I'm most comfortable writing for no one. I've kept a journal now for 36 years, a private room for just me, paper, and a fast pen.
I only recently considered what I want to happen to my many stacks of journals when I'm gone. Do I want others to see them? Everything is in there. I'm ashamed of some things, embarrassed, even shocked after all these years at some of what I've thought and done (mostly in my 20's but there are a few big blunders in my 30's). It's not that my sins are that awful, I just want to be seen as better than some slivers of my history make me look. If the eyes of others are allowed into my private room, even when I'm gone, is this how I want to be remembered?
Humans aren't considered perfect creatures yet we want others to think we are, or close. We're relieved that our thoughts aren't carried over a loud speaker. But put them in writing and they're there forever.
I'm writing out the fine details of my Last Will & Testament and I recently asked my oldest daughter what she wants. "Well, some personal things and definitely your journals." My daughter wants them? I have to consider this carefully, imagine her cozy by some fireplace one wintry night reading my long gone world. Would she be shocked to learn that I once __________? Or about the fact that I've considered ___________? How about the time I was drunk and ___________? It's all there.
She's an open-minded girl and not a saint herself, yet I'm her mother and held to a different standard. Even as adult children, it's hard to consider our parents as human and just as messed up as anyone else.
The purpose of my journals was to record history - mine, yours', the world's, but it was also a workbook meant to sort things out. The best way to untangle a mess is to study it for a while, really look at it. An ugly knot in the brain can be written into eloquent streams of consciousness, logical answers and real solutions sprouting from the deep dark bowls of our own minds. I've sat down with pen, paper and a weight of darkness only to emerge three pages later enlightened. Some of my worst mistakes reveal the best and deepest lessons learned, the hardest-won wisdom. I will take these gems to the grave with me if I don't allow my children know the whole me, the fallible me.
I owe them my best and my worst.