On Journaling: Water Weight

My First DiaryThose that know me, know I journal…a lot.

It started in 1980. Although back then it wasn’t a journal–it was a “diary.”  I loved it with the blue roller-skate and brass lock on the side.

It’s where I would tell my every secret. I’d write the names of boys. Of best friends. I would list my favorite ice-creams (mint chocolate chip was always on top–after that I struggled to come up with any flavors worth listing).

On May 20th these were the things I found important to record:

“Today was very fun!! We fed ducks and Dennis was throwing up, it was gross. Tim and Tina are like a lock and lost the key. Steve today was watching me when I passed by, I tried to suck in my stomach a lot and it gave me a better appearance in my bathing suit.”

And here’s the deal. That was 33 years ago. There’s a BOATLOAD of information packed into that small bit. Even when I re-read it now, I can tell what was going on. It jolts my memory.

My “diary” was my safe place to let out everything. In there I could express my feelings about skinny-Tina. How I wished to be underweight like her. And I felt there was no possible way to ever get “Tim” to notice me–hence the whole lock/key thing. And more. There is so much info in there.

Continuing to write like this nearly every day for the next 33 years has helped in ways I couldn’t even begin to explain. Over the years it’s even morphed into Art Journaling (which is another amazing journey of healing–hence why I’m passionate about teaching it to others.). But most days, I plain ‘ol journal (writing and typing). Some days it’s all of 30 words.

I do it because it helps. I don’t know how, but it just does. And if you need a little story to help you understand better–then of course I’ve got just the thing for you!

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question.

Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down.”

Journaling has been the best way for me to “put down the glass of water.” Words of joy, pain, heartfelt prayers, and spilling my heart. Writing gets it out–even more so than talking…trust me.

When I started back in 1980 I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just doing, and over the years I kept doing. I must have known on some level it was helping.

Oh and deep sweet soul, let me add this…be truthful to your journal. It doesn’t help to be so fearful of what you want to write, that you don’t. Yes, I too might be mortified to have someone read some of my entries. BUT I don’t let that stop me. You really need to get it all out–even the most scary hideous stuff. And if it’s really that bad–type it all out in a computerized document, then put a password on the file. Trust me. You can do this.

You will never be sorry for journaling.
You’ll never be sorry for putting down that weighty glass of water.
And parents…buy your kid their first “diary.” I will be forever thankful that mine did.
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6 thoughts on “On Journaling: Water Weight

  1. Wow, I’m so impressed you have been journaling consistently for so long. I kept a dairy periodically when I was younger and every one of them (short-lived as they were) I either burned or shredded — I couldn’t stand what i read later (mixture of reasons – boring, life wasn’t perfect and didn’t want to admit it, etc). Fear of what I would write and and the biggest fear of some one reading it has kept me from really writing. Your bravery is inspiring me to really journal.

    • OH MY GOODNESS Kathryn – if I used the list of boring, imperfect life, etc… mine would have been long gone too. I mean seriously – “Dennis threw up…?” That was the best I had? Yup! And well, I’m happy I kept them. I hope you start writing down everything. If nothing else keep a “cat diaries” now that could end up being a seller with a little splash o’art. (I kid you not).

      • Cat diaries! Love it! But then people will know I have really gone over the cat edge. (Like I haven’t already) 😀 Thanks for the encouragement – you are, as always, right on the money!

  2. (Ramblings from my digital journal just now…)

    I have been feeling compelled to write. More than I do. Not so clear about what all, but I just must write more. Not that I “should” – but that I must.

    I just read Sherry’s blog about journaling. Good reminder. That’s a good place to get regular again – journaling – more than I do. The place to get back to it. To do more of it. Yep. Uh-huh. Sure enough. So I shall. I will write morning pages – here or in my cool journal from my winter overseas or in my plain old notebook binder. Yep, yep. Morning, afternoon, night… I will write bits here & there. Now & then. When things come to mind.

    Some day I will figure out which is the better place to write – on the keys or with the pen. Maybe I will. Or maybe I won’t. But I will write. I won’t let the keys vs. pen debate stop me. I will simply write wherever. I will capture the thoughts & feelings somewhere. I will cherish them. Collect them, gather them, preserve them – somewhere, somehow.

    I will value my writing.

    (Thanks, Sherry; you did it again.)

    • Oh Kaye – this is wonderful:

      “I won’t let the keys vs. pen debate stop me. I will simply write wherever. I will capture the thoughts & feelings somewhere. I will cherish them. Collect them, gather them, preserve them – somewhere, somehow.”

      exactly right, you capture them everywhere, anywhere, and it’s an eclectic process. thinking “perfection” in terms of journaling will only thwart the process. I know because I used to think like that… write only with a certain pen in my journal – and because sometimes that felt exhausting I wouldn’t write. But now when the thoughts are faster than my penmanship, I go to the keyboard and spill with God-speed.

      Kaye, this is so good. ❤

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