Dear Diary…: The Art of Keeping a Journal

journal
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Dear Diary” is how it all began. It was a foreign concept that captured the essence of what I needed in my childhood.

Growing up very South Asian in America, you experience a lot of identity issues, trying to find you in a hybrid world while experiencing both growing pains as well as cultural ones.

I recall being in some early grade in elementary school during the writing block (this is before the subject was renamed “English”) when my teacher, Ms. Theissen, asked us to write a journal entry. She described it as a self-reflection note expressing what is going on in our hearts, mind, and life.

As an elementary kid the most that was happening was trying to explain to kids why I lived in a motel rather than a house like the rest of them, or the fact that I was not allowed to go to sleepovers, and had to be home before dark. The art of “Dear Diary” journaling helped me survive those years. I was able to express my emotions in words and, in many ways, release the stress, worries and anxieties I had bottled up inside me.

Fast forward to adult life. The concept remains the same but is described as “journaling” instead of “Dear Diary.” I still write about things that worry me – about people that cause me heartache or stress. I write about manifestations and dreams/goals. I write to therapeutically heal my soul. I am not as consistent at it as in my younger days but journaling about 4-5 times a week is still a thing. It is a time I can reflect on life as it stands. It allows me to narrow down what truly is going on with me and where my focus lies.

It is funny that  I will verbally express to my girlfriends or husband my worries are X and Y and later, as I journal, I learn it is actually A and B. That is the beauty of journaling. It is a candid and trustworthy way to pour your heart out, letting out everything you want to say with zero filters, grammar or spelling corrections, or hesitations considering how it will be received. It is meant for only you.

There is something healing about putting pen to paper and that is the simple power of journaling. Sometimes those words lead to big ideas or life-changing epiphanies, sometimes not. Regardless, it is a journey to self-discovery. As you evolve and find self-love, learning about one’s deepest darkest and nicest thoughts are exactly what is needed. So, whether you want to call it “Dear Diary” or “journaling,” the next time you need to let it all out, write it all down. Let it all flow from your soul to your paper and see what you discover of yourself.

To read more by this author, check out The Joys of Judicious Indulgence in a Social Environment