The "Journals+Journeys" series features
Vagabroad diarists sharing their journey with journaling--
for your inspiration.
Jordan James is a New Jersey transplant originally from Ohio. Naturally, she is a creative. She grew up in dance studios and on stages. A recent graduate of Seton Hall University, she currently works at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in the marketing department and started her own small business, With Love George. She spends most of my time making greeting cards and inspirational canvases, reading, listening to music, writing, and enjoying every day she is afforded.
Why is journaling necessary for you?
It keeps me sane!
When did you start journaling?
I started journaling at 12 years old. I attended a dance camp that brought in a program called YogART Kids (via replenish: the spa co-op). The program brought Yoga to kids who may not otherwise have been introduced to the practice. Before and after every session we were told to journal. If we didn’t know what to say, they told us to say just that until the words come. So I started on the yoga mat at 12 and have been going ever since.
Why did you decide to keep a journal? Has your reason changed over the years?
I decided to keep a journal because I noticed it gave me an opportunity to check in with myself. I am very much a giver and at times, a people pleaser. Between those tendencies and everyday life, it is so easy to feel drained and writing has always been a way for me to replenish myself.
What date did you start your recent Vagabroad Journal?
I started June 28th 2016.
What are some songs on your journaling playlist?
To name a few:
Anything Queen Bey/Lauryn Hill/ Erykah Badu/Sampha
Retrograde- James Blake
Sanctified- Rick Ross, Kanye West, Big Sean
Ultralight Beam- Kanye West
22- Bon Iver
Bad Blood- NAO
Say You’ll Go- Janelle Monae
7 Years- Lucas Graham
Smoke Break- Chance the Rapper
The Sweetest Taboo/No Ordinary Love- Sade
DOPE- T.I, Marsha Ambrosius
Pieces of Me- Ledsis
Money on Me- Snakeships, Anderson. Paek
A Long Walk/So In Love- Jill Scott, Anthony Hamilton
Is This Love- Bob Marley
I Lie Awake Every Night- James Vincent McMorrow
Start- John Legend
Have you noticed times in your life when it is easier and more difficult to write?
The more emotional I am, the easier it is to write. That goes for any emotion. If I am extremely happy, the pen flows. But it also goes for if I am sad, heartbroken, angry, tired. I would say any state of extreme emotion, it is easiest for me.
Can you explain how journaling engages your mental health?
When I’m clogged up mentally/emotionally, it opens me up. Writing literally makes me feel light. When I am down, I get to leave some of that darkness on the pages. When I am lifted, it helps keep that natural high.
As a fellow stationery creator, what's the significance of being in touch with yourself and creating stationery products?
When I create pieces for people, I do so with the intention of making that moment special for them. My best work happens when I am open mentally, feel light, and when I am in tune with myself so that I can be as creative as possible. I have to be in touch with myself to make pieces that truly resonate with my buyers.
So. You and I spoke at Vagabroad’s recent popup (!!!!!!) and you talked about how you feel a change within yourself when you go awhile without journaling...You dropped some gold knowledge. Can you tell that story, the lessons again?
During my sophomore year in college, I stepped outside of myself in a way that I was not ready for. My family was going through things back at home in Columbus. I was guilty that I was not there to help them and instead of doing something constructive, I tried to escape my reality. I stayed out late, got involved with a man more heavily than I ever had before, and simply got caught up in life. I gave so much of myself to other people that I never took time to check in or replenish myself. My grades were horrible, I slept for extremely long periods of time, I stopped speaking to my mother as frequently as I usually did, and there was always some sort of confrontation between me and my friends. I was suffering in silence. And for the first time in my life, I experienced depression.
After a few months of trying to get my life back in order and working to pull myself out of that dark place, I realize that during that entire time, I had not journaled. I did not take those short breaks to reach into myself at catch that hurt so that I could work through things. I tried to suppress it. Needless to say, I haven’t stopped since.
What’s your journaling style: bullets, quotes, poems, paragraphs…?
I usually start out with new news in detail. Then I move on to how I am feeling. Then the rest is just stream of consciousness.
I have done a little bit of everything throughout my journaling journey. At one time, I was very heavy on the bullets and quotes. But I have always been a paragraph kind of gal. Every now and then I drop some poetic knowledge...Alex Elle style.
How does journaling impact the way you see yourself and the world around you?
By journaling, I get to better process my surroundings. It is my reminder that I am not perfect and I don’t have to be. Its also my reminder to not take what happens around me personally. Though, since journaling, I have been able to process how much the world is hurting.
Where do you usually write? Where is your favorite spot to write?
I generally write anywhere, but my favorite place to write is outside. I’ll take my journal to the park at my lunch break or sit on the balcony at the apartment.
What time of the day is your ideal writing time?
I like writing when I first get into work before the place gets busy, on my lunch break, when I'm procrastinating and before bed.
For someone who’s journaling for the first time, where would you tell them to start with documenting themselves?
I would tell them to start just how I started. Get a nice journal and your favorite kind of pen and start writing anything, even if it is "I don’t know what to write". When [journaling] is new, it is hard for us to be honest on those pages. Keep writing “I don’t know what to write” until you are comfortable laying out your truth on paper.
What would you say to a fellow teastained woman who does not see value in keeping a journal?
I would tell her, if she cannot see the value in breaking down her walls for anyone else, she should be vulnerable, be soft with herself. She deserves it. She should allow herself to be gentle and work through her emotions on her own time, in her own way. She should document her journey through self love.
What does “journey soulfully” mean to you?
To me, it means to navigate life in tune with myself. It's a reminder that the journey will not always be pretty, but it’s mine, and that’s beautiful enough.
Last question. I’ll ask because people see me with my journal in public and ask my all the time: would you ever write a book?
Most recently, I have thought about it. I am not sure what I would say just yet, but I know I want to inspire people to embrace their journeys and... acknowledge what they are going through.