Last week I picked up my journal again, after nearly a year's hiatus. Journaling has always worked that way for me; I've had years where I wrote every day for months, and years when it was months between entries. The key has been never to give myself a hard time about that; to let the words and emotions come when they will, and trust that they'll return when they leave. No, I don't have 25 years of daily records of my life, but I'm ok with that. Instead, I have 25 years of hopes, fears, and dreams. I can't tell you what I ate on July 23, 1999, but I can tell you what I was longing for, what moved me artistically and emotionally that summer. Those are the memories that are precious to me--the memories I want to hold on to.
My journal has never been a "diary" in the purest sense anyway. Although I occasionally report on things that happen in my life, by far the entries are more about just pouring out my thoughts onto the page. I write about whatever I want to write about, essentially. Sometimes it's relationships, sometimes it's writing, sometimes it's gardening. Sometimes it's just doodles and nonsense. I guess I'm aiming more for a record of my interior life than my exterior one. I mean, honestly, who gives a shit that I went to the grocery store yesterday?
In any case, it felt good to open it up again and record a bit of where my head is at the moment. As things turned out, I ended up starting a new poem as I went, so bonus! Sometimes, just the act of writing itself seems to spark the creative impulse, breaking through writer's block in a way that careful planning and considered panic cannot. If I think about writing, I have a really hard time sitting down to do it. If I just start, many times my brain gears catch and I can just go on from there. I know there's some weirdness there but, hey, know thyself, amirite?
I think the thing that I love most about keeping a journal however, is that it gives me the safe space I need to just say whatever the fuck I feel like saying without regard to anyone else's opinion or feelings. That's a magical kind of sensation if you think about it. Being a woman raised in the South, I'm conditioned to politeness on an almost cellular level, meaning that you will *never* hear me lose my shit in public. I eat anger like biscuits, and wash it down with a nice chianti of repressed rage. Honestly, I think most southern women spend their lives one "yes ma'am" away from nuking the world. We all deal with it in different ways; for me it's my journal. It's fucked up, I know; I'm well aware of the crazy. We all have our crutches, though.