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Journaling: It’s like a blog only it’s not public

It’s been a long time since I seriously kept a journal, a long time. Today I cracked open an old journal that I began back in October 2007. I only wrote three pages in this THICK and unused journal. You know why? Because I began this journal the same month that I began this blog. Well, in my list of summer goals( yes, I have summer goals) I have decided to add journaling to the list of activities I would like to accomplish this summer.

The list includes the following:

1. Get a ping pong table.

2. BBQ more ( I am crazy for grilled vegetables and I am not crazy enough to keep paying the $10 a pound that Whole Foods charges me for them).

3. Take tennis lessons. (The French Open really got to me).

4. Swim, and get a swim cap that I can fit all of my hair into.

5. 1,3, and 4 are all about the goal of trying to have more fun. I work a lot and I love my work. I love my work more than I can say. That said, I could and should try and do something other than go to dinner and watch House Hunters as my sad excuse for leisure activities. I can’t espouse balance and self-care to my clients if I am not going to make the smallest effort to attempt it myself.

6. Get a summery fragrance. I am thinking of trying Bobbi Brown’s Beach. I love that it smells a little bit like Coppertone suntan lotion. A sprtiz of that and a Popsicle on the patio and I will have the makings of an instant summer-tastic staycation.

7. Read something trashy. Maybe I will stop my Spring-time survey of personality disorders and I will read The Hunger Games or this Shades of Gray that my hairdresser told me about.

And…

8.Journal.

Journaling will come back to me faster than my forehand(it has been over 20 years since I attempted tennis). I know how to do this, serving on the other hand is something I never really mastered and likely won’t. I journaled since I was seven and I got my very first diary with a key on it. I have decades of experience writing only for me and not for an audience. I journaled through decades, and disasters and experimented with forms and formats. I read the journals of Nin and Plath and I kept writing and dreamed that someday all this writing would turn into something more and that my life would to( much of my journals involve wishing for some other time and some achievement that would make my life worthwhile).

Only with the journal I won’t get any comments,  like I do on the blog, as no one will have access to my private and tangential rants—and that is both good and bad. In my private writing I tend to allow my complexes and opinions to be absolute. I write in the language of splitting, “I hate this” and “I love this” are key phrases in the discourse of my diary. However when I blog I tend to be more objective, even in my subjectivity I know you are there. And knowing you are there changes things and it mostly makes me a better writer and a better person to not let the ranty part of myself  have too much room. Um, why exactly did I want to journal again?

Well, in a journal I can be insanely honest. I can write things that I don’t want you to know about me. I can write without wondering who will read what I just wrote and what they will think. I can give voice to my petty fears and baseless anxieties and I won’t have to worry about having to warn someone that I don’t REALLY feel that way and that I am just venting. It actually sounds pretty good and maybe even important( I have a few rants in me at the moment).

I suppose that I do need a place to let my thoughts have free reign and not have to edit. Therapy is a great place for that, however it is only one-hour a week. Maybe I even want to have a hissy-fit or two on the page and then move on.

Recently I was watching “Girls” on HBO( And I do love that show) and one of the characters had her diary violated. Her roommate’s boyfriend read her journal and he discovered all kinds of things, not the least being that her roommate (his girlfriend) is not in love with him. When confronted with the black and white facts of her journal, the wounded boyfriend makes the case to his girlfriend, “it is a journal; no one lies in a journal, that is the fucking point.”

But he is wrong. People do lie in journals. People overreact in journals. People spew. I spew. I dramatize. I say that I hate things and that I love things and I catastrophize in a journal. On the first page of my journal I have the following disclaimer: “If I am dead and you are reading this please know that I wrote in this journal when I was bored, anxious, depressed and possessed by complexes. It is best not to take this as a real and valid document of my feelings. If I told you in my non-journaling life that I love you it is best to believe me. If I wrote in this journal that I wanted to leave you and run away to the Himalayas— it is not true. Seriously, ignore everything in here that you are about to read and just remember that I love you. Okay?”

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About Me

My name is Tracey, aka La Belette Rouge. I am a psychotherapist and the author of Freudian Sip @ Psychology Today. I blog about psychology, my therapy, dreams, writing, meaning making, home, longing, loss, infertility and other things that delight or inspire me. I try to make deep and elusive psychodynamic concepts accessible and funny. For more information, click here .
These blog posts are informational only and not meant to replace individual psychotherapy, counseling or medical advice. If you are in need of help, reaching out to a professional may help you decide how to proceed or how to find the care you need. For a referral, contact

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