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#15: Plants vs. Zombies, IRL

by | Journal Prompts

This is a guest post by my lovely and talented sister, Kelley. She’s going to tell you how to use journaling to keep zombies from eating your brains. I’m not kidding. ~Kristin

A while back, I wrote a guest post for Journaling Saves about Emotional Vampires. Despite all appearances, I’m not personally obsessed with strange monsters of the “B Movie” genre.

However, this week, as I was getting my butt kicked by pole vaulting Zombies in the video game “Plants Vs. Zombies”, I couldn’t help but notice some of the obvious connections to what was happening in my life, and the lives of my friends.

Journaling will do that for you.

When Video Games Resemble Life

For those among you who aren’t aware of the charming characteristics of zombies – zombies want to eat your brains. They aren’t sly. They aren’t subtle. And they don’t move very fast. Mostly they shamble along, careful not to drop too many non-essential body parts, always moving in the same direction. For such mindless beings, they are incredibly single-minded in their focus.

Unlike Emotional Vampires, zombies don’t pretend to be anything other than what they are. In fact, when you first see them, despite their gross appearance (which they can’t really help – having recently exited graves), it’s perfectly obvious that they are monsters.

They move slowly enough so that with any basic level of strategy and organization, you can rid yourself and your lawn of them faster than you can pull up dandelions or head off the Jehovah’s Witnesses marching toward your front door.

So why do we let them in to eat our brains?

This, I think, is the real question. We all can recognize our own personal zombies, and we can see them coming. We have scripts, old dialogues, roles that we know well. We think things are buried, but they keep getting dug up again. Zombies refuse to stay where you’ve left them. You know who they are.

Maybe for you it’s that friend that always succeeds in making you feel guilty and wrong for things that you have no responsibility for and no control over. Her emails show up like clockwork monthly or annually, despite your best intentions to root her out of your life once and forever.

Perhaps it’s a family member who thinks you should buy into his reality – who argues with you until you are unsure if you‘re truly sane. Some are co-workers who should have their own personal horror sound track playing a warning as they advance upon us in our defenseless pre-caffeinated state to make outrageous demands and even more ludicrous claims.

In-laws are frequently zombies, moving in on us, (or in with us) despite our best intentions, and evading our fences and defenses. They show up with way too much baggage. They make it through the front door, and then it’s game over. They eat our brains.

In the game “Plants vs. Zombies”, a player plants various “defense” flowers and weapons such as Pea-Shooters and Wall-nuts. My favorite plant is the sunflower, which beams at you and then gives you extra sun.

If you plant enough sunflowers, you’re almost assured of having enough sunshine to fight the wave attacks of the zombies and their cohorts.

Journaling the Zombies Away

Maybe we’re most vulnerable in our personal lives when we’ve neglected our own needs. Perhaps we haven’t planted enough sunflowers to give us hope and energy when the long shadow of an approaching zombie darkens our door.

  • What are YOUR sunflowers? How can you cultivate them and nourish them, so they give you ammunition for your pea-shooters to stave off that next zombie attack?
  • What do your zombies look like? What kinds of warnings do they give you before they approach?
  • What can you do to provide wall-nuts and tater mines to keep the zombies from even approaching your front porch in the first place?

Psychic defense is everyone’s personal responsibility. You deserve more than to live your life like the walking dead.

Yours in journaling,


hey, friend!

I’m Kristin. Welcome to Journaling Saves. If you’re new to the site, start here for the grand tour. Thanks for coming!