How My Journal Speaks to Me

Updated: Jun 17

It was 2015 when my creative writing teacher made us read a whole passage about journaling. Then she spoke about her journaling experience with sparks in her eyes and excitement in her tone.

I saw her speak with joy and sincerity about what journaling meant to her. But to me, it aroused nothing. I listened to her and soon forgot about it. I never understood what the hype was about the ‘Dear Diary’ concept. So, I never got around to buying a dairy or picking up a pen, and my words either stayed with me or were left somewhere with someone.

Fast forward two years: influenced mainly by the book The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, I was super motivated. I went and bought a fancy journaling book and took an oath that I would write in it every single day. I would come from school pumping with the adrenaline rush to write down about my protagonist’s exciting life! But that bubble soon burst when I realized that my teenage life was way too monotonous. And somewhere between the lines, I stopped writing, and that fancy brown dairy was placed in my cupboard with only a few written pages of my school life. When I read them today, I always end up with a smile. But yet again, I had left journaling.

Until one day, I received a gift. A purple dairy with a golden symmetric design. It was the prettiest thing I had seen. It had 2019 written on it, and with that, I remembered my last unsuccessful journaling experience. I left that notebook on the side table, thinking it would be used for university. But maybe the magic of one night spoke, and I wrote. I took out a black pen and I wrote about my day, not stating my routine but how exhausted I felt.

So finally, here comes the part where I let you in on the secret of how my journal often speaks back to me; how now I understand and relate to why my teacher talked about journaling the way she did. As I have grown old, life is not monotonous anymore; in fact, it is eventful. Throughout these years, many things have happened. The best of days have come to me with a warm hug, and the worst of days have come to me with painful silence.

There is a pattern I see: when I write with anger and frustration, I write messily and fast—it is because I want to get over that part—but when I write with love and happiness, I write neatly and slowly; it is because I want that a year from now, or whenever I open this dairy, I can clearly read how good the days were to me.

My dairy speaks to me when I shuffle between some pages on a Friday afternoon. I suddenly stop at one page and read it through. And when I read, that is when my journal speaks; when I read about the days I scribbled down my worries and fears, the times when I had written about how I would ever pass through a particular phase?

My journal speaks, “Look at you; at that time, you were so lost and scared. In all that chaos, you could not even write well. But here you are, strong and calm, reading and realizing why you spent so much of your energy on that person or that thing.”

My dairy speaks to me on a sleepless night when I shuffle between pages and end up reading about a certain date.

My journal speaks, “You are proud, aren’t you? On this date, almost a year back, you were so excited and thrilled. Look at how you described the perfect day with your friends. Look at how happy you were. Don’t you want to write about this kind of day often? Why don’t you go call your friends and recreate a memory again?”

So, my friends, as I continue to read some random dates, my journal speaks. It makes me read about the silly me, about how I could have handled a situation better, how I was in love with a book, and how I need to learn to write about my days with a little more kindness.

It makes me see the growth of the kind of person I am becoming.

It reminds me of little things; how once there were things I used to love but that I don’t anymore. How my small phase of painting became this new part of my life. How that small interaction with a friend came a long way.

I want to make sure that whenever this journal speaks to me, it does so with honesty and genuine self-reflection. It tells me how I have grown and how I further need to grow, that it keeps centering me on my morals and beliefs.

Maybe after reading this, you might want to take out an empty notebook you have somewhere in the house. Maybe you would want to write about something that you are not ready to tell or you don’t know how to convey. But by writing those few lines, you will give a voice to your experiences, and you will understand yourself first before making anyone else understand you.

My only advice from these past few years of journaling is, to be kind with the words you choose to write about others and yourself. In the initial moments of expressing yourself, you choose the tunnel that makes you a beautiful person. That when your future self looks back, make sure it is happy with who you were and how far you have come. When your journal speaks, it speaks soft, sweet, thoughtful, and wise words that sound like a melody to your ears as you read them aloud.


Alifya Yousuf is pursuing her undergraduate studies in Education at IoBM and enjoys writing. She is a regular contributor at Perspective.

Instagram handle: alifya_21

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