Mental Health Life Stories Life

This is why I write letters to myself in my journal 

“Pablow, do you know what it’s like to be unimportant, invisible to the world. A dried-up leaf that people walk over and crush under their feet?
It’s my birthday tomorrow. But everyone has made it a point to not make me feel even slightly better. Everyone’s mean to me. Because it’s just another day in their life.
But in my life—it’s the day I turn 21.”
27th April, 2020.

Pablow, a beautiful pink mermaid, that keeps all my secrets and listens closely to everything I tell her. My confidante. My best friend. My journal.

I keep a journal. I write in it every day. 

It teaches you. It inspires you. It gives your life meaning.

I recently heard someone remark, “Who even writes in journals anymore?” I rolled my eyes at their ludicrous statement. Over the years, I learned how important journaling is, and I won’t entertain the idea that it is a purposeless act. 

Some people, at hearing the word “journal”, are swept by thoughts of teenage crushes, entries that start with “Dear Diary”, or something that they did in the past. In today’s increasingly digital, paperless world, journaling isn’t commonplace anymore. 

Some people also assume that journaling is exclusively for children or young adults. However, I don’t think that there’s a specific age for journalling. You can be a grown-up and still keep a journal. I’m an adult, and I maintain a journal. 

Journalling has helped me find myself, and I don’t think I’ll ever give it up.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that writing in a journal helped me find my voice. I learned the concept of expression and freedom in writing. My wordlessness surprises some in real life. I’m quiet. I don’t talk much. But my journal carries all my words, enfolded in abrupt effusions of my mind.  I write everything in my journal. 

I can say things that I want to say. I can document what I do and where I go. I can write my true feelings about my family, friends, even people I don’t know closely. I don’t think too much before spilling my thoughts on my journal. Words flow out of me, and I stamp them on to the paper. They are raw, real, and meaningful. Sometimes, it almost feels as if I’m writing letters to myself. 

Keeping a daily journal allowed me introspection—even if just a little—to dwell on who I was on a particular day.

Over the years, I’ve become attached to my journal. I treat it like a person. I have even given it a name—Pablow—and I call it my best friend. (Brownie points for you if you guessed Pablow is inspired by a Miley Cyrus song.)

Pablow is always there for me. She hears me out. She listens to me closely. She always has time for me. I tell her everything. She doesn’t judge me or double-cross me behind my back with the things that I say to her. She doesn’t say hurtful or judgmental things—she says nothing at all. I write to her about my life, family, friends, dreams, aspirations, heartbreaks, happiness, food, people I meet, college, sky, night, summer, stories, interactions, decisions—everything. I divulge every little detail of my life to her, and she listens.  

I’ve written about the time when my mom didn’t buy me my favorite body shop perfume. And when my friends threw me a birthday surprise and I nearly canceled on them. And when I scored low marks on a test. And when I felt like I hated my best friend for saying something mean to me. And so much more. I’ve told her everything.

Journalling helped me in exploring my thoughts. When I recorded all details of a particular day, no matter how irrelevant, I felt inspired. I felt like I was learning about myself. Keeping a daily journal allowed me introspection—even if just a little—to dwell on who I was on a particular day. That made me a more compassionate and empathetic person.

My journal made me see things more clearly. When I felt like I hated someone or something, I wrote about it. When something made me ecstatic—over the moon kind of happy—I wrote about it. Whatever I felt—anger, sadness, happiness, anxiety, depression, shock—I wrote about it. 

Journalling is important because of so many reasons. It teaches you. It inspires you. It gives your life meaning. It helps you clear your head. I learned from it about myself, my life, my family, my friends. Everything made so much more sense when it came down on paper as words. Once you start keeping a journal, you’ll understand that it can become a big part of your life. 

For me, maintaining a journal has almost become a habit. I share a human affiliation with it. I feel attached to it. Pablow is my best friend. And I’ve held on to my pink, mermaid journal for so long that I don’t think I’ll ever let go. 

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By Izza Malik

Izza Malik is a university student based in Lahore, Pakistan. She is focusing on Political Science at university but her main interests lie in fiction writing, journalism, and drawing. Izza also has a blog called Escaping Space which is dedicated to feminist writing, raising issues concerning the various marginalized communities in Pakistan and sometimes narrative and poetry writing. In her free time, you’ll find her reading murder mystery books, watching shows on Netflix and cooking desserts.