Some women go crazy for shoes. Others become powerless in the presence of a high-end lipstick.
What do I embarrass myself over? What do I own too many of that never get used? The purchase of what item caused my husband to stage an intervention?
You heard me right. I cannot contain myself around journals. Something about that blank, beautiful paper, all smooth and soft, just begs me to cover them in ink and graphite. Which, considering most of my journals are under $20, is not a bad weakness to have, one would imagine. The problem, (that’s what Kyle calls it,) is that a journal will last me anywhere from six months to a year-and-a-half. Which apparently makes my desire to purchase a new journal every three weeks a bit…problematic, shall we say.
The thing is, my journals mean a lot to me. I’ve kept one since about the 5th grade and my collection of completed journals is almost 20 thick. Of course, this raises the question, “Why continue to journal when you have a blog? I mean, the only reason you kept a journal was to bide your time until the blog was invented, right?” And truth be told, I will always keep a journal concurrently with my blog. Part of it is that my journal is a place for me to write that which I’m not free to share with the world. I’ve chosen to take responsibility for my words, and thus, can’t go posting every single uncensored thought on the internet. (I tend to get fired and divorced a lot that way.) But also, let’s face it, I’ll never pretend to be the most interesting person in the world; in between my charmingly crazy shenanigans, life around here is surprisingly banal. And let’s face it, no one beyond my personal sphere is interested in all the reasons why my cat is the cutest kitty in the world. So even with legions of entranced readers, (HA!) I will always need a place that is privately mine, where I am completely free to release my thoughts, petty and mean and boring as they are.
These books are my most prized possessions, as they are a physical representation of my life; they are the essence of me in physical form. So each journal that I fill is more than just a stack of paper upon which I’ve written: it’s a place holder for a portion of my life. Once it is filled, it will forever represent that time in my life and hold the me that existed then. So for me, choosing a new journal is a task filled with the same importance and reverence as selecting my own coffin. It must speak to me, represent a part of me now, and be lovely enough to carry a piece of my life; not to mention that it must be sturdy, have nicely spaced lines, and hold up to the stress of a life lived in my purse.
Last night, I completed another journal. This one was begun in March of 2008, and holds many important transitions: college to the real world, single to married, unemployed to over-employed. Finishing a journal, and subsequently beginning a new one, always feels like a bit of a momentous occasion. It’s the closing of one (literal) chapter and the opening of another. I never regret anything that was written in my journals, no matter how short-sighted, banal, immature, or just plane retarded it may have been. We are a culmination of our experiences, so for good or for bad, those thoughts helped make me who I am now, and I can’t regret them. But a brand new journal, bursting with smooth, creamy paper, does hold something beautiful within it: it holds potential. The potential for new experiences, for growth, for reflection, for new memories, and for wonderful things to come. It holds hope.
And nothing is more beautiful than hope.