Saturday, March 5, 2011

Digging Deeper

One thing I've never been very comfortable with (I say comfortable with rather than good at, as I feel that there shouldn't be any kind of leveling judgement made against this sort of thing) is writing deeply and truthfully about my feelings.

I'm a pretty private person when it comes to my deeper emotions. That might sound weird to say, given that I have this blog, and have been sharing certain details of my life for the internet "public" for a few years now.

But it's true.

I've never been a journal keeper or a diary writer. I have many thoughts that require further processing or emoting before I would want to express them externally in word or action, but they don't often make it onto paper, or any sort of expression in a finished form. Art journaling has been a bit of a gateway attempt to improve my skills in this area.

As has blogging, obviously.

It's not that I don't love words, or writing or any of that. I actually do a lot of writing and documentation for work. I write emails and letters and all that sort of thing, but when it gets to a more personal or emotional level, I feel that I struggle to fill the journaling spots on scrapbook pages with things other than the obvious details of the story. .

I heard something on my favorite podcasts (PRT and the DigiShow) that really rings true with where I'm at right now. It was something like, there's more value in both telling the story and sharing the emotions behind the documentation than in just sharing something that is just pretty pictures and a bunch of product.

I want to be that kind of storyteller. And I want to use words as a tool in that way.

I think that the act of writing something physically allows you intensely process your thoughts, in those moments of composition and expression. As I've really come to learn recently, when you are struggling with something that is difficult, or hard to emotionally process, sometimes it is actually beneficial to just get the thoughts out of your head, and onto paper. Without judgement.

Life isn't all rainbows and sunshine and happy smiley times. But that's not where I want my focus to be, so I've resisted deeper journaling topics for a long time. Even this post is challenging for me to write about.

But this year I wanted that to change. I needed that to change. 

I'm experiencing a bit of a crossroads in my life right now. There are some big decisions coming up that absolutely require intense evaluation and expression and organization that just cannot be done inside my head. The thoughts have to come out, be acknowledged, sorted and acted upon. I have to fully experience and process their value.

I decided as part of my 30 before 30 Project to do something that would make me uncomfortable, that would challenge me, and be outside of the norm. Well, writing down feelings and emotions is pretty relevant to that. 

I say writing rather than documenting, as sometimes the things that need to be written down aren't necessarily things that should be shared. Or saved. In fact, sometimes writing something out with the intent to destroy the results later is the only thing that enables me to be okay with physically expressing darker thoughts or emotions (and we all have them) in a written fashion. Going through and being aware that the only way you can be truly honest to yourself in the act of writing something, that process, with no other judgments or repercussions.

So that being said, I took a little baby step.

I bought a journal with some pre-done prompts. It is a 5-year journal, called Q&A a Day. I picked it up as part of my birthday anthro shopping spree (which consisted of some perfume, a big magnifying glass and this book)

I like this book for a few different reasons. First aesthetics. It is a good weight and size and feels nice in my hand. It has nice paper and a decent amount of lined space to write in. The graphics of the design of the cover, etc. are quite appealing. And of course, I really liked the daily prompt questions themselves. There are 365 different questions in the book that range from frivolous to serious. I think it will be a great documentation tool, and I am looking forward to reviewing the responses I'll put in there over the next five years. The questions have also sparked a few good ideas for scrapbook pages, so it's pretty valuable for that as well.

So, is it working? I can tell you that I have been answering a question a day for pretty much three months now, so I think it's working. I'm trying to be completely honest in my responses, which definitely is disconcerting at times. Also if I'm busy and miss a day or two, I've given myself permission to go back and fill in the answers when I can. I'm pretty sure my state of mind doesn't vary that much, from week to week. That kind of takes the pressure off, which definitely contributes to its sustainability.

Thanks for letting me share all this stuff about my journey. I'm not sure if this is going to translate into more journaling here on the blog, but I'm hoping so. Or at least my projects might start to have a bit more included at least.

One little bit at a time. :)


Melissa Mann said...

Great thoughts here :-)

Kari said...

i need to get one of those books.
love your thoughts on the subject.


Fortune Favours the Bold said...

Loves to you, sweet friend.

tnt521 said...

Very, very cool. Love that you are doing this. Good luck to you on this journey!

tammy t

Meghann said...

I'm the same way about not getting "too deep" and I know I need to change. I really like this question journal idea! That might really help me be able to write more from my heart.

Nathalie said...

All I could think of while reading your great post was "You go girl!" ~ from another "not so good at being deep" gal!

Nancy Johnson said...

I found you from the article on your Smash mini book. Very nice work. I'm a PNW digi scrapper/designer who also listens to PRT (I'm a member) and The Digi Show. Small world! I was just listening to the Digi Show episode featuring art journaling. I did one when I was on jury duty a few years ago and used a journal made from a vintage Nancy Drew book (bought in Fremont at a fair). The trial was nasty and icky and the journal helped me. It was mostly a photo tour of the downtown area with bits of how I was feeling each day...very satisfying.

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