I’ve kept a diary almost all my writing life, and every year since I was thirteen. Back then, they were simply private outlets for all the (petty) things going through my pre-pubescent mind. I still have a vast majority of those diaries, but I don’t open them that often anymore, because how long can you cringe before your face gets permanently set into a frown of embarrassment?
That was a rhetorical question, but you just wait until you find a list *you* wrote of who didn’t share their break snacks back in Class 3 and then you will know.
Thankfully, my more recent journals have become a mix of what’s currently on my mind and my self-care. About two years ago, I learned that while using my journal a place to vent was fun, it made sense to also use it as a way to unpack the answers to questions that would help me stay in touch with myself.
Here are a few of the questions I like to answer every once in a while:
1. What do I need in this moment?
I often joke that I live within one standard deviation of panic and terror, and this is the question that gives me the most perspective when everything feels like it’s falling apart. What do I need in this particular moment means I put a name to the help I need. It means I move from I’ve-failed-this-means-the-end-the-world-will-not-be-the-same-again, to I need to give myself the grace I deserve while I get better at what I do, to I need to let my creativity run free, to I can plan how to get back up again, to breathing.
what i need now, in this very moment is:
abundance: of joy, of compassion, of kindness, of time.
Putting a name to them helps me go more intentionally into the world looking for these gifts to give to myself.
2. What do I know?
This is the source question for all my affirmations. This year, more than most, has tested me to the core. This surprised me more than it should have, because if you remember, two months ago, I was talking about how this was my third time on this rodeo and I knew what I was doing, and how I had my act in order. Nothing could be further from the truth, lol. But I take some small comfort in the fact that while on the surface things are changing at what seems to be lightning speed, there are factors about me that remain constant.
and so, because sometimes i forget, i ask myself: what do i know? what is immutable truth?
that i am capable.
that i am here for a reason.
that i am not in this room alone, i carry the hopes of others with me.
that i am proud of myself because i am always striving towards excellence and growth.
that i care, and i don’t half-live, half-love, or half-try.
3.How am I growing?
Because any excuse to celebrate the wins is important, and I know how easy it is to forget how far you have come in the hustle and bustle of everyday. I write in my journal knowing at some point in the future I will cringe at every single line. I write anyway. There’d be a bigger problem if I didn’t cringe, honestly, because then what’s the value of time? I like this question because I’ve learned that self-care is work without a well-defined aim. I now think of it as wanting to keep improving without imagining exactly what that improvement looks like, because you can’t really know without trying, can you?
how am i growing?
i laugh from my belly. i speak my mind. i sing out loud on the street. i’m defining my boundaries. i’m doing the things that make me happy. i’m making me happy.
A little disclaimer:
(Writing the posts in this series is turning out to be harder than I thought it would be, because I sometimes wonder if they are too intensely personal to share, and then again because they have no happy glitzy ending. I’m learning that the journey to self-care is rarely a single straight-line vector; some days I feel like I’m really doing my best to unpack past experiences so that they doesn’t mess me up later, and then other days I feel like I am back at square one. But I guess what matters is that every night, I sleep knowing I’m doing the best for myself, and every morning, I wake up and give it my all again.💛 )