The Value of Journaling

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I love words – I think I’ve said that probably a thousand times. It’s still true though. I love words because they help me to express myself, because they help me to entertain myself (and hopefully others too). I also love words because they help me to remember things.

I have a horrible memory. I’m twenty years old and I just barely remember high school. Primary school is a great big blur. My childhood? It’s more a collection of things other people have told me happened than my very own memories.

I can still remember all the books I read in high school and primary school. Probably even a large number of the ones I read as a child. I wonder what that says about my priorities?

Anyway… I’ve always wanted to capture memories because I found it so hard to hold onto them. I used to keep old clothes that I’d worn to special events, old letters and cards, old report cards and awards – I actually still have those.

I also loved taking photos. I still do like the idea of being able to preserve what I saw during a momentous occasion.

But photographs are a little impersonal for me. They capture the outside and they’re perilously easy to misinterpret after a while. Looking at old photos, I can assume what I was feeling by my body language or expression. But I can’t really sink back into it. I can’t remember that internal monologue. One other important thing – we don’t take photos of bad situations. We memorialize the good parts. And that’s not enough to give a true picture of what was going on.

Words on the other hand… Well, they’re more private, more personal. I can sit down with a pen and paper and pour out everything in my head and heart. There’s no need to be shy, no façade to keep up. And, it’s just… deeper. It’s easier to make something meaningful.

I’m not saying it’ll be that way for everyone. It wasn’t always that way for me. But it might just be worth a try.

I’ve found a lot of value in journaling. I’ve only been actively doing it since the end of March. I’ve been trying since I was tiny. But I always have up after a while. There were always days when I didn’t want to write what was going on. Because it was too painful, because I wanted to hide from it, because I was ashamed of it. So I kept giving up.

This time, I’ve forced myself to keep going even when I didn’t really want to sometimes. And I’ve found value in it. It allows me to express all those pent up emotions for one. It helps me hold on to those precious memories which were my first reason for putting pen to paper. Finally, it helps me feel less lonely. I don’t have that many Muslimah friends. And sometimes, I shy away from discussing certain deep, dark issues with the people in my life. Because I’m shy, because I don’t want to bother them, because… just because. Writing everything down helps. I don’t exactly know why. I just know it does.

So, maybe give journaling a try? It could be useful for you too!


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