Journaling for emotional accountability

Introduction

While I might remember thinking and feeling a certain way at any given time, I’ve learned my memories cannot be trusted. This is why, alongside blogging, I also journal.

I use a journaling app for ten minutes every morning and write one page in a diary right before bed every night. As a result, I wind up recording daily emotional swings. Often, I don’t see common threads or trends in my feelings over time until I revisit a series of entries at a later date.

As an example, my journaling habits ceased while I was with the Narcissist. It wasn’t until they resumed that I started seeing patterns previously hidden to me. It was because of journaling that I recognized the degree of the mistreatment I was constantly excusing.

In general, rereading old journal entries help me make sense of myself. Revisiting what was once in my head, even if the thoughts were only there for a moment, can be illuminating. My remembered feelings often don’t match those I wrote of while in the midst of a situation.

Journaling holds me accountable, forces me to see what happened at any given time with greater clarity than I would otherwise achieve.

Favorite Journaling Tools

Journaling Apps

Favorite journaling app: Journal It! (https://journalit.app/)

Runner up: Journey Diary and Journal App (https://2appstudio.com/journey/)

Journal It! has a slight lead because of some advanced features, but I recommend each of these apps highly and without any reservation.

Journal It! has the advantage of working as a bullet journal, along with goal setting/tracking and a number of other features I’ve yet to investigate. Both have cross-platform functionality, but Journal It! requires a download and Journey does not. And both have “on this day” reminders showing entries from the past, which are incredibly handy for emotional accountability purposes. However, Journal It! chooses a number of months at random, while Journey only shows exactly 12 months earlier. I find the former preferable; the lack of predictability comes in handy for the emotional accountability purposes discussed in this post.

Writing Implements

Favorite writing implement: a fountain pen

When writing in a diary on a daily basis, the pen I use is a huge part of the practice. Call me old fashioned, but I love writing in my diary with a fountain pen. I’ve found they provide a far more satisfying experience than any other type of pen I’ve tried. There’s something incredibly romantic about the scratching feel and sound of the nib flowing across a fresh sheet of paper.

Unfortunately, the exact one I have is no longer available on Amazon. It’s a lovely rosewood one, but I didn’t put much research into the purchase. I only spent about $15 or less, and I’m sure there are many others that would just as beautifully get the job done.

Favorite Diary

Favorite Diary: Peter Pauper Press (many options; available on Amazon)

An aesthetically pleasing diary with a hardcover is important to me. I like to note the date range of each volume on the spine. Mid-weight lined pages are preferred, and a ribbon for marking my place is appreciated. The diaries from Peter Pauper Press check all these boxes. There are tons to choose from and my collection now includes many from this publisher.

Here is the one I am working my way through now. Isn’t it beautiful? The name of this particular version is “Bordeaux.” It’s the volume I started in early March, just before I left for France, and was selected quite purposefully to reflect the France trip.

Diary Entries About Cookie and Goatee Guy

After writing in my diary last night, I flipped back to the beginning of the current volume. I read everything I wrote in early March, a few weeks before leaving for France.

I was still dating both Cookie and Goatee Guy at the time, and my entries include a lot of thoughts and feelings about each of them. I remember feeling some awareness that things weren’t ideal with either of them. It wasn’t addressed here in this blog, however, and my recollection of those feelings is rather vague.

The words I wrote in my diary at the time were stark. I wasn’t happy with either of my relationships.

I didn’t want things to end with either of them, though. I didn’t want to be alone, like I am now and have been for months. But I wasn’t in the state of bliss I’ve fooled myself into thinking I was, or that I made it seem like I was in my blog posts.

The truth is, I was conflicted and knew I wanted more than I was getting.

Journaling is so important. I don’t remember these feelings, these doubts, but clearly, they were there. Knowing them now is helpful in moving forward.

Diary Excerpts

March 3, 2019
I’m still not swooning over Goatee Guy, and I think it’s because there’s some emotional intimacy lacking in our connection. The intense heart connection I feel with Cookie is amazing, but there isn’t anything like that with Goatee Guy. I think Cookie has a vulnerability and empathy, along with being silly and incredibly intelligent, that sets him apart from most men. Goatee Guy is a bit closed off. It’s interesting to notice and pay attention to. I enjoy them both, but definitely think about Cookie and long for him more than I do Goatee Guy.

March 5, 2019
I talk about Cookie a ton, I know, but I really like Goatee Guy, too. There isn’t the same emotionally maturity or intimacy, but he’s delightful. Looking forward to seeing Cookie tonight, so much. But am also hoping I see Goatee Guy again soon.

March 8, 2019 (in reference to both men)
I’m feeling like a burden and like any communication from me will be annoying and unwelcome, which is probably untrue but it’s what my mind is telling me right now. This too is likely making me sad. It’s probably imaginary but it’s causing me to pull back regardless.

March 12, 2019
They’re both sweet. But I’m not getting/feeling the emotional connection I crave from either of them. The absence of it makes me sad sometimes. I don’t feel like either of them have “f*** yes!!!” feelings about knowing me or seeing me. They like me but I sense they are “meh” about me. With Cookie, I still feel at any time I might never hear from him again. I am starting to distance myself from him.

March 19, 2019
Looking forward to a brief hang out with Cookie tomorrow, either for lunch or an early happy hour. Haven’t seen him in two weeks. Have realized that I am still being nervous and weird when it comes to him. I wish I could care less or could just be more relaxed about him.

March 27, 2019
I can’t figure out why either of them are interested in me, other than simply enjoying that I enjoy each of them. I don’t think I’m above-average in bed or anything. And I can’t imagine it’s my looks or personality, because those aren’t awesome, either. So, what gives? They are both terrific. I am sure they each have plenty of options available. But instead of just enjoying having found men I like and admire, I am locked into this feeling of being unworthy or fraudulent. Cookie, in particular, is too cool for me. I am boring and unintelligent compared to him. How can he not see that? Why would he want to know me, except enjoying having one more woman in his life? It is the old “anyone who likes me must be flawed” thought pattern rearing it’s ugly head.

March 29, 2019
Goatee Guy has had sex with two people now, and I didn’t know. And he didn’t tell me he was at that point and ready. My feelings are hurt. I wanted him to be able to talk to me about that. I had wanted to be the first person he was with. I guess I thought what we had was a little special, and now I’m feeling sad about being wrong and foolish for having thought it. I talked to him about this and he got it. It was a lovely night but I am sad now anyway.

March 31, 2019
Last entry until I return from France. I leave tomorrow morning. I feel as ready as I am ever going to be. When I get back I will be glad to see both Cookie and Goatee Guy again, I am sure. I think I will also have more energy and interest in trying to meet some more men, too. I like them both, very much. I don’t quite have the emotional connection I want with either of them, though. It will be good for me to keep looking for it.

April 23, 2019
It feels like things are over with Goatee Guy. He …there isn’t any magic there. I’m starting to feel like that may be the case with Cookie, too. In France, I realized what it feels like when something has magic vs when it doesn’t. Magic permeated every building, flower, stone, tree, drop of water there. I have seen and felt magic now. It has changed me. And now, I don’t want relationships that don’t have magic.

April 24, 2019
Goatee Guy ended things today, via a text, which feels fairly garbage. I am glad it’s over though. It’s easier to have finality than to wonder indefinitely what’s going on. Pretty sure Cookie will end things soon, too.

April 27, 2019
Went over to a friend’s tonight and wound up having a good cry. Being hugged while I sobbed was so new and so nice. It’s not something I have in my life very much. I know Goatee Guy ending things wasn’t the true reason, or how wrong things with Cookie are feeling. It’s so much more. Vacation being over is hard. I miss my daily routines of photography and writing. It felt like a new reality and my real life feels wrong to me now. My life is now a garment that doesn’t quite fit right. It binds and pulls and itches. Not having any men who are excited to see me or any prospects on the horizon is definitely a factor in my sadness, though. Cookie and Goatee Guy both seem to be finding people to date, but neither of them worked out for me, and I’m not finding anyone I’m even interested in starting a conversation with. I wish this weren’t the case. I enjoyed having men in my life and I miss it. And, yes. I am a bit sad about Goatee Guy. I enjoyed spending time with him so much. It sucks so much to know I’ll never have that with him again. I liked him. I want him. This sucks.

Emotional Accountability

Do those look like the diary entries of someone who was happy in her relationships? Someone who felt secure in her partners’ affections for her?

No. No, they very obviously do not.

There aren’t any profound conclusions to reach just yet, although I’m sure they will come in time. The main takeaway right now is this:

I shouldn’t date guys I feel I’m “not enough” for. I deserve to feel more valued than I did with either Cookie or Goatee Guy.

I wasn’t nearly as happy as I made myself out to be in this blog, or as I remembered having been before leaving on my trip.

This is important to know. It’s important to recognize this and to allow it to inform my feelings and actions moving forward.

And without journaling, without my daily journaling practices, I would have no idea.

Featured Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

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