Journaling: The Free Therapist You Need

This is a guest post from Krista Townsend from Miss Corporate Dropout.  I love her wit and honesty in this post, and in all of her posts on her own site. Don’t forget to pop on over to her site and check her out.  I mean, who doesn’t aspire to be a corporate dropout?

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Journaling has been a part of my life since the 4th grade. At first, I was whining about losing the kickball game at recess. One turn of the page and I was having a full-blown pencil tantrum because my parents refused to play Mall Madness with me. (Ah, so this is why I feel more comfortable shopping alone these days. Thanks, Ma!)

As the years passed, it turned to complaining about my curfew and rejoicing when I ignored said curfew without getting caught.  Sometimes the pages contained a few scandalous observations from a weekend house party.

A few years later I was writing about my first real boyfriend. You know, the kind where you actually go out into the world and do fun activities, not just talk on the phone? Then it was celebrations of new jobs, lamenting about heartbreaks, and all the other rites of passes that happen in your early 20s.

Whatever you do, please don’t call it a diary; journals do so much more!

Not just a home to store my sorrows, these pages have been the recipients of my joys, fears, and hopes. I divulge everything because my journals have been my therapist throughout the years.  I can pull it out anytime I need, no copay required.  It’s a constant safe haven in a judgment free zone.

As I flip through the pages filled with my cursive script, I notice I wrote each entry as if I were writing to a friend. Each post ends with the salutation “Love, Krista”. I didn’t know it then, but the friend I was writing to was my future self.

I see how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown, despite what my insecurities might say.

My purpose for journaling was/is simple. It was a place to keep track of what was happening in my life at the moment – the good, the bad, and the oh so ugly.

As we go through life, we tend to only remember the milestones –  new jobs, relationships, breakups, relocations, etc. But between all those life major events are the smaller day-to-day occurrences that make up our everyday life. These are the memories I usually forget. Luckily, my journal is there to remind of the times my memory has forgotten.

Like the time I was shopping with my grandma at Walgreens and she decided to divulge that 1) she’d taken a laxative earlier, and 2) the laxative was about to kick in.   *Excuse me shoppers, clean up on aisle 4*

There are memories of hanging out at the movie theater with my high school friends waiting to see Titanic for the 3rd time. I’d been mentally dating Leonardo DiCaprio for at least a year at that point, so like any supportive girlfriend, I needed to see his movies multiple times.

Journaling also gives me an accurate lens of how life unfolded, and it vigorously swats aside my natural tendency to romanticize the past. Case in point:  Years ago I was considering getting back together with an ex-boyfriend. I’d only been able to remember all the good times we shared but conveniently forgot about the arguing that was commonplace throughout the majority of our relationship. But my journal was there to remind me of the pain that was pervasive while we were together. It smacked me awake with a dose of reality that I desperately needed.

Keeping a journal has given me the rare opportunity to measure my emotional growth and maturity over the years. Page by page, I’m given a glimpse of my past thought processes and reactions. When I go back and compare my old and current entries, the transformation is tangible. In this way, my journals have become a measuring stick of my evolution.

As I reflect on my journals, I’m taken on a tour of the different versions of myself. Starting with the young girl who had minimal confidence, but just wanted to play. Next, stopping to see the teenager who was desperate for peer acceptance. Moving along, I see the young lady who graduated college and entered the corporate world. A young lady who was starting to find her voice, but still wasn’t sure that her voice was worth hearing. And here we are today, I realize that I’m morphing into the young woman I’ve wanted to be… a young woman who knows what she wants from herself and others, and finds no interest in worrying if someone likes me.

I continue to sign off with “Love, Krista”, but these days it’s not just a salutation, it’s also a reminder to “love Krista”…every version.

Krista Townsend blogs about kissing goodbye to the mundane corporate life at Miss Corporate Dropout.com, and saying hello to a life full of possibilities.  In addition to sharing side hustles and tips/tricks that will help you kick your crappy job to the curb, she blogs about current events affecting millennial women. Krista resides in the Seattle area with her elderly dog, Cindy Lou, who is either deaf or just a total jerk

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