Ever since I was about 7 years old I’ve been keeping a journal, and writing. After having done it for so long it’s become a habit, second nature, almost.
It’s so nice to read back on old journal entries and get to kinda go back in time and relive the day. And it’s so exciting to put down a story that’s been floating around in your head, to paper.
I write to express myself. I write to make sense of the world around me. Most importantly, I write to maintain my sanity. Kinda like sweeping things up into a dustpan and emptying it out when it’s full. If I don’t write, then I can’t think straight. My mind is cluttered. All the thoughts build up and swirl around, blocking space for new thoughts to come through and fogging up the clarity I need to focus on the present, until they are written down.
Journals have also always been my sole confidante. I don’t confide a lot of things in people. I put things down on paper instead. People often argue that it would be a lot healthier to actually talk to people (it is) because pen and paper don’t talk back, but that’s exactly the point. Often times when we need help, people are so fast to throw advice at you without taking the time to sit and listen, and understand, when a lot of the time, that is exactly all that you need. And as Anne Frank herself said, “Paper has more patience than people”.
I’m not much of an artist, so what actually fills up these pages?
Well, accounts of my day, poems, quotes that I love, song lyrics, original songs of my own, hopes and dreams, lists upon lists, of places I hope to travel to, hopes and dreams, fears, plans for blog posts or fictional stories , letters to people I’ll never send.
What do I write in?
I prefer notebooks that aren’t spiral bound (they tend to fall apart-but it was easy to make exception for the one my friend Pritpal gifted me-it’s stunning!), A5 size, with lined pages (can’t write in a straight line without lines to save my life) and I always write in black pen. Blue looks atrocious and makes me think of my school books ’cause I write class notes in blue.
I thought I’d share pictures of my more recent journals, and excerpts of my life and my thoughts:
A little paper geisha my friend Pritpal made. I taped it to the front of the journal he got me, and wrote a little note above it to remind me of the occasion.
The ticket and wristband I got from attending the Safaricom Jazz Festival in 2015. My friend Leigh-Ann had gotten free tickets and invited me to come along.
My wristband from my final year of school prom.
A letter my best friend Wanjiku gave me on the last day we saw each other before I left for South Africa.
Confetti from New Year 2016 celebrations.
A picture one of the sweetest little girls drew of us two during the week I helped out at Holiday Club, lanyards from all the events I’ve helped out at my church this year, and the coolest handmade birthday card I’ve ever gotten from my sister Gloria.
The ticket and program from the best production of Alice in Wonderland I’ve seen yet!
Doodles of the cities I’d like to visit someday, Edinburgh, London, New York, and Cape Town (which I’ve been to before but was too young to appreciate).
(An answer to one of the 30 Days of Journaling prompts I got from The Messy Heads):
“Who are you really, at your core?”
I don’t know. It’ll take time to separate my true self from what other people’s expectations of me are, and the world’s brainwashing and conditioning.”
I don’t feel like today was a fitting goodbye. It hasn’t sunk in. I feel like we’re just gonna meet up again next week at Sarit, or Mambo Italia, seated at our favourite spot by the window.
First off, I overslept. I swear my alarm never even rang. My dad burst into my room and was like ” I thought we were leaving at 8:30?” And I’m thinking ‘Oh sh-t’. Didn’t eat breakfast. Wasn’t even hungry, just NERVOUS.
When we entered the school compound it was PACKED. It was so unbelievably crowded. I was just in shock. Yeah I thought I’d see 2 or 3 people but this? Madness.
It was so tense in there, just, not nice. So I retreated to the car and called Wanjiku while my dad waited in line.
Love was a raven-haired girl folding up and putting aside her life to get her hands dirty on the mess that was mine.
So she drove me and we talked and just….it was perfect. We were still talking when we got there. We didn’t even notice my dad order a drink and finish it. We hugged goodbye a million times.
Today Gloria and I walked to the 6th Avenue shopping centre. It was so weird, while lining up at the till in Checkers, the lady in front of us just wouldn’t stop STARING. Finally she demanded “What’s that?!” Referring to the plastic full of ginger in my hands. She ended up asking what we use it for. She was just genuinely interested, and asked loads of questions.
2 weeks and 2 days since I was last in school. Doesn’t sound like much but it felt, it feels, like a lifetime, like an endless string of Saturdays and Sundays. I feel like I don’t have a right to have a say in all of this, being the child of 2 Kenyans, from Kenya, Kenyan despite being a citizen of South Africa (a piece of paper doesn’t mean much does it?). My parents, grandparents, ancestors were not affected by Apartheid. I wasn’t either. So I can’t sit here and say that I can relate, because I can’t, I never could. But as a young, black, African woman, I can and I do, sympathise, and do empathise.
All of a sudden there’s this guy next to me, probably one of the Youth leaders from the other churches, and he goes “Hey, are you alright?” And I say no, almost crying, explaining how dizzy I was and couldn’t walk straight and he puts his arm around my waist and walks me back to church and he’s shouting for a paramedic or a doctor but they’d already left.
(A quote from Nirrimi Joy’s blog I loved): “I grow tired of feeling so much. Maybe it seems poetic in retrospect, but in the moment it’s just ugly and exhausting.”
It just warmed me up inside from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, and he gave me hugs all day and said I was his favourite and told me stories and I wondered when it stopped being so easy to make friends. He’s at that age where it’s so easy to love, and he doesn’t care if I’m black or white or pretty or not or anything, he just loves me anyway. That purity, it breaks my heart because of how evil the rest of the world is in comparison.
If you’ve never been inside a bird hide, its the most fantastical little thing ever, sitting there hidden away watching the birds through the slots in the wood, everyone sipping tea from flasks. All the purple flowers dotting the sea of green while birds rested on lily pads and skimmed the water. After that, we were at the beachfront. We found a tiny little fish, probably died washing up on the shore. It still looked so alive, bright and shiny, silver, glittering in the morning sun. Picked it up to let one of the ladies feel it’s leather-y skin. She decided to keep it to show her nephew.
Last night was the most magical night of all, my heart swells just thinking about it. Mom got Gloria and I tickets to see Thumbelina the ballet at the opera house. IT WAS STUNNING. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. IT WAS MAGICAL. We had front row seats!! The costumes were so dazzling and gorgeous. The dancers moved with such grace and vibrancy and it was all perfect. It made me so sad that I never kept up with ballet. How dazzling life as a principal dancer must be. Travelling from city to city, performing classics like Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, the makeup, the costumes, THE STAGE. But of course, there is the side we don’t see. The long hours, the physical strain, the bloody feet. Blood. Sweat. Tears. Sacrifice. Lots and lots of sacrifice.
I feel the weight of my responsibility as a human to love others every time I leave someone’s presence. I feel so downcast, about how I wasn’t encouraging enough or enthusiastic enough or attentive enough or funny enough, didn’t make enough of an impact, lift them up enough. And that weight drags me down into a bottomless pit and I have to stop and remind myself that I’m ONLY human.
That’s all for now. ✒
If you love to write too, what do you write about? I’d love to know!🌹
And if you’re interested in starting to journal and not sure how to go about it, writing prompts are a fun, easy way to start! I’ll link some here.
Till next time, friends!