Not so long ago, I started my bullet journal. I’ve really enjoyed having it, and I’m using it in all sorts of ways – I recorded all of Beatrice’s presents in there, and who we’d sent thank you cards to, and I keep track of my habits I want to keep on top of and keep lists of things we need to do around the house, etc – it’s been super useful (and I’ll probably write an updated post about how I’ve been using it in a month or so). But one of the things I hadn’t expected to start doing in it was to actually start journalling. Every couple of weeks, I’ve been spending 20-30 minutes writing down some thoughts on what’s been happening lately.
But one thing it has made me aware of is just how much I self censor myself. My mind of constantly whirring with things I want to write down but don’t. In fact, recently I had something I wanted to write down so badly – to help me work through how I was feeling about it – that I wrote it all down, but in a different notebook where I could rip out the pages. I wrote it all out, then tore the pages out, ripped them up and threw them away. I didn’t want to keep it somewhere where I could read it back again in the future.
I think the issue stems from the awful journals I kept when I was younger. My parents moved to the UK from the US about 8 years ago, and brought with them the box of diaries I kept throughout my teenage years and in my first couple of years at university. Oh my God, they were awful to read back through. I was so melodramatic. Particularly the ones I kept at university. I only really wrote in them when I was angry with my then-boyfriend. To read through those pages, you’d think I was miserable all the time!
So starting to keep a private journal makes me feel a bit conflicted. On the one hand, I love having a space to get thoughts down on paper, but on the other hand, I’m so aware of my future self reading them, I find it hard to be honest, even when it’s just to myself. I thought journalling prompts might be the answer, but the ones I’ve come across are too generic and don’t feel relevant. I’m trying to find specific prompts to write about that are relevant to what’s happening right now in my life so that I don’t end up meandering too much – so I’ve written up Beatrice’s birth story, and written out how I felt about things when she had been home with us for just a couple of weeks – but I don’t want it to be entirely about her and/or parenting!
Do you keep a journal? What do you write in it? Have you found any journalling prompts which aren’t just generic things like “What does self-care mean to you today?” or “Describe your approach to setbacks”?
I write a lot of personal material on my blog, which is just as cringey and readable by all and sundry, so why do I find myself censoring what I write for myself? Does anyone else have this issue? How did you get around it?