old, tattered notebooks that I’ve been moving around with me in boxes since … several decades.
Before journals (or as I call them, “my headbooks”) I wrote my thoughts on random sheets of paper. Somehow, writing things down … putting words to feelings, helped to fill the hole in my chest that consumed my existence. Afterwards, I would rip up these sheets of paper into tiny, undecipherable pieces in case my brother went snooping in my room.
Then one day I made bold decision. I wrote my thoughts in a notebook. This was the beginning of a life-long addiction to words. That day was October 7, 1980. I was 15 years old. You can tell the notebook belonged to someone on the verge of revealing all her deep, dark secrets because it has the word “PRIVATE” written across the cover. Apparently, this was supposed to deter a brother from opening it up and reading the boringness of a 15-year old girl’s mind speak.
I still journal. Headbook number one and headbook number current represent the bookends of a growing middle. And in this middle sits a living, breathing, encyclopedia of words and emotions. Pages and pages (and pages!) filled with frustration and sadness; disappointment and joy; anger and disbelief; gratitude and questions. All driven by a yearning to write about the specifics of a day. Or an urge to express the question and exclamation marks that howl like wolves on a full moon in the quietest corners of a mind and heart. The pages make up a lifetime of sentiments.
I notice different handwritings, yet know they’re all mine. On some pages, the letters swirl angled to the left. On pages of other books, the swirls are angled to the right. And then there are “those” pages. The ones where the angle is missing altogether with words written in a vertical position, as though reaching for a higher understanding. A child-like attempt at self-discovery; or possibly invention.
The pages look like accents that you try on after watching a foreign movie, indicating an uncertainty of who I was or where I fit in this world.
Throughout the years and pages, the variety of random angles have given way to a handwriting that is unintentional yet deliberate. This in itself, without the words, tells a subtle story of a coming-of-age. Although there will always be questions and holes to fill.
And that is precisely the purpose of journaling. To answer the questions that fill our minds and satisfy the holes that define our broken pieces.
Crap. And now I want to write an entire book on this.
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Journaling helps me clear my head. Headbooks is a much better name for them!
Mona Andrei says
Thanks, Shari! I’ve always called them “headbooks”. It just seems more fitting. And yes, getting thoughts down on paper definitely helps to clear the head 🙂
Priscilla King says
International Delurker Week…Right. No secret: the list of blogs I follow is on my (yes, Amazon-associated) blog page, and the colors even change to show which posts I’ve actually visited (just in case I got an idea and didn’t link to the source of the idea in the relevant post). I enjoy MA’s blogging/”journaling.” Even in spite of WordPress.
Mona Andrei says
Lol – Thanks for stopping by, Priscilla 🙂
Janet Mary Cobb says
I have a complicated relationship with journals for a few reasons that are too complicated for a comment section – and fell out of the habit when my world was falling apart a few years back. Trying to survive precluded taking time to write in journals. I am reconnecting with the writing, thinking, reflecting side of me and journalling is becoming a bit more frequent. I hope to become more regular at it again in the coming months. Thanks for a thought-provoking and encouraging post.