Like many people, I used to keep a journal. I say “used to” because I haven’t written in it for over a year now.
Last night I picked it up out of curiosity and read most of it – shocked to realize I didn’t recognize the girl who’d started writing in it. Normally I can pick up an old journal and remember exactly what I was thinking and feeling as I was writing it. Not so with this one. Which, as you will see, is a very good thing indeed.
The journal starts when I was living in New York. I wrote about my roommates, being unemployed, how I felt about the weight I was gaining and what I was going to do about it (nothing good or healthy!), and then there’s a lot of stuff in there about church. I can feel the pain in those pages and see how my handwriting is impacted by my emotions.
Oh sure, there’s some happy things in there too but those are the entries that I can’t connect with. I don’t recognize myself in those words at all and I can see how much I was reaching for that happiness, trying to tell myself I was happy, and holding onto what I thought was happiness for dear life.
But then again, they always do say “fake it till you make it.” Maybe it wasn’t the same kind of happiness I know now, but maybe I needed to practice being happy after being so unhappy for such a long time?
Or maybe, and this is much closer to the truth, I just don’t write when I’m happy. I’m not used to recording my happiness so it comes out all fake and forced. Sadly I’m just much better at writing down the things that hurt me (and still hurt, even though I don’t identify with those feelings like I used to).
There are some entries where I know exactly what I’m talking about and I can re-live my experiences all over again:
But then there are things I’ve written but when I read over them I have no idea what I’m referring to:
And then there are the endings that aren’t really resolutions but are more like I got overwhelmed and gave up:
But even though so many of the entries are about hurtful things, I did manage to keep myself solidly grounded throughout it all and I never completely lost touch with what’s most important:
Fortunately the journal ended on a happy-sounding note and I will leave it there. I could keep writing but I think it’s better left alone. Let that chapter close and I will start a new journal when I’m ready. Part of me wants to destroy it (like I have with most of my high school and college journals) but another part of me thinks I should hold on to it for later.
Are you the journaling type? Do you ever go back and read your own journals? Would you ever destroy an old journal or do you want to be able to go back years from now and read them?