When I started Volume 3 of my personal journal, Stories, I was a high school senior mere weeks away from graduation. By the time I was finished, I’d lived in Japan for a year, ended the longest romantic relationship in my life to date (and started a new one), and done some serious soul-searching to determine who I was, what I wanted, and how to be better than the dick I’d been in high school. Volume 2, Change, represents a low point in my life, but I’m proud of Stories. Stories was me growing up.
The book itself was a present from my then-girlfriend. It’s covered in beautiful decoupage (her work), including pages from the Oresteia, lyrics to “The Times They Are a-Changin’”, and a snapshot of the iconic “Made in Oregon” sign in downtown Portland. All of my journals have reflected some aspect of my self in their appearance, but I don’t think any speaks more about who I am than Stories. It’s just me.
And (fittingly, perhaps?), it was also the first journal I kept that remained truly private. The contents of Stories never went online; I never handed it over to a partner for perusal. Stories was a private space for me and me alone, a secure room for me to sit with myself, and I seriously doubt it could have been as instrumental a tool in my personal growth had I not had that unbroken sanctity.