Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Journaling Out of The Blue(s)

This is not my journal. But it's a blue journal, which goes nicely with the title of this post, I think.

The other day (ok, it was yesterday) I was having a bad attitude, so I got out my journal. I had a lot to say and no one to say it to. (Ok I knew no one wanted to listen to me mewl and kvetch and whine. I am at least old enough to recognize that and adjust accordingly. When I was younger... not so much.)

Confession, I may have used my journal to lament how hard it is to type on this new computer (see yesterday's post) and I keep making mistakes and some of the letters you have to press harder and so they don't show up and I keep hitting the numbers lock button instead of backspace and it's FRUSTRATING. And I had to spew all my pettiness somewhere. (I guess I sort of just spewed it here... forgive me. Surely some of you know how it feels to be petty, right? In my own defense, as a writer it's really, really important to be able to type quickly and proficiently and when you can't it really messes with you.)

But that is not what this post is about.

This post is about journaling, and how having a journal to pour your thoughts into is a very good thing. We should all have a place to put stuff-- our thoughts, our observations, memories, favorite verses and quotes, etc. I'm not sure who will get my journals someday but I like to think that they will be filled with wisdom and applicable life statements. That one of my kids or grandkids will read these words of mine and say, "Wow, she wrote this all those years ago and it's helping me even today."

Yes, I actually have these thoughts.

But these thoughts are not why I'm keeping a journal. I'm keeping a journal because it's an outlet. It helps me stay sane. It gives me a place to put all the stuff that rolls around in my head. It also gives me a place to process the things I'm dealing with. I've said before that I write my way to the truth in my journal. It's like sometimes I can't see the truth until it winds across the page, flowing before my eyes in bold black ink. Yes, that's it. Now I see.

So back to the other day yesterday, I was in a full blown pity party, so I wrote about that. About how I didn't want to have a pity party but I couldn't seem to snap out of it. I wrote about all the reasons I was despairing. I wrote down the things I was confused about. I got it all out, and it felt good. And then I stopped writing and listened to the sound of... laughter. In the kitchen. My three youngest, home from school, had decided to make their own lunch. And something about the effort had become funny. That laughter reminded me that, while I had a lot not going right, I had some stuff going very right. And so I listened to them laughing and I started to write down all the good things about my life, starting with the laughter in the kitchen. I'm not going to say it was a cure all, but it was a nice start, an actual step towards a better perspective and much better than the wallowing that was going on before I got the journal out.

Next time you have a bout of the blues, may I suggest getting out a journal and putting it all there? It's a safe and wonderful place to sort it all out. I recommend at least starting there. You never know where that one action will take you.
Pin It!


Pam said...

Yes & Amen, Marybeth! My journal is definitely a place where I can spew out all that's rolling around in my head and "write my way to the truth." I like what you said. It is true that I sometimes can't see it until it's written out.

I remember when I first picked up a pen and a journal and attempted to write down my thoughts. I remember struggling to write more than a sentence or two (if that) and whether I was doing it right. Yes, that's the rule-follower in me. Anyway, I continued on and today I have stacks of journals covering 16 years worth of my thoughts scribbled out on paper.

Now, I struggle to keep it under 3 pages each time I write in my journal. It truly has become a place of healing for me. When I'm down and out or in a funk or a bad mood, reading through my entries never fails to get me back on the right path.

I'm thankful for my journals and like you hope they will be a source of encouragement for somebody someday : )

Marybeth Whalen said...

Thanks Pam-- your comments are always a bright spot and I appreciate you reading. I'd write more, but I'm having trouble typing... grrrr.

Carol Baldwin said...

I've been doing this for ages. GOod idea to post this as a blog!

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia said...

Been journaling since I was in 8th grade, a loooong time ago! Definitely have seen changes in the things I write, but I am right there with you in how it is a great way to just get things off your chest. I never thought that one day my thoughts could be an inspiration for someone (or a warning!!). Love reading your blog posts!