I have kept a journal on and off my whole life. I started my first journal when I was three and had my mom write with me at least twice a week. It’s interesting to read and see the world through a three, then four, then five, then six, and then beginnings of a seven year old. The things that were important to me, the people long forgotten. It captured moments and memories as plain fact, but no thought from my young self. Memories recorded from my parents building our family’s house to my first day of school to good recipes.
Then what is interesting is that I recently cleaned a drawer that a eight-year-old self pack ratted everything away in. Every amusement park ticket stub, family game night score card, things I made with my cousins, all there. It’s so interesting to see the paper objects that captured memories and how important to me they were at that time. I found a half written through journal I kept after first learning to write. The Bible verses that stuck out to me, notes passed back and forth from the Tooth Fairy, dreams. I also found short stories written and how silly some of them were and other stories were gracefully molded into something somewhat good. I was amazed that my young self knew how to form lines like that.
For Christmas of my Eighth grade year, my sister got me a book called ‘642 things to write about’. I practiced with perceptions, imagery, and slowly revealing the situation. This is when my need for expression through words and description really started. I had a compulsion to write and explain things in my mind. It helped my sort my life out and put it into words that now I am grateful to look back on. It was weird, but I would get almost a physical light ache if I had not written in a while. How amazing language is!
But by later in that spring, I still wasn’t getting my writer’s full of words and my mind down on paper. And so Marshalls got a fourteen-year-old riffling through all of their notebooks until she found the perfect one. It was a new experience for me, and it was exciting! I sat down to write and imagined everything that I liked or wish the author would have added to a novel written in journal form. The date, where I am, the time, and what day of the week it is, always end with a fact not a thought or feeling, the number of days I have written and a piece of advice to my future self and a picture to represent the day even though I am a horrible drawer. And of course a colorful pen, never pencil nor black or blue.
I have been writing with those same rules now for years and have only missed two days. My average length is two pages with thoughts, reactions, and experiences. My longest entry is fifteenth pages in a little more than four hours. Panic attacks are written in those pages. Homecoming dances are written in those pages. Rededicating my life to Christ are written in those pages. The very first rough drafts of my novel Varietal is written in those pages. My life is written in those pages.
I then started this blog in February of 2015 and have loved it so much. But there are some things I feel that I just can’t put on here. Sure there have been times when I felt like I wanted to quit writing my journal, but I just stick with it. It is mind-blowing how far I have come from a child me twirling around in my kitchen dictating to my mom what I did that day to my thoughts and ideals of today.
I just wonder when I look back at myself now years from now, what I will I think? What will I see? Will I take my ‘Future Self’ advice?
This was an exercise in writing my first memoir that I posted.