How Journaling Became My Choice Of Self-Expression
I write to understand how I am wired I write to understand how I can rewire It takes practice A practice of 15+ years through which I found journaling to be my choice of self-expression
Because while change isn’t easy, change is the only constant Acknowledging how I was wired wasn’t easy But knowing that if I wanted to, I could rewire my outlook, was what I turned into MY practice
Writing is my life-force
I began maintaining a journal/diary when I was 15. I had just begun junior college – my world had expanded and contracted at the same time. I had the whole world to behold. But it was also one to get easily swallowed up by.
My thoughts were too private to be shared. So I chose journaling to anchor me. The pen would become the only tool to keep up with the speed of my thoughts. Back then, I didn’t know the pen would evolve and put words to the inexpressible as well. And anchored in my self-expression through journaling, I developed a super-power: self-awareness
Mind you, in 2013, I knew zilch about self-awareness – let alone being self-aware myself. But I knew this: I had a hyperactive mind which when wasn’t being satiated by books, needed an outlet on paper
Because as a teen, my thoughts raged more than my hormones If I read to feel less alone, I wrote to get better acquainted with my aloneness More than 15 years later, my thoughts still rage more than my hormones More than 15 years later, I still write to get better acquainted my aloneness
I was scared of being found out
At times, I’ve been so scared of being found out – for keeping a journal – that I wouldn’t write what I wanted to write about – defeating the very purpose behind why I began journaling to self-express.
So I wrote about not writing what I wanted to write I wrote about that feeling of not being able to write I also wrote about that feeling of not wanting to write; of not wanting to commit to paper what I was conveniently flirting within my head
Over the years, I gradually began writing about all the feelings
I got braver and wrote about the things that terrified me – about myself, about the people in my life, about life as I knew it, about life as I would never know it. Everything slowly poured its way to the page.
A scary thought on paper was much better than a toxic thought lurking inside. When you see your thoughts and/or feelings in your own handwriting or on the screen, as intimidating and overwhelming it is at first, it is far far far more surmountable from there.
I know this because I have kept my journals
Do I not feel sad or angry about certain parts from my past? Do I not feel ashamed or guilty about certain parts from my past?
I don’t feel held as a hostage by them or my past. If anything, they’ve borne witness to my maturity and transmutation. My journals are a testimonial to the power of not giving up on myself. All of which would have been such a haze if I hadn’t persevered and provided an outlet to my experiences – especially the never-ending loops of confusion and angst, the plateaus of indecision and dread, or the lows of helplessness and debility.
How journaling paved the way for self-expression and in turn, for expression too
Too often folks discount the power of maintaining a journal practice.
I wouldn’t be half as expressive as I am if it wasn’t for my journal practice I wouldn’t have honed my blog-writing or Instagram posts if I wasn’t this expressive I wouldn’t have dared start a venture if I didn’t feel liberated every time I wrote a blog or IG post I wouldn’t have stayed as grounded if it weren’t for the nerve to bring expressive writing to more folks
But I say all this with one caveat – a caveat that my journal practice has been supplemented with other techniques and therapeutic interventions that I’ve integrated into my self-expression through journaling.
My journey feels more complete because I wrote to understand how I was wired. My journey feels redemptive because I wrote to understand how I could rewire.