It has been suggested to me more than once that journaling would be a healthy activity for me and I understand why, I really do. I have always really liked to idea of journaling while failing to really follow through (case and point; the vast sums of half filled notebooks from throughout my life). Despite wanting to journal I find that a number of things still hold me back in some ways. One thing I have begun to notice is the way that I am constantly editing myself in real time, and this is exactly how I write. While this helps me form full ideas and sentences in my head quite easily, it also make it hard to let go and just write. While I try to portray confidence and ease, this actually takes a lot of work because it’s not something that comes naturally to me. By constantly editing myself I have total control about how I shape my image and it is this perceived control that allows me to feel more confident. So trying to break this down is not only hard, but it can feel like slipping back into ruminative behaviours.
I think one of the biggest things that holds be back when journaling is what this editing produces. My attempts to be confident, intelligent, and funny often feel stiff to me because I know exactly how contrived it is. A lot of the time I read my journal entries and they just feel pretentious to me. I have been told for too long that I am mature for my age and while this may make me seem ~wise~ I think it also has a tendency to make me seem pretentious. I will say though that always being told your mature for your age definitely shapes your perception of self and the way you present your self. When I was younger I loved to be told that I was mature, but now I have almost grown to resent it. Part of it has to do with the fact that I learned about the lasting results of childhood trauma, but part of me also felt like all of these people were stealing my childhood. We (as a society) tend to do this with girls as we expect them to mature faster than boys, praise them for passive behaviours, and sexualize girls from a young age.
But anyway I am getting away from the point. I never really thought about it as being self-conscious about my use of language – I usually feel quite confident about my writing. Maybe it has more to do with audience – if I know my audience I can craft my writing in order to appeal to them to the best of my abilities. These are largely the skills they teach you throughout your education, learning how to appeal to your audience can be very helpful when grades are involved. As for journaling there really is no audience – that’s the point. And if there is an audience it is probably yourself – an audience I still struggle to appeal to. So I guess this is where the self-consciousness comes in, impressing myself is not only harder but more important in many ways. Despite these hesitations, I do see the inherent value in journaling. The annoying things is that I think a lot of these issues are really over-come by (you guessed it) journaling. Practice makes perfect, right?