A Lost & Strange Art for Discovering Yourself

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Since I was seven years old, I’ve kept a diary.

In the very beginning I told all my secrets to a forest green, padded hardcover book with big, fluffy hearts on it, though nothing profound was ever written in its pages. With big, loopy letters, I wrote to my diary as if it were a human being, asking how its day was going, telling it I would talk to it soon. It was silly & innocent. It was my release.

As I grew older, my diaries morphed into more than just consolation; they became a very specific way for me to tap into the essence of my being. I wrote about the thoughts swirling inside of my head, which revealed the general makeup of all my ideas, insecurities, & emotions. I wrote about my hopes & dreams, which in turn divulged the way I saw the world around me, with eyes wide open in wonder. I wrote about my crushes & love affairs, which told of my desire to be wanted, accepted, cherished.

Writing in a diary was really the only way for me to keep tabs on my intuitions. It was my personal verification of being human, of being mortal.

And then the boom of internet blogging took precedence over my writing practice, & my respective paper diary began collecting dust on my nightstand. I made the mistake of thinking my personal blog, Apricot Tea, seemingly replaced my private journal. It did not. It was a great release in its own unique way, of course, but a public blog could never substitute the freeness that a secret, tangible diary provokes.

Being a diarist may seem a bit antiquated for some, but for me it keeps me blissfully honed in on the nature of my existence.

Perhaps it can do the same for you.

There is such beauty in the form of releasing your innermost thoughts onto paper. While writing down your impressions you are perpetually present; you are one with yourself. In this way, being a diarist is a way of meditation. In the moment that you’re allowing yourself to express the deepest parts of you, your mind is still because it is focused on only one thing: the heart of you.

Writing is one of the most liberating things you can do for yourself within your self-discovery journey.

When you begin to jot down your thoughts, you are free because you’ve made the conscious decision to release those thoughts, thus releasing their power over you.

Keeping that in mind, it’s important to remember that what you’ve written in the past doesn’t necessarily define who you are. The words in our diaries are not permanent in the sense that we are those words. We write in the moment, & the dialogues that come from that aren’t meant to preserve us, but to liberate us from our minds & our bodies for a little while. We are not our words; we are not our archives.

In fits of passion I have produced paragraphs that make me shudder. Rereading those raw words startles my spirit, but then I remind myself that I am not my diary. My diary is merely a series of moments going through me, eternalized by indelible ink & my awareness to write them down. Getting caught up in the raging emotions that my diary exudes is pointless. That time, which has passed, is just proof of my personal journey, of how far I’ve come. Nothing more, nothing less.

My tips to becoming an avid diarist:

  • Invest in a brand new notebook or journal. It doesn’t have be fancy, just as long as you’re inspired & excited to write in it. Use it only for your personal thoughts, not for scribbling while you’re talking on the telephone or for weekly grocery lists. Keep its pages sacred. Do not show it to anyone.
  • Select a writing utensil that is light & glides smoothly across paper. Again, it doesn’t have to be expensive; just something that feels good in your hand. And stay away from pencils. They require a heavy-hand & resharpening every so often. Write with a pen & suit the color of ink to your preference.
  • Reserve time from your day to write in your new diary’s pages. Perhaps even challenge yourself to write everyday for a month. Doing this not only creates the habit of getting to know yourself, but it also conditions your hand to get used to the task of writing again. Don’t get discouraged if your hand aches at first. It just needs time to become strong.
  • Now, write. Write until your fingers ache, & then keep writing. Write about your day. Write about the dream you had last night. Write about your aspirations. Just write; don’t think & don’t stop.
  • After you’ve expressed yourself to the fullest, you have two choices: You can either reread what you’ve wrote (now, tomorrow, three weeks from now), or you can archive the page(s), making a conscious decision to keep the past in the past. There are benefits to both. Should you decide to reread what you’ve written in the near future, don’t allow yourself to get sucked back into those emotions. Those words do not define you. However, if you choose to let your diary pages rest, that’s just as well! But don’t be too hard on yourself if you find that your curiosity gets the best of you. Looking to the past can be beneficial in that we can learn from & reexamine our mistakes. Just try not to let the person you were at the moment you wrote that page take precedence over you & the growth you’ve accomplished since.

Today, I challenge you to become a diarist; it is the key to discovering every crevice of yourself. It is meditation. It is personal, it is sensual. It is proof that you are human. Diaries allow you to connect deep within yourself in a most simple & effortless way. No self-discovery journey is complete without one.