I Burned My Journals.
Over the years...
I’ve adopted the daily practice of expressing myself.
It simply sustains.
It started as innocently as my 13-year-old self, with a daily “Dear Diary.”
I tore through blank notebooks and journals like a hungry omnivore at a Korean BBQ restaurant.
Alongside this teenage daily writing, I also practiced music daily.
When my proficiency began to allow it...
...this expression became the outlet for that which I was not allowed to say out loud.
There were opinions, stories, desires, lightness and darkness on the pages and hidden between the musical notes.
I wrote words and played music because I soon discovered that if I stopped the expression, I stopped living.
Expression staved off a full-on crisis of mental illness.
Expression saved my life.
& I know I’m not the only one for whom this is true.
By the time I was 25,
I had collected a huge box of journals filled with memories, traumas, joys, inside jokes, first dates, first kisses, frivolities, camping trips and growing up.
The box of journals was impressive, but heavy.
I couldn’t continue carrying this box around for forever. So, per the suggestion of a friend, I began to transfer ‘the important stuff’ into an electronic archive.
I picked a journal at random.
FIVE hours later, I had the first journal ‘archived’ but had acquired a brain-splitting headache. It was exhausting to be reminded of things people had said, feelings I had purged, and days of my life I had long forgotten. Some memories were fun to recall.
I had forgotten most of these on purpose. I had worked very hard to whitewash them from my mind.
I knew I couldn’t make it through 20+ more journals just like it.
The archiving unearthed it all and I was no better for it.
The journals had served their purpose.
They had given me a forum.
They gave me the place to lay out my insides and start the day from a safer place.
The blank pages were the lenses which had allowed me to truly see myself in the present moment.
I didn’t need to be reminded of the bits and pieces of the stories that didn’t matter in the long run.
So I burned them all.
It took several hours of poking at the fire. Every once in a while, I could see a word on a burning page. Through the bonfire, those flashes of memory were enough of an archive for me. I threw the ashes into the nearby river.
It was time for those words to move on.
Time to collect new words. Time to express new life.
I still write everyday.
Usually first thing in the morning. Usually for 15 minutes, but sometimes a lot longer.
I write on anything: my smartphone’s note application, a blank text document, a plain piece of paper, the back of an old bill.
When the writing comes to a close, I throw it away, immediately.
I delete, rip up, and shred it because I need to.
Trashing them lets me say my peace and get on with life
& frees me from the fear that someone might discover...
- what I really think about so’n’so
- how much of an imposter I truly am
- what a whiney bitch I am about everything.
- how lazy I really am
- [fill in the blank]
The blank page is the kindest permission and deepest forgiveness I have to offer myself and in turn the world.
Not only that but...
The Added Bonus of Daily Expression?
When I sit down to write or stand up to perform music,
I have a clear and smooth channel to the unfettered parts of me.
The parts I wish to reveal to my audiences.