Let it out
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    Photo by Jenna Lee / North by Northwestern

    “I should focus on myself. Whatever I feel - identifiable.”

    December 15, 2015

    (The day I bought a new notebook) “I’m finally in my new home. New home for my craziest thoughts, sorrows, happiness, dilemmas, contradictions, realization, foolishness - anything & everything that every single atom in me wants to express.”

    April 20, 2016

    “I get up and I write because every single moment of my life is damn good, damn precious. Moments like having to evacuate Plex on Tuesday around 12:45 a.m., because – as it turns out – David forgot to put f***ing water in his cup noodle and the cup started burning, are especially precious. Loads of people had to evacuate after hearing the earsplitting alarm go off, but I wasn’t frustrated, rather intrigued by the situation.”

    May 1, 2016

    “I don’t know why I start my writing assignments so late – it’s been a trend for as long as I can remember. It is because of the lack of confidence to dive in, but I really need to fix this procrastination and JUST DO IT whenever I get the chance.”

    I have an attachment toward moments. I want to remember what happened and how I felt. I take pictures, tape-record or write about notable experiences that give color to life. I enjoy all kinds of documenting activities, but writing is my primary MO. Whenever I try hard to recall even the smallest, fleeting feelings, I ask myself, “Why do I even bother?” I bother because I always think that I will look back on it one day and recall my feelings of the good ole days, although I rarely do.

    Writing journal entries and submitting them to the homeroom teacher is a common practice in Korea. I took those assignments with ease; I wrote about Ahn Jung-hwan’s ring-kissing ceremony I saw at a 2002 World Cup game that I watched with my dad and how delicious my mom’s kimchi bokkeumbap was, at the end of the day. Once a week, my teacher responded with two-sentence comments.

    I do not know if those homework assignments prompted me to develop a habit of journaling. At the start of every year, I have looked forward to buying a new planner. I love words. I love the ability to express my sadness, confusion, complexity and happiness in a way that feels right. Writing requires a lot of staring at a blank space and it demands time. I am not a fast writer, for it takes a while for me to identify my pure thoughts and feelings. I do this because I don’t want to mindlessly follow the crowd. I want to think at every moment because I want to take ownership of my actions.

    Photo by Jenna Lee / North by Northwestern

    When I look back at my entries, I learn that it is less about writing them for future purposes than understanding the present. I know this because I rarely look back at what I wrote to reminisce about good memories. Writing this piece, I realize that my writing is not primarily for record keeping but for understanding myself every day. I am most vulnerable when I write and sentences are the truest, rawest descriptions of my feelings. I feel a strong urge to write when I feel a pang of emotion in my mind. I often reach for my pen and notebook when I feel jealous, afraid, frustrated or insecure. Some of the difficulties I write about include the challenge of expressing myself in a social setting, the difficulty of being genuine and the difficulty of balancing professional development with taking time to love myself. I write away all my reflective thoughts and feel as though I am approaching a lesson or a truth.

    Life is full of learning moments and some of them are more touching than others. I write to navigate life’s complexities, but my deep passion and love for life underlie them. I cherish the rewards that life gives me after making me go through its hurdles. After writing about life’s ordinary or extraordinary happenings, I often end my journal entries with self-created or borrowed words of wisdom.

    December 5, 2015

    “I should learn how to preserve my center, even in the presence of others. That is the most important task for me going forward.”

    November 2015

    “I’m so often afraid that I’ll hurt you - I keep a distance from you because I don’t want you to think that I’m not perfect. I am not going to avoid people. I am going to treat everything as an adventure and take care of myself.”

    February 2, 2015

    “I think I should make a habit of logging everyday happenings, as trivial as they are, because these details will help me remember what living as a college student was like.”

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