Lucy. She’s reliable, kind, and nonjudgmental. She’s there to listen when everyone else is asleep. Sleek and black, handmade and embossed with my name in gold, my journal is one of the objects I hold closest to my heart. Named after the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” the white splatter on the cover made it look like the stars, transporting me into a different world when I opened it. My journal is a direct reflection of my thoughts and emotions---a mirror of me. Lucy has helped me learn more about myself and how I perceive the world, and I hope that our friendship will inspire you to do the same for yourself.
I started journaling about two years ago to manage my stress . Like many others, I have a tendency to overthink every little detail in my life. Even the most insignificant things drove me crazy. When I earned a grade a few points lower than I was expecting, I felt as if I was losing control over my life. It was terrifying. My thoughts became overwhelming . One day, my sister saw this and suggested I start writing down my thoughts. I originally dismissed the idea, believing it was silly and a waste of time, but, as my endless over-analyzing continued, I decided to give it a try. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?
I started off with a journaling app on my phone. Since I didn’t think I would be consistent and lacked motivation, I didn’t initially feel the need to invest in a physical notebook. The app I used was called Jour; there were prompts and reminders always, making it the perfect place for a beginner like me. To my surprise, I began to enjoy it immensely. The simple fifteen minutes spent on myself became my favorite part of the day. I also started to feel the weight being lifted off my shoulders. Writing down what was upsetting me allowed me to stop myself from jumping to conclusions and therefore clear some headspace. It was a place for me to express my frustrations, but leave them behind once I was finished. It felt like having an extra best friend. But virtual journaling was only the beginning.
After I had been journaling for almost a year, I started to write in the Jour app more often and explore new topics, besides just my feelings. I filled the pages with whimsical short stories and mundane daily activities. One of my best friends saw how my eyes lit up when I wrote and decided to get me a customized journal for my birthday. The notebook was a place for me to tell my story, even if it was just for myself. As I reread my old entries, I was able to reflect on the person I had become. . The words I wrote were a conversation with every version of myself and helped me understand myself more fully.
Now that it has been almost two years since I started journaling, I love recommending the activity to others. If it can help even one person as much as it helped me, I would be ecstatic. So if you do start, here are a few things to remember. First, experimenting everything will work out the same for everyone, so don’t be afraid to try out new writing tactics. If you need to write on paper, do it! It’s all about finding what works best for you. Also, don’t beat yourself up over missing a day or forgetting about it for a few weeks. People get busy and it’s better to stop for a few days than to push yourself and cause more stress. If you don’t know where to start, I would suggest using prompts like these: “What are you grateful for today?” “What was your favorite sound you heard today?”. Prompts can get your brain situated to writing, and eventually you’ll be able to write pages and pages without them. Lastly, the most important thing to remember is that this is your story, and it is worth being told no matter how insignificant it may feel.
Writing can be therapeutic. It allows you to put your worries down on paper and leave them there. It allows you to learn, to see clearer, to explore. I have found so much comfort in my journal and I hope I have inspired you to do the same. Perhaps someone a hundred years down the road will be studying your story!