Thursday, June 7, 2012

Armchair BEA: Beyond the Blog

Hello again, readers!

Today's Armchair BEA theme is "Beyond the Blog". It can be about anything; writing, other hobbies, the works. Just something maybe beyond what we typically blog about. This is the most challenging post for me, because I use my blog as a reflection of my passions. If I want to talk about crafts, I do; if I want to talk about baking, I do; if I want to talk about wine, I write a post somewhere around my 3rd glass (kidding!). But ultimately, this blog was created to discuss my interests; most of which revolve around books and coffee.

So, you already know about all the crafts I do. And you already know about my mad Puppy Chow making skills. I don't feel like there's much more I can talk about...

...except journaling.

I suppose this is one minor detail I've kept from you all. This blog is somewhat of a journal for me, yet, but I still have my beautiful pink Italian leatherette journal I keep in my desk drawer. So, today, I wanted to just tell a story about my journaling experience and how, ultimately, it lead me to this.

When I was young, I, like every other girl in the 3rd grade, was obsessed with Lisa Frank. Remember her products? Bright colors, lots of pinks and purples? And outrageous prices to boot. My journal looked something like this one. I'm not 100% sure on that, though, because I've left it at my parent's house. All I remember is that it had penguins and a little lock to keep my secrets safe.

I journaled about one to two times a week, roughly. I talked about school, boys, my cats, and whatever else I did in my day-to-day life. Looking back, it's a lame journal. But seeing through the eyes of yourself as a child is pretty priceless.

In middle school, I started going through a little bit of a darker time in my life. Nothing too terrible, I was just in the "trying to find myself" stage. Ultimately, I spent hours and hours with my journal every night. There were so many emotions and thoughts I needed to get on paper and I could never write fast enough to do so. Journaling really got me through all my struggles. Some of those journals still exist today, and I've kept them to reflect on my life. I also hope to someday allow my kids to see them and recognize everyone goes through rough patches. The best part about these journals? I wrote them in gel pens. Oh, yes, I'm definitely a child raised in the 90s...

High school was extremely busy for me, so I didn't journal much. I was out of my weird little stage and didn't feel the need to commit as many thoughts to paper. In my earlier high school years, I did online diary entries. Eventually, MySpace came along, so I wrote my thoughts as blogs (...ah, the beginning...). Before I closed out my MySpace account, I actually copied all of those blogs to a Word document so I could always look back at them. But whenever I was struggling, my physical journal came through for me. After high school, I bought a new journal to college, to start fresh. I wrote so much my freshman year, as I struggled with the typical college issues of roommate disagreements and academic stress. Throughout my four years of college, I was able to use my journals to ground me again. I'd also look back through old journals to see how much I'd overcome--it would give me confidence to get through one more thing.

And today, I still journal from time to time. Not on this blog, of course. Personal thoughts, feelings, and aspirations. I probably only write an entry every 2-3 months. Ultimately, I know my journal has been there for me throughout the years, and will continue to be there for me. I love reflecting back on my journal entries, too, to see how far I've come and how far I have to go.

Are journals totally outdated? Does anyone else keep one, just to have it handy?

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