I am not a journaler. Or that is the story in my head.
Because in the story in my head, a journaler is someone like my sister-in-law Sarah or my friend Bridgette, who always has a notebook going, who writes in it regularly, who relishes - maybe even relies on - the practice.
In contrast, I am someone with boxes of notebooks in the back of my closet, each with twelve or fourteen or two pages filled. I suppose I am a starter-and-stopper. And I struggle with the practice - it’s a love-hate push-pull sort of thing. That's not how a journaler rolls, according to the made-up arbitrary and unreliable definition in my head.
But I have boxes of journals in the bottom of my closet! And each one tells a story or part of a story of my life!
When we moved out of our bedroom in June before embarking on a renovation of our closet and bathroom, I had to move those boxes of partially filled journals to the basement. As I flipped through each one of those books which span maybe ages 16 to 20-something, I was struck by the absurdity of my own definition of a journaler, of a journal. Why is a half-filled or partially-filled or barely-filled notebook not a journal? Wherever did the notion of the-only-real-journal is a filled-to-the-last-page-notebook come from?
And suddenly I see things coming into focus. I am a chronicler, I always have been.
I am a strong starter, as evidenced by the number of books in the boxes, and the middle part gets tricky for me. Maybe it’s the commitment or the continuity that I struggle with, but instead of focusing on what I've done, on all that I’ve recorded, on the parts of my story that I’ve captured over time, I let the voices in my head go on about how I don’t follow through, about the unfinished pages. I told myself I’m not a journaler.
Suddenly I am able to see that there is evidence to the contrary: there is my gratitude practice, near daily for the better part of year; there is the Habit Blog where I recorded the bits of my days alongside so many glorious women for six full years; there is this beloved and neglected blog.
Yes, the story of my blog includes a chapter (or seven) about how I have not kept up, how I have stopped and started, how I have been inconsistent, and yes there are long periods of silence. But none of that erases the years of near daily posting; silence tells its own story; I have been recording elsewhere in the meantime; and maybe I’ve left the blog sitting here because part of me knew this notebook wasn't finished.
And yet. There is a little voice in my head that likes to say I don’t write because I’m lazy, that the blog lingers here neglected because that’s easier than making the choice to take it down. I hear that voice, and I am choosing to tell it to shush itself and sit back down, because this is my space to do with what I’d like and right now I’d like to chronicle some things, to record the littlest bits of process and daily life and noticings, and the space is here waiting for me.
A journal. My journal. Let’s go.