The "Journals+Journeys" series features
Vagabroad diarists sharing their journey with journaling--
for your inspiration.
Delicia Rashad was born and raised in San Diego, CA in ‘89. She's a writer, poet, yogi, and therapist in training. She has published one collection of poetry titled, Stranger Things, and will be publishing her second this year: The title is O’Sugar Honey Iced Tea. She has been writing since she was very young, starting with short stories, and always wanted to become a writer. As a poetic writer, she is hoping her words will inspire others to become more intune with their inner voice and if they have not found that voice, she is hoping her words will work as a guide.
Why is journaling necessary for you?
It is important for me to be able to decompress and express myself. Through journaling, I am able to reflect and reevaluate my emotions and work to better communicate my thoughts and feelings to those around me. Sometimes my thoughts can get jumbled up, and seeing them on paper really helps get them in order.
Why did you decide to keep a journal? Has your reason changed over the years?
I started writing in my first journal when I was 12. At that time, I was writing just about everyday and only chronologizing childhood woes of trying to figure who I was. As an only child and the youngest of my cousins, at the time, it was my only outlet and seemed to be my best option. Along with that, I was becoming more and more introverted as I was growing up and my journal was my best friend. Since then, the reason has changed. After a short therapy stint in college, I was told I was depressed and it was suggested that I keep a journal. Recollecting the time when I would journal and how therapeutic it was for, it only made sense to pick up my journal again.
What date did you start your Vagabroad Journal?
My first dated entry is dated for 09/07/2016. I’m still writing in a journal I started in college, so I’m using my Vagabroad Journal for my poetry.
Name a way (or two) you have noticed the value of journaling surface in your life.
Aside from its therapeutic qualities, it is a great stress reliever. There are times that emotions can begin to weigh heavily on the heart, and when writing it all out and having that sense of release allows me to fill up all over again.
Do you use your journaling as a form of self-healing? How and why?
Writing has proven to be a great tool for me to express myself and just get any negative or positive thoughts out. It’s allowed me to free up mental space and maintain a sense of level-headedness. There are times, I can just fill up with so many emotions, thoughts, or feelings, and there isn’t someone I can vent to, because honestly, not everyone wants to hear or internalize your problems! Having my journals to fall back on in those times has proven to be extremely beneficial and leaves me feeling light again.
Have you ever finished a journal? Can you describe the feeling?
I have gone through 4 journals and it’s bittersweet. I feel great about finishing a journal but sad that that journey is ended.
You’re an author (yay!)...how much of your work originates from the pages of your journal?
Only a few of the pieces in my book come directly from my journals. Recently, I have included more reflective entries. It was a goal of mine this year to start writing in my journals again, instead of relying so much on my phone. Sometimes, this is difficult since I don’t necessarily carry my journals with me everywhere like I do with my phone, but I’m working on writing in my journals more. Many of my poems do originate from entry topics from my journals though. More of my love/relationship based poetry, for sure.
Did journaling play a role in you learning the story you were meant to tell as an author?
I’ve never really thought about it. When I first began journaling, it was definitely about ranting/venting about my present situation of being, what I believed to be, a resented child by both parents. I was very depressed and very unhappy because I thought I wasn’t good enough for anything. My earlier works of poetry somewhat reflected that but didn’t really mirror my situations in my journal until I was about 18 or so. After overcoming those dark days, my story channelled those feelings and I began to share those stories with others in the same situation. I wanted others to know they weren’t alone and that they too could overcome.
Can you describe the range of feelings you experienced in the process of writing your first book? Has there been any evolution in them since you started writing your second book?
My first book is a collection of poetry written when I was about 14 or 15 years-old to 24. I didn’t have a definite style of writing but the content was very moody and melancholy. I consider my first work to be a coming-of-age collection, due to the wide range of topics and style of writing. I didn’t know who I was at the time, so I feel like I was trying on many hats to see which one fit best.
When making my work public, I was extremely nervous and unsettled. I was scared about whether people who understand, would receive it, would even care. My poetry was me naked and vulnerable and that was something I wasn’t really ready for.
Overtime, after the likes rolled in and my followers went up, I got a bit cocky and entitled. My sales weren’t as high as I thought they would be and I was getting discouraged. I would see other writers pieces being reposted and shared constantly and I became envious because I thought my work was more thought provoking or deep. The authors I had once admired and were inspired by, I began to resent them. How could she be selling all these books? Why is no-one buying my work? What am I doing wrong? I finally sat down with myself and in writing, went through these thoughts and feelings. I had to remind myself of why I started to share my work in the first place and the impact that I was making. Although it may have been small and not necessarily touching people the way I had wanted to, I had to remember how words work. Public words are subject to interpretation and given new meanings based on who is looking at them. Whether my work was provoking the thought of meaning behind the words or simply provoking the thought of someone else desiring to do what I was doing (self-publishing) it all held a greater purpose.
'Til this day, I haven’t sold more than 100 copies of my first book and I’m releasing a second book. Not for the money or the accolades, but because I have something to share that may touch someone in one way or another. It was a tough lesson to learn but I learned it without making a complete ass of myself via the internet.
Metaphorically speaking, what does it mean to be an author?
I think of it as being a writing producer.
What are three things you’ve learned to appreciate about the gift of writing?
Making mistakes: Both in writing and life in general. I had to learn to leave room for mistakes and to just ensure that I learned from them instead of letting them cloud me to the point of disappointment.
Being Naked: Metaphorically and literally. This was probably the hardest lesson of all, because in the social media world, it’s easy to get caught up on trying to appease the audience, but being true to who you are in vital. It’s what makes your writing pure. Getting vulnerable is scary but it definitely helps in the releasing and revitalizing process of writing and self care.
- Consistency: This is one that I am forever going to be working on. Looking through my journal as an adult, there is no consistency whatsoever and it’s something I am working hard to get back. I use to write literally everyday, but now I keep making excuses as to why I can’t, despite how relieved I feel after I finish an entry. It’s process, and I don’t plan on giving up.
As a poet, how does journaling add value to your relationship with yourself and the world?
Journaling teaches or allows me to be honest to, with, and about myself. After practicing that transparency in my personal journaling, I’m able to translate that into my poetry. It is still something I’m working on. There are a lot of times where I found my poetry to be more… entertaining rather than truthful to what I was feeling at the moment, because as an artist, I want support. Sometimes, my feelings, what I’m going through, doesn’t necessarily resonate with the general audience, so I’ll end up writing something that may. At the end, I don’t necessarily feel fulfilled but hey! I gained a fan or two.
At the end of the day, I’ve learned that I want to be an expressive writer and not do it for the recognition and journaling/reflecting has helped me with learning how to put that honesty into my poetry.
What sort of situations, circumstances, events draw the poetry from your bones?
All sorts of situations. What I’ve learned about myself is that I am really inspired by my own demise.
I’ve experienced a lot of heartbreak and disappointments and it stirs a lot of emotions.
Often, what I write is directed towards a particular person, but I write it in a way to be more general.
I am often inspired randomly throughout my day from music or stories
that I hear from my friends or just basic conversations that I have.
Have you noticed times in your life when it is easier and more difficult to write?
When things are going really bad and I’m in a more depressive state, I can’t muster up the nerve to write. It’s these times that I wish I would write more, but in my depressive states is when I become extremely withdrawn and lethargic. I don’t feel like doing anything and I’m just stuck feeling everything. It’s hard.
If you’d like, would you mind sharing a season in your life when journaling was extremely difficult?
Last summer, 2015, I was hit with all kinds of obstacles. I felt worthless and hopeless. My life was at its worse and I was extremely overwhelmed. I stopped eating, going out, talking to people. I was completely cut off. I couldn’t. I never wrote about what I was going through when I was going through it. I’m sure it would have helped. I never expressed what was going through my head. I was just emotionally and mentally weak. I don’t even remember trying to write, instead I just withdrew from life in general. Did the basics (went to work and went home) and moped around. It was just hard. I finally did write about it, sort of. It don’t remember it helping me feel better, but it did put in perspective what was going on, and I was able to better articulate my thoughts when I did reach out to my friends and family about what I was going through
What are you looking to happen within yourself when you’re journaling?
A release or relieving from whatever I’m going through or feeling. Since I don’t journal as much as I use to, it has become more of a therapy tool for when I’m overwhelmed with different thoughts. As of now, it is definitely more about just throwing out whatever thoughts or feelings just to get them out and allow myself to have new- more refreshing thoughts.
As you document yourself what have you found matters most to you?
Love. Self-acceptance. Peace of mind. Knowledge of self. And sex haha.
Many may not know that you can explore yourself sexually through journaling! Has authorship/journaling helped you become confident in yourself as a sexual being?
I love writing about my sexual/sensual exploits. From losing my “virginity” and my first pregnancy scare, it’s all interesting to see how my experiences have evolved over time. What I appreciate about writing them out is being able to look back and say “Yo, I didn’t like that! Let’s not let that happen again.”
While certain things are always in the back of our minds, we often forget about them, until it happens. For me, writing helps me with that “out of sight, out of mind” thought process, and puts all of my likes and dislikes, when it comes to sex, in the front of my thoughts. I’m also able to see how I’ve grown sexually, from going from that little Sex Pot and doing any and everything my partner likes and focusing on what I want and what I desire from a partner in the bedroom. Plus, I get some pretty nice material from those experiences.
Where do you usually write? Where is your favorite spot to write?
I love writing outside of my home. Out of my comfort zone. Any place is perfect for me. I feel my writing is much more honest when I’m not writing at home.
What would you say to a fellow teastained woman who is skeptical about the value in keeping a journal?
As a Black woman, I know it can be hard to break stereotypical boundaries and seek therapy or confide in someone, because it’s our business! And this is why journaling is beneficial- to me! My journals have become my very best friends, confidants, therapists. It’s my fallback and there’s no wrong or right way to do it. Whatever you’re feeling or thinking, or how you’re thinking it or feeling it, throw it out on that paper. You don’t have to worry about the organization of the thoughts or grammatical capacities- it’s your safe space.
I often talk about maintaining the narrator’s position in our journeys; not letting anything or anyone derail us from having agency over our lives when we hold the pen in our hands to write our futures. What are some things teastained women can do to keep their power as narrators?
One would be to continue to be true to whatever it is you write. Be purposeful in your writing and not think about the audience. Once you put the blinders on, you can focus on your release and the honesty in your work- journaling soulfully. Often people want to come in change your story for the worst, I say to remember your goals and continue writing with that in mind.
What does “journey soulfully” mean to you?
To me, Journey Soulfully means being honest with yourself in all that you do. Being honest with your hopes and dreams, and most importantly, being honest with your intentions. This is something that I am constantly working on, because so often we as women of color, shrink ourselves for our peers or partners, to maintain their comfort. Nevertheless, it was a special goal of mine this year to ensure that I was being true to my wants and desires and being intentional about them both. So, in short, journeying soulfully is about being true to what and who you are.
You can purchase Delicia's first book "Stranger Things" on Amazon!