Growing up as a kid, I’m always fond of the collecting. This hobby ranged from stamps to coins to currencies to movie tickets. A couple of years ago, I found a new collection – the collection of memories. Well for some people, it is also known as journaling, it started when my sister and parents gave me a Traveler’s journal as a gift on Chinese New Year. Immediately, I was hooked, given in any opportunity I would take out my journal and pen down the significance of the day.
Journaling is defined as the practice of keeping a journal that explores one’s thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of one’s life. People keep journals as a creative necessity, a space for exploration and to some, an art form. A book filled with the many stories written in one’s life. Some of history’s greatest minds such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Charles Darwin, they have spent most of their precious time writing on their journals. They pen down their feelings, their progress and their next plans for an idea. However you don’t have to be someone creative, not even a scientist or an innovator to make this practice worthwhile. Thinking in writing has this magical quality of clarifying your thoughts. It gives you a clearer picture on how the world revolves around you and how you would perceive it to me.
This brings me to my reasons of why I did journaling. As my journaling adventure grew from pages into books. Along the way I made a friend who is also an artist, he knew my potentials as an artist, he said the reality of the world is actually in a painting. Every single detail tells a different story of our lives, our emotions and how we interact with this world. Conflict and harmony, chaos and order, are stuffs that he puts in his paintings. He painted the cover of my journal to remind me that I can fuel this primitive energy in an abstract art like him.
About a year ago, I was a victim of an abusive relationship. I left the relationship with a huge heartbreak. I was recommended to seek mental help from a counsellor. She screened me and told me I had mild depression, anxiety and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There were uncountable times I’ve always wanted to take a little knife and cut the pain away inside of me. Through the help of my counsellor, she also encouraged me to channel my emotions and to express it out onto the pages my journal, and I did.
Here is what I have found out, research shows that man traps his energy or emotion in his creations. Poets transferred into poems, writers transferred into books, entrepreneurs transferred into start-ups and artist transfer into paintings. Let’s take the famous monument in India, Taj Mahal. Built as a memorial for the emperor’s favourite wife, Shah Jahan channelled his lost and heartbreak to construct what is known today as part of the Seven Wonders of the World. Whether it is a poem, a book or a painting their meanings are intended but not directly expressed in what is said or written.
You see, art is very fascinating because of the thousands of ways a person can interpret it. You may understand what is really happening but it may be different from what the artist is actually saying. Last November I drew a simple sketch, I drew a diamond with flowers in between the lines of the diamond. The story behind this was the day where I was at the verge of performing an act of self-harm. Instead I channelled the energy of my pain and the heartache and drew it on this page. I couldn’t bear to leave an unnecessary scar on my skin to always remind me that I was depressed.
Here is another painting I have done recently, a circle filled with colours surrounded with a grey background and circles as the outline. It was originally from a poem quoted “ he found the colours to paint her where the world left her grey”. Moved by the quote not because it was a romantic poem, but in my interpretation, it was more of how “you find your own colours to paint where the world left you grey.” It was an empowering feeling and I had to express it in my own art. My interpretation of the poem is that you have the power to be whoever you want and not by the decision of someone else.
The combination of journaling and art has taught me a very huge lesson. Every page I have painted always tell me to leave behind that unwanted feeling and start off a fresh page. To not look back in the past and make progress. It gives me the space to express my inner most feelings where words aren’t just enough to explain. The art of journal is a form of expression, it is a book of one’s own interpretation of life. A journal gives you a record of progress you have made towards your journey in life. As for me, it is a journey of healing. Since then, every art I had painted had a hidden meaning to it, you just have to read in between the lines.
– 3rd August 2018