Words are powerful things. They evoke emotions and awaken all five senses. Who doesn’t automatically taste or smell hot cheese and tomato sauce when they hear the word pizza?

I have kept a journal pretty consistently since I was fifteen years old. That is eleven years of words. Words that describe my thoughts and feelings, at any particular moment, that I felt were worth recording.

In my journal I have a sheet of paper from last year when the tornadoes hit Cullman. We didn’t have electricity in our house for days. This left me a lot of time to explore how I was feeling.

Some days my thoughts overflowed from my journal onto other scraps of paper. Even though it has been over a year since that time, I still can’t read that sheet of paper or the other entries. I’m not ready yet to remember how I felt then, to refresh those memories.

I’ve written about a lot of moments over the years. Many of them were good. A lot of them were not so good. It makes me uncomfortable reading over some of it. Recalling the emotions and thoughts I had can be difficult.

Sometimes your view of yourself is different from reality and that can be hard to face. I read back over some of the things in my journal from when I was in high school.

Those pages were written by an angry and unhappy girl. I don’t remember myself that way, but going by what I wrote, I was.

Not only that, I haven’t always done things I am proud of. It’s easier to forget about those things I suppose. I wrote about them though, so they are there in ink for me to look back on.

Writing in a journal can be a perilous thing for someone like me. I am a very private person and keep a lot of things to myself. I write about my personal experiences for myself. For the future me to look back and see how far she has come.

The idea that someone might come along and read it is another thing that makes me afraid of what I’ve written.

Just this morning I was deep in thought and wrote in my journal about it. I am uncertain how I will look back on what I wrote, but I still want to remember the thoughts I was having in this time.

I think that is why I keep writing. Even though the things I’ve dealt with scare me sometimes, or make me uncomfortable, I am still glad to have the record of my past.

I am glad to remember what certain people meant to me. To have details of important days in my life, written from the point of view of the person I was at that time.

It’s not all bad, either. A lot of times I’ll pick up a journal I’ve written and start reading to find myself smiling and laughing.

I also have a habit of sticking other things in the pages, like pictures. I picked up my journal the other day and a photo fell out that one of my friends had written a beautiful note to me on the back of.

It may be bittersweet at times, but what’s the point of living if you can’t remember what you’ve been through?