The Unwritten Adventures

Nearly eighteen months ago, I acquired a new journal. It was a modest lined notebook wrapped in faux tan leather, smooth and velvety to the touch, yet completely unadorned. Inside, each page was playfully marked with weather symbols to circle in the corner (full sun, partial sun behind a cloud, and an umbrella), alongside tiny boxes labeled with abbreviations for the days of the week.

This journal was destined to be my travel diary, a single repository for my adventures. However, it remains pristine, untouched by ink. My reluctance stems from a fear of permanence, a hesitancy to sully its pages with the jumbled nature of my thoughts or describing what I had for dinner.

The Struggle Of Expression

Historically, my journal entries tend to oscillate between mundane recounts of daily meals and emotionally charged accounts of my very immediate state of mind. They often lack the day's full perspective, turning into somewhat gloomy lists of my personal short comings. These melancholic entries, hint at the therapeutic role writing plays for me. Yet, I long for a diary that reflects back with pride, nostalgia, and warmth.

Interestingly, my teenage diaries were filled with meticulous accounts of what I ate, a practice curiously mirrored by my daughter's diaries today, despite her never having seen mine. Although her entries are next level, detailing every meal at the table. It's a cute reflection of our shared, inexplicable focus on food.

Today I went to the beach with Chelsea. We had BLT sandwiches and BBQ chips. I had spaghetti bolognaise for dinner.”


Today we went to a Bamboo Hill Cafe. I had a burger and so did my sister. Dad had fried pineapple rice and Mum had a spicy curry with potato.”

Between simple daily details and deeper feelings, I discovered I was better suited to a more diverse journal.

A Kaleidoscope of Thoughts

In contrast to the untouched travel journal, I have another notebook—a catch-all for my thoughts, no matter how disjointed or dreary. This journal is a kaleidoscope of lists, reflections, and snippets from various self-help books, alongside thoughts on my Etsy store, Bible verses, and spontaneous musings like "Nest in the gales".

This journal is light blue with the words "It all begins with a thought" printed across a white banner. This phrase appeals to me for its openness and lack of judgment, perfectly embodying the spirit of this eclectic diary. It isn’t really even a diary. It is more a brain dump, a central place where I can write down anything that is immediate in my life.

Given the mismatch of contents, I usually discard this diary once it's full, after reading it over and pulling out the sheets that I love. It always dynamically represents the past few months. Even the shopping lists are an interesting read. Recently I particularly enjoyed looking back at a piece I titled “Night time Me.” This feels so very accurate.

Relaxed. Creative. Worlds of Possibility. Calm. Peaceful. No time pressure. Optimistically contemplative. Positive. Light hearted. Passionate. Receptive. Topsy Turvy Doll.”

Many of the pages of this journal are filled in the quiet of night.

Typography art of positive affirmations like 'Calm', 'Creative', 'Unrushed', 'Hopeful', on a soft pink background for an uplifting blog post.Unrushed typography poster by Unratio |  Shop this print on ETSY

Night Owl Musings

The "Topsy Turvy doll" line from my journal is a reference to a doll I had as a kid that my grandmother made. The doll wore a dress that covered her body, with only the hands and face showing. You could turn the doll upside down, pull the dress down over her face to reveal a different doll upside down. One face was asleep with a simple striped night dress, the other face was awake and the reverse side of the dress was a pretty floral frock with a pressed lacy Peter Pan collar. I feel like this doll sometimes, except the awake, smiley, and well-presented side, is me at night.

For 25 years, the night has been my sanctuary, a time when possibilities seem endless and life's burdens melt away. Despite brief attempts to become a morning person, nothing compares to the calm expanse of the late hours. I leisurely undertake a bit of cleaning, listen to music or podcasts, draw, write, watch movies and cry, read books, re-arrange furniture, sort through anything that needs to be sorted. My steps are light and spirited, my mind sharp yet day dreaming. I can feel night time me coming on. Perhaps it is the silence that turns on the switch. Some of my most creative work is done at night. My best paintings, drawing, writing and ideas. They are of course peppered with a more flowery romantic over the top expression, that I usually have to taper back slightly when revising in the morning, but never the less the spirit of the work remains.

In Anne Lamott’s brilliant book on writing called Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, she states that

Writing is about hypnotizing yourself into believing in yourself, getting some work done, then unhypnotizing yourself and going over the material coldly.”

I think that “hypnotizing myself into believing in myself” seems to come naturally at night. I just have to make sure that daytime me, doesn’t delete it all as non-sense.

Artistic illustration of a woman with her eyes closed, basking under a pink moon with moths and flowers, evoking a peaceful and creative night-time vibe. Moon Moths illustration by Unratio | Shop this print on ETSY

On the flip side, mornings can feel heavy. Throughout the night, I had been meandering through my home in a calm haze, the worries of the world barred from entry, fluttering like moths against the window of my optimism. But with the dawn, the barrier seems to dissipate, allowing these persistent thoughts to return, settling heavily upon me. It's intriguing how morning gloom can be tied to something as tangible as blood sugar levels. So the cure for me is to jump out of bed and eat a banana.

This other journal, filled with randomness and honesty, somehow encapsulates my life more truly than any carefully curated diary ever could. It speaks to the unpredictability and richness of my daily existence. I am starting to realise that this is the journal of my dreams that I do indeed reflect back on with pride, nostalgia, and warmth.

Bold graphic of a peeled banana with the text 'Eat a Banana' overhead, against a pink background, promoting healthy eating habits.

Eat A Banana illustration by Unratio | Shop this print on ETSY 

The Paralysis of Perfections

There is one type of journal I avoid. I try not to buy really pretty looking journals with gorgeous covers. I once bought a beautiful journal at a letter press boutique stationary store. The cover is a detailed embossed replica of an old antique book cover, dark teal with embossed embellished florals. It remained empty, paralysed by my indecision regarding its purpose. I just could not commit to what I wanted to put in the beautiful pages. This underlines a broader struggle, the pursuit of perfection stifles the genuine expression of life.

I buy plain notebooks and tell myself that I don’t have to keep it, I can write as I want and there is not concern about themes, perfection, permanence.

Illustration of a woman with her head back, eyes closed, and a book open, with flowers and butterflies emerging, symbolizing the joy of journaling.

Joy Of Journalling illustration by Unratio

Embracing Authenticity

Reflecting on my journals reveals a fundamental truth: life's essence isn't captured in the highlights, but in the unfiltered, candid snapshots of our daily existence. It's in these unpolished moments that we find the true richness of life, urging us to document our journey with authenticity and openness.

In documenting our lives, we must strive for honesty over perfection, embracing the beauty in the messiness of our everyday stories. This approach not only preserves our authentic selves for future reflections but also celebrates the ordinary, often overlooked moments that, together, weave the tapestry of our lives.

Diving into my journals has been more than a trip down memory lane; it's been a deep dive into who I am. The real magic isn't in the polished narratives or the attempts at perfection but in the scribbles, the half-thoughts, and the honest chaos that fill these pages. This practice of jotting down bits of my day, my thoughts, and dreams has taught me to appreciate the beauty in the real, the unedited. So, as I continue to fill these notebooks, I'm not just documenting life—I'm learning to embrace every part of it, the good, the bad, and everything in between. Here's to writing our stories, just as they are, without the gloss.

x Bella 

P.S The illustrations featured in this post are inspired by my reflection on the joy of journaling. These original designs are available for instant download in my ETSY Store. You will find the direct links below. 

You will be able to instantly access and download the high quality digital prints, available in over 30 print sizes to fit any wall space perfectly. I welcome custom size requests at no extra charge. Each purchase includes my Print Instruction Guide to ensure your art prints and posters achieve flawless results. 

Framed typography poster with inspirational words like 'Calm', 'Unrushed', 'Hopeful', on a pink background, promoting mindfulness and positivity.

For when you need a gentle reminder to slow down and tap into the boundless creativity that exists within |  Download Unrushed in my ETSY store today

Framed motivational poster with peaceful affirmations on a pink backdrop, placed in a sunny room with yoga mat and plant, inspiring a tranquil lifestyle.

Framed art print featuring a woman gazing at a pink moon with moths and orange leaves, a tranquil, dreamy wall decor piece.
Peaceful wall art for the moonlight dreamers|  Download Moon Moths in my ETSY store today
Interior decor scene with a framed print of a woman and a pink moon with moths, placed on a wall above modern white vases.
Framed artwork on a wall with a bold 'Eat a Banana' phrase and a vibrant illustration of a banana, invoking healthy living and modern design.

The perfect healthy meal all wrapped up and ready to eat |  Download Eat A Banana in my ETSY store today

A modern home gym setting with a framed 'Eat a Banana' art print on the wall, flanked by exercise balls, promoting a healthy and stylish lifestyle.

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. 

May joy colour your world, and hope light the way.

March 16, 2024

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.