Giving myself (and my words) weight.
Ever since the age of 17 I’ve kept a journal. The thing is, it doesn’t resemble much of a “journal” at all. It’s merely an amalgamation of word documents, saved out to different hidden folders, some not saved at all. It’s pieces of scrap paper tucked away into old notebooks, or crumbled up and tossed into recycling bins. Or illegible notes, lightly scribbled on blank pages in the back of books that I never finished. The truth is, most of the words I’ve put onto a page are lost somewhere in the ether of digital trash bins and physical recycling centers. It never occurred to me that they would be something worth saving, for they were certainly nothing worth sharing. I was never “The Writer”. I was the Athlete, the Scientist, the Adventurer, the Mathematician, the Artist (the Painter,) but never the Writer.
“Journaling” and “Writing” have always held two very distinct places within me. “Journaling” is something I uninhibitedly create. It’s a necessity, a form of self-expression that flows out of me, whereas “Writing” has been something I fearfully produce — it’s extracted from me out of obligation and assignment — a performance to be later assigned value. I ‘journal’ from my heart, I ‘write’ from my head. A clear, cold, distinction. When I journal I can enter a space of honesty and vulnerability— I allow myself to be messy, imperfect, hot-headed, “unruly” even. Feeling can trump logic, thoughts can be “irrational”, and problems, fears, imperfections or mistakes don’t have to immediately beget solution. Thoughts are formed that may later be shared only with close friends, my partner or family members. Writing, on the other hand, carries with it the weight of craftsmanship, years of training, overcorrection and a strive for perfection — a not-too-long-but-not-too-short (enticing) introduction, a concise-yet-original thesis, rich compelling evidence. A thought-provoking conclusion.
But who’s to say journaling and writing have to be separate? I certainly have. It’s funny how we are so often are our biggest enemy. So today, my “journaling” becomes my “writing”. The line between the two will fade, and together they will become my words. The expression of my head and my heart. Both grounded in validity and lived experience. Both yearning for more knowledge and connection.
Here’s a promise to you — but more importantly to myself — that I will let my words be seen (and even saved). They will no longer hide between the pages of old history text books or behind the blank pages of great authors’ works. They aren’t always going to look or sound pretty (I promise you that, too,) and they will most often be half-baked at best. Because everything (and everyone) is a work in progress. Because nothing can be designed, written or crafted alone. Because all good ideas start with bad ones. Because “success” begins with “failure”. Because vulnerability begs creativity which begs change. Because I want to create change, not just advocate for it. Because I believe that action starts with words. And because I also believe that actions speak louder than words. Because I want to put my words into action.
But most importantly, I invite you to join me. My word has weight — your word has weight. And it’s our word together that will lead us to something, and somewhere, greater. It’s those who have written before me who have inspired me to put myself out there today. Vulnerability breeds community, which breeds empowerment, which breeds change. Let’s be vulnerable together. Let’s hold each other accountable — messy and unscripted.