I’ve been journaling off and on since I was a little girl. In the early days I remember a pink gold-leaf paged book perfectly sized to suit my small hands. I wonder what I wrote about in those days? Likely more a record of my days than anything meaningful.
Fortunately, in grades 7 and 8 (when I was 12 and 13), journaling was a requirement. I say fortunately because this is where my creativity was invited onto the page – not only were we to report on our thoughts, ideas and emotions, but we were encouraged to colour and draw and paste and more as part of our entries. I have very vivid memories of lying on my bedroom floor, my pencil crayons and markers getting a good workout.
In high school my journal began helping me process my experiences and managing my emotions. It kept me company when I felt the loneliest. During university I didn’t journal much – I guess I was too busy studying and writing essays.
My journals were a lifeline when I was going through a mental health crisis about a decade ago. Not only did journaling give me a space to try to make sense of myself, but it also helped me communicate my pain to others. At that time we weren’t keeping tabs on one another through tweets, blogs and Facebook status updates. When I couldn’t bear to actually *talk about* what was going on, I’d hand my friends and family my journals and they spoke for me. Those journals helped me help myself in such a profound way.
Now my journal is like a dear friend. It’s place without filters where I can expose my whole self without judgement. Each time I put my pen to the paper I learn more and more about who I am and what matters.
Thanks to Jamie Ridler who inspired this post. She’s hosting a great initiative called “Give a Girl A Journal” to put journals into the hands of girls who can benefit from them. My life is definitely better because of journaling and I was pleased to get involved by writing this post and donating a journal today. Curious about this project? Check it out here.