Journaling

Over the years, I filled up 30 to 40 journals. Wasted money, I assumed. My husband presses me to throw them out. I can’t seem to part with them. I have never ever read a single word of any of them. I couldn’t bring myself to bear the torture of reading my own words from my various places of existence. I am so quick to judge who I have been. I am often sickened by myself. Reading my journals could be highly therapeutic, or it could be completely dysregulating. I’m not sure.
I guess that anonymous blogging is kind of like my 21st century journal collection now. It certainly takes up less physical space. Whoever knew what to do with several dozen hard-back books filled with pointless ramblings of a highly unstable teenager and young adult? Journaling is a strange thing when you feel ashamed of your own words. What’s the point of keeping them? It feels rather dangerous actually. It was always a process-related exercise for me. It was never about the finished product.
Blogging, even anonymously, becomes more about the outcome than the process. I am constantly ambivalent about the trajectory of my writing. Writing is wonderful as long as you write for the sake of writing. As soon as I make it about the product and its reception, it crumbles into a heap of perfectionistic bull-crap. In some ways, I am thankful that I have so few followers. I allows me more liberty to let go of the rules and just pour out unedited thoughts. Otherwise, I would get too wrapped up in the stats, readers, comments, and evaluations of a bunch of people who may or may not mean something to me.
I guess that the fear of my journals getting into the wrong hands is echoed in my fear of somehow my blog being traced back to me. It is my way of “living on the edge.” I’ve never been a big risk-taker, so maybe journaling or writing anonymously is my form of sky-diving or bungee-jumping. Wild and crazy, I know! Hold onto your seats, I’m a maniac!! I do, however, lose sleep over the agony of wondering if someone could find out that I am “letting the secrets slip.”
I read somewhere this week that artists live out loud. We narrate life. Everyone else just lives it. I don’t know if this is good or bad, or if you can even attribute value to it at all. Is writing akin to an obsession with taking pictures? Am I so busy behind the lens of my own “camera” that I don’t experience life in its purity? I honestly don’t know. I tend to stop writing when I am avoiding emotions, so I would say that writing actually enables me to engage more fully in my life. Writing allows me to connect with parts of myself that I would normally neglect, even parts that I intentionally run from. I guess that it is risky on various levels. My conclusion for now, however, is that it is incredibly worthwhile and meaningful, at least for me as the writer. Maybe someday, it can provide meaning and insight for others as well. Maybe when my children start sleeping through the night. Then I will be able to grasp concepts that take longer than a page to articulate.

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