How Journaling Has Helped Me Heal

Me Journaling on the beach

My loyal companion, my journal, has traveled as far and wide as I have. I have been unable to stop writing since the age of nine when I first started keeping a diary inspired by Harriet the Spy. Following Harriet’s lead, I would write down observations and curate mysteries out of ordinary incidents, “Penny doesn’t like Cool Whip, but she likes whipped cream. Must investigate more.”

Together we’ve documented my daily tardiness to Italian class (I blame it on the journal). I know I can never admit to my professor that the notes I take in class are not the grammar she writes on the board, but the constant flow of ideas that run through my churning mind. I document the rainfall as a matter of course and feel obligated to share the sights and sounds of midterm-midnight-chaos in the library. And I admit to having stolen anecdotes from my travel buddy during my own essay crises, knowing that a moment of genius during lunch might just fit perfectly into a caffeine driven assignment at three am. A decade later and I am still using the same tactics when I write articles and turn around a deadline. Writer’s block can be toppled with the right sentence repurposed from a journal entry.

My life is a constant recollection.

Holding tight to what has already happened as if the world will forget if I don’t record it, memorize it and put it down on paper. I wonder if I will be forgotten if my self-recorded history were to vanish?

From a young age, I learned that writing about my pain was like talking to a friend. I would spill my chaos onto the blank pages of my journals and this seemed to close the Pandora’s Box that held all my troubles. I would come out from under those covers in a haze, not remembering why I hid in the first place. Most of my personal revelations have been ghost written by the universe during times of darkness in my life. Writing was (and still is) a critical outlet for things I couldn’t process. I learned how to stay calmer by writing my feelings.

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