This Is Why I Journal
“Even though we may all become extinct, we can still leave our footprint in the sand.”— Dr. Seuss.
My biggest fear is being forgotten.
Through the generations of time, I want my name to be on the lips of my offspring. I hunger to leave my mark on the world. So, I’ve kept a diary from the time I was 13 until I headed off to college. The writing was my way of charting my course while making sense of my teenage years.
My first thoughts were always of boys (go figure), and I wrote about my firsts. My first menstrual cycle—horrid! My first passionate kiss at 13, if you can glean any inspiration from someone ramming their tongue down your throat. Sexual experience; I’ll never forget that car; thank God it didn’t play out like my nightmares. And that gut-wrenching heartbreak when I couldn’t eat for days.
My diary also became my happy place. It held my expectations and dreams. It was home to my desire to become a movie producer, a model, an artist, a novelist, and a flight attendant one day. I wanted it all.
Once I married, I was compelled to write another first—the argument. My writings started out as a gentle nudging. I needed to see it on paper to understand it better. I have to study its origins and then pick it apart until the answers come. It helps me to detach in some weird way from the outcome. It’s like reading a book about someone else’s life while wondering what the main character will do next.
Later, the journaling intensified; it became a necessity, a force larger than me.
I wrote through another first—divorce. Yes, I recorded my marital demise while still writing my hopes and dreams. My writing helped me face my demons and unburden my soul.
As the years passed, journaling became a means to an end—my lifeline. Years ago, I dealt with the loss of a child. The night she died, I tossed and turned, sleep eluding me, until I pulled out my journal and documented every second. After which, I was able to sleep. Did it lessen the grief? Not hardly, but there was almost a summoning for me to write it. Maybe it was Spirit telling me to write it down while fresh so that I’ll never forget it, forget her.
No longer a gentle nudge or an intense desire but now a command. Yes, the call to the journal has taken on a life of its own. There are times that I am awakened at ungodly hours with the urgency to write. It’s like a specific thought implants itself in my physic for the sheer purpose of being recorded. Again, I toss and turn, and the relief comes after it’s jotted down, recorded for some future purpose. The aim, I’m unsure of. The thoughts come in spurts, sometimes rushes, and sometimes I go months and even years without that insistence.
If someone were to uncover my journals 100 years from now, how would my life speak to them? Would they wonder what’s at the heart of my writing? Am I journaling because it’s my method of getting through life and handling all the twists and turns that the Universe throws at me? Or is there some subconscious desire to preserve my mortality? Am I harboring some secret wish to live forever through my writings?
Who knows, but I take solace that perhaps this digital imprint will last forever, sprinkling my thoughts through the eyes of time.
As I move through life, I will continue to chart my journey, a little older, a lot wiser, and definitely more aware. I want to be remembered by my children and beyond. I’m also journaling for clarity. The clarity comes when I re-read what was written and acknowledge my evolution. The paths not taken, the soft whispers from Spirit telling me to move in another direction. The stillness that gives way to my own voice. The knowing that I’ve grown even when it doesn’t feel like it.
I hope my bloodline gets an inkling of inspiration from my life. I want them to view the trials and tribulations I bore witness to and find their own strength. I want my life to become a guidepost, a roadmap that helps them along their own journeys. I want them to know that I’m always here for them, maybe not physically but in writing, always. I hope my words introduce them to themselves.
What indelible footprint are you leaving?