Column 10.5.18

What to expect: Homecoming and Family Weekend
October 4, 2018
Appreciating our heroes: faculty, staff
October 4, 2018

Column 10.5.18

Have you ever owned something so special you considered it almost sacred?

I have.

Some people venerate their high school sports trophies. Others treasure an heirloom their grandparents handed to them. For me that special something is my Paperblanks journals.

My name is Gerson Petit, and I have a problem with Paperblanks journals.My problem started almost exactly six years ago. It was a gloomy day in July, and I was in my natural habitat, a bookstore, flipping through books and magazines. In the middle of the ocean of books and magazines, I saw them. I saw Paperblanks journals for the first time in my life.

Their covers were a delight to the eye. They dazzled me. It was a brave new world of journals.They were exquisite, but they were also expensive. As I reluctantly left the bookstore, I could not stop thinking about Paperblanks. Have you ever seen a stunning painting, a killer outfit, or even a breathtaking sunset and, asked yourself “who is behind this? I must know more about them!” That is how I felt about those journals.

Earlier that year I had started writing poetry as a way to process through my life and the doubts and fears that come with growing up. I thought: what if I could use these awesome journals to write? A few months later, my older sister surprised me with the best gift anyone could give me: one of the journals that had fascinated me so much at the bookstore. I was obviously very thrilled to finally own a Paperblanks notebook.

For the next three months, I did not write anything in my journal. It occupied a special place on my bookshelf.When my paranoia about potentially messing up the journals had subsided, I finally started writing in my journal. `I had recently enrolled in the French Alliance, an institute for learning French language and culture. I was very excited to start learning French, so I decided to use my journal for my French studies.

Every Saturday morning, I would take my journal to class with me. Reactions varied. Some people asked me what I wrote in my “book of spells.” Others thought I was weird for using such a “fancy” journal to take notes.

In February 2013 one of my good friends, Tami, died in a car accident. Her death hit me hard, and it made me question many things.

September of that same year, my best friend gave me another Paperblanks journal for my birthday. So when October rolled around, I decided it was time to write about Tami’s death.

I ended up writing over 40 pages of poetry. I was able process her death and how it changed my outlook on life as well as my personal struggles. I would write almost every week to cope with the feelings of confusion and pain. Since then, I’ve used Paperblanks notebooks as journals, sketchbooks and even planners. It might seem strange to be so passionate about notebooks.

I am passionate about Paperblanks because they gave me a voice. In a time when I was struggling to develop and find my own voice, the blank pages of Paperblanks acted like fertile soil for my thoughts and creativity.

Every morning I try to journal for at least thirty minutes in my Paperblanks notebook. I just got another notebook I will be using as my gratitude journal. I have a sketchbook where I try to draw as much as I can. And I use yet another Paperblanks notebook for my job—planning and writing content marketing articles for BJUtoday.

I know that when I say “journaling,” people think of a sentimental middle school girl writing to her “dear diary.” Actually, there are many kinds of journaling. You can just write out your thoughts. You can draw and color as a way to express what you’re feeling. You can bullet-journal if you like writing lists. You can even write out your prayers.

Getting your feelings on paper and away from yourself puts distance between you and your emotions. No, you might not understand your situation better, but you do view your feelings more clearly and objectively when they are on paper.

Writing is not an activity I take for granted. It is a special exercise that continues to bring much healing to my life. Writing about Tami and how her death changed my outlook on life helped me move on.

By the end of the long “poem,” my pain had mostly subsided. Writing about this hard time of my life helped me heal.