Yes, I journal. Although, over here in the UK we tend to call it ‘keeping a diary’.
I can’t even remember the reason why I started scribbling my most private thoughts down in a lined notebook, but it’s been a habit that I have kept for more than four years now. A lot has happened in the last 50 months or so, much more than I ever could have imagined. I’ve lived through births, deaths, marriages and divorces (not all mine, you understand!) I’ve changed jobs, moved away from home and faced some pretty big trials, and I’ve detailed all of it in my journal.
I certainly don’t keep a journal in the hopes that, one day when I am either dead or dying, someone will chance upon them and discover that I was some kind of modern-day Virginia Woolf. So why do I keep a journal?
Well, the simple truth is that I don’t know.
Yes, that’s a lame answer, but it’s the only one I have. I only know that, because I’ve kept it up for this long, I have to keep writing down my thoughts each day and without fail. OK, so the ‘without fail’ bit is a lie – I’ve missed a few days here and there when I was either too drunk or too ill (perhaps even a combination of the two) to write anything.
I must have at least a dozen notebooks already filled with my thoughts for the last four years and I have to admit that I haven’t spent much time re-reading them either. I’m not sure it’s all that important to go back and discover how you might have seen things a few years ago, but it’s nice to have the option to be able to do that.
It’s long been said that keeping a journal is an ideal way to get one’s thoughts and feelings out into the open and to ‘put things to bed’, so to speak. I would tend to agree with that, I love a good bitch and a moan to my journal before I go to bed at night and it has probably helped me to reason things out rather than bottling it up and throwing a tantrum further down the line.
I’ve admitted things in my journal that I would be mortified for other people to read. My journal is a place where I can write whatever I want and know that the journal won’t judge me. I’ve written things that I would probably look back on and laugh and the childishness of it all, or feel the pain of losing something that I loved all over again.
Keeping a journal is also an excellent way of reminding yourself that life isn’t always a shit-sandwich. Granted, when things go belly-up and you feel as if the world is against you, it may seem like nothing in your life has ever gone right. Looking back over old journal entries proves that some pretty good things have happened to you and that life probably isn’t quite as crappy as you think it is. I’m sure that, if I counted all of the things that have happened to me over the last four years, there would be more good things than bad that I’ve written about.
My old journals currently sit in a drawer in my apartment, gathering dust and not being read, but I was determined that I would take them with me when I left home. Whether I read them again or not, they are a part of me and a part of my own personal history (and they way that I viewed things at the time.) My journals entries run from being happy, angry, devastated, amused to downright suicidal at times, yet they are me – raw and unedited.
I am planning to continue to journal for as many years as I can, the only problem being that I will probably have to move to a bigger place to house them all, that or digitize them!
I may never read anything that I’ve written but having my journals is proof enough that I was here and that I existed….and had a good bitch and moan along the way…..
Do you keep a journal? If so, how long have you been writing a journal for? Do you ever read parts of it back?