I’ve always considered myself an art person. Since a young age I’ve loved drawing, doodling, coloring, and writing in general. In class I’d always volunteer to be the designated writer. As a college student, this led to me developing a specific way to take notes with my own internal legend. Bullets are main ideas, dashes are explanations or supporting information, open circles are examples or sub-points. I used asterisks to notate key information and stars to mark nuanced or “light bulb” ideas. Straight arrows are for connecting information and squiggly arrows are for my thoughts about the information. For a long time, I’ve enjoyed writing out my week on themed pages, bullet journal style, but never that committed. In December 2019 I decided to join my roommate and purchase a journal that would be my designated bullet journal.heraldeecreates
I think that a bullet journal can be anything that you make it. I decided that I would be committed to keeping up with it – it would not be something that I purchased, worked on for three days and then forgot about and mentally discarded. However, while committed, I would not force myself to do it every day. This journal was to be a positive outlet, not a source of stress. It would be a place I could plan out my week, keep details of my life, draw, and put other cute things that made me happy.
For about three years now I’ve kept a journal that I write down thoughts in, typically when I’m feeling emotional, or that I will sketch out creative writing ideas in or plan my week out in when called for. At first, I thought I just wanted my bullet journal to be a place of positivity and relief. I think that I do want to keep it zen, but I also think that I am interested in making it a space where I can share my voice and be myself. This means that I can be as Pinterest-y as I desire, but it also means that Pinterest isn’t always reality and I want to be true to myself, including the bumps and bruises.
I love drawing in my bullet journal. At first, I was so concerned with everything being centered and color-coordinated and perfect, but I soon realized that making uneven circles and crinkly lines is a part of the fun. Sometimes I have a sketch idea that works out great, and sometimes I try something new and it doesn’t quiet work out and looks a bit wonky. I could rip these pages out, and it sounds cheesy, but it’s these wonky pages that have taught me some self-love. Even the pages that didn’t work out are evidence of me being creative and expressing myself. As I move through the journal, I can watch myself grow and evolve – in who I am but also in bullet-journal-making skill. Even the pages that have stray marker lines, smeared pen, or unintentional folds are pages that I love. There’s also something very special in sitting down and being creative just for yourself. This isn’t to show anyone, it’s not a competition, it’s just a time to be calm and enjoy myself and my journal for who I am and what it is. While not every page I create is ~meaningful~, it’s become a great space of reflection where I can cut myself some slack and love who I am. If I love who I am in this space, I can do it in every space.
A bullet journal doesn’t have to be perfect, or everything Pinterest may promise it to be. It can be as serious or as not serious as you want it to be, as deeply involved in your life as you desire. All it has to be is a space that belongs to you, where you feel intentionally expressive.
Happy start of the semester from me and my unperfect bullet journal!