I have what I consider to be a major dilemma. Since the age of 12, I have kept diaries, or journals as they are more commonly called, off and on. I would never part with the ones from adolescence. Those diaries were made for children- they even have tiny locks on them. The content features nothing objectionable; I was very reserved, having been raised by a gaggle of very tight-assed closet Irish Catholics.
During early adulthood the writing became more tortured. College offered me a more diverse view of the world. The one I attended happened to be particularly wild and crazy. And competitive. I became more insecure and unstable, and wrote about it fairly candidly, sober or otherwise, thinking that somehow my writing would prove to be therapeutic. Maybe it was; maybe it wasn't.
I once paid a dear price for my diary-keeping habit when a boyfriend, in a moment of compromised integrity, snuck a peek. He thereby learned of my continuing friendship with a celebrity who had been in town. The aftermath of his discovery was particularly diary-worthy.
I derive pleasure from reading past diaries, as a voyeur of my own past. Every once in a while I catch a glimpse of growth when I realize that some past life-or-death issue would be nothing now.
Unmarried, I suffered greatly over the decision of whether or not to have my child. I wrote profusely and openly.
Once the child was born, the future of my diaries came into question. Now there exists a human being who would undoubtedly be affected by my words, some of which debated his birth.
Now when I write, I am cautious, again the stiffled adolescent, now that my child can read. As always, I insist on writing my diaries on paper, the old-fashioned way.
I guess I've answered my question. I have no choice- the diaries must go. But first, today I'm going to indulge in a writing frenzy, laying it all out, in no uncertain terms, no limits, no fears of exposure.
You're all invited to a bonfire at Betty's tonight.