Several years ago, when my brother passed away, I joined a grief recovery group. One of the members was a counselor – she wasn’t there in her professional capacity – just another member of the group.
I remember very clearly her advice to me to take up journaling as a way to process my emotions. I mentioned that I am a scrapbooker, and that I might consider making a page or two about my brother. Her reaction was less than enthusiastic, and she seemed to dismiss the idea in favor of “real journaling.”
Now, she wasn’t one of those scrapbook haters you hear about. She meant well, and I respect her thoughts and opinions. She just didn’t understand the cathartic power of truly meaningful scrapbooking.
And she’s not alone in her views. I think a lot of people think of our hobby as a “cute little phase,” like grandma’s macrame plant hangers phase, or sister’s jewelry making phase. But I’ve known scrapbookers who have been going strong for decades, and they aren’t showing any signs of ending this “phase” any time soon.
Now I know scrapbooking means different things to different people. For some, it’s a way to make really pretty photo frames for their pictures. And I honor that. I love pretty photo frames!
For some, it’s a way to document the past and record family history for future generations. I honor that as well.
And for some, it’s a way to process the really tough stuff. The really hard things that you just can’t seem to fully express without photos, words, and supplies that help you piece together the fragmented parts of your heart and get them all out onto a page – or two, or ten. That is honorable as well, and can be just as healing – maybe more so – as “real journaling.”
I think, for most of us, it’s a mixture of these, and more. But I’d love to hear what you think. Has scrapbooking ever served as a healing or therapeutic tool for you? And what are your experiences dealing with those who doubt or don’t “get” this hobby? Leave a comment below, and let’s talk.
P.S. For more on scrapping the tough times, check out this episode of the Paperclipping Roundtable podcast.
P.P.S. And just so you don’t get the wrong idea, I have mad respect for people who dig “real journaling” – it’s just not my thing.