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