If you’re on Pinterest or Tumblr, you have probably seen the “dark academia” aesthetic. I came across a few posts, and I realized that DA is something I’ve been a part of for my whole life. I’d like to explain with a list (because lists are just a part of this blog, and you know it).
- Reading Alice in Wonderland, deciding I didn’t like the ending, and writing my own where Absolem convinces Hatter to jump through a portal and visit Alice instead
- Filling notebooks with stickers, receipts, little scraps of pretty fabric or flowers, and any thought that pops into my head
- Making a cup of tea or coffee when something doesn’t feel right
- Always focusing better when it’s raining or gloomy outside
- Loving long walks and picnics
- Craving second-hand bookstores and thrift shops because I like to imagine the lives of the people who owned the things I purchase there
- Keeping movie tickets, programs, concert bracelets, and railway cards in a lockbox to preserve the memories
- A shelf of photo albums from my childhood
- Late-night research about psychology, ancient architecture, or what it would be like to live in 18th-century London
- Smiling at animals and calling them beautiful
- Hearing “mystery of love” by Sufjan Stevens and realizing it’s an anthem for life
- Planning anything and everything, down to the last detail, but always changing something someone else planned because it’s creative expression
- My favorite color is dark forest/army green, and most of my room is denim, green, gray, and cozy brown
- Giving each of my plants names, and some of them represent my friends, so if they aren’t doing well I check on the friend
- Doing nothing on road trips but listening to classical music and staring out the window
- Owning more jackets than any other item of clothing
- Preferring to walk or bike rather than drive
- Hating crowded places, but liking to watch crowds from a distance to see how other people interact
- Keeping a frantic, giant mountain of different ideas in my notes app (but very well organized)
- Hiding polaroids and small objects I find on nature walks in bags and jacket pockets, not finding them till later
- Owning far too many pens, but organizing them by type… ordering refills of the ones I like
- Insisting on visiting a city strip mall just so I can examine the Japanese paper in that one stationery store, holding a freshly-purchased notebook to my cheek because the pages are so soft
- Learning better when I hear something out loud, rather than see or touch it
- Spending hours staring out my window while clouds gather in the sky and a storm pours over the world
- Watching the entire Harry Potter series every fall, making some of the foods they have in the Great Hall
- Feeling guilty about keeping books I love because other people should read them, too
- Highlighting quotes I love in “Looking for Alaska,” specifically the quote that says “NEVER USE A HIGHLIGHTER IN MY BOOKS!”
I’m going to stop here… but I think I’ll do a part 2 later because I really enjoyed making this list! Comment any dark academia things you do in your life and why you like it. 🙂
It’s a new year, and LOTS of people are excited about trying a new bullet journal! That’s so cool, and I love to see everyone doing this planning system for the first time. However, I think there are a few things we need to remember.
- It’s not all about how pretty it looks. This is it! I’m starting off this list with the single most important thing! I rant about this all the time. New bullet journal-ers are SO excited to start, but they often start for the wrong reason. Instead of telling you what it is supposed to be, I’m going to tell you what it isn’t. The purpose of a notebook is not to compare your art or handwriting to another person’s notebook. It’s not to be the perfect planner or a gorgeous container of paper that’s supposed to get you thousands of followers on Instagram. It’s not for anybody else to enjoy. It’s not fluffy or stupid, either. It’s not a shallow thing. So what is it? It’s for you. What do you want it to be?
- You don’t need special stationery. Look, I love pens and pretty stationery as much as the next fanatic, but a true bullet journal sticks to two basic objects: a black pen and a notebook. That’s it. Not a tombow dual brush pen, not a mildliner, not a crayola supertip marker, not sparkly washi tape… It relies on only a notebook and a pen. Hey, I know someone who uses a binder and notebook paper for easy removal of pages, so I guess you don’t even really need a notebook. For the most part, I just use a black pen and my trusty hardcover dotted notebook. I’m not going to link it because I don’t think you need to copy what works for me to get good use out of your notebook. (However, if you truly want to know, go to my YouTube channel, Rachel Ellynn M.) Just use what you think you need.
- Keep it simple at first. So, basically, the original Ryder Carroll format isn’t what I stick to. However, it’s the method that was designed to work for ADHD and he wants it to be universal — until you find something that works better for you. I found a system that I altered, and it worked more and more the more I allowed it to show itself to me. I couldn’t have found that system unless I tried the bare bones and decided other things were going to work better. For example, I started using daily rapid logging like the original method. Then, I switched to weekly spreads (this was a mistake because I saw how pretty the ones on Pinterest were and wanted to make them like this). After that definitely didn’t work, I went back to daily rapid logging and found that it was best for my running mind. I guess my point is, don’t get too excited about all the crazy trackers and collections you can implement until you know for sure what basic pieces work for you.
- Do a mental inventory before anything else. This is the most therapeutic part, and I love it so much because it dumps out your mind! Seriously. There are three sections: what I’m working on, what I should be working on, and what I want to work on. Sounds kind of easy, but you really have to sit down and think about it. Some people do it in sections of their lives, like school, work, personal, family, spiritual… I like to dump it all into one. Just make three columns, label them, and start writing. Now, look at the things on all the lists in one. Which items are non-negotiable? Circle them. Which items can you not care less about? Cross them out. If you don’t absolutely need to do something, and you don’t want to do it, then here’s a simple revelation. Only put priority items on your plate. The mental inventory can help you weed those out.
- Carry it everywhere. I’m sure people will dispute about this, but I treat my bullet journal much like car keys, a wallet, or a cell phone… I take it everywhere. In 2020, my new one is Pepper, and she is going to get extremely acquainted with the way I live my life. If this sounds silly, I don’t care, but I think my notebook can learn about me and serve me better if I take it along for the ride. Plus, at the end of the notebook’s use, you can smile and notice all the places where you dropped it or the bookmark frayed. You can watch it age. Your journal is a piece of history. Take it and make note of anything and everything.
- Claim it as yours. Listen, this journal is only for you. Only you have to see it, use it, keep it up. So make it yours! Much like a blank canvas or empty house, design it the way you see fit. Keep it minimalistic and only add the bare details, or plaster it with artwork and make it crazy colorful. Mine is somewhere in between. I myself enjoy a collage or quote page every once in a while, but then again I also enjoy a quiet page for simple lists. Whatever makes you feel at home in this notebook that you’ll call home for however long it takes to fill it up. (Also, I usually start over for the new year, but I never finish the notebook, so I’m using a shorter one this year.) Let yourself take creative space in the journal that keeps your life together. It’s gonna be in your possession for a while.
So those are just six little reminders before you truly break into that notebook. I wish the best to you and your little companion.