"Turn the Page and Write: On Journaling," An Essay

"Turn the Page and Write: On Journaling," An Essay

I write to remember, to understand and to heal. Journaling has the power to express emotions, to write history, to dissect problems. Writing is a way for me to take pieces of my past with me. By writing my encounters, I am writing down my own history — the words are frozen on the page like the waters of a pond in the dead of winter. As I weave words together to write the stories of the past, I am freezing and remembering a portion of my time.

There are many ways to look at time; time can be an enemy or it can be friend. In regard to writing, time is my friend. As it moves without my approval, memories are created. Time works with writing because we need time to write, time to experience and time to heal. The movement of time inspires me to write, and writing heals my mind.

Sometimes, it is painful to voice out my feelings, so I turn to writing as an outlet to express and process them. Journals bare our identities because they are composed out of own distinct handwriting, reflections and intentions. When I feel perplexed, anxious, or happy, I write. Many people have individual coping mechanisms, but for me I turn a page and I write.

When I’m presented with a challenge, I write everything out on the page. The challenge is confined to the page; it is trapped and readied to be studied. As I think about what to write, my mind undergoes a debate—one side arguing for, the other against. My obstacles are contained and more manageable. They resemble ordered piles of books waiting to be read, seen and heard. The empty page of a journal is an empty canvas before the artist, paintbrush in hand, ready to create art.

Writing heals because I have to think through the events and process them into words. Maybe some feelings cannot be described in words; however, addressing them works to lessen the pain. Writing feels safe and the issues I have to process are confined within the spaces of the journal pages.

Writing in a journal allows me to jot down the events of any particular day and process how I felt about the uncontrollable moments. Looking back on my previous entries, I’m reminded of the memories — similar to certain smells that causes a memory to surface, or evidence that sheds light on an investigation. The phrases on the page and my word choices trigger my memory, and I’m the detective of my own story.

Along with the writing, there are doodles, post-its with little messages scrawled on them, photographs, movie ticket stubs decorating the page — adding another visual memory. The captions underneath photographs are like titles of paintings, giving a small insight into what the subject might be. The words are everywhere on the page.

I am the author of my story, and it is deeply personal — like one’s own fingerprint or handwriting that cannot be recreated. It’s a complex code that cannot be deciphered even with hammers of knowledge. Only the writer of the journal knows the intentions behind such words.

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