Friday, December 24, 2010

The Journals

It’s Christmas Eve. I’m sick with a cold. So is Sam. There is no snow in Colorado this year. The dog will not stop licking himself there. But, it is all perfect. Really, it is.

For every annoyance, setback and sad story, it seems there are ten blessings, comebacks and joys.

You just have to know where to look. And, what to focus on.

I have kept a journal since I was eight years old. It started as a small rectangular baby blue diary with a lock and key.

I used to write in it daily – this was before I did much soul searching. It was really about relaying the events of the day. “Today I had oatmeal. I was sick so I stayed home and played with myself” (get your mind out of the gutter). Or, on August 16, 1977, when I was ten years old, “Today Elvis died. I hated him but some people didn’t.” I would say I hated him. I didn’t even know him. What I probably meant was I didn’t care for his music.


As the years progressed, the journals became full of relentless soul searching, a quest for happiness and peace of mind, questioning about love and why my heart was breaking so much of the time.

There was the undying crush on someone who turned out to be gay , the depression that held me down during my first year of college (“I really wish I had someone to talk too. How I hate being so unhappy”), the seven year relationship that had more ups and downs and heartache than should have ever been allowed (“All I want is to have someone love me as intensely and powerfully as I love them”), the meeting of Ken (I guess they say you know when it is right. I’m feeling pretty right”). And the spontaneous move to Colorado with him a year later.

Two cars. All of our belongs. No jobs. No place to live. No friends. No family. 2,500 miles from home. An adventure.

In all of these volumes of paper are common threads and themes. Insecurity. Love of family. Spiritual crises. Not feeling good enough. Knowing good things awaited, just not knowing when. It wasn’t all bad. I had many, many good years and memories. But I tended to write about the tough stuff, the self reflection:

“I want to be a vehicle, a vessel for God’s work – let him put me to work where I have the most potential, the most passion to make a difference.”

Browsing over these books makes me smile through tears. I want to reach out to that girl and tell her it will be okay.  That she will find the confidence to settle into her own life. That she will meet the “right one.” That two little precious people would call her “mommy” one day. That she would wake up Christmas Eve 2010 and be completely full to the brim with the good stuff.

It’s not all perfect. Please.

Mostly, what I want to tell me back then is that “you were enough just how you were.” More than enough.

18 years old. December 1985 (25 years ago):

“You know what I realize…how important it is to be your own self with personal identity. I find that hard sometimes – to do what I want not what others want…”

She was onto something even back then. It just takes some time to fully embrace the act of being yourself. And, knowing what you have to give back.

I don’t know what all this means, just some ramblings about my journey and how it continues to evolve.

Have you ever kept a journal? Why/why not? What do you think when you look back at stuff?

Merry Christmas my friends. May today find you at peace and able to see the blessings around you.



  1. Awesome Beth, just awesome!

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas! :)

  2. My grandmother kept a diary all her life. I have all of them in a trunk in my garage. I'm not sure what to do with them, but having them, for me, is pretty meaningful.

    I also have a small diary my great grandmother kept during her final years, while living in a sanitarium for people with TB. I've read a few entries out of that, and it's heart breaking.

  3. To my 1st Follower - "You are enough just the way you are"! Merry Christmas Beth and all the best in 2011....may you kick the crap outa Bawston!

  4. I used to keep diaries, no longer now, but still get a pen and paper everytime I need to sort life! Nothing better than journaling to help you stay in touch with yourself. Merry Christmas.

  5. This brought tears to my eyes. I too have kept journals since I was young (10). I'm not 23 and still have a long way to go, but it helps to see how far I have come. This post gives me even more hope that there is more out there waiting for me than even I can imagine.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family! I hope it brings you fulfillment and all the happiness in the world :)

  6. I would kill to get my hands on all of my journals. They have been lost through all the moving I've done over the years. So sad...
    I'm willing to bet a lot of bloggers were previously (or currently) journal- writers.

    Your move with Ken to CO sounds a lot like my move to CA. Came with nothing and made it work.

  7. I hope you feel better soon. Let's hope Christmas helps us get out of this funk.

    I can't wait to feel better for New Years! I see alcohol in my future.

  8. I wrote in a diary from the time I was ten until I was about 25 or so. I find them all to be extremely cringe-worthy. So much time wasted with anxiety and insecurity! Rather than wanting to reassure my young self, I pretty much just want to smack myself upside the head: "Quit yer whinin'!!"
    Merry Christmas to you, Beth!

  9. Merry Christmas, Beth! I hope you feel better soon!

  10. Merry Christmas to you, and your family! I've been quietly following your blog for a few weeks, and I really enjoy it.
    Wishing you all the best in the New Year, and a healthy happy hip that will give you miles upon miles of running!

  11. Happy Christmas and hope you feel better! I keep a journal but don't reread them bc I really only write in it during my not-so-happy moments as therapy. It's rare that I write in it when I'm in a good mood

  12. I kept a blog when I was going through my divorce for Karen and I. It was the beginning of our relationship and every now and again I go back to it to reflect on those times especially when we are not going as strongly as we should.

    It is a great way to get past the argument and find the love that brought us together.

    This post alone is why you are terrific at this blogging thing. You have your humor (which kinda matches mine) and you have a real sense of belonging in this world and for that I am thankful to have found you in this crazy world we live in.

    Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  13. I hope you're all feeling better soon, and Merry Christmas! I think a blog is a journal, isn't it? :)

  14. Thank you for sharing your journey. You said some things that I really needed to hear this week from someone whose already been there. You're amazing, Beth, and you're going to keep doing great things. Merry Christmas!

  15. I got my first journal when I was 7 or 8. I have continued to write in it on and off. They are a huge blessing to be able to look back. I have many great memories of my Mom and Grandma who have passed. Priceless. I love that you have kept journals.

    “You know what I realize…how important it is to be your own self with personal identity. I find that hard sometimes – to do what I want not what others want…”

    This is something I continue to work on. My favorite part of your post.

    Merry Christmas!!!

  16. I love this entry. My Great Aunt Helena kept diaries from the time she was a young girl but she burned them a few years back (she's 92 now). I was heartbroken. While I understand her not wanting everyone to read all that personal stuff I would have paid big to get a glimpse into her life and state of mind over those 90 years.

    I have had an online journal for about 8 years or so. It's locked to specific friends and alot of it is locked only to me. I use blogspot as a public place to talk about training because my real life friends are sick of that stuff.

    Merry Christmas! I am so glad I found your blog, I love it and getting to know you. Sometimes more of you than I want to.. haha

  17. I love your honesty - I think that is one of the reasons that you are such a popular blogger - you allow your true self to come through your posts. My blog is about the closest I have come to a journal - I tried to keep one up during my cancer journey - but it didn't last long.

    Hoping you feel better - try a hot apple cider with spiced rum (Cap.Morgan) - it works for me.

    Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas - enjoy every moment!

  18. I use to envy girls like you that kept journals.

    Seriously, in grade school, in high school, in college, and in law school - my girl friends all kept journals. I was so "analytical" that I didn't see a point to it.

    But I envied that they felt so passionate about anything to write about it.

    I started my blog this year to help me be more open. I had to have direction, of course, with my blog. So I write about things I have been writing since I was young - goals for myself.

    But it was my way of beginning to open up. I hope to do that more next year.

    Great post and Merry Christmas!

  19. I keep a journal. It will be a bestseller after I'm dead. Just not sure what genre yet, humor, nonfiction, self help, horror? J/k

    Good post. Merry Christmas.

  20. I've always kept a diary, it's funny how women have much the same journey, it seems that it always takes time to evolve. I gave up facebooking for blogging. I sort of suspect that no one reads it but I love it. The left side of my brain keeps narrating life's journey and always will.

  21. This was a wonderful and touching post Beth. Thank you for sharing and always being so open. Hope you all feel better soon...Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  22. Thanks for sharing this post! I have a box in our basement full of journals, most of which are daily chronicles for periods of time between 1990 and 2003 (some even kept in daily planners instead of free-form notebooks). I kept a journal because I wanted to make sure I remembered every single detail as it all seemed so important. Now reading back through them makes me squirm!

  23. Your kids will have a blast going through those someday, as I have my dad's.

    PS How did the MRI goe yesterday???

    Merry Christmas to you and that gorgeous family of yours, Beth!!!

  24. I've kept a journal on paper every now and then. Blogged pretty extensively the last 3 years(846 posts and counting). Burbled stuff into private computer files. I'm almost afraid to go back and look at the paper stuff.

    I remember that I used to think that there were only a few ways that things could turn out that would be good, and I was terrified that I'd end up with something else. I've come to understand that things are never finished "turning out". There's always more. It's an ongoing trip. Once you commit yourself to enjoying the trip for what it is, there's a lot less stress involved.

  25. All I can say is I wish I had known. Although I'm not sure I could have been much help. Freshman year was a tough one all the way around. Thinkinking of you and your family and wishing you all the b-e-s-t in 2011.

  26. I used to keep journals but I thought they were stupid.. I hated what I had written so I ended up tossing them out.. Now that I have children I wish I would have kept them.. So part of my goal in blogging is to one day turn my blog into a few small books and give them to my children.

  27. Just a wonderful post Beth! I've been keeping journals off and on for years -- so much of what you said rang so true with me.

    I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. Feel better!

  28. I have kept a journal since I was 8. I took the last few years off-maybe afraid to see what was really in there-but have just started up again the past few months. Sounds like I've had some of the same questions you have and I wish someone had told me I was enough. Something I still need to hear today!

  29. I kept a journal for several years in my teenage years, but I stopped when I started driving and got a job and all that stuff. I love your post!

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