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AIBU to want to throw away old diaries?

(50 Posts)
MindBoggles Fri 22-May-20 08:35:12

I probably wrote a diary on and off from the age of 12 to about 23. I then stopped except for an occasional entry.

Since my children were born I've written nothing.

I don't think my diaries are any good iyswim - they're just full of the names of boys/men I had crushes on and people that had hurt me. Some painful childhood memories. Some lovely like the 6th Form ball and dancing with the teacher I had a huge crush on. But other stuff is just pages of rambling about how this teacher loved me and
he must have looked at me in a certain way.

Interestingly there is one part where I'm flirting with another teacher at the age of 16 and he squeezes my breasts!

There is another part about when I didn't get into a course I really wanted and that was interesting to read - I always thought I had really messed up but I hadn't at all.

There is pages of angst - pain - my father was an alcoholic now dead and a lot of my anger at him and how I felt helpless.

It's shown me about my lack of self worth and self esteem. In some ways it's shown me how lucky I have been to have DH. There is a note of when we first met so that's lovely to see - and me falling in love with him. But it shows how still now I hang or hung my worth on other's perceptions of me.

There is some historic stuff but not much at all. It's mainly who I've snogged or not - it frustrates me at how badly I was treated by some people but blamed myself.

I've not read them in about 10 years but now I feel it's time to throw them away. Have you kept your old diaries/journals?

I feel like maybe it was worth reading them as showing me so much is unresolved and how I still have a lot of similar issues now. I should try lockdown therapy.

Thoughts please? AIBU to throw my diaries away?

Nanny0gg Fri 22-May-20 08:47:30

I'm lots older than you and because of lockdown I've gone through masses of paperwork.

All diaries have gone and I found letters from ex boyfriends too. I didn't even read them, just shredded them . I decided that I would never want anyone else to read them. Any memories I have I dont need paper copies of, iyswim.

Photos are next...

MindBoggles Fri 22-May-20 08:53:24

So much is pain about my dad's drinking.

I also have 100s of old uni photos too!

Since dad died I had forgotten or perhaps just not really thought about how horrible he was when he drank - never physically abusive but the mental toll was heavy. I read it and think wow I was 13-14 and a child and so in pain.

dontlikebeards Fri 22-May-20 09:11:28

I could have written your post (except the bit about your dad), I reread some of my diaries when we moved house and decided it was time to get rid. I did it with a heavy heart but as you said, they were just teenage ramblings and lots of boys names!

I would advice anyone to keep a diary as I think writing things down helps to relieve any problems but generally that's all it is. My diaries would never be released to the public as social history!!!!

JudyCoolibar Fri 22-May-20 09:12:54

I've got this dilemma with diaries my 93 year old mother kept for decades - we're clearing out her flat as she's gone into a care home (or at least we were before lockdown). They're five year diaries with about four lines available per day, full of stuff like "Went shopping", so it's not like they're great historical artefacts. She kept them so long it seems wrong to throw them away, but I know that I will resent the fact that they're just taking up space and gathering dust if I keep them.

Anotherthink Fri 22-May-20 09:17:40

I got rid of mine years ago when I moved. It had been a longer gap since I'd stopped writing them as I only did it in early teenage years but they were so cringey. I couldn't handle anyone else seeing them so I got rid. It was hard to see how insecure I was and wished I'd been different, but I'm still a lot like that now! Still trying to change...

If you could keep the nice parts op (mine had none) I think they would be a nice keepsake.

MindBoggles Fri 22-May-20 09:20:02

I do feel like I need to get rid bar the reasons why I didn't get into this certain Uni (I still ended up at another Redbrick doing the same course) I don't feel like I've learned anything.

Maybe I just make a note of that - in other places though I think we have a romanticised impression of my Dad (since he died) and in fact he really messed our lives up as kids with his drinking. It's a sad read.

Anotherthink Fri 22-May-20 09:20:28

Judy you've just reminded me I started one of those recently! It had been hanging about for years untouched but with lockdown I thought I would start it so we could see how strange life was in one years time, 2 years time etc. However it is pretty difficult writing anything when you're doing FA every day. I gave up after 1 week 😁

MindBoggles Fri 22-May-20 09:24:22

One painful entry about arguing with my father and him swearing at me including calling me a 'lump of shit' I really do look at my childhood with rose tinted glasses.

Anotherthink Fri 22-May-20 09:24:42

mind that sounds really hard to learn. I think its possible that a diary would have included a dramatised teenaged version of events when you've been hurt and also won't include the nice but dull things, so overall it is probably harsher and the reality lies somewhere in the middle.

CaptainMyCaptain Fri 22-May-20 09:24:44

I've got this dilemma with diaries my 93 year old mother kept for decades - we're clearing out her flat as she's gone into a care home (or at least we were before lockdown). They're five year diaries with about four lines available per day, full of stuff like "Went shopping", so it's not like they're great historical artefacts.
I have a box of my uncle's diaries that are like that. They are in such tiny writing I haven't really sat down to read them all yet but they contain entries like 'Sausages for tea. Berlin wall went up'. They also chronicle a visit to Germany to see my Dad who was there with the RAF in 1952 and my uncle's eventual decline with the motor neurone disease that killed him in the early 90s. One day I will read them all.

Member984815 Fri 22-May-20 09:27:31

Keep the photos , burn the diaries

merryhouse Fri 22-May-20 09:33:00

I think you don't need to keep them.

You've read them now, and gained some insights. In that sense they were valuable, but all you really need to keep is the knowledge they've given you.

Photos are slightly different - and even if you don't want them some other people might appreciate them?

bigbluebus Fri 22-May-20 09:33:30

Having cleared out my childhood home after my parents died I now look at things from the aspect of a) would i want anyone else to see/read this after I'm gone and b) will DS want this when I'm gone? If the answer is no then it goes. I will at that at 56 I'm not planning on 'going' anytime soon but none of us know when our time is up and having had to clear 53 years worth of 'crap" from a house where very little got thrown away over the years then I wouldn't want to inflict that task onto anyone else.

thecatneuterer Fri 22-May-20 09:33:47

I've thrown away most of mine as they are just too cringe-worthy. They make me squirm, even without the thought that they might one day be read by someone else. It's a shame. If I'd just written them as a series of facts, eg today I went to x place with y and then to z party, then I would be really happy to reread and reminisce. But all the angsty, self- absorbed, cringey thoughts and opinions totally ruin them.

Waxonwaxoff0 Fri 22-May-20 09:36:34

I kept a diary from age 14 to 18. Reading it back when I was a bit older made me cringe. I never wanted anyone to see it. I had a bonfire in the garden and burned it. No regrets at all.

Whatsnewpussyhat Fri 22-May-20 09:36:50

I got rid of all stuff like that from my youth and it was very cathartic.
Relief at being able to let go and give myself permission to move on.

LifeBeginsNow Fri 22-May-20 09:38:29

Definitely bin the diaries. I had the same experience when I was a child (my dad has also now died) and if I had to reread all of the hateful things he said while drunk, I don't think I'd be able to stop crying.

I also spent a lot of my primary school years thinking of ways to kill myself, so I should imagine if I had written a diary that would feature quite heavily.

Plus I cant imagine there would be too many good days so it would look very bleak as it's not as if an alcoholic stops drinking for long periods.

Similarly to you, my childhood was filled with day dreaming about boys. I guess it was my route to escape but sadly made me desperate for affection so I made poor choices early on.

AltheaVestr1t Fri 22-May-20 09:39:04

I binned my diaries for the same reasons - too many uncomfortable and painful memories. I've never regretted it!

Piffle11 Fri 22-May-20 09:41:19

I had something similar a few years ago. My mother had kept all my old school reports and gave them to me: it was actually quite depressing to read them. I was massively anxious and shy at school, and pretty much all the reports stressed how well I could do if I spoke up and believed in myself. But I never did… I binned the lot.

Iwalkinmyclothing Fri 22-May-20 09:42:21

I threw my childhood and teenage diaries away years ago and don't regret it at all. They were never written for anyone but me. The thought of anyone else finding and reading them was horrible.

latedecember1963 Fri 22-May-20 09:49:57

Snap, Bigbluebus! I'm the same age as you and have come to the same conclusion in the last couple of years.
2 Januarys ago I was looking at some tatty old decorations and umming and ahing about whether or not they were worth keeping. DS2 looked at them and asked me if I thought he or his brother would want them in the event of my death.
Now when I'm fighting my inner hoarder I ask myself that question.
My dad was a hoarder and when mum and I were going through all his stuff after he died, she looked at me one day and said, " It's a good job he's already dead, because I could kill him now!"
I'd have a last look and then let them go. As a pp said you can keep the memories you want in your head.

BertieBotts Fri 22-May-20 09:52:26

I got rid of mine and I'm glad. There wasn't any reason to keep them as it was me rambling about how depressed i was. Reading it just took me back there and not in a helpful way. Let it go, it's quite freeing smile

onlyconnect Fri 22-May-20 09:54:54

Oh my goodness! I have the same dilemma; was excited to see this thread title and when I opened it really thought that everyone would say quite strongly to keep them.

I actually feel quite lightened to read you all saying to get rid of them. I really don't want anyone reading mine, even after I'm dead, and I REALLY don't want DH to read them ( nothing terrible but I know he wouldn't like some of the stuff I did when I was young).I've always thought there's something wasteful and sad about getting rid of them but as you all seem to think not that's very helpful to me. Thank you!

Settle59 Fri 22-May-20 09:56:38

No YANBU. I took my diaries to my grandparents house when I was 13 after my narc mum admitted to reading them angry

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