10 Things I’ve Learned from 13 Years of Journaling

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It all started May 25, 2003. My first diary entry ever:

“My favret thing is when we go to libery. My ather faveret thing was to wach mother-goose.”

This profound statement is followed by a stick figure drawing of what appears to be a little girl watching TV.

While I have come a (sorta) long way from preschool, I still keep that drive to write just a little every day. No doubt I have taken breaks in between. Sometimes three-year long hiatuses. But through it all, I eventually kept going, and I have now filled seven journals full of memories throughout elementary, middle, and high school. And it’s something that’s irreplaceable.

Everyone should journal, and since blogging is a lot like journaling, I thought it would be pertinent to share ten things I’ve learned from my 13-year experience in writing down all the trivial details of my life.

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1. Don’t apologize for taking hiatuses in between journal entries. You deserve a break and you can’t write gold if your heart’s not in it.

2. That said, you do need to motivate yourself sometimes. Look for prompts. Introspect. Relive your day in your mind and write down those reflections. Anything.

3. Don’t worry too much about grammar/sentence structure/any part of the snobby writing process. This is a free-write. No rules attached.

4. Write when you’re the most emotional. What I’ve discovered? Pain creates art.

5. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Experiment with letter-writing, lists, different voices, different styles, different subjects. Write entire page-long paragraphs or choppy sentences. Write poetry or prose. Doodle. Be inconsistent. It may seem like a mess, but there’s a method in the madness – it’ll keep journaling fun and interesting; it’ll keep your creativity on its toes.

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6. Buy beautiful notebooks and journals and sketchbooks and notepads. You won’t be able to resist filling them up.

7. There’s always something to write about. Even if you feel like nothing happened to you today. Surely, you did things. And those things happened in a way that won’t repeat itself exactly ever again. That’s got to be something. Or who says you even have to write about your day or yourself? Just pull up a chair, break out your favorite pen, grab one of those cute journals I told you to splurge on, and get movin’ (your hand)! Once you get started, the rest will come easy.

8. If you’re really out of things to say, plagiarize. Assemble lists of favorite quotes, favorite lyrics. Make specific themes – famous last lines or best girl power lyrics. Hopefully, these will inspire you down another writer’s path.

9. Try writing at different times of the day. You’ll get different results. The 9AM you is different from the 6PM you, which is different from the 3AM you.

10. Say everything you would normally never say out loud. It’s not just therapeutic; you’re creating a snapshot, a self-portrait to look back on over the years. You’re writing for you – a worthy audience and one you can trust.

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What’re you waiting for? Break out the pens, paper, and creative mindsets. Hope this helped! xx

P.S. Additional Tip: Try to have better handwriting than me XD

 

10 Books Every Introvert Should Read

Here’s to the quite heroines. The ones that think in their heads. The ones with the hidden talents. The ones that bottle up their emotions and age them like fine wine. Here’s to the underdog heroes. The ones that suffer from social anxiety. The ones that would rather read about humans than interact with humans. The ones that we can relate to.

I’m an INFJ myself, and I think the extra N, F, and J play a part in my book selections as well. I’m especially human-centered and emotion-focused. If this sounds anything like you, read on. This is my way of declaring, “Introverts Unite! (…Separately)” and I hope you enjoy these quiet masterpieces as much as I did. (I also included commentary that very rarely actually introduces the books properly and are mainly just tangents that I went off on, because blurbs are overrated.)

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  1. Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann

One thing that I find fascinating as an introvert is analyzing other human beings. It’s the eternal paradox that I spend my life both avoiding and studying people. I think the dichotomy comes from trying to uncover the poetry, the quirks, the memories, the tears, the laughter, and the aesthetic that makes up a person while still attempting to seem like a normal, socially acceptable human being. I wish it were ok to walk up to a stranger and ask “Hey which movies make you cry?” or “What keeps you up until 3 AM?”

OK, I’ve said nothing about this book up to this point, but essentially, it’s a novel that captures the human essence. It follows several characters whose paths crisscross in the amazing setting of 1970s New York. It introduces prostitutes, photographers, Irishmen, a judge, a stuntsman, nursing home residents, Park Avenue residents, mothers whose sons have passed away, and it introduces them all passionately and vulnerably. I guarantee that every sentence is poetry.

  1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with such a relatable heroine. She refuses to eat at her college cafeteria for fear of human interaction, she holes up in her room to write fan fiction, and she cares more about her relationships with the people she loves more than anything else. While I’m not in love with the plot, which I found to be a little on the cliché side, I loved the portrait Rowell painted of freshman year at college and suffering through it all as a socially awkward introvert.

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  1. The Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato

This tale told from the POV of a psychopathic murderer actually freaked me out, because I found that I could relate to the main character more than I cared to admit. Juan Pablo Castel, the murderer, overanalyzes everything to great lengths and falls in obsessive love with a woman. It’s thrilling and chilling – a great Halloween read, I suppose. Even cooler? You’ll be able to tell your friends you read Argentinian existentialist literature.

  1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I’ll be honest, I haven’t read this novel beyond the high school yearbook-esque quotes (i.e. “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”) But the idea of “wallflower” fits right along with “introversion.” Too often introverts are the ones that are pushed aside, overlooked, marginalized. And the themes of introspection and trying to figure out life while also trying to grow up are the sorts of things any teenager connect to.

  1. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

While this children’s series may be a little below your reading level, hear me out. As introverts, we often see ourselves as special, as different from everyone else. This book completely focuses on four orphaned children whose unique talents get them placed together on a team to complete a mission to save the world. It’s a story that’s both simple and witty, a story replete with loveable characters and quirky logic puzzles. Growing up, I loved stories about gifted children (Matilda, Harry Potter, The Series of Unfortunate Events), because I saw a little bit of myself in them – the kids who like to read, the kids who look out for each other, the kids who think differently.

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  1. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

For an introvert, the idea of being stuck in a boat away from civilization for a while sounds kind of appealing. Plenty of introspection ensues throughout the book, and while I’m not big on man vs. nature survivor stories, this one is different. It’s unique, multicultural, and rooted in a deeper exploration of religion.

  1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

If you feel like you’re always third wheeling, this one’s for you. Written in the Fitzgerald’s signature enchanting prose, this book is his most famous piece of writing for a reason. It’s a classic 1920s New York story rich with themes of love and morality and social class and how the three don’t mix so easily. Not only that, but the entire book is basically an observation, what Nick Carraway sees and how he tells it. As an introvert, I can relate to Carraway’s affinity for listening instead of speaking, for analyzing the people around him.

  1. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Remember that movie a while ago starring Reese Witherspoon that got Oscar buzz? This was the memoir that inspired it all. It’s another one of those on my must-read-sometime list rather than on my have-read list, but I did read a piece by Cheryl Strayed and adored it. Her writing style is both down-to-earth and infinitely poignant, a refreshing mix of the realistic and the emotional. Another one of those deeply introspective authors, most of her writings focus on her trek on the Pacific Crest Trail – how she did it and what she found out about herself.

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  1. The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh

This book gives me shivers. This dark, emotional tale follows the tale of a North Vietnamese soldier and his experiences during the Vietnam War. Written by an actual North Vietnamese Vietnam War veteran, the scenes and little stories are so realistic that they draw you in and tear your heart out. What makes it different from the usual war story? There’s a deep sadness strung artfully throughout the book, a sadness that moves beyond violence, that leaves traces of sorrow in moments of peace and love as well as moments of loss and death. Any introvert who bottles up his emotions and expresses them through writing and art should be able to relate to the protagonist’s struggles.

  1. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith

I’ve mentioned this book before in a post titled “College Interview Questions” and I’m mentioning it again because it’s literally my favorite book of all time. It’s kind of an unassuming classic. It’s a book that you might have heard of before but didn’t think much of it. It’s not a book that’s on your typical English class reading list, and it’s a book where nothing much happens at all. But to me, it’s a book about life. Readers follow the life of a girl as she grows into a young lady, a girl who is a classic introvert. She hides away to read, she observes the world quietly, and she works hard to make it on her own. But more than that, she is a girl that is made of poetry but doesn’t know it yet. Honestly, I loved the heroine so much, I became her. Well, I borrowed her. Her name is my pseudonym for this blog – Francie Nolan.

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I find that books with relatable introverted characters tend to be my favorites. To the true introvert though, every good book is a friend. The written word is the home in which the introvert thrives. I hope you’ll find homes in the books listed above.

While you get busy reading, I’ll be putting together a Ten Movies Every Introvert Should Watch list and a playlist for introverts, so look out for that! xx

Life Update #2

10 things happening right now.

  1. For the first time in two years, I’m trying harder to expand this blog. I’ve been working on it very sparsely and casually over the past months, and I’m pretty proud of the little bit it is. Well, now I’m finally getting my blog its own Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. These accounts will mostly just be little notifications when I post and maybe the occasional retweet or reblog. We’ll see. I’m not 100% sure where I’m taking this, but I do know I want to blog more and blog harder. You can follow @brooklyngirljournal on Instagram and Tumblr or @brooklyngirljnl on Twitter. Thanks for any and all of your support!

2. I’m heading off to Austin! I’ll just be gone for a week from Saturday to next Friday, but I’m pretty excited. I haven’t really explored the weird (dark) side of Austin yet and I’ve dearly missed Tex Mex. Plus, I’ll get to see some of my best friends down at UT that I haven’t seen since winter break. Have any suggestions for what I should see in ATX, since I’m going to be a clueless tourist?

3. France for Euro Cup 2k16!! Allez, les Bleus!!!

4. I just finished Year Two (that’s Season 2, I suppose, in normal terms) of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast and I’m so hyped. The live show finale sounded amazing and I can not wait to be able to attend my first WTNV live show sometime soon. Unfortunately, I can’t make it this year as I am heading down to Austin when they come to Dallas. But next time, for sure. I can’t stay away from a live showing of Cecil/Carlos love any longer. And if you guys have no idea what I’m saying, do yourself a favor, get on YouTube, and start listening to Welcome to Night Vale. You might regret it, but hey, “Are we living a life that is safe from harm? Of course not. We never are. But that’s not the right question. The question is: are we living a life that is worth the harm?”

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5. Before this post starts to seem like a shameless plug for each and every one of my social media handles, I just want to say that expanding my reach goes both ways. I would love to hear what you guys are posting. Leave a link below to your latest blog post and I’ll be sure to read/comment/like it. You can even leave a link to your Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, whatever. I’d love to know what you all are up to. Building a community is important.

6. I have to relearn high school calculus in preparation for next semester. Gross. #khanacademyfordays

7. In an attempt to not sit on my lazy bum all summer and put in some level of productive effort, I’ve taken up an internship with New Story Charity. They do the kind of international developmental work that I hope to get into in the future. Basically, they’re a nonprofit that transforms slums in developing countries into sustainable communities. They’re also on a mission to stop chagas in Bolivia, a disease caused by the “kissing bug” that leads to fever, swelling, and heart failure. If you’re interested in interning or helping out, check out their website at www.newstorycharity.org.

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8. It’s World Chocolate Day! #treatyoself

9. I’m about to finish a book I’ve been reading for a while, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Here’s my 2 second book review. 4 stars out of 5 since it’s relatable to college freshmen and fangirls and somehow manages to be both a Harry Potter fanfic and an original story at the same time. Fun for a light read, but I’m more of a deep thoughts/annoyingly philosophical kind of girl, so I could’ve enjoyed it more.

10. Dark skin is not a crime. How hard is it to grant somebody the right to not be shot at? Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Sandra Bland. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. And so many more. Say their names, because they matter. Black lives are human lives; black lives matter.

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Three Things

Because the best things come in threes.

Three things you can’t go without: music, bubble tea, people

Three celebrity crushes: Tom Hiddleston, Dave Franco, Asa Butterfield

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Three favorite book characters: Eponine from Les Mis, Francie from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit

Three favorite things to wear: sundresses, Nike shorts, kickass red lipstick

Three things you want in a relationship: depth, gratitude, humor

If you had to evacuate your home because of a natural disaster, what three things would you take with you? laptop, diary, senior yearbook

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Three pet peeves: chewing with your mouth open, negative groupthink (like when you dislike a person just because all your friends dislike that person), being on your phone all the time when we’re having one-on-one time

Three things you’d do if you weren’t so afraid: travel around the world by myself, ride the largest roller coaster at the park, become a writer

Three favorite TV shows: Sherlock BBC, I Love Lucy, Game of Thrones

Three favorite music albums: The 1975 by The 1975, Grand Romantic by Nate Ruess, Strange Desire by The Bleachers

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Three best #wcws: Julie Andrews, Kristin Chenoweth, Audrey Hepburn

Three things on your desk: purple glasses case, empty Tapioca House cup, February 2014 issue of Smithsonian magazine

Three reasons why you write: to reflect on myself, to entertain, to advocate for certain truths about life

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15 Compliments I’d Rather Receive Besides “You’re Pretty”

Because people are so much more than their mirrors.

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  1. You have this beautiful inner strength.
  2. You’re quiet, but it’s a thoughtful quiet, like you’re writing a novel in your head.
  3. You’re so sensitive to people’s feelings.
  4. You have an inner glow that comes out when you smile.
  5. I love your aesthetic/your style.
  6. You remind me of my favorite song.
  7. I admire how loyal and loving you are to your family and friends.
  8. Please make a CD of you singing so I can fall asleep to it at night.
  9. You’re so smart/creative/original. Your ideas and personality are so different from everyone else’s.
  10. Thanks for being my best friend.
  11. Your sense of humor is on point.
  12. I want to spend time marathoning movies and fangirling over them with you.
  13. You may not know it, but you’re brave. You stand up for what you believe in.
  14. Your tweets are fire.
  15. You’re so much more than pretty.

Starting College!

Phew. You wouldn’t think becoming orientated would make you so disorientated. I’ve just been through about 8 days straight of pre-orientation followed by orientation, and all I can say is, I’m glad I can finally start classes and have a less hectic schedule! Still, it was a lot of fun channeling freshman energy into meeting new people and exploring places on campus.

Thankfully, the first day of classes gave me a spot of time to take a deep breath and think about the first few days of my college experience. To be fair, the freedom is glorious. Living alone was something I didn’t think I would be good at, but I’ve been holding it together. As an introvert, making friends seemed like a daunting task, but the majority of the people I’ve met have been kind and extremely interesting, coming from all different backgrounds and places.

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To sum it all up, here are my top reactions to my college experience so far:

  1. Hallelujah. Freedom.
  2. Doing my laundry was surprisingly easy.
  3. On the other hand, I’m really running out of socks.
  4. Where are my Nike shoes? My favorite pair of jeans?? God, I should’ve packed neater.
  5. I am SO exhausted from waking up early and getting to sleep late because of all these activities with free food. (And sadly mandatory floor meetings.)
  6. The people here are SO smart and SO interesting in a way that I never expected.
  7. Textbooks are stressful. They’re insanely expensive and take quite a bit of digging/research to find them for a good price. At the same time, it’s nice to get (at least some of) them early so you don’t have to worry about getting 20 books at once.
  8. If you take a while to find your niche of friends, there’s nothing wrong with you or the people around you. It might seem like it’ll take a long time when you’re lost in a crowd, but you’ll connect with people faster than you think.
  9. You’ll probably have less down time alone in your room than you expect, just because you’ll want to be out and about exploring campus or participating in activities, especially in the first couple of days. I haven’t really been on the internet in a week, which is quite different from what I’ve been doing all summer.
  10. You’ll start to realize that things that are part of your identity that you may have never even considered as “different” will be pointed out. As a Texan, for me it was saying “y’all” too much. (Seriously though, it’s such a convenient contraction.) Embrace it.

I’m already lovin’ the college life and I can’t wait for the long line of experiences ahead of me.

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10 Unusual Things On My Bucket List

Sure everyone wants to “Visit Rome” or “Swim with the dolphins.” I do, too. But here are 10 things on my bucket list that you might have never even thought about:

1. Take a photo each day for a year.

2. Have a white Christmas tree one year.

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3. Ride a Vespa scooter.

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4. Work at Pixar Studios.

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5. Learn archery.

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6. Be an audience member in a live TV show.

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7. Fill a room with balloons.

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8. Attend Comic Con.

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9. Play a Disney character at a Disney theme park.

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10. Perform on a street corner.

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Hopefully I’ll get a chance to check these off! *None of these pictures are mine*

Thanks for reading xox