I started writing in a journal the other night. I regularly start journals and rarely write in them for more than an entry or two. I am wretched at journaling. I’ve tried every combination of journal and writing tool, hoping the right blend will inspire me to fill shelves full of journals with chronicles of my life and bits of creativity and genius. I tried moleskins because those are cool and literary feeling and I think I heard somewhere that’s what Ernest Hemingway used. I’ve tried cute journals with drawings on the cover, school spirals, small notebooks, large notebooks, digital journals. My current journal is a composition notebook because I am a teacher and have a cupboard full of them. I am writing with a Bic blue ballpoint pen because that is ALL I can write with these days.
Except I am still crap at journaling.
I have realized that the problem isn’t so much the medium on and with which I am writing, but what I am writing. I have a crippling fear of actually extracting the thoughts in my brain and putting them on paper. Writing my thoughts gives them voice and makes them real and when they are real they can be judged and that is terrifying. I once went through all my old diaries and partial journals from my childhood and burned them because I was so afraid of someone finding them and reading about the crush I had on Peter when I was in the 7th grade or reading what was going through my head while my body went through puberty. Because that shit was crazy. While I wear so much of my life out loud, I deeply guard so much of myself. With really big chains!
So I am trying with this new journal. I am trying to step outside my fear and write every day. I am going to write ideas that are terrible and write stories that are honest. Maybe this time I will fill a journal, and even someday, a shelf. My mom will always call all of it genius.
Update: I have totally been sticking with this new journal. Maybe it’s only been 3 days, but I am going to celebrate small victories in the hopes that I keep going. I have, however, taken to hiding it in my apartment when I don’t have it with me because I have a completely irrational fear that my few friends with keys to my place are going to call up each other when I’m not home and be all, “Hey, let’s go hang out at Amanda’s and catch up on her latest journal entries because that shit is Bravo TV style crazy. I’ll bring the wine.” It’s probably more TLC style crazy because I haven’t had enough plastic surgery or wear a wig (except in a few weeks at comic con) and at least one of my entries is about pooping.
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