I’m a fairly intelligent person, I feel. Some days I get some grief from some people about the fact that I write about fashion, makeup, celebrities… relatively unimportant things like that.  Some days I’m the person giving me grief. There is a method to my madness, however.

I’ve been keeping diaries, journals, web-journals for almost as long as I could write. I remember the very first diary I had… I wish I had kept it, but I couldn’t have been more than 6 when I got it and it didn’t occur to me at the time that I would want it down the road. I got it at a garage sale, the pages were different colors and the outside was a kind of soft plastic  with a gum-ball machine on the cover, and then there was the lock and key. That lock was what had attracted me to it, the idea of having my thoughts locked up safe, sound, and secret on the pages thrilled me even then.

I can’t put into words what a difference it makes to have my feelings immortalized in some form of print, but there’s something satisfying about it. Feelings and thoughts are like vapors over the span of a life, and it’s almost as though writing them down gives them weight… significance… so that the richest or most devastating of them doesn’t just pass away into nothingness over time.

I was aware of that even at that tender age, and so from that time on I kept a journal, and dutifully dealt with all of the drama that came with it. Tear stained pages (oh yes, and there were moments when I intentionally cried right over the pages too), sisters trying to sneak a read, and then there was the lovely time a friend found and read a portion and then quoted it…  in front of the entire youth group. That was fun, you know, in a mortifying sort of way.

This was an area where my mother shined, however. In this she was the best mother she could possibly be for me. She never once touched, opened, or read one of my diaries or journals and she upheld my right to that privacy to a fault.  You can ask any one of my sisters who felt her wrath for having breached it. To this day I consider it the best gift she’s ever given me, second only to life. I can only imagine how hard it must have been to know that so much of the unknown was there on those pages, and to have the grace and dignity to just let it be. I hope that if I ever have children, that I can be like my mom and give them that same freedom, as it has meant so much to me.

Through all of my struggles, learning about life, the highest of the highs and lowest of the lows, writing has always been my faithful friend and coping mechanism. I consider my journals a conversation with God that’s spanned over 20-something years.  And with the introduction of web journaling, it became a conversation with others too and spawned friendships that I never could have imagined. Those journals were like a sanctuary for my mind, being able to not only write down the things going through my head, but to have others read them and understand.

So why now have I mostly abandoned writing about thoughts and feelings publicly and instead spend my word count on shoes and lipstick?  The simple answer is that in this season of life, the thoughts and feelings are too big, and often times they hurt too much to spell them out, and it comes as a relief to let go and think about ugly shoes.

Not to worry though, I still keep a hand-written journal for the hard stuff ;>

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