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A journal a day...

Getting in touch with your thoughts, your emotions, and even your fears is, I think, a really important part of your transition. More importantly, as I am coming to realize, recording them is even more valuable.

I was never really one for being especially good at keeping a journal, I tried it on and off over the years and never really got very far for any length of time. While I would like to pin that on the tools I used, the truth is that I never had a momentous sense of change in my life that needed me to have the outlet for my thoughts.

I know that many of us, myself included, have worked with therapists and that's been really helpful, but it's usually short sessions and I can't really go back to them and think about my reactions and comments as they happened. I also find that I don't really get a chance to fully articulate my thoughts because it isn't every day. When I sit down to meet with my therapist, it's a week or two weeks later (just recently moved to every two weeks) and so much has passed since the last time.

This is where a journal starts to really make a difference. I've been using mine since my first day of HRT and have been very consistent with it (i.e. daily) for more than a month. There are a few reasons for this, I think, but the biggest one is that I feel that I really need to have a record, each day, of the journey I am on. I am not going through the motions, I am living, and now I want to be able to remember it.

I am also tracking so significant personal goals day every day, including a better diet, more exercise, and (significantly) reduced alcohol consumption. A journal makes that easier for me.

All in all, the journal is starting to take the place of my therapist for me. I find the ability to get my thoughts out, to express how I am feeling, whether happy or sad, in the time they are happening is super critical for my journey. There's a cathartic feel to being able to let out the thoughts, express my doubts, challenge my notions, and even describe how I envision my future. It's been powerful.

Now, everyone is a little different, but I am recommending that you give it a try.

So, what am I using? Well, I went through a few applications before settling on Scrivener. I've been using Scrivener for a while, for writing, but only recently thought about it as a journal, but it's actually quite perfect for me. I have template set up for my structure and I find that it basically gets out of my way. I did try a few others, specifically GoodNotes and MacJournal. GoodNotes initially appealed for the cross-device support, but synching was hit or miss and information was getting lost when switching devices. MacJournal, which seems to be highly regarded, I also found unreliable and a lot awkward. So, Scrivener scratched the desired itch. I do have the iPad version, but I have not set up for Dropbox synchronization for now since I don't really need it on the iPad. If I travel, I may reconsider.

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