I am notorious for data-dumping, or simply ranting, in my journals. Not necessarily a bad thing, but what I did realize recently was that I have forgotten to write down more of the good. Often my journal is the friend I reach for when my emotions are high, when I need to work a problem out and find some kind of clarity. Once I’ve gotten it all down, however, I stop there.
But I invite you to join me in my challenge: let’s try to end on a good note. One highlight or positive that ends the shit-storm of a day we might have had. Something to curb the anxiety we might be working through. Something we’re thankful for, or, an event that made our day not-so-bad. Maybe someone “paid-it-forward” at the drive-thru at Starbucks, or a coworker surprised you with one of her handmade scones. (Seriously, I have a coworker who’s one wicked baker.)
In fact, what’s something good that happened to you today? Let me know in the comments down below!
Keeping things short today because of the holiday (and because I have a paper to finish for my Social Media Campaigns course).
Whenever I think of ghost stories, I immediately flash back to an evening drive back home from Rio Vista over 15 years ago. I was young, still drying off from one last dip in the Sacramento River before departure, stuck in the car with my siblings, parents, and a visiting distant aunt. For some wicked reason, this relative thought a dark drive home was the perfect time to tell us all the story of La Sihuanaba. If you don’t know who she is, well, let me just say she’s La Llorona’s Salvadoran cousin.
La Sihuanaba is a fallen beautiful woman who enchanted a nobleman and caused him to lose his mind. Because of this, she was cursed to forever wander the earth disfigured (sometimes appearing as a skeleton, and sometimes with the face of a horse). She attacks late night strollers, especially men, and is often found near bodies of water.
Safe to say, it was a LONG while before I could look out the car window at night again. Thanks Tía.
I would be lying if I said that I write consistently every day. I don’t, and I’ve also failed at trying to get up extra early to do a bit of journaling before work. I’m a night owl who has the unfortunate luck of working a normal eight-to-five. That said, for some, writing first thing in the morning does have some benefit. In her The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron encourages artists (of all kinds) to take up a routine of writing morning pages, or, three pages of stream-of-consciousness/data-dump writing. The goal of this is to help clear the mind and prepare it to face the day. Open up the creative channels that might be otherwise blocked by all the worries we carry around.
I tried this way, and realized that as a night owl, evening journaling works best for me. By evening, I feel like I have plenty to say. (I keep a notepad in my bag to write down potential topics, just in case I need help starting.) After I’ve written my two pages (not three, in my case), I find myself in a quieter state. I’ve noticed that I even sleep better.
So, I encourage you to try writing during different times in your day, see which one best fits your schedule and nature. You can try writing three pages, or, like me, two pages back and front.
What’s something you’ve been meaning to write about, but never got around to? Sometimes, it’s healthy to vent. Get the nasty thoughts in our head out and open up space for the good. Yesterday, I wrote about my frustration with work, with the medical system, with life in general. My grandmother hasn’t been feeling very well, and we’re currently awaiting bloodwork results. I’m scared of what they might find. But, once I got everything down, I realized that maybe I was just letting my anxiety get to me. I sometimes forget to look at the positive when I’m bogged down by a heavy black cloud. So, I encourage you to write down your own black cloud. What’s got you angry, frustrated, scared?
Even with more than ten years of practice, I still freeze before the blank page. I still have those moments where I let my inner critic whisper in my ear: do you even have anything good to say? The truth is, no, I don’t. Not always. Putting pen to paper doesn’t mean that you’ll only write down the good moments, or the good thoughts. Sometimes, it’s ugly up there and writing it all down helps us void out the bad blood and pus we’ve been carrying around. But, before reaching the point of healing, we must sharpen a blade, sterilize it, and reopen the wound.
It’s as fun as it sounds.
The good thing is that, once you get the words down, you never have to go back and read them again. Not unless you want to. I’ve got a box of notebooks in my mother’s basement, and I can tell you now that I’ve gone back and read none of them. That’s because the notebooks served their purpose. They helped me process and break free of whatever had been trapping me at the time. And, if you’re worried about someone finding them, you can go one step further and destroy them when you’re done. Light a fire and send all that ugliness away in a cloud of ash and smoke.
Or, you can just use a shredder.
Prompts to consider:
What’s something you regret?
What words would you say to someone who really hurt you?
What are some of your worst fears?
Write about the skeletons in your closet.
Well, have a good rest of the week. Let me know if you’ve got any other prompt ideas!
Earlier this year, I was responding to a penpal in Germany and one of the questions she asked me in her letter was: in three words, how would you describe yourself? Believe it or not, that’s how Introvert in Flux was born. Three simple words to describe the current state of being I find myself in. Quiet, but constantly changing.
And, I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’m sure others, like me, grew up and live in a society that promotes extroversion. And this society comes with a lot of noise, a lot of feedback and chatter. So much so, that sometimes, it’s hard to find a moment of peace. But they’re out there, and when you feel like you’re at your limit, they make all the difference.
I hope that this will be a quiet, peaceful, space for you.
Let me also start off by saying that I don’t always have my life together. In fact, I mess up a lot. Even while entering my thirties, I am still growing and learning about what my bones are made of, and how they all fit together. Even so, what I hope to do here is share a few of the skills and practices I’ve picked up along the way in hopes that they might be of some benefit to you. That you might learn a bit more about yourself. What you’re capable of, what you might be carrying, and what needs to be left behind. I’ll even toss in a few personal experiences and observations, just to keep things interesting.
So, Dear Reader, I invite you to join me. Let’s mess up together, then figure things out as we go.