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My journal and me

Words by Tina Makuto

Visuals by Brithi Sehra

What does your journal say about you? What a question—but one that’s quintessential to understanding and loving yourself. Understanding your journal is important to understanding yourself because it serves as a mirror by capturing our thoughts, emotions, experiences and growth over time. Providing insights into our inner world, while holding space for self-awareness and personal development. 

I look at the journals I’ve collected and worked on over the course of my life so far—they sit in front of me as I type this article out. I’m sitting cross-legged on my bedroom floor, gazing at five journals from the past—give or take—ten years of my life spread across the room. The black leather of my earliest diary holds whispered secrets of adolescent dreams and insecurities. Its pages are a mosaic of scribbled angst and feverish hopes. Another catches my eye—a soft-pink fabric-covered journal—reflecting my journey through relationships and moments of joy. As I leaf through these tangible remnants of my past, I’m overcome with a wave of nostalgia taking in the striking evolution of my soul encapsulated within their pages. A journal says a lot about a person. My journals say a lot about me. This is me defining their worth. 

My favorite part of journaling is expanding and working on my self-talk. As a girl who is aware of her anxious thoughts and patterns, journaling is required work —trademark pending). I flip the pages of letters sent to me, from me, on being kind to myself. Letters on extending grace to myself through my highs as much as I can for my lows. Of riding the tides of life and living, not drowning, in an ocean of despair and critique.

I see handwritten lists about myself, the people I’m around and the situations I encounter. These lists encompass my likes and dislikes, things I’ve said and things I didn’t. I hold the space that I need for every version of myself. Versions of myself that were cringey or that took a chance when all odds were against me. I appreciate this. I love this. A journal holds its own energy and commands its own bubble of time with thought and care. Whether we’re aware of this upon first engagement is irrelevant. We’re always aware of the permanence of it all. The perceived silliness of self-work. In moments of reflection like this, I understand why it all matters and why improving on and taking space in ourselves for how we speak to ourselves when no one is watching is pivotal to self-improvement and love. I’m doing it for me and that’s all that matters, really.

The sweet, the silly, the delusional    

Everyone I know is saying that “delulu is the solulu,” and where better to encapsulate that than in your journal? I recognize the “delulu” in me as I go through my journals. I love her. She’s whimsical and optimistic and a go-getter. I recognize the motivation and courage that exists in its pages. I believe to exist in the world today is to persist. It’s to take chances and to try, try, try. It’s to set goals and follow through on them, no matter how or what they look like. It’s embracing the “delulu” in you and going forth with solutions and actions to your dreams and goals. 

I flip through my pages and see wishes and yearning. I find myself thinking of Sylvia Plath’s fig tree metaphor and about the fear that comes with limitless options in this life: “I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose.”

I am reminded, when visiting past journals, that how I feel is how a lot of people feel. I am reminded—in doing this—that everything I want wants me. I am reminded that as long as I believe in what I want and more importantly, myself, I’m halfway there. 

There’s so much inside of my journals. I’d give a complete and raw look into every entry written, but we’d be here forever. There’s so much to say, and honestly, as long as you never stop holding space for your feelings and inner world, they matter. 

Over my life, I’ve learned how to allow my journal to be a shiny mirror of a million broken pieces that come back together, again and again. 

I hope you can also allow your journal(s) to harbour your secrets, dreams and goals to allow yourself to be your jumping block to what you want. 

That’s my journal and me. 

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