The Scarlet Journal: Not Full of Crap!

This morning, I finished my scarlet journal– the one I bought myself as a Valentine’s Day present. I’m shocked it lasted five months!!

Ain’t she a beauty?

I snapped this outside in the morning light, on the steps of my apartment building.

I took it with me everywhere. To work. In my car. To the photo shoot I did last night! To my writer’s group. Two or three times I thought I’d lost it, and nearly had a melt-down! But God protected me, and Saint Anthony must be stalking me! Because I always found it, undiscovered, unopened, safe.

I’m excited, and this is a milestone. I’ve said it before, but this journal somehow healed me in ways I never anticipated. More than any heart-to-heart conversation I’ve had with my “A-List,” or my family. More than all the best aspects of my relationship history.

In this gorgeous scarlet journal, I opened up to MYSELF in a way I’ve never done before– I wrote whatever I wanted. I told myself it didn’t matter if it was mundane, petty, redundant, or self-indulgent. Other times, I’ve been afraid to write things. Writing them down makes them real.

I just realized that this second, my life very much parallels that of the infamous Bridget Jones, of Helen Fielding’s novel and the fabulous Renee Zellwegger movie, “Bridget Jones’s Diary.”  She  was a single, Thirtysomething journalist, and she began writing a journal in which she wrote nothing but the truth. And it made her happy. And so am I.

I always loved that scene at the end with Mark Darcy, when she finds him outside, chasing after him in the snow after he sees bad things written about him in her journal.

“I’m so sorry,” Bridget said. “I didn’t mean it. Well I meant it, but I was so stupid that I didn’t mean what I meant. After all, everyone knows diaries are just…full of crap.”

But instead of addressing Mark Darcy, I was apologizing to myself. And I’m proud to say, I made things right with this journal.

Because it’s true! Writing something down is a commitment to acknowledging that truth. So if you’re not ready to acknowledge it, you write something else.

Our journals are dictated by our moods. We either write what we feel at that one moment, or sometimes what we WANT to believe. We can write something negative because we feel insecure when really we hold that person in high esteem.We can write things that are the opposite of what we feel because we WANT to feel more positively, or remain hopeful. We can write things that reinforce what we believe, because it’s convenient. It doesn’t always mean it’s the truth.  Our emotions are mutable. And what may be true one day may not endure two months later, when the person writing it has changed again.

So I set out to make this journal entirely devoid of “crap,” as Bridget would say. And I did. I gave myself permission to be unbridled in what I felt, and it worked. My scarlet journal is just me, Amee.

And like Bridget, I realized that my life is imperfect and so am I. But I love it nonetheless.

And unlike Bridget, at the end of the journal I’m not melting into the arms of a Mark Darcy. But I’m okay with that.  But unlike Bridget, my movie’s not over! I’m still in the middle of my story.

I did definitely have a Daniel Cleaver at some point in my life, and I’ve become immune! Oh, it’s refreshing.

Somehow, I’ve learned to just relax about dating. Embrace what happens, be myself, and enjoy it all.

I wrote the truth. I reminisced. I fantasized about the future. I chastised myself. I gloated. I wrote when I was insecure, livid, ecstatic, bored, ambivalent.

I wrote in several colors of ink– red, raspberry (beret!), royal purple, green, black, blue. Mostly black, my favorite. I abhor blue ink. I only did it for variety, to test if my feelings had changed. Nope!

I’m sad that I finished my scarlet journal, truthfully.

I don’t think I’ll ever find another that will be more special to me.  From the smell of the suede leather, to the design, to the leather and brass enclosures which enabled me to feel it was “locked” even though it was easily undone.  The beautiful paper.

And what will I do with this journal now?

Maybe I’ll burn it. That would be such a beautiful ritual, to release it back into the universe and move forward brazenly without it.

I would love to become brave enough to do that. Maybe that’s my next goal!

For now, I made the above picture my screen saver. So that every time I sit down to write, I remember to write the truth.

To inspire myself to write just as I would in my scarlet journal: when I’m  insecure, livid, ecstatic, bored, ambivalent. To just write, period.

And let the truth reveal itself. Truth is one thing you can never control, and surrendering is the only option. It leads to freedom.

I’ll include a few quotes that I scribbled within for inspiration (not what *I* wrote! Don’t be greedy..) :”

“The scariest moment is always right before you start.” ~Stephen King

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Writers are the exorcists of their own demons.” ~ Mario Vargas Llosa

I’m proud, and happy, and unrelentingly Amee.


4 comments on “The Scarlet Journal: Not Full of Crap!

  1. Awesome!! Congrats on finishing that beauty! It really is a gorgeous journal. But I’m sure you can find another one that will be special in its own way, just as this one was. Your post has inspired me to maybe start journaling again…It really is an incredible way to get in touch with yourself, and learn the truth (even if you don’t want to admit it). I think maybe that’s why I’ve been shying away from it – too much truth to handle. Red flag, eh?

    BTW, have you ever done morning pages (via Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”)? 3 pages of stream-of-consciousness writing first thing in the morning. Sometimes it was just a bunch of crap 😉 .. but sometimes I got the most incredible insights, solutions to problems, a-ha moments. It was fantastic! Why did I stop? Again, too much truth would bubble up. And I got lazy.

    • Thanks Kaylee– it is a beauty indeed! Glad to hear, have you started yet? Don’t shy away– it’s liberating beyond belief. (As long as you don’t lose it– then it’s pretty scary to think of anyone reading your secrets!) That’s not a red flag at all– just awareness. And I bet you can handle the truth.

      I’ve heard about the morning pages several times– just never tried it. I have that book, it’s great! Sounds like it worked great for you though! Maybe you can alternate between journaling and morning pages? We all get lazy as writers. Good thing I have a friend who motivates me not to fall into that! 😉

  2. Do you think it would burn with scarlet smoke?

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