My mother gave me a journal as part of the now defunct “Aunt Kiki” holiday. Pretty and purple, the script on the cover says “Me, Myself, and I: An Instrospective Collection of My Innermost Thougths and Feelings” and the design features three faces in a knotwork ontop of a silver diamond, and it sat for a month before I wrote in it.
In that first journal I admitted that part of my hestance wasn’t just marring a pristine page; I was afraid to remove my innermost thoughts from the safety of my brain. Out of my head, they could be exposed to prying eyes with no respect for privacy and judged harshly. Worse, out of my head, they could be real.
The reluctance is evident in that first journal. First of all, I didn’t use it much. The entries begin July of 2003 and end January 2008. Nearly five years. Secondly, there’s a sense of holding back in some of the earlier entries. I was too scared to put down everything into words, all the thoughts, all the emotions, all the crazy bouncing around in my head.
You can see me get more comfortable with opening up over the course of the entries in that first journal. I got better at it and I did it more frequently.
My second journal I believe Carrie bought me as a birthday present. It’s rainbow colored, cheerful and simple, and I’d say it has about as many pages as my first one. The entries in it cover from January of 2008 until December of 2009.
Yeah, I got a lot better at writing in it more often. I started using it more as it was intended. Instead of being afraid of putting my thoughts down on paper, it became THE place to put my thoughts to get them out of my head. It became the refuge of my frustrations, mostly. It let me get the things off of my chest that other people wouldn’t, mostly because the ensuing arguement would be pointless and solve nothing.
It also became the locked box for the mushiest part of my heart, allowing me to explore those sweet, vulnerable feelings I don’t like to admit I have. There are some romantic ideas in those pages. Ideas that would absolutely shock the people who know me as the horror loving hard-ass that make men cry for their mothers and make women try to befriend me so I won’t eat them.
My last journal was red. That’s it. Just red. The entries cover from December of 2009 to January of this year. This is the journal I got truly comfortable in. This is the journal I put my craziest thoughts in. I gave myself permission to be absolutely ambitious and hopeful and unrealistic and unrestrained. There is some serious, wild insanity on those pages and to date, if there were any journals I’d burn before my death, that would be the first one on the fire.
Since that first journal, I’ve moved from being reluctant to dependent. I did my last entry in my red journal on my birthday with no new journal waiting for me. I’m slowly moving into frantic mode. I have things to write down, thougths that need ink! I’ve gone from not even shrugging at the idea of missing a couple of months to feeling guilty if I only have two entries for a given month.
Right now, I’m thinking about all of the things, good, bad, and crazy, I want to put in my new journal as soon as I get it. I fantasize about marring those clean pages with the inner workings of my mind. It’s going to feel so good to get all of that out.
And with any luck at all, in thirty years I’ll be able to read back over those stored thoughts and marvel at how I functioned, coped, struggled, and felt during those important years, some of which may be lost to the sands of time by then.
More likely, though, I’ll just shake my head and laugh and think, “Wow. You were really kinda nuts back then, weren’t you?” before putting down my old journal and picking up a new journal to scribble once again.