The "Journals+Journeys" series features
Vagabroad diarists sharing their journey with journaling--
for your inspiration.
Gabrielle Hickmon (@gabgotti) is from Ypsilanti, Michigan. She recently completed a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. Currently, she is a first year Masters student at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education studying International Educational Development. Gabby writes, reads, politicks, and travels in the hopes of better understanding the why’s and how’s of life. One-half of The Reign XY, a women's empowerment blog for millennial women and the Creator-in-Chief of The Literati Book Club, Gabrielle is passionate about creating media that speaks to the experiences of and inspires her generation. She's not sure what exactly she'll do once done with her Masters, but she intends to give herself plenty of grace as she moves towards figuring it out - journaling is one way she does this.
When did you start journaling as a practice?
I’ve had a journal for as long as I can remember,even as a little girl I was always writing down what was going on in my head, how I felt about things, wondering why the boy I loved didn’t love me back. I’d call those diaries. I think I started journaling more intentionally my junior/senior of high school when I first fell in love. As a practice? I think my journaling practice started with my first Vagabroad Journal last summer.
What date did you start your Vagabroad Journal?
I’m on my second journal, and I started my first last summer. I don’t remember the exact date but I remember knowing that I needed to document what I was growing through - that I would want to look back and remember, live again, and learn from the lessons and moments later. I was right.
Why is journaling necessary for you?
I am and have always been a writer. I need to journal because it helps me process what’s going in my life. I’m also a very emotional person, which I try my best to hide. Journaling helps me engage with and understand all of the many emotions I feel in a safe and healthy manner that doesn’t leave me feeling too vulnerable.
What time of the day is your ideal writing time?
I write whenever the words come.
Have you noticed times in your life when it is easier or more difficult to write?
As weird as this might sound, it’s harder for me to write when I’m happy. When I feel like everything makes sense, I’m not as careful with myself. I’m not as dedicated to writing things down and making space for understanding my world. Arguably, when things are good I should be writing everything down - so that it can serve as a reminder for when the rain comes. So, that I have proof that the sun does exist in my life. I’m working on documenting myself even when I’m not a mess. That way, when I am, I’ll know that I can put myself back together again.
Have you ever written a dream, vision, or desire and then it happens?
All the time. I think journaling for me is often an act of prayer even though I didn’t know I was praying and never addressed God directly. It’s like, speaking to God in public (word to Chance) but really just talking to Her through my journal. Sometimes, I’m asking for discipline. Others I’m begging to understand why a relationship didn’t work out. And, sometimes I’m just thanking Her for all the good in my life. Often, I’m writing about things I hope for myself - wishes that I have. And often, I look up, and I’m living them, exactly, if not better than as I wrote it down.
As a teastained woman creating space for yourself on the internet and growing as a digital influencer, how do you find mental space to separate what to publish online and what to put in your journal?
I think that knowing what’s for public and private consumption is very much a gut feeling. The writing in my journal is for me and rarely spills over to the internet. When it does, it’s because I know through conversations with friends (both in person and online) that something I’m growing through could benefit, give voice to, or help someone else through whatever they are growing through as well. I’m never writing in my journal with the thought in my head from jump that I’m going to put this online. Online content often lives in a different place in my head and heart from what I write about in my journal.
Do you find a tension existing between the tangibility of the journal and the immediacy, publicity of social media? How do you deal with it?
I try to remind myself (and don’t always succeed) that I don’t write for anyone other than myself no matter the medium be it my journal, blog, or other place where content lives. I write because I have always written as a way of understanding myself and the world around me. I write because I have a point of view of the issues. So, as nice as social media fame and even getting paid to write might be (I wouldn’t know, I’m not on that level yet haha) that’s never why I got into this “game.” I do my best to check my ego and work from the heart - because even if no one read a single word I wrote. I would still, will always, all ways, write.
What are some songs on your journaling playlist?
I’ve got a spotify playlist called ‘Just Happiness’ that’s usually on in the background. It’s got a little bit of everything in it and usually when I’m journaling, it plays exactly what I need.
What would you say to a fellow teastained woman who does not see value in keeping a journal?
I’d say that you’re going to want to remember all of it - even the things you think you’ll want to forget. I would say that there’s a lesson in everything, especially the hard stuff. Although, it’s often the lessons we learn in the sun that mean that most and have the most impact. I’d say that you deserve to be documented and that no one can write your story better than you.
What does “journey soulfully” mean to you?
Journey soulfully to me, means to give myself the grace to get through the second, the minute, the hour, the day, week, month, year - to get through life. It means being intentional as best I can about the things I do and who I share myself with. It involves getting outside of my head and outside of my comfort zone, and never shaming myself for those nights I just want to spend inside of the house. It means I’m always wandering, towards a new destination, experience, adventure, and version of myself. It means not just surviving, but thriving and doing everything I can to make it through.
Would you ever write a book?
Yes, stay tuned.