For many years, I preferred pen on paper. Words are unpolished, but the physical constraint forces you to convey your thoughts more efficiently. I also have an online journal for rants; there, I prioritize getting my feelings out over coherency. Sometimes it be like that.
Recently, I started posting my journal entries here instead. Emotionally, it’s a terrible idea. I lay awake at night, thinking about the stupid things I’ve written that day and do everything I can to prevent myself from coming back here and deleting it. Was I too insensitive? Self-conscious? Immature? Stupid?
Rationally, I want to get to the root of my fears. I want to understand why the way I come off to you matters so much to me, and how I can prevent that affecting my work. I want to become more poised, albeit faked at first. Perhaps I’m all the things I fear; but they’re poor excuses for inaction.
Text, and other pieces of writing, are precious reminders of the past. I went through old emails of my first hotmail.com yesterday, and I was immediately flooded with memories about my school days. Email chains between friends, self-email reminders to study SAT vocabulary, one-line emails from friends asking about Spanish homework. I deleted that email right after. Memories can last forever, but the evidence doesn’t need to sit there. It would be extremely easy for me to just forget about these old emails, and unearth them again decades later. But I see no reason to leave a digital footprint if the only time I unearth it is when I’m grappling what to do with it. Thank you for being part of my past, but goodbye.
I guess journals are a bit different. They’re a way for me to remember who I once was, no longer am, and still am. Most of my entries seem like useless rants, but years later they become key pieces of my identity. Getting rid of these entries would be like erasing private thoughts that only I have access to. They are precious because they are solely mine.
Now, I journal as a reminder to do something for myself only. What’s the point of investing in a hobby if my ulterior motive is to profit off of it? The moment I make it profitable, it stops being about myself and starts being about what others want. I risk losing the creative autonomy that, once lost, will be easy to forget. Journaling reminds me that I am the only audience I need to cater to. I am writing for the 13 year-old me, the 30 year-old me, and the versions of me who need a reminder of what I stand for.