Sunday, March 9, 2014

Why Keep a Journal?

I was fixing my cabinet, one afternoon, when I saw my old journals piled in the corner of one of my drawers. I took the one above and blew the dust off its front cover. T'was a notebook I bought in Papemelroti way back in highschool. "Live life to the fullest," it said. I leafed its yellow pages and felt its crispness between my fingers. No detached papers. No brown edges. Good thing I was able to preserve it well.

From time to time, I stopped and read some pages. I saw how my penmanship and writing style differed as I aged. I read fascination and innocence between my words. Little by little, I saw my old self being formed in front of me as if I was turning back time. I remembered lying with my stomach down on the floor, enduring the warmness of the room and filling the notebook's pages rapidly with my thoughts. I remembered how bad I fixed my hair during that time and how often my eyeglasses slipped down my nose because it wasn't properly fitted. I remembered the thin fingers holding the black pen and the thin wrist which moved as I filled line after line. I saw how my brows knotted down my eyes while writing. I saw how my facial expression changed from sentence to sentence. I felt the old Elaine's joys and desires. I shared with her fears, doubts and worries. For the first time in a long time, I felt how it was to be the old me again. I missed the old me. I missed her because once in my life, I came to the point of hating her. I thought that she was too weak to survive in this kind of world.    

I turned the notebook to its last page and realized that I filled the whole thing with my writings. I put down the notebook and closed my eyes. I know it's not a good habit to stuck useless things inside your cabinet until they get old and dusty; some things are not meant to age just like cheese and wine. However, I realized that it goes the other way around with journals. They're the priceless treasures one can keep for oneself. Keeping journals is more than keeping a photo album. Words recount not only images of a memory but also the thoughts and feelings of the person in it. For me, reading that old journal felt like being in that exact place and time. It was not like just looking into the history but being in the history itself.

The simple reminiscing rendered me more therapeutic effects than I expected. It made me whole. I learned to understand the old me. I learned to appreciate her . . . and love her. More so, I finally came to understand my present self . . . and appreciate myself . . . and love myself. I never thought that I had to live until such a long time to get an unbiased third person point of view of who I was. I never thought that that unknown part of me, which I so long recognized had been missing, can only be found in my old journal. T'was more than completing a puzzle with a puzzle piece. T'was even more than finding a chest of gold. I don't know how else to describe it, but it was like I lost a part of my soul, found it crying in a corner, cheered it up, asked it to join with me again and got me whole. :-)