I like keeping journals. Having some place to write when I’m stressed or going through a tough time is essential for me. And since I love writing, my journal also ends up as a place where I’m creative, whether it be with stories or poetry or, most embarrassingly, songs. As much as writing in a journal is helpful for me, it’s almost as therapeutic for me to read through my old writing and thoughts and have a new perspective.
I started what I call my “pink journal” (I am very creative: it is pink, it is a journal) in the Denver airport, waiting for a connecting flight, on July 1st, 2013. (A side note: when we landed in Toronto, there was a choir on board that sang Oh Canada.) I thought I had a brilliant idea for a story, which ended up being one of the most embarrassing things I’ve written in my teenage years. I stopped a few pages in, started a new story on the same flight and stopped that a few pages in. I’ve continued on with writing down unfinished thoughts in this journal until I recently filled it up.
I love reading back on past things I’ve written because I’m far less critical of my younger self. It’s like watching a younger sister make mistakes and grow, and reading back on journal entries I feel kind of proud when I see myself figuring something out and it’s neat to look back and see the perspective I had at certain points in my life. It might be a bit self absorbed to find my own journal so interesting, but if that’s the case, then I guess having a blog is self absorbed too, so what have I got to lose? With that in mind, I’m going to share some of my favourite parts of my now retired pink journal.
I love this because it reminds me of when I used to be obsessed with Prufrock. I didn’t want to be as sad as contemplative and lonely as I saw Prufrock to be, which is where “trying not to measure my life with coffee spoons” comes from. I wrote this as part of an introduction to myself, so the writing of the poem is a little clumsy, since I find it so difficult to sum up myself in a concise way, but I think the way this part turned out is nice and kind of cute.
I actually hate most of my first drafts whenever I write fiction. I’m not very good at story lines, so as I try to focus on that, my writing suffers. I usually pretty up the language in final drafts, but as I read the section that this came from, I really liked how gentle the scene came across. It was the introduction to a rather harsh story and I was trying to make the characters sympathetic, and I think that softly easing the reader into the world was a good way to do that.
This is kind of hard to read because my writing is terribly messy. My two favourite lines are “storytelling is so powerful that it scares me” and “sometimes a book makes me change even more than a friend, sometimes a song gets me through the bad times, or a poem becomes my mantra.” Stories are so important to me and I’m such a big fan of good storytelling because it helps you to empathize and find yourself, and I honestly don’t know who I’d be without the stories I’ve read. They’ve helped me shape the perception I have of myself and the things I can contribute to the world around me. The fact that words on a page or in a song or in a TV show can do that amazes me, because anyone can write, so anyone can change someone’s life, or even the world.
This is kind of a silly one but it sums up my high school experience so well. Staying up late and watching TV, getting up early with those stories still weighing on my heart and yawning through classes as I dealt with a weird feeling of grief. Once again, stories have had a huge impact on my life, and even though I’ve been irresponsible in staying up way too late to watch shows or read books, that doesn’t change the value they hold.
I grow a little bit as a person every day. I started reading this and I smiled because I really believe that it’s so important to love yourself and find a way to maintain good self-esteem, which is an ongoing process for me, but I’ve improved so much and this shows that. Obviously it continues past what I’ve shown, and those things below the cut still apply to me, but now I find it more important to focus on the good things and remember that anything “less desirable” doesn’t get rid of all the good you bring to the world.
I love journals because you don’t have to care about putting something awful inside of them. It’s a scrapbook of thoughts and ideas and doodles and experiments in writing. My journals always end up messy and filled with thoughts that trail off as my pen fails to keep up with my train of thought, and I wish I had the patience to make every entry complete, but I’m glad I have something to look back on to remember everything I’ve gone through to make me the person I am.