Tag Archives: Creativity

Journaling: My Process

Do you journal?

I’ve journaled on and off since I was a kid. Some of my journals I still have, and some I have no idea where they are, others I started and never filled. I started this year with wanting a returning to journaling.

Much of my journaling over the past decade has been online via my blogs, and I’m grateful for those. I’d love to figure out how to get them printed, because those are my records of motherhood and my kids growing up.

With attempting a new foray into journaling I had to prepare myself with all the things. Wait, What? What things you ask. A journal and pens.

I have an old Mead 5 Star 5 subject notebook, college ruled, that’s about 6×9″ and I love that for notes and keeping track of things, when I used to have things to keep track of…before this pandemic. But I wanted something more “official”.

It needed to be pretty, college ruled lines, durable, lots of pages, and preferably spiral bound (because it’s so much easier to write in). That’s not what I ended up with.

I had seen one at Target that I kind of liked, but it wasn’t just right (not spiral bound), so I didn’t get it. Then I never saw another one even remotely close.

I ordered several from Amazon, but ended up returning them. I went back to Target and they were gone, I checked several Targets and finally found something similar. Sold!

That was last Summer…it sat, and sat, and sat…waiting. I don’t know what I was waiting for. Then it was 2020 and I felt like it’s now or never, but the whole idea was so built up in my mind that I was still terrified. What if I screwed this whole thing up? *eye roll*

It’s a journal, MY journal. It’s not a leather bound first edition of some classical work. I forced myself to write in it. But before I did, I had to figure out the next most important part of journaling: The Pen.

I’m a bit of a pen snob. I’m particular to how a pen feels in my hand, how it drags on the paper, what shade the ink is, and a variety of other idiosyncrasies that I can’t put to words to explain.

I’ve always used Pentel RSVP pens…it’s been my favorite since high school, and I buy them in the huge boxes…black ink, of course. Everyone kept saying to get Gel pens; I’ve tried them and never liked how they dragged on the paper, spit inky blotches, or smeared.

Then someone suggested Energel Needle Tip pens (0.7mm), so I splurged on them. Surprisingly I liked them. They wrote nicely, the colors were dark, there was no spitting or smudging. Works for me! Depending on what I’m doing I actually prefer them now to my RSVPs.

But I was still leary of doing something so *permanent* in a journal…wasn’t there an option for a pen that was colorful and wrote nice, but was still erasable. I mean, we had erasable pens back in the 80s, don’t they still exist?!

Not only did I find erasable pens, but erasable gel pens in 14 different colors. Yes! I tested them out before and they’re pretty cool. It’s a heat thing; the friction of the “eraser” makes the ink invisible. If you put it in the freezer the ink shows back up in a few minutes. Kind of cool for secret messages.

What did I end up actually using in my journal though? It wasn’t the erasable pens, I actually started writing with the purple EnerGel. I liked they way it wrote, I can kind of make it thicker or thinner depending on how I hold the pen. I also liked how the purple accented the turquoise cover of the journal.

I went to put my colored gel pens in my bedroom desk and opened the drawer to find ANOTHER pack of gel pens (not erasable) that I couldn’t remember when I bought. I looked on Amazon….the end of last summer. Not that long ago. Now they all sit on my desk looking pretty. I don’t write with them very often, usually only in notecards.

I want to hear from you: Do you journal? Do you have favorite pens or notebooks that you use? What are they?

Life Happens – Where I’ve Been for the Past Year or So

I know I kind of fell off the face of the earth for the past, umm year, is it? It’s been a while since I posted anything of any substance, anywhere, longer since I posted anything about my family. I still have drafts I wrote last Summer that I have every intention of publishing…someday. In all honesty, life has been a bit of a struggle for me, the past few months, the past year.

I read something about stress-levels post multiples and how post-partum depression hits later than with singletons. I don’t know if 6 years later is feasible or not. Maybe it is. At just the time they say it hits (2-3 years of age), we had Peter, which didn’t give me the chance to breath…life marched on. There was no time to feel “depressed”.

There’s still no time, but it’s there. The tired, the not caring, the overwhelmed. 

And this is where I always freeze up when it comes to sharing, because no one knows how or wants to admit that they don’t really like themselves or their life sometimes. At least I don’t. And there’s another part that if you are liking who you are becoming or what you are doing, there’s a problem with that too.

I love my husband. I love my kids. I love our home. Sometimes it’s all too much though, too much noise, too much stuff, too many personalities, too many to-dos. And all the too much means there’s not enough of other things…quiet, clean, brain power, focus, clarity.

My mind gets swept along the raging river, bashing into rocks and being sucked under the waves. Sometimes, I’m able to keep my head up, manage to keep afloat amidst the debris, and other times I’m sucked into one of those underwater crevices of a rock and the panic sets in.

They tell me that this is normal, that it’s just “motherhood”. Then why do I feel so alone, despite opening up to others, that no one really is drowning in this as much as I am. I don’t honestly think I’m failing at this, I think I’m doing a pretty darn OK job at mothering these 5, but why does it feel like I’m the only mom that wants to walk away from it, from them?

Last summer my book club read “The Awakening”, and most of the responses of the other moms was how could she leave her children, that she was so selfish for all she was doing…and all I could think was how I “got” what she felt. She would do anything for her children, except kill her “self”.

I’m sure there are many Christian moms that would read this, clutching their pearls, at the very thought of not dying to self, of not living solely for their children. I’m sorry, I can’t, and I don’t honestly think that God wants me to become a shell of a woman for the sake of my children. I don’t for one minute believe that I am supposed to entirely relinquish my interests, identity, or any part of me for my role as a mother.

That said, it’s finding my self, finding the time to remember who I was before any of this, that feels impossible. The part that makes it so impossible is that I’ve always lived for someone else and what they expected of me, so it’s not just FINDING my self, but actually LEARNING who I am, and in that there is a struggle.

When you start figuring out who you are, what your interests are, who you want to be, you have a tendency to piss off people, to disappoint people. You become no longer willing to just make every one else happy, to be a doormat. Suddenly, there’s a whole other part of you. Your interests and opinions and feelings don’t line up with what people expect you to do and be. And that can be a very hard place to be.

It’s very often pointed out that the marriage/husband should be the focus of a family, because after the children are long gone, that will still exist…and it’s true. Your children are your’s for a season, your husband will be your’s until death do you part (baring anything else). But here’s the thing, YOU will be you until forever.

What happens when a spouse dies? You’ve lived your entire life for that person only to not know how to function when they’re gone. I don’t want to do that either. I don’t want to curl up in a ball and not be able to live if something were to happen to my husband, and I know he wouldn’t want that for me, just as I wouldn’t want that for him, no matter how old we were.

Now that I’ve taken this whole big thing to explain what my mental state has been for the past year. I have been in a constant struggle between taking care of my children and husband and taking care of myself. I don’t have an answer on how to manage it. I don’t have a solution.

Sometimes I feel like me. Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed (I d0 anyways). I’m not sure that there is a way to find a balance between the two, because as soon as I feel like me, I’m hear that I’m failing my family. It’s lovely really *note sarcasm*.

I think the hardest part of my writing and being active on social media, is that I don’t want to be open with certain people in my life. I honestly don’t want to share my struggles with nosy relatives, the neighbors who are just going to gossip, but I don’t know how to cut those ties without insulting someone. So I shut myself up instead. At the time it seems easier.

That said, I am seriously considering going private again as a blogger, because I know I need this space. There are a lot of things that I want to mull over and share and process here, and hopefully in the near future I will be sharing more about things that are going on in my life.