Meta: In Which I Write About Writing to Make Sense of Things, In Order to Make Sense of Things (Or, Why Journaling is Crucial)

Over the past week or so, I’ve grown a little bit bored with my usual podcast lineup. Maybe bored isn’t the right word. It just felt a little stale, and while I was still enjoying the shows I listen to every week, I wanted some new content too. While listening to an episode of Literary Disco, I heard one of the hosts, Rider Strong (yep, that Rider Strong), mention some work that he did with another podcast, Mortified. From his description, I could tell that it was very similar to another show I’ve recently started loving¬†called Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids (pretty self-explanatory).

The premise for both of these shows is simple: at various clubs where the events are hosted, adults get up on stage and read things that they wrote when they were kids. It ranges from really bad poetry and weird stories to middle school diary entries, notes passed in high school to AOL conversations printed years ago, and everything in between. The results are typically really humorous (and often very poignant at times). Many of the participants are also roughly my age, so a lot of the references and particular habits resonate with me (printing “important” AOL conversations in the late 90s so that you could read them again later to make sense of them? Guilty. Also my mom just recently threw away boxes of notes that I had from junior high).

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Positivity (Vol. 1)

My Snoop Bloggy Blogg has been wavering quite a bit lately. There’s been too much… blahhh. I don’t want a blahhhg. I want a BLOG!

I think it’s good to sometimes think about things that make us really happy. For people like me who are prone to the sads, the anxiety, and the OCD, making physical lists of positive things sometimes becomes a necessity. I have a whole notebook in which, when it becomes necessary, I make a column where I allow myself to spew out all the bad stuff that happened that day. But in the column right next to it, I make myself write about the good stuff too, no matter how small (that’s how I got to really appreciate the small things people do). It’s a little habit I picked up to help me get out of 2009. Now I go back to it when I get overwhelmed.

So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are five things that make me really happy. I also challenge you to think of your own list. We could all stand to have a little more positive energy today, right?

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The Fear of Fear Itself

This is a more personal post than I usually write. I’m just trying to write some things out tonight, as it were, so if it’s not your thing, feel free to check back next week.

Growing up with a sister who is two years younger than me, it was a given that people would compare and contrast us. My sister was always bubbly, cute, wearing the right clothes, dating someone, involved in plenty of activities, and always surrounded by a large network of friends. To this day, when we go somewhere, she’ll make conversation with people she doesn’t know, and she pulls it off.

On the other hand, I have always been reserved, quiet, shy, frustrated that no one makes clothes for the little teapot, habitually single, involved in plenty of activities, and with a select core group of very close friends. I’m not very outgoing because I get really nervous talking to people I don’t know or don’t know well. I stammer and stutter and say stupid things. I think I’m a generally awkward person.

We are basically nothing alike, which is probably why we find ourselves arguing a lot and unable to really understand each other. But that’s not really where this is going to go. Over years of comparisons, people always assumed that because I was quiet and not very outgoing, I’d always be more interested in staying close to home. I’d probably attend the local campus and stick around close to mommy and daddy when school was over. My sister, on the other hand, would run off and live somewhere interesting. She was much better suited to take care of herself.

My sister ended up going to college about 20 miles away. In the fall, my brother, the most outgoing and adventurous of the three of us, will be heading off to college about 40 miles away. Surprising everyone who thought I’d go to school in my back yard, my college was just over 100 miles from home. And on move-in day of my freshman year when my whole family stood on the sidewalk telling me tearful goodbyes, I didn’t cry with them. I gave them hugs, sent them off, spun on my heel, and got to my life.

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Therapeutic Writing

Last week I read this article about the correlation between writing and stress/anxiety levels. It summarized a study in which students were given the opportunity to write for ten minutes before major tests. The students who were given the time to write about their concerns and anxieties, etc., ultimately had better test scores than the students who went into the exam cold. It was then noted that writing could, indeed, be quite therapeutic.

I figured that out on my own years ago.

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