November 15, 2013

Regrets? I've Had A... Oops! They're Gone!

Since I've been able to wield a pen, I have kept diaries. They are excruciating to read. Dozens of little notebooks, smeared with blue ink, detailing every crush, every fight with a friend, every crush, every frustration, every crush, every dream, every crush, every act of rebellion, and did I mention every crush?


The most painful diaries to read are my Anne Frank style diaries, in which I gave the journal a name and wrote a letter to it every night. It was a notepad, for gods sake. I was writing to myself. I was twelve, but I still can't quite forgive myself for the pretention. I cringe even thinking about it. Please. Make. Me. STOP.

My sister also kept diaries. I was deeply respectful of her privacy, and would never, in a million years, have even considered trying to read one. She clearly didn't appreciate this, because she wrote in black texta on the first page of one such journal:

Kerri you are a bitch.

At least, I would have known this if I had ever picked up her diary and had a read. Which I didn't, of course. I was deeply respectful of her privacy. Ahem.

I still have my written diaries. They are stored in a sealed, plastic box in my storeroom, to be read after my death by anyone interested in a tormented, pretentious teenager with a tragic series of passionate, unrequited crushes.

By the mid nineties, I had become addicted to keyboards, and began writing my journals in electronic form. Thousands of words, committed to secret documents, locked by a password I still use today.

No-one will ever crack it. At least, so I pray.

The problem, of course, is that secret files are disposable. It is so much easier to hit 'delete' than it is to throw out a bound journal. It is so much easier to trash a file that brings back painful memories than it is to store it away in a sealed, plastic box.

And so I deleted dozens of files over the past twenty years. Dozens of files recording my life and my angst. Thousands of memories of good times and bad. Thousands of moments of anguish and joy.

I zapped my regrets with a press of a button. I zapped my regrets and I will never get them back. The words are now lost in the black of the Ethernet.

And that, I can tell you, is my greatest regret of all.

For those participating in next week's #MyFirst challenge (see here) the topic will be
My First Moment of Terror

14 comments:

  1. I kept diaries as a young angsty teenager. Diaries with my thoughts and magazine cut outs representing my angst. Chewed up chewing gum of the boy I liked (which I had retrieved from the bin!! - don't judge, I was IN LOVE) and my deepest personal secrets.


    One particularly angsty day I decided to burn my past in an actual physical fire. It is my single biggest regret.

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  2. I've never kept diaries - consequently my life is like swiss-cheese... huge gaps where I can't remember much of anything... I suspect the act of writing must reinforce some memories...


    Maybe it's my ISFP personality type - we like to live "in the moment" - so it doesn't bother me that much for some reason... maybe those memories will come back to me in my dotage - I've heard that they can...

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  3. I journaled online, as a teenager. A lot of the things I wrote are still on the internet, and sometimes I like to go and read them again to remind myself how dreadful everything was. If you would like to do this also, here's some of the blog I wrote when I was in Year 12 - https://web.archive.org/web/20050318204133/http://edible.nu/hs/

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  4. I still have my teenage diaries, I can't bring myself to throw them out. I have tried, often, but I know I would regret it. Even so I have no idea why I keep them, I would die if anyone ever read them. Sometimes I might open them up and catch myself reading them, I get lost in the time warp. I've never kept a digital journal apart from my blogs I guess, but they are different.

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  5. Benita (Missbenben)November 15, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    I've kept a journal since I was an angsty 13 year old locked up in boarding school. All my past journals, plus the one I write in now, live together in a little shelf in my room. I love flipping back to see what I wrote exactly one year ago, exactly 5 years ago etc just to remind myself that I am, in fact, moving forward. Sometimes when life gets a little funky I tend to forget what things were like back then. It's a good perspective. And I love that I've passed on the thrill of journal writing to my kids. Mr 8 and Miss 7 keep journals of how they feel and what's gone on in the day. Mr Fabulous 6 also keeps a journal, but he just writes "I like you" on every page. He'll get there.

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  6. I also kept a diary as a teenager but I was so terrified someone would find it (ie my mum) that I burned it. I've regretted it ever since because it would be hilarious to read back over it now. You can't relive those years (a good thing perhaps) but it would be nice to have more memories of them.

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  7. I did the diary thing. I also wrote terrible poems and song lyrics. I trashed a lot of them, though…after I got married. I didn't care about my husband reading my embarrassing teen musings, but I had nightmares of my mother in law having a snoop. I'm not saying she would do such a thing, but it still freaked me out.

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  8. I know. Even the thought of someone reading my diaries ten years after my death freaks me out!

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  9. Agree. I really regret deleting mine. And I'll NEVER trash the ones I still have.

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  10. Oh that Mr Fabulous. He is HYSTERICAL!

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  11. DO NOT THROW THEM OUT. You will regret it. Keep them. FOREVER.

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  12. Okay I've been in love plenty... but CHEWED UP CHEWING GUM??
    *fist pumps*!!!

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  13. I love this post Kerry! I did diaries/journals for years, and I knew what was in them (angst) so I kept them in the roof as an adult, kind of scared to open them. We eventually got a new roof so the boxes had to come down. And out they went, unread. Ahhh, relief. I felt lighter and a bit unburdened. Hope this kicks in fir you xx

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