I used to journal everyday. I filled my journals with drawings, hotel keys, excerpts from books I was reading, doodles, trinkets, phone numbers, photos….documenting every day, every detail of my life. I used composition notebooks and made the pages stronger with newspaper and paste resulting in journals stuffed to be inches thick. I stopped journaling abruptly a few weeks into my pregnancy in 2006. I’m still not quite sure what changed in me except for the awesome idea of motherhood. For years, I had this unexplained frantic need to remember everything….the amazing, the tragic, the simple, the complex, the ugly and the perfect. I call it “the storm, before the calm.”
There are lot of Sylvia Plath’s words throughout my notebooks. I love Plath’s unabridged journals ….they rest under my bed for when I can’t sleep, I can open and read them at random ….there are things she wrote that I couldn’t have said better myself. I have a unique curiosity about her because my great-grandmother took her own life in the same way Plath did. There is a lot of Johnny Cash and Frida Kahlo throughout. He was open about his mistakes in life and learned from them with humility. She was complex and full of contradictions….but never self pity.
I thought I’d post some journal pages every once in a while with some excerpts. Some are boring, some are funny, some are pretty….I’ll choose to leave the really personal ones out for now for the sake of other parties. I’m hoping revisiting them will inspire me to start journaling again….and maybe inspire others to start journaling too.
“Write about your own experience. By that experience someone else may be a bit richer some day. Read widely of others experiences in thought and action–stretch to others even though it hurts and strains and would be more comfortable to snuggle back in the comforting cotton-wool of blissful ignorance! Hurl yourself at goals above your head and bear the lacerations that come when you slip and make a fool of yourself. Try always, as long as you have breath in your body, to take the hard way, the Spartan way–and work, work, work to build yourself into a rich continually evolving entity!” – Sylvia Plath
The above quote is from one of Frida’s journals: I hope the exit is joyful and I hope never to return. I was able to see many of her paintings in person in London at the Tate in June 2005. Among those included in the exhibition: The Bus, My Dress Hangs There, The Broken Column, and The Two Fridas. I spent 6 hours in the exhibition and didn’t want it to end.
The truth is we all ache.
We all have growing pains
and wonder if we are
okay and enough and loved.
The thing is – we are.
Without our silver shoes
and leopard print sheets.
We are enough without
all the things we buy
to make us much more
than we are or need to be
We are simple
–Sabrina Ward Harrison in Spilling Open