I had a blast participating in our YouMatterJournaling project together. I want to introduce you to one of my dearest and closest friends who participated in the project as well. We've been friends since we were toddlers. Leah has seen me at my both my best and my absolute worst, and I appreciate her friendship more than I can express. She is a bold, saucy, beautiful creative who inspires me to no end, and I think you'll enjoy meeting her too. Take a gander at her journal pages. (Who knows... This might be the start of a new interview series!)
Hello, Leah! Let's start with an introduction to yourself: How would you describe you?
I have a hard time describing myself because I have so many different interests and ideas and thoughts. I think “creatively, eclectic, and passionate” best describe me.
What keeps you occupied during the day/week?
My husband and kids first and foremost keep me extremely busy, but I also am a teacher of massage therapy. The unique world of bodyworkers keeps me constantly on my toes figuratively and literally!
How do you like to unwind?
I absolutely adore with all my heart a hot bubble bath and a good book! But then there are days where digging in the garden and attacking weeds or cooking in old pots and making a mess in my kitchen gets me unwound. But one of my favorite cure all’s is driving and listening to good music. (Usually some good old seventies/eighties rock)
How did you get started with journaling? Why is it special to you?
When I was 10 years old my aunt bought me my very first journal with the cute little lock and key. I would pour into that little book all of my frustrations and dreams about life. It was like a wildfire and it just took off for me.
Being the youngest of three daughters my journal became a place of safety too. It was almost like it had become a beloved friend to me. There were certain years when I journaled that were very pivotal. The journal I wrote when I was 15 years old is probably one of my favorites because 15 was the year that I first fell in love, the year that I started to really discover who I was, what I loved and what I hated. Another year of journaling that was pivotal was the year that I met my husband when I was 21. I absolutely love reading that one because it makes me cackle at how devious I was in hooking him. 😉 I think looking back on journals can be hard but it can also be a thing of learning. It reminds us that we have come far and grown.
How has journaling helped you?
Journaling has helped me through hard struggles. I have these prayer journals I do where I will literally pour out my heart. The good, the bad, the ugly, all of it. It’s a prayer to God each time I journal. Sometimes the innermost workings of our heart cannot be conveyed into words, but I have found that when I pour my heart out onto paper it allows my heart to unravel.
Journaling has also helped me to laugh as well. I have started writing about things that make me happy or bring me joy. I’ll find old photographs and write about that moment in time and what it meant to me. It has allowed me to grow and really come to know myself and to really see what God has made me to be!
What materials do you use?
I love using old photographs from my childhood. I also have fallen in love with watercolor pencils, pencil, and good old Ink pens. There’s also a thing I like to do, where I will print out a photograph onto regular paper in black-and-white. I’ll paste it into my journal then watercolor over it in fantastic swirls and sparkles. I like to think of it as painting emotion into a memory!
How many Journals would you say you have?
Over 27 journals. I would say more but some I have started, then lost. I have moved about eight times since I’ve been married, and I know I’ve lost a few over the years. I like to pretend that maybe somebody has found a few and is enjoying a good laugh over them.
Do you keep the journals from ages ago, or do you ever purge or burn them?
I have kept all of my journals, even the embarrassing ones filled with love poems to old boyfriends. I think it’s important to hold onto certain things as a reminder of how far we’ve come. However, I have burned a few angry letters I’ve never mailed in a symbolic way. I went through a very traumatic time in my life two years ago. My husband and I were betrayed by very dear friends. As we began to heal from the encounter I journaled all of my anger and hurts. I poured them into this little book like a woman on fire, and when I was done I couldn’t bear to open it. It was like I was able to exercise the demons, and that book only represented hurts that I no longer needed to visit anymore. So one day I actually misplaced it, and I’ve never found it since. I believe that it was God helping me let it go.
What tips or pieces of advice do you have for anyone who is into art/illustrated journaling?
Just have fun!!! I think that if you approach it as a way to help you grow, it truly will. Also, don’t take yourself too seriously with your art or compare yourself to others styles. That journal is a little piece of who you are and it is precious!
What advice would you give to someone who is on the fence about starting?
Just do it! Treat yourself to a coffee date at Barns and Noble, find the journal that just makes your heart happy when you hold it, and do it!
Where can we connect with you?
You can harass me on Facebook and Instagram under @kilcupkreations. I’m totally open to new friends.
Be sure to give Leah a follow. Let me know how Leah's work inspired you with your own journaling adventures!