When I am troubled, I write. When I am lonely, I write. When I am angry, upset, anxious – I write. When I am confused, I write. The feelings, colours, emotions – the spinning clouds of thoughts – I can pull them one by one from my head, place them down on paper, with a deep breath, and start to make sense of them. Somehow, when they are written down, I am relieved of them. Issues that are really silly suddenly seem very trivial when written down on the page in front of me – like they don’t deserve the paper and ink that they’ve taken up. And problems or emotions that are much more piercing and complex seem much more manageable when I can lay them out infront of me like a pack of cards. I am no longer bottling them up. I am no longer in denial, pushing them aside. I am facing up to my own truths, one at a time.
The lightning paced lives that we live leave little time for reflection. We spend our whole day distracting ourselves. We are terrified of that moment when we are alone, with no iPhone, no tv, no music. What will we do? Terrified of being shut in a room with our own thoughts, in fear of what we might find. So we scrunch up our reactions, our thoughts, our emotions and throw them to the back of our head to deal with later. Until we find ourselves totally backlogged, a hazy mess, in the middle of our own personal breakdown. If only we could check in with ourselves more regularly. Be honest with ourselves, ask ourselves how we are feeling, and be ready to hear the answer.
When I write, I don’t write for anybody else to read. Not even for myself to read in the future. If all my journals were lost in a storm they still served their absolute purpose – to help me in that very moment. Because it is the act of writing that is so important in itself. Not the act of reading. It is the moment of being totally unselfconscious, knowing that no one else is listening or reading. That sacred space where we can finally be ourselves, and totally honest with ourselves, no matter how crazy it sounds. It’s frightening at first, but the more we do it, the more self-aware we become, and the more we respect ourselves for who we really are.
I believe that all the answers that we are looking for in life we carry within ourselves. We just have to learn to look inside and find the way to unlock them. Sometimes it doesn’t feel as though I am the one in control of the pen. Words appear that are more profound than the thoughts that had been circling my head. Answers appear to the problems I had been struggling with. The voice of reason. A calm, wise and reassuring voice. The voice that stills the storm. It is the voice of my deeper conscious. The all-seeing, all-knowing part of me that is unaffected by my day to day worries and insecurities. The part of me that knows what is fundamentally right and wrong, and can show me the way in the dark even when I feel like I am totally out of reach.
And when I am feeling peaceful – healed from my writing, struggles resolved – journalling opens up a whole spectrum of colours in my future. A space to document my dreams and aspirations, however big or small. To paint with the colours of possibility. I write never-ending lists of lifetime aims that feed my imagination. That help remind me of the vast world out there with all it’s diversity, and the diversity within myself. That shine light on the multitude of passions, skills and interests I have to offer. A constant in my life, dreaming on paper, to prevent me from doggedly pursuing one sole path, but encourage me to actively explore every inch of this world, every corner of myself and everything it really means to be human.