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What Keeping a Journal in the 90s Meant to Me

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By Tiffany Chaney A blanket. A flashlight. A pen. A journal.  My most vivid memories of journaling and its impact on me come from being a thirteen-year-old girl in the late 90s with a blanket over my head, precariously balancing a flashlight, a pen, and a journal. The blanket was meant to form a safe and secret space for my writing, which took up an average of two to three pages of releasing “teenage angst.” Weren’t our worlds so big but yet so small then? The world was so small: you were caught up in the emotions of dealing with crushes that couldn’t be more; friendships that formed their own protective space for you to just be yourself, except when they didn’t; then, an explicable loneliness and wonder for what it meant to be so small on a tiny blue dot hurtling through space. So, I wrote about that. My thirteen-year-old self was wise for her age, theorizing truths she would later read, but she also got caught up in worrying about the details. She imprisoned her own emotions and thoughts into two-page scripts of spirals. She wrote poignant poems and pondered if parallel universes exist. She was a philosopher.…