I believe in journals. They are something in which I can record my life, reveal my feelings, and recount events. Keeping a journal helps me organize my thoughts and helps me solve problems or unlock a bit of wisdom. My journal is my best friend—I just need to guard it, and it will not betray me. It will not spill my secrets. It’s a comfort to have, because it will not judge me or my thoughts—it just accepts what I write. No questions asked, no eyebrows raised.
A journal doesn’t have to be an expensive leather-bound, jewel-encrusted book. It can just be an old notebook, or even a few sheets of paper stapled together. The outside appearance doesn’t matter, because the contents are the important thing about it. I can flip back to any page and immerse myself in memories—a particularly romantic date, a sudden revelation, a depressing day. In a way, it’s my own growth chart. I see how I’ve developed mentally, emotionally, spiritually, as well as grammatically. It’s important to know how I developed into the person I am, and journaling my thoughts and feelings today is the perfect way to make sure that I can look back at myself tomorrow.
I feel that journals make me more real because they’re written proof of my life. They are witnesses to my existence. If I journal instead of blog, I can write unabatedly, and I won’t subconsciously write what I think is expected or what I know people will comment on. I write only for myself.
The other day I was journaling about my experiences as a freshman in college, and while I was writing down my insecurities I felt very secure in myself. I felt safe with the pen to the paper, and knew that if I kept writing, that stream of black ink would eventually lead me to calmer waters. It felt good to spill out all my thoughts, because I was no longer alone in sharing their burden.
Like anything else that takes effort, I get out what I put in. As I divulge my deepest fears and highest hopes, my darkest secrets and brightest ideas, I am putting my soul on paper. What I’ve created is a Bible of myself. If I ever doubt myself or feel lost, I can always count on my journal to remind me who I am.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.