My Own Therapy

January 27, 2011
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I started my first journal in second grade, after receiving one at my eighth birthday party. I didn’t even wait until I was alone; I began to write all about my life as my friends drifted off to sleep. I wrote for fun. I wrote for the feeling of the pencil in my cramped hand to the paper, lined with my messy handwriting. I wasn’t good at keeping a journal at first; I would write for a few solid weeks and then forget about it, apologetically returning promising to write more often. It wasn’t until sixth grade that I decided to keep a permanent journal. I had gone through a string of diaries, including a purple one with a cat on it, a sparkly red one, and one with a denim cover, but I wanted one that I wouldn’t give up on.

I remember opening my new journal for Christmas in sixth grade; it was A Series of Unfortunate Events-themed, with quotes at the bottom of each page. I had barely finished opening my presents when, clad in my new pajamas, slippers and bathrobe, I sat down to write. I wrote for me. I wrote for the joy of writing. It was like I had just made a new friend and wanted to tell her everything. I felt the need to ramble on for twenty-four pages that first day about every detail of my life. I wrote about the sort of stuff an eleven year old girl thinks is so important at the time.

I’ve since learned that when I go back and reread my journals on rainy saturday mornings, I don’t want to hear about what I did in between school and soccer practice, or which friend I had a sleepover with on weekends. It’s not as fun to read about my verbs; what I was digging for were my feelings: what I thought of people, how I felt about things. I started angling my journal entries towards that. It became an outlet for my feelings and ideas, my own sort of self-therapy.

I wrote to unfold. I wrote to bring in. I wrote about all the good in my life and my dreams for the future, but it also became a way for me to reveal my deepest feelings, anxieties, and stresses to a non-judgmental source. I would come home upset, and I simply got out my black pen (I had long since upgraded from a smudgy pencil), and my journal, writing until my worries disappeared and my head was clear. I don’t know where these journals will take me, I just know that they can bring me back to wherever I want to go.

I write to forget. I write to remember.

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