My first life diary was given to me by my dad when I turned 7 in 1991. A little notebook in rainbow colors and ice cream, with a lock to put a tiny padlock on it. The first thing that comes out when you open it is the word “PRIVATE”, with a very large B.
The second page says verbatim: Today I woke up and went to the bathroom, then I went to my feet to look for some books and I started reading them. In the afternoon I went to the tabeli and took an ice cream and went back to my house and fell asleep.
I had that diary for 5 years, and I went from saying that I had had a milk with Cola Cao and ate two pieces of bread with butter, to writing that my fifth grade boyfriend had kicked me.
I am surprised to see that intuitively, from a very young age, my notebook was the place where, in addition to telling what I was doing, I could write what I felt, as well as leaving there the things that mattered to me at that moment: stickers, phones of my close people, a letter my sister wrote me, clippings from my horoscopes, photos of my favorite animal, the white tiger (with a message next to it written by me that says “I hope it doesn’t become extinct”).
Over time, my life diary became a complaint book. I did not have an easy adolescence. My notebooks became that place where I could vent about all the tragedies that happened to me, about how strange I felt growing up, about how alone I really was. If I look at it from a distance, it was a very nice life saver, which partly allowed me to elaborate a very difficult family context.
I read that Elisa now with so much affection and compassion. Because having a notebook that has recorded all my feelings since I was so young has allowed me to understand all the processes that I have been experiencing throughout my life. It’s like watching a movie of yourself, with even more detail and intimacy, because my dreams, my drawings, my emotions are also in my notebook.
I don’t know how or why, but I think that one of the great commitments that I have kept in my life has been to work on my personal growth. It was probably by force, I had to go to the psychologist for the first time at the age of 10 because they wanted to throw me out of school for bad behavior. Perhaps, in the most beliver line, I came into this life to work, to work myself, to try by all means to overcome my obstacles, my fears, my family, my pains. I don’t know. What I do know is that it has been a long and beautiful process, which I am lucky to have registered in more than 20 notebooks and logs.
I read in my notebooks from the 2000s phrases like “Why am I so angry, I’m dying of rage”, “I feel that I am a few steps away from something that never comes”, “Could it be that this is the little book of problems ? Because every time I open it, it’s because I have one? I think again how lucky I was to have had and still have that space.
Although I have had many guides and teachers on this path of self-knowledge (from psychologists to tarot readers, from masseurs to channelers), I believe that my belief system is what I have been building myself.
I come from a Catholic school and upbringing. Although my family was never hooked (I wasn’t even baptized), my only contact with spirituality was religion, the masses, the walk to Punta de Tralca, the priests at my school, social action. Around the age of 20 I began to get involved in meditation, tangentially in more Buddhist ideas. Little by little I began to understand that my spirituality was in my connection with nature, in the prayers to my guardian angel, in all the messages that came to me through art. Later, tarot, reiki, and many other disciplines have helped me connect with that other thing that I believe is beyond. My notebooks are today a nice reflection of that.
Once a therapist invited me to “listen to the synchronicities”, that is, to read certain messages or signs that are available there to understand profound things. It is being available to read life from symbols: a song that told me something I needed to hear at that moment. A phrase I read on Instagram that resonated with me. An image that inspired me. With a friend we put “God’s messages”, a poetic language that if one opens to read, it begins to make sense, to wear chicken. Coincidences are also valid: someone told you about something, and then you heard it again on the radio, and you read it again in another place. My brother tells me that it’s about interpreting, and I tell him that I CHOOSE to see life that way, because it makes sense to me, but also because I find it more fun to live that way.
My notebooks are that: a place where I put together the puzzle of signals that I am receiving. Because when I write it, paste it or draw it, the general image begins to be seen, and I begin to understand what is happening to me, what I have to see, what I have to work on or heal.
The idea of doing notebook workshops was born with my niece Olivia when she was about 13 years old. I gave her a notebook just like mine, and I showed her part of what she wrote, the drawings she made, the little things she pasted on. Since she is very artistic, she integrated it easily. Today she is 15 and I am surprised by the great internal universe of her and how she is capturing it in her notebook: the phrases that call her attention, the drawings, her spirituality, her sensitivity and how she is capable of dump it in that space. My nephew Emilio is 11 and like his sister, he also wanted to have a notebook. It touches me to see how he draws, what he writes, the dedication he puts into everything he does in his heavenly little book. I am glad to know that today it is also a space allowed for men. In my time my classmates did not have life diaries.
Adolescence and pre-adolescence is just the moment where we begin to build our little world: everything we like, our personality, what differentiates us from others. Our loves begin, our tastes for music or art are defined. We want to be”. We feel millions of things that we have no idea how to elaborate or decipher. How I wish someone at 12 years old had invited me to understand what he was feeling, that he would have explained to me that there are emotions, that they have names, that one can identify them, and that one can also elaborate and release them.
For me, having a notebook was a great help to form my identity, but above all it was a great therapeutic support. I wrote and felt better. I wrote or drew and ordered my ideas. I wrote what I felt, then I read it, then I understood.
One day I showed my notebook to a friend and the first thing he said to me was: I would love it if my 12-year-old daughter could do this. Would you put it in a workshop? Without a doubt, he answered her. I am a journalist and for a long time I have dedicated myself to strategic communication, that is, advising companies so that they better communicate what they are or what they want to show.
Since I started the workshops, I realized that my path in communications could take another path, a more intimate one, one that would converse more with what I have done internally, with whom I have kept quiet in my therapies, my searches, my notebooks. It is learning to communicate with oneself, to talk, to ask one what is wrong. I had that muscle, I have it. Why not then give that tool to children and adolescents. In the future also to adults.
We have always complained to my friends about the leers they teach us at school. What good were the hours of physics and chemistry, if I don’t know anything about emotional intelligence. Why did I spend hours sitting in a chair watching a teacher talking about square roots (which I obviously already forgot), and they didn’t teach me to look at and value my own history. In my priority list of things that really matter, I think knowing yourself weighs more than knowing so many other things from the outside.
I review one of my last notebooks to write this column. I read a song by Luz Casal, I see a piece of fortune cookie paper attached, I read a sentence that says: “breathe, everything will be fine”. Everything tastes a bit like self-help to me, but to be honest, I think that having a notebook is helping yourself. Last year I experienced a very great grief, and all those messages, all those phrases, all that time dedicated to writing, connecting and thinking, allowed me to heal and overcome that pain.
In general, I no longer write my day to day. I don’t count that I had breakfast, I brushed my teeth and what is the name of the one I like. But I continue to allow my notebook to be the place I want it to be: a PRIVATE place, my own room, an outlet, a part of who I am.
Workshop of notebooks and internal world
Workshop to develop a notebook or log, which reflects the internal world through writing, drawing, collage and other techniques, for young people between 11 and 14 years old
- Group days Tuesday: From 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., NAC Vitacura Gallery, Vespucio Nte. 2878. Beginning Tuesday, March 21.
- Group days Wednesday: From 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Pedro de Valdivia Norte, El Cacique 0263. Beginning Wednesday, March 22.
- Includes: Sketch Book notebook 21 x 30 cm hard cover, materials, snack
- Registration and more information: Whatsapp +56972143754 or firstname.lastname@example.org
** About Elisa García Huidobro
Journalist, producer and public relations officer, she has worked in different areas of communication through companies and her agency Territorio Comunicación. She has also worked in television, cinema, photography and the press. Since last year she has dedicated herself to doing expression workshops, applying her knowledge and her therapeutic experiences.