eleventhbeatnik

musings of an aquarian age counterculturist


Journal Crafting

Do you (or have you ever) kept a journal?

For years I wrote sporadically, longhand, in spiral notebooks or dollar-store style scribblers.  For me, the purpose was to empty a racing mind and work through my feelings by forming words that flowed easily on paper, but were too difficult to ever speak aloud.  Sometimes I wrote poetry.  Mostly, it was unpolished and spontaneous.  Sort of like right now.  As above, so below.

More than once I have been gifted with lovely, bound, proper hardcover journals to help nurture the practise of regular writing. As it turns out, those beautifully constructed books, despite being so very lovely to look at, were more of a hindrance than helpful to me in a practical sense.  The truth is that I simply could not bring myself to crack the spines of those gorgeous books and spoil something so special with my chaotic, unorganized and messy thoughts.  To do so, in my mind, would have been akin to randomly spray painting sloppy graffiti all over an already perfectly completed masterpiece.  Inevitably, those unused journals ended up as bookends.  Trinkets without purpose.

So it was the cheap, unadorned, ordinary notebooks that accompanied me through teenage optimism and angst; trials and triumphs of my 20’s and 30’s; and for whatever reason, were largely conspiculously absent in my early 40’s,

More recently, these types of notebooks have reappeared as regular fixtures in my surroundings, primarily due to my herbalism studies.  I’m also revisiting notebooks in the way that feels so very familiar to me by gradually returning to a journal practise.  In longhand.  My ability to express myself authentically increases greatly when I allow my thoughts and feelings to stream unedited through ink, pen and paper.

It has been awhile since I’ve felt inspired to write anything original for this blog.  In fact, there are several unfinished pieces idling away in my drafts folder.  Whenever I try to get into “blogging mode”, I’m distracted by something (or many somethings) and I can’t seem to hold on to my own thoughts long enough to translate them into full written sentences.  Self-doubt creeps in which results in blanket self-censorship and that pretty much explains that.  Essentially, any aspirations for regular blogging have been sidelined as I attempt to achieve a basic level of focus and recover my sense of self – whatever that actually means.

What I have been inspired to do is write in a crappy dog-eared notebook in a completely unorganized fashion.  My handwriting is all over the place.  Sometimes in straight lines, more often sideways or in circles, reflecting the pattern of my thoughts and emotions.  There are days that I write several pages.  Other times it might be a short paragraph or even one word to remind me later of the spark of an idea.   And then there are days where I simply can’t articulate what I’m thinking or feeling and the page remains blank.

I’ve been saying for awhile now that I’m not really writing much anymore. The truth is that I am in fact writing but have lately been doing so for my eyes alone.  I’ve gone back to Old School.  Realizing that, I’m thinking perhaps it is that inward reflection through a journal practise that has re-ignited my interest in returning to blogging on a regular basis.  Maybe I’ll even get around to finishing those drafts.

Let’s celebrate messy writing everywhere.  Especially in cheap-ass notebooks.


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A Word on Authenticity

On the eve of my wedding anniversary with my pending ex-husband, my thoughts and emotions are scattered all over the map.

I considered writing about healing:  it continues.

I considered writing about coping:  I am.

I considered writing about rebirth:  in progress.

Without question, all of the above applies.

Yet there is one subject in particular taking up a hefty share of real estate in my thoughts the past couple of days.  To that end, I would like to address this little nugget:

Authenticity.

Before going any further with this, I must first own up to the fact that I’ve been subjecting myself to many a self-help book in recent months.  Oh, you’ve been there too?  Good.  I’m not the only bleeding heart on the block then.  But seriously, I think it is simply a side effect of being human.  When something inside feels broken, it seems natural to try to fix it.  I’ve been going to counseling, reading the books, journaling, expressing on the blog, getting back into yoga and meditation, saying affirmations, and even creating a dream board.  All good things.  Healing things.  Helpful things.  Positive things.  There is no doubt in my mind that these methods of self-care are effective personal growth techniques.

But you know what?  It doesn’t always feel authentic.

Sometimes I feel like I’m literally living the cliche of “fake it, ’til I make it”.  Other times, I feel like saying “fuck it, let’s get real”.

For instance:

Sometimes when I’m feeling especially angry or frustrated, having a book tell me that I should look in the mirror and say “I love and accept you just the way you are”, makes me want to smash the mirror and burn the book.

On days where I’ve been feeling so incredibly sad that I don’t want to get out of bed or speak to another living soul, reading that I should “connect with my tribe” makes me want to dig a hole and crawl in.

In moments that I’ve been feeling particularly fragile and betrayed, to be told “let go and forgive” feels like being asked to hang myself for the transgressions of another.

This is sometimes referred to as the shadow side.  The darkness.  Where the nasty bits live.  These are the parts of ourselves that we don’t like to talk about.  We often fight hard to escape the nasties, and with excellent reason.  Those feelings are heavy to move through and difficult to witness in ourselves.  While I’m certainly not advocating that we dwell in those places should we choose to admit that is where we are, I think it is important to acknowledge that those emotions, while unpleasant, are a normal part of the human experience at some point or another.

So today, on the eve of my wedding anniversary, I am fully open to the authenticity of my emotions. I am confessing the fact that I have a post sitting in my drafts entitled “Friday, The 13th” with some text I’ll just chalk up to “processing” a difficult milestone.  My better judgment is dictating that those words will remain in draft. But I can’t resist posting the image I chose to accompany it.

Friday the 13th?  I’m feeling a little bitchy about it.  Authentically bitchy.

Friday the 13th

And for Godssakes Don’t Get Married.


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The punchline? My ass.

Given the emotional upheaval of the past few months, I’ve lost a great deal of weight and as a result, I’ve been forced to engage in my least favorite activity  – clothes shopping.  In my world, this is on par with suffering through a root canal.  But my old pants were sliding down my hips, and despite my reluctance to buy anything while in transition,  I had to suck it up and pick up a couple of things.  The most significant item was a brand new pair of jeans purchased a few weeks ago, the likes of which I have not indulged dropping coin on in YEARS.

Basically, I bought the jeans because they fit, were on sale, and I was in a hurry.  Labels mean nothing to me, so I did not take note of what I was trying on or what I eventually bought.

Until today.

Let’s face it.  Sometimes the universe has a warped sense of humour.

And no, this is not an inside joke (seriously: see recent posts).  Even if it were:  the punchline will be located on my ass for the foreseeable future.

Bottom line?  Ha!  Literally. Fidelity remains an important theme in my life.

Fidelity

Photo credit: eleventhbeatnik