Since the day I could form words on paper I have loved to write. I enjoy the artistic part of crafting the letters together to form beautiful script. I play with words until they create the perfect image in my mind. Then I actually write them and my script looks like chicken scratch and my word images become a jumble that really don’t do justice to what I had created in my mind. But that is OK, because when I write in my personal journal, I don’t care what others think, because it is not for them. It is for me. It is my safe zone to unload all that boils in me all day. Now one big problem I have is keeping my writing to something less than the length of “War and Peace”. That is why I have the journal I use.
It is full of prompts that focus me on the important parts of my day. The space to answer those prompts is large enough to allow a couple of sentences, which forces me to really think about my answers and to distill my thoughts to their purest form. The back of each page of prompts is a plain pages with lines so that I can free form anything that was not covered in the prompts. Often I use that page as a gratitude journal. One of the struggles of depression is finding the good in a day, especially when buried under the dark feelings. My mother gave me the exercise when I was a child, to report to her one good thing about the day when she was tucking me in at night. I have carried that forward to my journal and I have found, even on my darkest days that I stop writing the good things only because I have run out of space on the page. Not every day is that easy, but as long as I keep up my journaling and writing, it becomes a habit to focus on the good and identify it before I identify the bad. My snarky sarcastic jabs lessen and I become a much nicer person.
I had fallen away from journaling for quite a long time. When my dad’s cancer came back this last time I knew I needed to dig my journal out again and start writing. But I was having a really rough time and just could not get motivated. So I checked my e-mail and found a 50% coupon at one of my favorite craft stores, marched myself in and spent the whopping $3.50 on myself and bought a pen that creates lovely writing even out of my scrawling hand!
As I write I imagine I am a regal lady who has wonderful history to record for posterity instead of a working suburban mother of 2 just trying to make ends meet. In reality, though, when I write with that pen my writing becomes art, it becomes more important, if to no one else but me. And at that moment, as I pour out my day onto the page and work to make sense of the struggles and celebrate the victories and fulfill my mother’s request to find something good at the end of the day, I am writing a unique and priceless story because no one else will ever do the things I do or feel the things I feel in exactly the same way. And by filling in the blanks on the daily page I empty myself so that the next day I can once again be filled with the love, laughter, and joy that my family brings to me each and every day.