Yes, you heard me. This writer appreciates the sentiment about picking up journals for me on holidays and special occasions, but I'd really rather you didn't. Make note to avoid this as a gift idea for me at any point in the future.
You Have Enough?
No, it's not that I have a glut of extra journals at home. I might only have a half dozen laying around. It's something more than becoming a minimalist...something I didn't realize until recently.
I'm A People Pleaser
Haha, now, that's not new to anyone - and it's certainly no revelation to me. But stay with me a minute. Being a people pleaser, I've felt compelled in the past to utilize all the spare notebooks and journals people have given. It has been sweet and I've appreciated it from the bottom of my heart. But this has become a guilty compulsion that's impacted me in a curious way.
You Journal Out Of Guilt?
The thing that this compulsion feeds into some habits that, by themselves, are so minor. But, when they are piled up on top of each other, they start to build a framework to my day that's more like a cage. Sit back and let me explain...
As a people pleaser, when you give me a journal, I feel compelled to use it. I mean, I will feel guilty in not using it because of the time and energy you put into finding it and giving it to me. Guilty to the point that, the longer I go without using it, the more horrible I feel that I have wasted your time and energy until I use it.
Combine that desire to please you with the hundred other triggers in my day trying to please everyone else, and I end up doing a TON of little things for everyone and hardly ANY things for myself. And, for me, that can stretch out to turn into months and years.
With so many who mean so much in my life, I also tend to journal about them, what they're doing and why it's important. I begin to compulsively catalog everyone else to make sure I don't leave anyone or anything out.
Journaling About Everything Can't Be Good
This recently came to light during a FB Live event with Dawn Herring. She is so enthusiastic about journaling and does so many liberating things with journals to cultivate her creativity that I was drawn to join in the event.
When her simple questions gave me pause about the direction I was going versus the direction I wanted to go in, I realized I was putting a LOT of energy into writing about everyone but me.
I was chronicling everything around me without working to chronicle everything within me.
She talked about journaling as being an important part of 'self care' and that it was not selfish to carve out this time for oneself. It is a ritual that can cultivate self-confidence in a way like none other. And taking charge in every aspect of the experience can, in and of itself, be a precious part of that self-expression.
She talked about journals she picks out and pens she prefers. She even discussed what paints and colors and stickers she enjoys incorporating into her journaling. None of which I do. I use the pens others give me to write in the journals others give me.
And I had been basically writing about caring for everyone...
How Does Your Own Journal Change This?
I haven't picked out a journal for myself in twenty years. I've dutifully used journals others have picked out for me. And it is a minor thing, I know. But at this turning point in my life, when I reached for the next gifted journal in the pile, I felt my spirit recoil. It wasn't the gift I was rejecting. My spirit simply cried out to express itself in every element of a new journal. I felt compelled to buy one for myself.
Did You Find One?
Indeed, I did. And, after pouring over the extensive selection at Barnes & Noble, where I have never invested more than money for gifts for other people, I took the time to pick out one that really spoke to me.
Between flower covers and velvet covers, unlined pages and parchment pages, I was dazzled. There were so many choices! Did I want something with gold gilt edges? A shot of Audrey Hepburn? Recycled texture? Embossed? Stamped?
Finally, this one peeked out at me from behind another. And the simplicity appealed as much as the leather. I was drawn to the size and the classic look. I've never had a leather journal but felt that this was a moment where I deserved to splurge. Half the price of some of the other leather-bound items, it allows for the individual journal to be held inside, which means multiple volumes can rest inside the cover, which means this leather look can be mine for years to come.
Self Care Begins
So, now a new chapter can begin - one that I'm fully in charge of. And I not only plan to keep up with what's going on in my daily life, but I will strive to dive within and write about one of the most elusive characters this writer has been all too shy about:
Cute End To The Story
Not exactly. In the midst of my looking at my journal collection, I happened to uncover a rogue journal that is not mine. It was one that I saved from a rummage sale in town maybe 10-15 years ago. At the time, I 'rescued' it from being thrown out as it was in with office supplies.
I've begun looking for the owner. I hope that, by tracking them down and giving back a piece of their history, it can help my own story that I'm currently writing. Everyone deserves a place where they can work to develop themselves, cultivate self-care and explore their dreams.
I'll keep you posted!