I Burned My Journals.

 
 

Over the years...

I’ve adopted the daily practice of expressing myself. 

It simply sustains. 

 

It started as innocently as my 13-year-old self, with a daily “Dear Diary.” 

I tore through blank notebooks and journals like a hungry omnivore at a Korean BBQ restaurant. 

Alongside this teenage daily writing, I also practiced music daily. 

 

When my proficiency began to allow it...

...this expression became the outlet for that which I was not allowed to say out loud. 

There were opinions, stories, desires, lightness and darkness on the pages and hidden between the musical notes. 

I wrote words and played music because I soon discovered that if I stopped the expression, I stopped living.

Expression staved off a full-on crisis of mental illness.

Expression saved my life. 

& I know I’m not the only one for whom this is true.


By the time I was 25,

I had collected a huge box of journals filled with memories, traumas, joys, inside jokes, first dates, first kisses, frivolities, camping trips and growing up.

The box of journals was impressive, but heavy.

I couldn’t continue carrying this box around for forever. So, per the suggestion of a friend, I began to transfer ‘the important stuff’ into an electronic archive. 

I picked a journal at random.

FIVE hours later, I had the first journal ‘archived’ but had acquired a brain-splitting headache. It was exhausting to be reminded of things people had said, feelings I had purged, and days of my life I had long forgotten. Some memories were fun to recall.

I had forgotten most of these on purpose. I had worked very hard to whitewash them from my mind. 

I knew I couldn’t make it through 20+ more journals just like it.

The archiving unearthed it all and I was no better for it. 

The journals had served their purpose.

They had given me a forum.

They gave me the place to lay out my insides and start the day from a safer place.

The blank pages were the lenses which had allowed me to truly see myself in the present moment.

I didn’t need to be reminded of the bits and pieces of the stories that didn’t matter in the long run.

So I burned them all.

It took several hours of poking at the fire. Every once in a while, I could see a word on a burning page. Through the bonfire, those flashes of memory were enough of an archive for me. I threw the ashes into the nearby river.

It was time for those words to move on. 

Time to collect new words. Time to express new life.


I still write everyday.

Usually first thing in the morning. Usually for 15 minutes, but sometimes a lot longer. 

I write on anything: my smartphone’s note application, a blank text document, a plain piece of paper, the back of an old bill. 

When the writing comes to a close, I throw it away, immediately. 

I delete, rip up, and shred it because I need to. 

Trashing them lets me say my peace and get on with life 

& frees me from the fear that someone might discover...

  1. what I really think about so’n’so
  2. how much of an imposter I truly am 
  3. what a whiney bitch I am about everything.
  4. how lazy I really am
  5. [fill in the blank]

You see...

The blank page is the kindest permission and deepest forgiveness I have to offer myself, and in turn the world. 


Not only that, but...

The Added Bonus of Daily Expression? 

When I sit down to write or stand up to perform music, 

I have a clear and smooth channel to the unfettered parts of me.

The parts I wish to reveal to my audiences.


Want more? You'll enjoy Creative Courage.