I’ve been reading about what to do with your journals before you die. It’s been that kind of week I guess.
I have been writing in a diary off and on since I was about 8. I think my first “journal” was something called an “autograph book”, and my grandparents gave it to me. I went around to mostly family and some friends, and asked them to sign my little book. Most had sweet little messages, some wrote little rhymes starting with “roses are red”; it was like a yearbook for my 8-year-old self. At some point I moved on to the lock-and-key style diaries. Those were always gifts too. And I never forgot to lock it and hide the key under my mattress. I was always a private person. My sister on the other hand, used to read hers out loud to me, as I plugged my ears in defiance.
I sometimes wish I had written with the notion that someone might read them someday. But that would have defeated the purpose for me. I wrote with potty-mouthed abandon, and channeled all the negative energy from my little body onto those pages. I had a lot, you see. I’m not sure I will ever really understand where all that anger came from. We’ve all had to deal with imperfect childhoods, but not everyone came to be host to a little monster. And my little monster grew; at times, it outgrew me. And I would catch up, and it would grow again….
I’ve often wondered over the years what it would be like to have someone read them. No, that’s not quite true; I haven’t wondered, because I know what it would be like–mortifying. I think it would still be so even if my family read my diaries from all those years ago, let alone the ones I wrote in my adult years. But like so many other things in my life, seeking out and destroying my journals has been put on the list of things to do at a later date. But that later date may never come. What if I die before that happens? Who will read them? What will they think? Will they be shocked? Disgusted? Hurt? Will they wonder if they knew me at all?