like an open book (part i)

donotmy 2nd mole­sk­ine, red with unlined pages

I’ve always kept some form of jour­nal, whether I real­ly meant to or not. I nev­er was one for diaries, per se, or the idea of writ­ing down my thoughts or the events of the day, but it nev­er felt right to not have some­thing near­by to jot down what­ev­er came to mind. There was a point where I car­ried at least three dif­fer­ent jour­nals in my purse at any time. Each one had a sep­a­rate pur­pose: there was one for writ­ing sto­ries, one for per­son­al moments, and anoth­er was a sort of catch-all. I still car­ry one or two with me when I go out, though they’re not always the same one (that’s an entire­ly dif­fer­ent post, though, the amount of emp­ty jour­nals I have...).

My par­ents bought me my first mole­sk­ine when I was 18, and I cried, like the lit­tle elitest hip­ster that I am some­times. They’re absolute­ly an over­hyped prod­uct, but I’ve yet to meet a writer who hasn’t used one, or want­ed to own one, or isn’t in love with the one they have, now in sham­bles and bare­ly held togeth­er by its elas­tic band. I kept my first one pris­tine for the longest time. It took four months before I actu­al­ly wrote in it, and for a long time I made sure not to dog-ear, rip, smudge, or waste a sin­gle page. It was an ordeal. Noth­ing that came to mind was ever good enough to write inside its pages. I had bare­ly writ­ten my name on the ‘if lost, return to’ page before my imag­i­na­tion had wan­dered. I pic­tured myself, decades from now, with book­shelves filled with my own jour­nals, all burst­ing at the seams and dat­ed, full of all my ideas, dreams, and thoughts. Not in a Kevin Spacey in Se7en way, mind you. But I want­ed shelves lined with my life and every­thing in it that had inspired me.

nananaa line from my chem­i­cal romance’s “plan­e­tary (go!)”

I even­tu­al­ly start­ed to do what I want­ed, and more impor­tant­ly, what I need­ed to, when it came to writ­ing in my jour­nals. Pages got ripped, whole lines would be scrib­bled out, I start­ed to write down my favourite words, lyrics, I played tic-tac-toe against myself (and lost), I learned that what I want­ed wasn’t per­fect words, but a visu­al rep­re­sen­ta­tion of myself. Some­thing tan­gi­ble that could scream out for me: this is who I am, this is who I want to be!

portrait1self por­trait from octo­ber 2014

Every time I reach for one of my jour­nals now, I don’t have any expec­ta­tions, no set idea for what needs to be writ­ten in it that day. Some­times I don’t even write any­thing down, I just flip through the pages for inspi­ra­tion. Even at 25 years old, jour­nals are still a learn­ing expe­ri­ence for me and I hope they always are.

KEEP RIOTING, XO. SHILO CHRISTINA
1. we are broken bones looking to meld together
hairline fractures fitting with impossibility
except we can't get to this point with you
too afraid or too stubborn or too this-isn't-a-good-time
to let me rip you open from the throat to gut to get at your heart
when i told you i was broken you didn't say you would fix me
you said you were too and it was like someone saying
thank you
yes please
let's set this straight

2. animals
we are animals
violent. and if we fight for anything we fight for love
we are teeth and claw and blood
our ribcages are the antlers of deer who want their way
crashing together, locking, and struggling
and one of us will die wearing the other like a crown

3. i am a universe where you kissed me the day you met me
eye to eye without a hello, just how i asked you to
you are a lifetime where you never know my name
and something always feels off
i am a vowel at midnight that just doesn't sound right
and you are nobody's favourite colour
(i saw you in shades of green)

4. i chose not to grieve for you
and that's all i want to do

5. we are what i said we would always be:
shameless
and desperate
              - s.c