Happiness Challenge day 21

Journaling has been a double-edged sword for me. I have notebooks filled with thoughts, ideas, and lists. And by filled I mean, I plan out the entire notebook. I set up days, months, grids, prompts. I get it ready and then, I only do about two weeks’ worth and I fall out of Interest.

I love journals. I love planners. I love anything that gives me the illusion that I’ve actually got my sruff together. Where journals help you get your emotional self together, planners help you get your physical day today together. Either way, I’m addicted to them. I need them all. I never finish them but I want them all.

Journals can be anything. They can be a plain notebook. They can be fancy ones that you buy in the bookstores that have coffee shops. They’ve got these ones called bullet journals. These a huge thing on Pinterest. Oh my God, you want to talk about obsessed? Bullet journals are amazing. There are bullet journal pages that you can do for everything. There are set ups and layouts for your mood, for the weather, to track your water intake. I’m just saying, it’s amazing.

I have a friend who has one for how many times she and her husband gets sexy, alone time. They look at the graph for the next month. Like I said, goals need to be measurable. I love everything about that.

I’m not that organized. I don’t get that much alone time with the King. I have three kids. Only one teenager has a social life. The other barricades herself in her room. The little one, well, he never goes anywhere.

The bullet journal thing it amazing. I mean you can literally customized it to be whatever you want it to be. There are so many pretty examples on Pinterest and in Facebook groups of bullet journal pages. The handwriting and the lettering – oh my God – it’s so pretty!

It’s enough to trigger someone’s OCD and anxiety. Which it has. My handwriting looks like a headless chicken ran through some ink. I am not the artistic one in my family.

My husband has me limited to my notebook and journal buying. He’s actually told me I have to finish the ones that I have. Can you believe him? The nerve of some people. If I continue on at this rate I might have them filled out and ready to buy a new one by time I’m a hundred and eleven.

I see a lot of my friends who use their journals or their notebooks to sketch out or outline their books and their projects. That’s really cool. But I make so many changes and I cannot write in pencil. Oh my God! I cannot write in pencil. I hate writing in pencil! I hated writing in pencil when I was in school and had to do math. I hate how quickly the point becomes dull. I hate the feeling of the edges on my fingers. I just hate writing with a pencil. There’s a smell with it; there’s a smell with writing with pencils. I don’t know if it’s the wood, the reader, or the lead. I just I cannot. I can’t do it. So if I was writing a story or a journal entry in my journal and then I had to erase something because I needed to change it then I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t do it.

You might be thinking, “Well how do you write with a pen? You can’t erase it.” Oh, but I can. I can either cross it out or rip the whole page out and start again.

I just love ink. I love using it so much more than anything else to write with. It just flows. You can find a pen that fits your hand. Who determined hexagonal shape was the perfect shape for a pencil? They still roll off tables and desks. There so many pretty looking pens out there. The colors of gel pens – Oh my Gosh – I got a set of gel pens one year for Christmas. There was glitter in them. Are you hearing me, people? Glitter in the ink. And it wasn’t just like black ink or blue ink. No. There was red, green, pink, and purple. I was so happy I had glittery, purple ink. Some of the pens had a fruity smell. Some would change color while you wrote with them and with the color changing they would actually change scent of the ink. Oh my good, gracious goddess. I love it so much. I can go back to anything that I wrote last year with those pens and they still smell good. It’s so wonderful.

That’s why I love journaling so much. There arw no rules. Whatever you want to make it, do it. Do the things. There’s no rules to it. You can make it whatever you need it to be. If you need kt to be a daily log of what you’re eating, put that on there. If you need to make a daily log of how many words you’re writing for your book, do that. If you need to record every time your cat just randomly stared at the TV like she was watching it, then we may need to get you out more often. But still, make that page. And as I said that, my cat just looked at me like, “What’s your problem?” I guess she likes watching TV, too.

A lot of people think journaling needs to be this drawn out twenty, thirty, or sixty minute process of nothing but words. Journaling is literally just a brain dump. It’s a chance to get all the random weirdness out of your brain. Get it oit and on the paper. If it happens to be words that help, then do the words. If it’s pictures, do the pictures. It’s your Journal; do your thing. I have seen a lot of people do the whole cutting up magazines thing and make pages that way. They use the cut up pieces to make goal boards and dream boards. If you’ve got an idea of what you would like to do to your bathroom, then design your dream bathroom. That’s journaling.

Journaling is not just the diaries we hid from our parents when we were twelve years old dreaming about Jimmy and Ben. It’s not about lamenting because Mom won’t let you go hang out at the movies this weekend. It is a place for you to put the beautiful and ugly things that run through your brain.

And it’d be great if it was just beautiful. But there are ugly parts of our brains, parts that we can’t share with people. If we did, those parts would literally make people say, “What is wrong with you?” Now that I think about it, I share those parts of my brain. I get a lot of people that say, “What is wrong with you?” I guess I’m just saying what’s going on in everyone’s brain. I don’t have any shame about it.

It’s normal to have terrible thoughts, by the way. I’m going to say this. I’m going to have a lot of people think, “Oh my Gosh! I never!” Yeah, you have. I may have been a brief, fleeting moment. But it was there. It was just a flash of a thought or vision or idea. You may not have these ideas very often (that’s preferred, actually. You don’t want this stuff happening on a regular basis. Then you might want to seek some treatment.) But everyone has these thoughts. There’s actual research that’s back this up; I’m not just talking out of my neck over here. There is research to show everyone has quick moments of terrible thoughts. A common one is driving alone and wanting to drive off a cliff. A friend of mine told me after seeing a baby and she just got an idea, “hat would happen if you kick it?” Neither one of us have done this. I have not driven off a cliff. She’s never kicked a baby. We’re decent people, but these thoughts do happen.

Why these thoughts happen, I don’t know. It could be brain weasels, brain ferret, something in the wiring that’s not exactly right. These terrible things showing up in our brains does not mean we’re psychopaths. Psychopaths are the ones that actually do these things. Since neither my friends nor I are psychopaths, I don’t think we have anything to worry about. I remember I was talking to another friend. She said, “It was weird. My husband was driving along and I just had this urge thought of what would happen if I just opened the door and rolled out.” I looked at her and asked, “Is it your husband’s driving or is that something you want to do?” She shook her head, “No! That’s a terrible idea. Is it OK?”

Yes. That’s OK. Just remember that you would never do something like that. That’s stuff that needs to go into a journal. Our brains don’t just have sunshine, kittens, glitter, and rainbows in them. Every person has seen some things – whether it’s been reality or TV or movies or books. Our brains are pretty creative in coming up with terrible things that can happen. I think those are just the what if scenarios. Instead of it being winning the lottery or getting a promotion at work or the guy you’ve been thinking about walks over and licks your forehead, they go into the direction of terrible horrible things. Instead of day dreams, it’s more like a day nightmare. The biggest difference between you and someone like Charlie Manson Ed Gein or this guy who says that he’s killed ninety people in the last twenty years is that you’re not acting on those impulses. Quite the opposite. Maybe when that kind of thought is there, put it in a book or journal. You tell it that’s where it belongs. You’re getting it out of your brain to make more room for the sunshine, rainbows, kittens, and glitter.

I guess you could say that this has been kind of a journaling experience. I’ve been getting my thoughts out. The only difference is I’m sharing it with you. It’s up to you if you want to share your own journaling. I love seeing when others do share their pages. They can be so pretty and creative. You’ve got stickers, cool little pens that you can use. And I just want to get into it so badly but I just can’t because I get so wrapped up in wanting it to be perfect and wanting it to look amazing so I can brag about it on all of my other boards and all my groups and I’m ashamed of what it looks like.

I shouldn’t be really concerned about what it looks like. It’s the content of it, the meaning. It’s what it stands for. In the end, it’s what it does for me that counts. If it helps keep me on track, that’s awesome mental state together, that’s the best.

I will look at all the journals that I have and I will see where I stopped off with them. I will see how I can continue on with them. I will see if I can collaborate some of them together in order to make room for new. And even when I’m done with this thirty day project, I will continue to put my thoughts down on paper. Because I think it’s important for people to see not just the happy, shiny, sparkly parts of humanity and its brains. And by me sharing the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly parts of my brain and my life, I hope others can learn that it’s okay for all of those to coexist. It’s called balance people.

Today, I will work on my journaling.


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