Way back in the dark ages, before we had blogs in which to spill our guts and bore the world, I went through periods in which I kept a journal. I kept a diary as a young girl, until I found out that it could be used against me.
In my adult life, every now and then I would go through a spell where I regretted not having kept a journal all my life, and I would start with great fervor and then run out of steam. If you had asked me how many journals I had filled completely, I would have said at most two, if you added them all up.
In my cleaning up/out these past two weeks, though, I came across no fewer than six journals. I picked them up and started reading some entries at random.
And then I went to throw up.
Not only because it brought back memories of a bitter, bitter time in my life, but because I expressed my bitterness in such a nauseating fashion. I remember some of my compulsions when I was writing in those journals. For one, I made myself fill a page every night. And I tried to find something positive every day, even if it was a struggle. So EVERY. SINGLE. PAGE. has a smiley face on it somewhere.
A smiley face.
I HATE smiley faces.
I have felt compelled to hold on to these journals, but for the life of me I can't figure out why. It's not like I'm going to leave them to Sweet Girl for posterity. She doesn't want to relive those days any more than I do. (On the other hand, they might serve to show her that I didn't MEAN to be a bad parent; I just didn't know what the hell I was doing.)
As soon as we crank up the wood stove this fall/winter, I'm going to burn those journals. I don't want anyone who knows me ever to read them, and I don't want to read them again myself. If I have to see another smiley face, I MAY throw up.
Oddly enough, though, I don't hate going back and rereading some of my blog entries. I was thinking about that fact today, trying to figure out why. I think it's because the intended audience differs between the two. When I wrote in a journal, I didn't expect that anyone else would ever read it. In most cases I HOPED no one would ever read what I wrote. It was just an opportunity for me to vent, to vomit my emotions, as it were.
But blogging is a different medium. I write FOR an audience, small though it may be, in addition to expressing my emotions/thoughts/philosophies/drivel. There are some topics I stay away from because former students and at least one middle school child have been known to read my blog. I would hate not to be able to look them in the face again. Note that I don't mind, however, throwing in occasional profanity and references to alcohol.
I have morals, they just don't always apply.
All in all, I much prefer blogging than journaling. I'm sure there will be some entries I would like to forget, and that's what the "Delete" key is for. Overall I hope that I won't reread my entire blog someday and stick my finger down my throat.
If you'll excuse me now, I have some journals to burn.