The topic of my journal came up again today...in real life. However, instead of making this a "friend's only" post, or becoming self-conscious about what I've written, I'm taking a more objective look at why I have a journal in the first place. I also feel that I can trust the people who may be reading under these special circumstances.
I was accused of being an exhibitionist. Though this first prompted my mind to Holden Caulfield, I realized it's not far from the truth. I've always wanted and craved attention. Maybe it's from being the youngest. Maybe it's from being in a big family. Maybe it's just who I am. Though I work behind the scenes most often, I've never been afraid to reverse the role and take a chance in the limelight. (This is true both figuratively and metaphorically).
However, I rather resent the fact that this was the reason I got a journal. Initially, I read only my sister's (because she pushed for me to create an account of my own). I posted trite events and feelings I had about the day that had passed, or an upcoming event. Some things never change, I suppose. :)
But then I read other people's journals and be"friend"ed them. I got friends back, and soon I felt as though I knew people. At this point, nearly a year after starting my journal, I feel I have made actual friends. People I can talk to when I need them. They encourage and congratulate, send sympathy and their best wishes. I do the same to them. These people, my friends, know me better than many people I know in "real life". These people who live as far away as Kenya or Israel probably have a better understanding of "me" than my actual friends that I may see everyday.
I do write as though I have an audience, though I don't feel this makes me an exhibitionist. I've always been better at writing editorials and personal essays, stories from the first person, anything with direct interaction between reader and writer. However, I explain myself, not only for the people who read, but also for myself. Whether writing about my weekend so I remember, or talking about my feelings so that I can learn more about myself, it is as much for me as it is for anyone else.
I think the number one thing that this provides me is an outlet. Of course I make trivial posts. All the time, in fact. It's habit. I've made journaling so much of a second nature, that it is the first place I turn when I have news or a problem. It gives me a place to pound out anger, or search for sympathy from those who may know how I'm feeling. There's always someone to talk to. There's always someone to relate to. Like I said, I have made actual friends out of people by learning and interacting with them. And it's always easier to write about a situation than find time to call someone up. It helps me to organize my thoughts and feelings on an issue. It helps me to calm down, at times.
I could go on about the fabulous ways Journal has improved my life, though I don't think it has in any tremendous ways. Obviously, it's a different forum, and with that comes what seems to be big changes. However, in actuality it hasn't been completely life changing...though I have developed a habit of checking my email, and posting far too often. In any light, I know I have learned. I know I have expanded my horizons. I'd like to think I've become a better and more well-rounded person. Maybe that was bound to happen anyway, but it seems that journal must have has something to do with it. Some small part, at the very least.
I don't know if I've discovered a definitive answer to why I keep a journal. Whether I like the attention I get, or whether there is a personal and deeper meaning, I suppose I could only hypothesize. All I know is that I adore it. I take a strange ownership over things that I know well, and that I feel comfortable with. My English notebook, the script to "The Heidi Chronicles", my journal. Things so personal, yet so out there so that anyone may take them and make them their own.
Perhaps the reason I don't like to share them with people close to me is that I am afraid for them to learn who I really am, and what I really feel. I may be an exhibitionist, but I'm still a private person. I wear masks like anyone else, and don't always want to have the plaster broken.
But yes. This is my journal. To blatantly plagiarize MTV's Diary: "You think you know, but you have no idea."