Did you know if you want to look at Marie Curie’s journals, you will have to sign a waiver and wear protective gear? That is because, over 100 years later, her personal belongings are still radioactive. Her journals were where she recorded what she was discovering about polonium and radium, exposing herself to dangerous elements in the name of science. But she loved her work, and so she documented her findings in notebooks. In her autobiography, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist wrote about the bottles of radioactive elements that lined the shelves of the workroom she shared with her husband. “It was really a lovely sight and one always new to us. The glowing tubes looked like faint, fairy lights.” Her passion here is palpable. Her words portray that her love for discovery was unprecedented.
And some might think, a little strange.
I think that is what has always drawn me to journaling. My journal is my place to record things that may sound a little strange to other people. It’s my place to tell it like it is, even if what I tell is weird or still in the works, or only sounds interesting to me. It is my portal to my inner self, the blueprint of my soul.
And it turns out that lots of influential, brave, and talented people also like to record the inner workings of their minds.
5 Famous Female Journalers
Emma Watson writes down everything about her day at night before bed. Apparently she also has many different kinds of journals (my dad read that in an interview but neither one of us can find documentation on that!).
Lady Gaga keeps thoughts, feelings, sketches, pictures, and letters in her journal.
Tara Westover,author of the memoirEducated, kept a detailed journal throughout her childhood, without which she wouldn’t have been able to tell her beautiful story of perseverance and redemption–of overcoming what seemed like all odds to become the brilliantly educated person she is today.
Jessica Simpson uses her journal as a tool for song-writing inspiration. She uses excerpts from journal entries to craft the lyrics to her songs.
Michelle O’Bama also journaled off and on throughout her childhood and college years, which helped her immensely when she wrote her detailed and inspiring memoir, Becoming.
I just finished reading Becoming, and what struck me most about the book was not the drive Michelle Obama had as a a kid and then a teen who knew what she wanted in life, although that was impressive. It wasn’t the passion she had for encouraging healthy eating habits in school-aged kids, although that was admirable. What stood out to me most was her determination to pay it forward. It was the fact that she quit her job as a lawyer, even though she was highly successful, and still had student loans to pay off, to work as the assistant to the mayor of Chicago, a job that would cut her pay in half, because she wanted to make a difference. It was the leadership and mentoring programs she started for young girls to help them learn about financial literacy and choosing a career, because she wanted to see them have every opportunity possible to be successful. It was the fact that her biggest goal, throughout her life beginning as a young lawyer, and all the way through the time she spent as the first lady of the United States, was to help people.
When she and former president Barack Obama were dating, Michelle Obama started a journal, which has now survived a couple of decades and multiple moves. She started it because she felt a bit overwhelmed by her then boyfriend’s sense of confidence, his certainty that he could change the world. And so, on the first page she wrote, “One, I feel very confused about where I want my life to go. What kind of person so I want to be? How do I want to contribute to the world? Two, I am getting very serious in my relationship with Barack and I feel that I need to get a better handle on myself.” (pg. 132, Becoming)
To item number one I would say, me too. I know I want to use the knowledge I have acquired, raising kids, helping one of mine work through his anxiety, exercising and moving my body not just to keep my body in shape, but to keep my mind clean and uncluttered, and to be the best version of myself. To number two, I would just say, how cute is it to imagine the two of them dating? Her book is so real, so candid, so personal.
All of this is to give you a little background into my big announcement. Michelle Obama’s stories of how she poured into the lives of children, young girls, veterans, and so many others, coupled with my desire to do what I love, to teach, has spurred me on to a decision to become a personal trainer. I am in the throes of a course that is teaching me how muscles work, basic nutrition, and how to develop an exercise program to meet my clients’ needs. It is a grueling process, but I love what exercise does for my body, both physically and mentally, I love teaching, and I love kids. I know that by going through this exercise training, I will be able to spend my time doing something about which I am truly passionate. Like Marie Curie, I will love my work, and it will light me up from within. I will be able to help those I train to find the light they possess. They in turn, will shine their own light, much like Curie’s fairy lights once shone in her workshop.
Who do you know who may be interested in working with me? I cannot wait to get started. It is going to be awesome. 🙂