All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

The art of journal writing

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Between the years 1992 and 2007 I was a prolific journalist. And by journalist I don’t mean I wrote for newspapers or reported on current events for dodgy current affairs shows, I mean I wrote millions of pages of journal entries chronicling every single moment of my life.

My journal (from 1997 – present)

Each night after finishing my homework I’d dedicate a couple of hours to sharing my innermost thoughts and secrets to a collection of A4 ruled notepads or A5 notepads. Some of those entries were pointless, some profound. There were really bad poems and pretty decent drawings. Never did I sit down and consider what I was writing; I would just lie on the bed in my pyjamas and write whatever was in my mind. There were times I unleashed all the pain I was feeling about my sister, others when I scribed fan letters to Toni Pearen. Following particularly bad days of bullying at school I would write about how much I hated it there, others, following a particularly memorable moment, I would wax lyrical over the beautiful Kathryn before chastising myself in black biro for being so weak and shy.

For over fifteen years I kept those journals. They chronicled my life as I navigated through secondary school, the confusion over my intimate fantasies and the endless isolation of having no real friends during that dark period of my life. When I ran away, every second of that trip was transcribed; every moment of bliss, each moment of pain. Throughout Scotland and Canada I recorded the events of my trip in two simultaneous journals and after arriving in Australia, my journals helped me navigate the intense agony and bewilderment of immigration.

During those long teenage years my journal was my only outlet. I had no-one to talk to about what I was going through, no-one to provide me with advice on what I had to do. My journal was my friend, my mentor and one of the few reasons I’m still here.

In 2007, after fifteen years, I stopped writing journals.

Throughout my abusive relationship they had come under constant fire. They were selfish, self-absorbed, a waste of time, pointless. I should be talking to people instead of relying on my journal. The drawings were laughably pathetic. It was a concrete example of my worthlessness in the world and a prime example of how I was never going to change. In the weeks after the breakdown I tried to write; I drew, I wrote, I bled onto the page – but whenever I did my abuser’s words rung in my ears and blocked the emotions from coming.

In the last five years I’ve never written a journal and I miss it. My blog is different because I censor myself too much. All the aspects of my life I’m scared of being judged over I bottle up out of fear. I allow them to fester inside; eating away at my innards like a vicious, out-of-control parasite. In addition, I can’t sit down with the blog and write random erotic fiction, sketch bizarre ‘artworks’ or take my ‘friend’ on a hike into the wilderness to write for hours in relative solitude about all I’ve seen.

All of that is in the past, lost somewhere in the psychological damage of abuse, leaving only random ghosts of a bygone era.

For todays voice of the past I am sharing some of the random ‘artwork’ that filled my journals through the years. I’m not the finest artist in the world, but however dodgy the drawings are, they are reminders of beautiful moments of my life. They are part of who I am.

Berneray Hostel (February 2000)

Fairy Glen, Isle of Skye (September 1999)

Castle Urquhart, with Nessie (September 1999)

WTF? I have no idea. Seriously. None. (October 1999)

Callanish Standing Stones (February 2000)

And finally, I began drawing this map in my journal but became constricted by space. Instead, I purchased a couple of A3 pads and stuck the pages to my bedroom wall, spending days drawing, sketching, colouring and imagining the Faerie realm that lives inside me, a world that my fictional writing partially takes place in.

Tir Nan Og [aka the Otherworld] (October 2006)

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6 thoughts on “The art of journal writing

  1. I have been reading more and more of your work the more intrigued I am by you. We have a lot in common, I too have kept journals for as long as I can remember. It would be neat if you could post some of your entries on here.

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    • Thanks for your comment. I’m happy that I intrigue you and you’re enjoying reading my little blog. I would love to post some of my old journal entries (if only for humor value) but they are currently in the UK whilst I’m in Australia, sorry. When I’m a bit more settled I may look at getting them sent over :)

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  2. I have journals from 2004-now. I had some from before but threw them out because they just had to go. I have found that the happier I become the less I journal. I look at my high school journals and they’re filled with horrible things. I don’t want to always/only remember the horrible things.

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    • I found the same thing with my journal writing. Aside from when I was travelling the happier I was in my life the less likely I was to write…too busy having fun, I guess.

      Although I kept a few pages from my high school years (i.e. the happy ones) I burnt the remainder shortly before I left travelling; partly to keep my secrets hidden, partly to escape that period of my life so I could build someone better. So now I only have my journals from 1999 onwards (stored in my parent’s house in the UK) which I don’t think I could ever get rid off :)

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      • It’s funny how we can form an attachment to these books.

        I’ll sometimes go back through them and it’s like I’m reading a book I picked up from the library. I don’t think of it as me, even though I have memories of it happening (sometimes). i want to reach into the pages and shake this girl who has the same name as me and ask, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING STOP!”

        It’s strange.

        P.S. I would love to travel more! The UK is the first place I want to go!

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  3. Pingback: diaries, journals, and revelations « give me a daisy

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