By Tara C. Pray
I couldn’t seem to find it. Store after store, the journal I was looking for just did not seem to exist.
This particular journal I was searching for was going to be dedicated to one topic, the continued pursuit of my writing dreams. I needed a new journal to start the year off, but by February, I was still without one.
I love journals.
But it cannot be just any journal. It has to be the right journal.
The right cover.
The right size.
The right paper.
The right texture of the paper when I touch it.
The right color.
You know, everything has to be “just right” before I can buy it. There has to be something special about it that lets me know it is the journal that is supposed to be mine.
And this is why it was not until February that I finally found the right one; a deep red, textured, hard covered journal with blank, bright white, smooth pages. I purchased the journal, took it home and then it just sat on my table for a few weeks. It just sat there, I would look at it, pick it up, open the first page with pen in hand as if I was going to write, but couldn’t.
The blank pages were somehow intimidating to me.
Or so I thought.
See one year ago, I finally stopped being afraid of my writing dream long enough to do something about it. I started my site, submitted articles for publication, created an e-book, participated in a writing workshop and just focused on this thing that I have wanted to do ever since I was a little girl.
The journal I spent so much time looking for was going to capture year two of this journey. I felt I did not do a great job of recording my thoughts and feelings about my first year, so I wanted to be more dedicated in preserving the experience. And while this was my intention, I was definitely off to a very slow start.
What I have come to understand is I wasn’t intimidated by the blank pages instead, I was avoiding writing all the things I needed to fill those pages with. Pursuing my dream includes a lot of messy hard stuff that more often than not I want to avoid. In life, there are many ways to avoid dealing with the things I simply don’t want to deal with. But when I put in on paper, the reality is right there in my face, confronting me and forcing me to recognize it for what it is.
I didn’t write in my journal because I didn’t want to admit some stuff. I didn’t want to do the soul writing I knew this type of journal required. I didn’t want to admit that fear, doubt, and procrastination sometimes had their grip on me. I didn’t want to put on paper what it felt like to have my work rejected and question if this writing thing was really for me. I didn’t want to write about the ways I sometimes practiced self-sabotage. Because to write these things in my journal would mean I could no longer avoid them.
When I finally started writing in my new journal it was because I needed to. Journaling keeps me accountable to the weekly intentions I set for myself. It helps me to make sense of the thoughts that roam free in my mind and to gain clarity about the direction I am moving in.
But also, my journal is the keeper of my success stories. I want to be able to look back and read about my triumphs in those moments when doubt tried to rise up and take over. And those wonderful life surprises that seem to manifest from out of nowhere; I want to be able to reflect on them and remain mindful that there is something bigger at work on my behalf.
So those pages that began as blank, bright white smooth to the touch, are now being filled with everything I need to express including the things I sometimes don’t want to write about.