Write Your Way to Righting Yourself


“To engage the written word means to follow a line of thought, which requires considerable powers of classifying, inference-making, and reasoning. It means to uncover lies, confusions, and over-generalisations, to detect abuses of logic and common sense. It also means to weigh ideas, to compare and contrast assertions, to connect one generalisation to another.”
-Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves To Death

I started writing regularly in a journal 8 years ago in August after a blow out fight with the only people to this day who can trigger my temper- my family. It was on loose leaf paper because I had no intentions of keeping up with it. All I knew was I had to get out all the teenage angst eating me alive that I was too embarrassed to tell anyone else.

Journaling continues to be my magical cure for anxiety and mini life crisis'. Going back through it, which isn’t often because it’s a painful journey, allows for self-reflection from a third person perspective. It’s like my 15 year old self telling me a vivid version of the story I forgot I lived, and clearly seeing how it inspired who I am today.

The hardest part of starting a journal is sitting down to write it. Writing is the easy part, and when you do it, the collection of days become so so much more than just a journal.

  • A best friend. Because it doesn’t mind hearing you bitch about the same annoying problem for 5 years. And after you do vent your anger in any way you desire- because it doesn’t judge you-you’ll feel so much lighter for getting it off your chest. It will give you constructive, true self criticism and advice, though maybe not immediately but some time down the road. And it will be more genuine than any other friend advice because no one knows your goals, frustrations, or visions of the past and future better than you!

  • A bucket list.  Two years ago, nearly to the day, I wrote this short-term (and long term) goal:

I’ve been working on this exact mantra consciously every day but completely forgot about this entry. It was worthy enough to write down then, and it’s been worthy enough to incorporate into my life 760 days later- and counting.

  • A photo album. “Written word endures, spoken word disappears.” - The War of Art. Your experiences create a story that is You, and your thoughts and perspectives are the narrative. But just like we can easily forget that awkward high school party until we see old embarrassing photos, it’s easy to forget pages or chapters of our lives if we don’t revisit them. Writing them down creates an organised vision of our history. It allows us to revisit them at later times and really understand them. Sometimes it’s necessary to remove yourself from a situation to better understand it, and it’s really difficult to do that when you’re in the middle of a crisis. But writing it down, and revisiting it at a later time paints a clearer picture of where you were, and where it is you’re headed.

  • The locket around your neck. Whether it be a hidden file on your computer, or an old folder of loose leafs, it becomes a keepsake of the most difficult and memorable times in your life that no one else knows expect you. It’s what makes you you, and it’s the most personal thing you’ve got, and if you don’t get it out of your head and into that locket, it becomes explosive, toxic material. Every now and again I stumble on a situation identical to the one I’m struggling with. It’s like a little reminder saying “Hey, don’t forget about me here. You still need to work on me!”

Where would we be today without history books? Probably world war 94,375,629,372,108. We document history to learn from it, so I argue it’s imperative to document OUR story to learn from it. I tell my Grandma to write things down that keep her up at night, but her response is always “I’m afraid someone will see it.” Sometimes I feel like this, so I keep mine in a super private place close to me. 

In reality, it seems like we’re all hiding in the spotlight. You’re engaged!? You bought a house!? You ran 29 miles!? Awesome! I now feel smaller than that diamond on your finger. But we shouldn’t live our lives to impress people. We should live our lives to help people. Good teachers tell kids to ask questions because someone too shy to raise his hand might be unsure about the same thing. Well, we should share our confusion and what it took to overcome it, because I guarantee there’s people out with the same doubts, worries, and mistakes who can’t figure it out on their own. 

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