della femina
(Ching Shih)
11/20/00 10:55 PM
Journalling, privacy and trust

I would love to keep a paper journal again, one that chronicled all of my innermost thoughts, fears and feelings, but due to a very bad past experience of my journals being read against my wishes by one of my parents, I have a real problem leaving a paper trail, as it were. I can't imagine my husband being so unscrupulous as to read a private paper journal of mine (or, more realistically, being bored enough to read its contents), and it's not that there's anything especially scandalous to hide, but suffice it to say that I have privacy issues.

Do you ever find yourself censoring your super-private, for-your-eyes-only journal, out of fear that it will fall into the wrong hands? Have you ever had that fear? How did you get over it? Do you keep your journal in a place where no one would ever find it?


Orlando
(Ching Shih)
11/21/00 03:53 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

della - that's terrible, I could see how you'd be really wary after that.

I've always just kept my diaries on my bookshelf or by my bed. I know I can trust my Mum enough not to read it and my flatmates certainly wouldn't go into my room and take it off my private bookshelf.

I think if I was worried about people reading my journal I wouldn't be able to keep one. Censoring it seems to me to be going against the whole point of keeping a journal.

Not that there's anything particularly scandalous in mine either, but it is stuff that I've written at my angriest or saddest and there's things that could probably really hurt people I care about if they read them.

One of my best friends and I have made a pact that if something happens to either of us, the other one will take their journals and burn them. A morbid thought I know, but preserving my privacy that way is important to me.

[This message has been edited by Orlando (edited November 21, 2000).]


della femina
(Ching Shih)
11/21/00 08:10 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

You know, I've always wondered just how thrilled Anne Frank would have been to have the world reading her diaries, even though it was ultimately a very important publication that affected so many people. I felt sort of guilty reading the newer, less censored version (which has a lot of sexual content), because I do feel like that was a bit of an invasion of her privacy.

Orlando
(Ching Shih)
11/21/00 11:02 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I went through a stage of not reading published diaries at all because I felt the same way. However, I like reading biographies and as most of them quote from diaries and letters I thought I might as well go back to the source.

With Anne Frank's diary, I never felt quite so guilty. I know that she rewrote and edited parts of the diary with possible publication in mind so maybe she would have been pleased to see them published.

As to the newer version of her diaries, I feel that if you are going to publish diaries they should probably be as little edited and censored as possible. Diaries are such personal pieces of writing that it would be impossible for anyone involved to edit them impartially. I'm thinking here of extreme cases like Ted Hughes editing Sylvia Plath's diaries, but I think it's probably just as true for everyone.


gwen
(Ching Shih)
11/21/00 12:52 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I felt guilty when we read Anne Frank in fifth grade and several of my classmates made fun of the sexual parts. I haven't read the diary since then, but now I'm thinking I'd like to read the new one.

I kept paper journals for a few years, but lately I haven't written much in them at all. I would die if my husband read my real, personal thoughts. Not that I think he would dig through my journals, but...

Last year he started reading my online journal for the first time and now I have to censor the hell out of myself, because of course my whole site (as well as the world) revolves around him. It kind of sucks. Sometimes I want to start over anonymously so I can tell the whole truth. But I make do by spilling my guts to friends on the phone. It's a pretty good substitute. I like being a drama queen.

For people who censor themselves -- do you ever worry that there won't be a complete, honest history of you for interested parties of the future to read? I mean, if your great-great granddaughter finds your journal and reads about what you did for a living, but not about your secret torrid affair with your secretary -- is she missing out on the "real" you?

Or is that something that only vain people like me think about?


della femina
(Ching Shih)
11/21/00 01:29 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Gwen, I always want to start an anonymous journal, but I'm scared people would twig that it's me.

I censor my online journal because I know my husband and my mother and other relatives read it. But I just started a new thing where if people want to get a more raw version of my life, via e-mail, they can (a product of this topic).


ragdoll
(Ching Shih)
11/21/00 06:20 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

My dearest friend keeps a paper journal, and I think she writes everything down in it that she's thinking/feeling/doing.

She had a boyfriend in university that would consistently read her journal and then get very angry at her about the contents. He didn't even get the fact that he shouldn't be reading her writing.

Eventually, she started sleeping with her journal under her pillow and then carting it around with her everywhere she went. It's unfortunate it had to come to that.

My partner is nosey. It's part of who he is, I had to accept that when we moved in together. But a part of me won't write my true feelings down anymore because I know if he comes across one of my writing books he'll simply open it up and read it.

I wonder if there can even be any expectation of privacy when it comes to keeping a diary? I read somewhere that no matter how "private" you might think your diary to be, there's always a hidden audience, you always imagine someone somewhere sometime is going to read it.


sobell
(Ching Shih)
11/21/00 06:28 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I keep my journal on my laptop, with a password on the folder. I once lost two years' worth of entries -- my entire tenure in graduate school, which I would have liked to have had a record of -- when I had a horrible system crash. Reconstructing and re-recording the events that meant the most to me isn't the same; I've got a filter of time and perspective that's helped me separate the really significant stuff from the this-could-be-useful-someday stuff, and that somehow makes a journal-after-the-face experience less honest for me.

However, I still prefer keeping my private journal this way. I'm more comfortable writing on a computer than I am longhand. And when I'm at work sometimes, I get a kick out of calling up entries from a few years ago.


ms.strident
(Ching Shih)
11/21/00 08:02 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I am really nervous about the possibility of someone reading my journal even though nothing of the sort has ever happened to me.

I have forced my sister to promise that she will burn it if anything ever happens to me. Yeah, I have privacy issues.


GreenDarner
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
11/26/00 12:34 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

When I was in junior high, I kept a diary full of angst, bad poetry, crushes on unavailable boys, etc. My mom read it secretly and I didn't find out until years later. She and my father teased me about one of the boys I crushed on because he was a friend of the family. Whenever I go home to visit my parents, my Dad makes a big point of saying, "guess who's STILL in town! and he's single!" (argh!) Good thing I've got a sense of humor about the whole thing at this point.

Kivrin
(Ching Shih)
11/26/00 02:03 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I would like to take up journalling again, but the fear that someone would read my journals and that I would censor myself is stopping me from even beginning.
The other thing is that I have a huge box of journals from the past stored in the attic now. I looked at them the other day. Yikes! Then, there's the mold and mildew factor. The old journals have a definite smell to them now. I would need to figure out a better storage system! Still, the urge to write is a strong one so I may just "throw caution to the wind" and begin.


Caphricacorn
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
12/02/00 03:24 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I've kept a journal since I was nine. I still have probably five tucked away somewhere. I have really bad privacy issues, too, because of a songwriting journal I had last year that was read to my parents. Ever since then I don't feel as if I can trust them if I left it laying out on paper just anywhere. The thing that bugs me about online journals is that they are the most unconvienant. Whe I'm on the comp. I need time to think of things, whereas when I have a otebook I just scribble away. oh,well.

rachel
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
01/02/01 01:38 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Thought I'd start this one up again...

I keep an online journal (I call it a blog, or weblog, but it's really nothing of the sort), and I live in constant fear that someone I know will find and read it. I know of only one friend (not a very close friend) who reads it, and I have to trust that she wouldn't tell anyone about it. Most of my friends wouldn't be able to find the site (being fairly computer illiterate, plus it's on a domain owned by an online friend of mine, so it's fairly well-hidden), but I still have a fear of discovery. I've said a few bad things about people in the past. :P

Then there's the obvious stuff that I can't tell anyone. This all goes into a private journal at Diaryland, which is passcoded for only my eyes to see. (I simply can't keep a written journal for some reason.) This is where I can use last names without fear of other people getting hurt. This is where I can write absolutely anything. It's a very liberating feeling, actually.


harper
(Ching Shih)
01/03/01 12:31 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

i've started umpteen journals/diaries since i was 10 and i've never kept up with it as well as i would like to. i think the major reason is the privacy/fear of someone reading it issue. i self-censor way too much, and i always end up expending a lot of energy on the what-if-this-gets-read issue. it takes a lot of the joy and benefit out of journalling for me.

on the plus side, i recently reread my first diary (5th/6th/7th grade era), and was amazed at the thoughts and feelings that i had at that time -- very interesting to revisit as an adult. i think that it would be a useful tool if all parents would have kept and could read a diary of their thoughts as a child/adolescent. i think that would help give them some perspective on parenting because you tend to forget how you viewed the world at that age and instead project "adult" reasoning onto young children. (jmho.) rereading that diary also inspired me to start writing a coming-of-age story that i'd been mulling around for a long time because i really felt like i found a new insight into the thoughts of a young girl.


della femina
(Ching Shih)
01/06/01 07:41 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

rachel, why do you keep your private diary on the internet? I mean, couldn't you type up the entries, encrypt them and keep them on your hard drive? Passworded sites can be hacked into -- usually with not much effort -- and unless you have your site set up to avoid the bot software that search engines use (which I doubt you do, since it's on Diaryland, and in order to protect your site you'd have to have the ability to upload files to the server on which it's hosted), people could do a websearch for, say, Jane Doe (where Jane Doe is someone you've named in your entries) and one of your entries could come up in the search results. On an engine like Google, where pages are cached, it might be quite easy for someone you know to stumble on your site and read your innermost thoughts.

Just an idea.


rachel
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
01/06/01 11:35 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I never thought of that, actually. I like the idea of having an Internet diary--being a graphic design fiend, I love to personalize it and "make it pretty"--but you raise a good point. The only way to get into any page on the site is through a password (even if you're trying to open one of the archived pages), but still...you never know. Thanks for the suggestion.

della femina
(Ching Shih)
01/06/01 07:34 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Well the thing is, you don't have to have your journal uploaded to the internet in order for it to be graphically stunning, but if taking the risk is worth it to you -- as I said, I've yet to come across a way of passwording that *hasn't* been hacked -- then it's something you've got to accept. Personally, I've recently adopted a 'Never put anything on the web that you wouldn't want everyone you know to read' stance, just because I know too many people who've gotten burned when they thought their thoughts were either password protected or 'anonymous' (inverted commas very necessary).

I mean, you can have a graphically pretty website residing on your hard drive, but if your privacy is really that important to you, and if your intent is for no one to see it anyway, why upload it to the net? It looks the same on your hard drive.


WriterGirl
(Ching Shih)
01/17/01 12:36 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

 Quote:
Originally posted by gwen:
For people who censor themselves -- do you ever worry that there won't be a complete, honest history of you for interested parties of the future to read?


My online journal is somewhat censored. Both my current boyfriend and my ex-boyfriend read it, and the latter got very upset over some entries I made about him (long story), so since then I've tried to be balanced, and keep in mind that I do have the power to hurt people. There are certain stories which I would like to tell in the journal, but don't because I know they would reach the wrong ears.

My paper journal, on the other hand, I'm free and easy with. I've been lucky that my parents have been very respectful of my privacy.


BeowulfGirl
(Ching Shih)
01/31/01 10:52 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Hi all,

I've kept a journla/diary, on paper, every day since January 1, 1976. (gets calculator) That's roughly 12,230 days of my life catalogued. And the privacy issue continues to haunt me to this day. I'm 33 now.

I was naive enough to think that my mother would respect my privacy and not read my childhood diaries--what sort of evil things does a nine year old do, anyway? My diaries then were just a record of events anyway--"I went to school, we had a math test," etc. I kept it in a drawer in my desk.

When I was about 12 or 13 I started to write more "secret" things in it--what boys/movie stars I had crushes on, etc., places I had gone and people I had seen that I knew were against the rules. My Dad came up to my room one night and told me that my mother had been reading my diary for the last five years (stupidly, I never could figure out how she always knew things I had done), and that I had either better stop keeping one, or find a better place to hide it.

Because my mother never worked, she basically had all day to search my room. When I was in high school, she went through all my desk drawers, reading not only my journals (I was too "mature" to call them "diaries" anymore) but notes to and from friends and personal correspondance. Because I had become a professional writer by the time I was sixteen, she often read manuscript drafts that she mistook for the truth (I almost always write my fiction in 1st person).

Her logic? "It's my house, I can look where I want to."

I was forced to begin coding my journals. At first, I used only initials ("Had long talk with T. today about H.", etc.) It didn't take long for my mother to figure out who I was talking about because she ALSO had an INTERCOM installed in my room so she could evesdrop on me when I had friends over (but that's another post!). You can only imagine how nervous this made my boyfriend!

I finally began not only making up code names for people/events, but then abbreviating them as well. For instance, my friend Tom has a big nose. I refer to him in journals as "BNG" (Big Nosed Guy). Events are referred to by their dates, which are also encoded--for example, my first real kiss happened on Sept. 20, so I refer to that poor dear boy as "920". ("Saw 920 on the metro today.")

It makes me angry because even though I have eidetic memory, even I can't remember some of this stuff, and if I ever do become a famous writer, God help any biographer. My best friend Andrew told me that if I ever find out I'm dying, I have to write a "Key and/or Legend" to help anyone who might try to decipher my life!


Miri
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
04/08/01 01:38 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

When I was in highschool, my mother read my journal.

In it, she learned the gory details of my first blowjob. Given to one of my teachers.

Sadly, I've been unable to keep a journal since.


slgorman
(Ching Shih)
05/19/01 07:51 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

My mom read my journal in high school, detailing the myriad of ways her behavior was ruining my life. Needless to say, aside from a travel journal I kept when an exchange student a few years later (that I constantly hid and re-hid, and to this day, hide), I don't write that kind of raw, personal, unbound emotional type of stuff any more. So, yeah, I've got issues.

I do censor myself in my online journal. I tend to keep the rants aimed at ideas, nits I feel need to be picked, large multi-national coorporations; not really aimed at individuals (usually). Mostly for fear I will incur some kind of evil 'net wrath' of someone. Probably unrealistic, I know. But I worry about that stuff. I've also been know not to post stuff my friends have sent me for my web site, mainly if it's really radical or inflammatory. I figure, I would rather not post it than post it and have to deal with the fallout if someone read it and didn't get it or it pissed them off. Wimpy, maybe. But it's my site, so I figure I can be wimpy if I want to. No one's complained, yet.

[This message has been edited by slgorman (edited May 19, 2001).]


arcadia
(Ching Shih)
05/22/01 03:40 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

My parents both got the link to my online journal through my brother (I didn't care if he read it), and my mother frequently signs my guestbook in lieu of e-mailing me. So I am self-censoring because of that, and I haven't decided how I feel about that yet. I mean, on one hand it might be good to have some limits so that I don't go overboard and drown in confessionalism, but on the other hands, there are things I'd like to talk about in that context. For one thing, I'd sometimes like to talk about my mom -- when she came to visit me at school, I was amazed that my friends for the first time ever picked up on some of the cues that something is off in that relationship (and we weren't even fighting!). I don't know. I've never been able to keep a journal just for myself, and knowing that I have a few regular readers makes me stay faithful to it, but it would be nice to igure out a way to talk about some other things.

saskatchewan
(Ching Shih)
05/22/01 03:50 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

This is so weird and sad. I'm so sorry for all of the people who've had people pry into their journals.

I've never bothered to hide mine. The idea, I guess, was that if people (meaning my parents, I guess) did go and read my journals they would never be able to use that information without damning themselves. Also, I have terrible handwriting. Terrible! I imagine that it would take some work just to get through it.

Also, often I'm very boring in my private writing.

I guess it's never occured to me that people would care enough to delve through pages and pages of poorly spelled and difficult to decipher boring laundry lists of my anxieties to get to some phantom nugget of riveting information that they will never be able unless they suddenly become willing to expose themselves as a nosy sneak.

What I did find kind of surprising was that Chris (my SO) regularly read my poetry, essays, and fictional things that I've saved on the computer. It was a little odd, but not devestating. I don't mind him reading those things, it just hadn't occured to me that he would.

I wonder how I would feel to find out my kids were reading my journals? Wouldn't that be odd? They're too little to do so now, but on some future date I wonder. . .

Weird!


Calico
(Ching Shih)
05/30/01 03:35 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I don't have to worry about prying eyes right now, just prying jaws. Puppy jaws. One shoe from each pair - gone. Both pair of glasses - gone, crumbled to bits at the foot of my bed while I slept... blissfully unaware. Now the act of writing in my journal is married to the act of putting it (and my new glasses) into a bedside drawer before I drop off to sleep.

WriterGirl
(Ching Shih)
05/30/01 04:51 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

This is becoming more and more of an issue with me as more people who know me IRL are finding my journal, either because I tell them, or someone else does (arcadia and I have mutual friends who have jumped from her journal to mine, for example).

So the number of people I can bitch about is getting progressively limited. I have sworn off, for example, bitching about my ex-boyfriend, even though when he first started reading I told him I wasn't 100% comfortable with it and I was going to write as if he weren't a reader. He still sends me comments occasionally.

Occasionally I've thought about giving up the journal, especially since I usually update from work and the concept of the online journal is not especially popular at my workplace; I've also thought about bringing it back out under my real name and turning it into an opinion/commentary piece, rather than a journal per se. I don't know. I don't now have the technical skills or resources to go beyond Diaryland.


Nicole2112
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
05/30/01 11:39 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I just recently started writing in a journal within the last two years. I'm not a big pen to paper person so when I discovered that you could do it on the internet I jumped on the bandwagon. I've kept an online journal in one form or another for 2 years now. Recently however too many IRL friends caught wind of the journal and were reading and censoring is not something that I enjoy doing...so I pulled the journal. I'm currently writing on OpenDiary.com and although I'm still writing, its not as thorough as it once was.

A paper journal is out of the question. My boyfriend is far too nosey.


cailinoBAC
(Ching Shih)
06/11/01 02:17 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I've kept a diary since I was about 10, well, even if it hasn't always been regular. And I know my sister reads them, so it kind of inhibits what I write, which is very annoying, because I want them to be a true reflection of my state of mind. The only thing is that she never gets hold of them the year I am actually writing them. So if she doesn't read my present diary until 2003 it's not so bad, because then I can laugh at things that seemed so much worse at the time.
And I'm not so innocent myself. Once, when I should have been studying, I was all alone in the house, and I just saw my mothers diaries stacked up, and I started to read them. I felt guilty, but they weren't very detailed - just notes here and there. And it was so nice reading how, for example, she was so excited when I had my first steps, or said some words. I kind of feel like I saw another side to her, and yet, I can't exactly share that with her.
Anyway, I still feel guilty, but I don't know if I regret it.


Keckler
(Ching Shih)
06/12/01 03:33 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

My ex-boyfriend deliberately read one of my journals in order to find out what I did during a time when "we were on a break." Of course, he found out all the details about a romance I had had in England and went ballistic. Ever since then, I kept an electronic journal on one of my old college disks and titled the file "Eng. 305," which was how I listed all my papers for my classes.

My husband isn't nosy at all and is a big believer in privacy, but I still feel odd having journals lying around from a time I didn't know him, chronicling events he knows about but I wouldn't necessarily want him about them.


Joss
(Ching Shih)
03/25/02 10:51 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Bumping for Daisyheartz. (Hope I'm not being presumptuous. Are moderators the only ones s'posed to be doing this?)

Daisyheartz
(Ching Shih)
03/25/02 07:31 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Thank you Joss. I didn't realize that there already was a thread on this subject as I only showed the last month or so of entries.
I think you are absolutely right about taking the pressure off. When I read those words, I felt lighter somehow. That old guilt just melted away. I'll dig out the last journal and simply pick up where I left off - Thanks again!


shameless
(Ching Shih)
03/26/02 02:12 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I have journals, all kinds and sizes, all paper, that I've kept since I was thirteen and keep in a fire-proof safe in my office. But it's mostly for safety issues than privacy. My current journals, (I have one for book journalling and one regular one) I leave all over the house. My husband would never pick it up, ever. So, I never censor myself. I guess I'm lucky in that respect. I never really locked up my journals when i lived at home either. I think I was such a "good girl" that my parents never suspected I'd do anything interesting or dangerous enough to write about.

AbbyNormal
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
03/27/02 01:35 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I kept a journal from 5th grade until I was twenty, when my then-boyfriend entertained himself by reading them all. He didn't mention it until during an argument he quoted from what I had written and mocked me. I cannot describe how shocked and devastated I was--it had never occurred to me that he would do something so despicable, then be stupid enough to tease me about it. I've kept journals on and off since then, but I have never been able to regain that sense of freedom. I look at the journals I kept in my late teens, and although they are hilariously angsty, I miss the raw honesty with which I used to write.

blackcloud
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
03/27/02 10:43 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

When I was in highschool my mother found this letter I had written. I know she had to have been nosing around for it because I had not left it in plain sight. Anyhow, I was admonished greatly for it and it has scared me away from journalling ever since. That was over twenty years ago and it still lurks in my mind. Weird, how we never truly get over these things. You think you do but then something sparks it up without even trying.

Joss
(Ching Shih)
03/28/02 12:41 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

You're welcome, daisyheartz! deborah's Book Bundle on books about writing recommends The New Diary, and I've been enjoying its ideas about journalling. (Although it's not so new anymore, with a pub. date of '78.)

I was lucky with privacy. In junior high, I had to have a certain kind of notebook for my journal. When I needed a new one, I gave the old one to my mother to take to the store so she could pick up the right replacement for me. When the clerk expressed shock that a 13-year-old would give her diary to her mother, my mom said, "Good heavens, I have absolutely NO desire to read what's in there! Ew!" If she did read it, she never betrayed that to me, and I was a painfully goody-goody girl, so there wasn't too much to worry about.

As a result, during recent apt. redecoration, Guzzigirl had to helpfully remind me that not everyone grew up with the ironclad privacy policies I did. I had planned on storing 10+ years of journals on an open shelf in my living room. I even argued for a couple of minutes, unable to believe that someone -- a guest! -- would be so rude as to take a notebook off my shelf and open it. She convinced me, though, and I just reread y'all's posts to convince me further.

Amazing: this trust continues even after a high school boyfriend busted me for cheating by reading a notebook of mine. I was kind of trying to get caught, though, and my ego made me think him more in the wrong for prying than I was for cheating. (I don't claim to have been a good person in the past, just to have read a lot.) I'm much better now (no cheating), but I still have that arrogance that whoever gets upset reading what I wrote deserves it. Curiosity killed the cat, you know. Oh, and thanks, Mummy!

[This message has been edited by Joss (edited March 28, 2002).]


Kivrin
(Ching Shih)
05/12/02 06:11 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I've mentioned this in another form, rrens. This is not the place.

CheshireCat
(Ching Shih)
06/26/02 08:10 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Interesting that censorship is being mentioned... There are some things that are so intensely private that I would just die if someone were to read them, but at the same time, I want a true and accurate account. Last night for example, and I'll try to keep this to a minimal degree of... I'm not sure, you'll get what I mean in a sec. I met up with a "friend" that I see every summer, since I was sixteen, and we had a very good time together...
I was just very thrilled/exuberated by our good time, and in my journal last night, I wrote out lots of really explicit, graphic details. I hesitated to do this, but went ahead. I don't know if I will cringe in the future reading that entry, but still, I don't regret writing it all out. But I would be mortified if anyone else ever read it. I say go for it, though- write like you're the only one who will ever see it, because that's what it's for. I know this seems excessive, but maybe you can get one of those little safes they sell at Walmart and such? Or otherwise I'm sure you can think of a creative place to put it that no one would ever think to look. Good luck.

[This message has been edited by CheshireCat (edited June 26, 2002).]


Stormdancer
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
06/27/02 11:19 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I've been journalling since I was 12 and moved to a new country... And I used to embellish a lot of things.
I constantly need to remind myself to be honest as I write. My mom did read my sister's diary when she went to a bout of depression and claimed she wanted to kill herself. I don't blame her. I figure that if she's going to read my journal, she might as well be prepared to learn the gritty details about my life.


megancita
(Ching Shih)
07/08/02 09:48 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Two years ago I travelled extensively in Central America and I was on a wonderful journal-writing jag. I wrote everyday, my brain was wonderfully stimulated by the things I saw, and the writing just flowed. I felt quite eloquent and profound.

Then I stayed a few night at this hostel and met another American with whom I had great political, fellow-traveler conversations.

I left for a week and then ended up coming back to the same hostel and staying in the same room. I noticed that a notebook had been left in the room; it belonged to the girl I'd met the week before.

The temptation was too great. I read it. It was full of political ramblings and meditations on the economic injustices in the world, etc. I quite liked it .... until, I came to the section that read something like this: "This girl who's staying at this hostel left her journal on the bed today and I flipped through it. I felt guilty, but I couldn't resist. It was quite boring. I hate people who are so self-obsessed."

I swear to you, ever since I read in HER journal about her reading MY journal I've not been able to freely write.

This has got to be some kind of karmic justic. Bleck!


starbucksweetie
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
07/08/02 05:51 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Privacy has never been a big thing to me because I don't think my parents would go through my journal. However, I was watching Oprah and it was about journalling. There was a guest who was a mother who lost her daughter in 9/11 attacks. The mom went through her daughter's stuff and came upon her journals and read them because it was her only connection to her. I would be mortified if I died and someone read mine, to know *me* when the written version of me is different from the public version of me.

CheshireCat
(Ching Shih)
07/09/02 03:46 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Wow- megancita, it does suck what happened, but that happening has such a beautiful literary quality- that could be in a book, or a movie... I don't know, I just really like it. You can't contain your desire to read another's journal, and in the process you find that she has read yours, and had similar feelings about not being able to resist. So poetic.
But.. I do think that's crappy what she said about it. Journals are supposed to be self indulgent and self obsessed- that's the entire point of keeping one. You don't have to worry about how it sounds because it's for you only, and later on you may want to share a few pages with someone but those would be to your discretion. Where else are you supposed to let out the vulnerable side, express how you feel, even if how you feel is embarrassing? Honestly, if you keep it all in, you'll explode. Good luck.


voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
07/09/02 04:09 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

 Quote:
Originally posted by starbucksweetie:
I would be mortified if I died and someone read mine, to know *me* when the written version of me is different from the public version of me.


This reminds me of Anna's Book, by Ruth Rendell (or her alter ego Barbara Vine). A woman discovers her dead mother's diaries, gets them published, they become an international bestseller. And the book's sort of about the things the diarist censored (terrible family secrets -- it must be a Barbara Vine, now that I think about it) even in these diaries she never expected anyone else to read.


dazey
(Ching Shih)
07/10/02 03:10 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

It was Barbara Vine, but it's Asta's Book. I loved it.

Not that I do keep a private journal, but I think, in some ways, it would be nice if people discovered the private me after I was dead. Huh. Maybe I should do that.


voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
07/10/02 07:21 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Sorry, OT!

Was it Asta's Book in the UK? It's absolutely Anna's Book here (I checked the shelf). Maybe they changed it because of the old "Thin Man" movies, where the dog was named Asta (that's probably the only other time I've heard the name Asta


dazey
(Ching Shih)
07/10/02 08:18 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Yeah, it is . I presume that's the original title, and it was one of those stupid and inexplicable "for the US" changes. But, but- why?



voiceofreason
(Ching Shih)
10/09/02 09:51 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I've been keeping an online journal for a while now ( here ) and I've mostly been using it as a way of keeping in touch with friends who live far away; they can kind of check in on me and know what's going on in my life. But I know that there are a few other people (who I don't know at all) who read it regularly, and I know that any random person could stumble across it easily. Lately that's kind of been bugging me. I really want to rant about my rather irritating roommate and mercilessly mock him, but I don't dare since he might just stumble across it someday, and then I'd feel awful. I could make the whole journal private or "friends only" but I also like the idea of random people stumbling across and enjoying my journal (especially since it is written for an audience [albeit a somewhat limited one] and is not strictly a personal working-things-out kind of journal). There's always that tension, I think. I've got to decide where to go next; I think I may end up giving everyone nicknames and disguises and keep on posting like I have been.

bixenta
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
11/04/02 08:20 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I've kept a written journal off and on for the past two years, and an online journal for the past couple of months.

But I did have a really bad experience regarding a journal. I was dating this guy and he was over at my place, and one day he wanted to check his email, so I let him use my laptop. A few days later I went to use my laptop. As it were, he didn't turn off my laptop, he just closed it (putting it on stand-by/hibernate). There was a few browsers open and blaring in front of me was a paragraph with my name in it.

It turned out to be his weblog where he wrote in detail about the last time we had sex, the condom breaking, and ensuing panic I had. Also about how I made him feel "uncomfortable" because I liked him too much.

I only read that bit, and felt sick. I was so upset because he detailed something personal AND used my name. I was working as a web designer at a financial publishing house, where all my colleagues are very web-saavy, as well as my very conservative family including my sister who reads blogs.

So I was upset and texted him saying he left the browser with his journal. He called back and got angry saying just because it was there I wasn't suppose to read it, he wouldn't let me speak at all and just went on about how it was wrong of me to read it. When I tried to explain he hung up on me and said to go ahead and read the rest of the journal and never speak to him again.

He didn't speak to me for a week, and then didn't want to talk about it at all.

Later on he told me he wasn't really upset that I read it, but he was upset because he wasn't a good enough writer to convey what he felt. That I had to ask him what all that meant. I didn't get that at all.

We kept going out. A month or two later, he sent me a file with all the online journal's contents and asked me to read it so I could get a better understanding of him as he never lets me know anything about him.

I felt weird reading it. It was upsetting to read the bits where while we were going out he was interested in other women and such. I wish I hadn't read it.

Ugh..I feel sick at the memory of the whole debacle.

My paper journal is slightly censored, but all names are intact, but my online journal I don't write anything about anyone that could get me into trouble or upset someone.

[This message has been edited by bixenta (edited November 04, 2002).]

[This message has been edited by bixenta (edited November 04, 2002).]


FishDreamerAdministrator
(Ching Shih)
11/05/02 03:39 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

That's just roundly unpleasant sounding. It seems very passive-aggressive to me, in a bad way. He wouldn't let you explain why you were upset about your NAME and sexual experiences being out there on the web for all to see? Ick. No acronyms or pseudonyms or anything?

I'm sorry you had such an experience. I guess I'm fairly careful that way. I don't write about sex, I'm vague when I talk about work, and I try not to talk about people who don't know I'm writing. I write about me, and my thoughts and feelings, and things like that. (I hope it's not as boring as that sounds...)

Trust is just so easy to break and lose, not so easy to gain. And once it's gone, I don't know if it can ever be replaced or repaired. I'm sorry that happened to you.


bixenta
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
11/06/02 02:37 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

He wrote my first name, which is an uncommon name, and his blog had his first and last name on it. So if anyone came across it, it wouldn't have been difficult to realize who he was talking about at all.

Yeah he is very passive agressive. Once I even told him that and he said "That's such an American thing to say. Only an AMERICAN would say something like that." -- He's from New Zealand.

He deleted the blog, but I don't think it was for my privacy but for his. He was terrified I was going to read the rest of it.

Writing about your thoughts and feelings aren't boring at all. It's good to get how you're feeling out, whether by talking about it or writing about it. It's unhealthy to keep things (especially bad feelings) in. Which is unfortunately what I do, even though I know better!


Keckler
(Ching Shih)
11/11/02 06:42 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

It's very touchy. I haven't told anyone at school about my site because, although I write about lots of things, it is a place for my to write about my weekly experiences at culinary school.

I don't use their real names, but since I'm discussing the recipes we did, it's very easy to tell who I'm talking about. I don't want to feel the need to edit my thought just because I'm afraid people will read it. It's definitely difficult.


kristen_dup1
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
07/07/03 11:21 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I've been lucky!

My stepmom was very nosy, and in the time I lived with her I did keep one journal. Fortunatley for me, she found a note in my room, read it, and betrayed what little amount of trust I did have for her. Ever since the note incident, I carried my journal everywhere with me, and on occasion, locked it in the trunk of my car, or that of my boyfriend's.

I went through great lengths to keep her from reading it, partly because I wrote so much about her and she was a bitch and would get mad at me for it.

Now, my mother tells me all the time that she wouldn't read my journal, but I still worry about it. I leave the folder where I keep it around the house, and no one has touched it, but still. For the most part, I carry it with me, but that's mostly out of comfort and habit.


Winnow
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
07/07/03 07:10 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I have a horrible problem with journalling. I have one and, yet, I can't seem to get myself to write freely in it. I think it must be some leftover issues with my mother who constantly nosed into my things, including my journals. In fact, when I was in HS and had had sex for the first time, I wrote vaguely about it in my journal and she actually confronted me about it. I guess I haven't gotten over it yet or something, because when I'm writing for my online journal, I find myself consistently censoring myself. And that's no fun.

anchorsandkeys
(Ching Shih)
07/08/03 12:11 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

My mom read my journals when I was in high school, as a way of keeping tabs on me. I still have no idea why, because both me and my sister were really good kids and there was basically nothing she needed to worry about.

At first I was really upset, and tried to hide my journals, find places to lock them up . . . I censored myself when I was writing, too. But gradually I started to care less and less, and eventually I stopped caring altogether. I'm lucky that I didn't have any real ramifications and trust issues from it, though.


LovelyPride
(Ching Shih)
07/09/03 12:39 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

 Quote:
Originally posted by BeowulfGirl:

I was forced to begin coding my journals. At first, I used only initials ("Had long talk with T. today about H.", etc.) It didn't take long for my mother to figure out who I was talking about because she ALSO had an INTERCOM installed in my room so she could evesdrop on me when I had friends over (but that's another post!). You can only imagine how nervous this made my boyfriend!
No offence but your Mom has some serious trust issues!

I'm really fortunate that no one has ever given me any reason to worry about my journals contents. My parents, lovers and friends have always respected them as my private space. At least, I think they have.

I better stop reading this thread I'm becoming paranoid! :p


JetGirl
(Ching Shih)
07/09/03 02:13 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I only keep a paper journal, and I'm blessed with unspeakably bad handwriting, so bad that I myself sometimes have a hard time deciphering it later. If I'm writing something especially private, I make sure to scrawl worse than usual, and I know only I will be able to remember the full contents, and then only by context.

ALine
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
07/14/03 02:29 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I can relate to those whose mothers read their journals (my mother read my diary when I was in fourth grade.) but especially I feel for bixenta.

I had a somewhat similar experience in which I stumbled across a blog by my (former) best friend and roommate. Though she used pseudonyms, anyone who knew her would know the cast of characters -- including the character formerly known as me. She divulged private details of my relationship with my boyfriend -- details which I wrongly assumed were confidential by virtue of her being my longtime closest friend. I was livid -- our relationship was complicated already, but I saw this as the ultimate betrayal. When I confronted her, she denied any real wrongdoing, making excuses left and right -- such as claiming that nobody read it but her sister and a handful of mutual friends, and that she was justified in writing what she wanted because she was under so much stress (partially due to the strain of our relationship.)

Recently I noticed a stats counter on her site, which she added after our 'breakup.' She's had over 16,000 hits.

She has completely ruined any kind of journalling for me, which sucks because I am a writer. And I enjoy blogs.

I wish so much that I could have one, but after I lambasted my friend about hers --- and knowing that I couldn't comfortably write about anyone else -- I can't bring myself to do it.

I miss it.


Isabel Archer
(Ching Shih)
07/17/03 04:12 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Je ne journal pas.

I know that makes me a weirdo in this context.

I've tried many times and just can't.

I carry around a notebook where I take notes, jot down ideas, etc. But journal? Can't do it.


Serendipity
(Ching Shih)
07/19/03 10:49 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I read this forum a few days ago, was moved by the horror stories about what happened after diaries were found. Makes me realize that I'm lucky my diaries were never read (as far as I know) but I've always found myself EXTREMELY paranoid about keeping a journal. Have kept journals since I was 10, but found it something to be ashamed of for some reason. I would never admit to it, was always so paranoid about writing in public, would always hide my journals or whatever bits of writing I did. And I would never write when someone else was in the room. Never - as if they would try to sneak a peek at what I was writing.

I can't image, though, that I would ever stop writing if I had a bad experience of someone finding my journals then blurting something inappropriate about them. Writing means too much to me.

But the most interesting thing that developed from my reading this forum is that I've been inspired to actually start a "blog" or online journal. I never would have imagined putting something to intensely private into such a public domain - but perhaps that is exactly what I need. I have some issues, too, just with expressing my feelings in general to anyone else, even my closest friends (am not close to family at all, which might be the source of this issue). My goal is to really just be honest in this public journal - coding names to protect the innocent, of course. But I figure if I can face the idea of my innermost thoughts and feelings splayed for public view, even face some of those "reviews" or public comments about what I write, maybe I won't be so guarded in revealing my feelings in person to people I actually know.

And one last note, I realize the degree of my vanity - I have the idea that my journals are to be revealed after I pass - no way would I want them destroyed! Ha! I laughed at the realization - what an egoist I am! But I do write with the intent that they will be read some day, that some future person will be following my story, and that is how I tend to present my entries. Odd, not sure how or why I ever got that idea. It's not like I'm famous or anything remotely close to that.


Sweet Potato
(Ching Shih)
09/17/03 12:01 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I've had some bad experiences with other people reading my journals. The last one kept me from writing for 2 years.

I was going through a really rough time with my family, my father was really ill, and the entire family was fighting. Of course, I wrote down lots of my frustrations in there, and stupidly, while visiting my father, I slid the journal under the couch one day for lack of a better hiding place, and when I flew back home, I forgot to take it with me. I got an email from his girlfriend that she had found it and would send it to me. She promised not to read it. I never received it, and the next time I went to visit, I found it on a shelf in my sister's bedroom.

I was so horrified, I still have not opened it since that day to check what I had written. I don't want to know, and even 2 years later, the idea of my sister reading it (as she surely has, basd on her track record) makes me so angry at her and at myself for being so irresponsible.

When my sister last came to visit me, I packed all of my private things into a box and locked it up in a room in the basement and took the key to work.

Talk about paranoia.

I don't think I could ever write an online journal, because I would be too paranoid of anyone I know reading it. I definitely would have to do it anonymously.


CamillaSage
(Ching Shih)
10/13/04 04:08 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Judging by what I've read in this thread, I think I must have been exceptionally lucky with privacy and my journal! So far as I know, no one has tried to read my journals, although much of the time they've been fairly obviously stacked on a bookshelf.

I did use code when I first started writing journals seriously (at the age of 15). Until I was about 21 or so, I wrote my journals in a code based on the Greek alphabet. Not very complicated, but enough to stop the casual prying eyes (and my curious siblings!). I can't be bothered doing that any more, so I just write openly now, but I pretty much trust that no one's going to read that stuff.

My boyfriend would really like to read my journals from "way back", but I'm still deciding whether or not to let him. Maybe some selected bits, but for the most part, I find all that old stuff a bit embarrassing! Especially the angsty stuff. I'm sure he wouldn't read them without my permission though.

I also keep an online journal, mostly to keep friends and family updated (I've been living overseas), so naturally that's rather "truncated" compared to the full reality of my daily experiences! I tend not to mention others in my LJ, so it probably comes across as a bit self-absorbed, but it's just because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. On the one occasion when I did rant about people who never answered back to my emails (not mentioning anyone specific) I got a flood of apologetic emails the next day, all from people who weren't guilty of the crime! It was very amusing, but it showed me just how many people were reading my journal and taking it seriously. A good lesson.


Ananke
(Ching Shih)
10/13/04 10:35 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I kept journals on an off as a child and teenager. Periodically I would destroy them, partly so no-one could read the cringe-worthy entries, partly to distance myself from the content.

I keep a few notebooks now and an online journal. My partner knows about this, and is naturlaly fairly nosey but respects how much my privacy means to me - in other words he knows I would flip if he went and read my journals without permission. I told him he has to burn the paper ones should I ever get famous/die since they'd probably be horrifying for anyone but me. Plus they are completely random. I've always been intensely private though, to the point my mother stopped cleaning my room when I was six because it was too much trouble to deal with me afterwards.

I trust my mother and Nova not to read my stuff, but Nova's brother is a different story. He'd do it to check up on me, make sure I'm not doing anything 'bad'. Which is irritating because it makes me cautious about it when I never used to be. I'd have my notebooks all over the house and car in case I needed to write something down. Now they're all in my room. At least he respects that boundary. He also thinks I'm crazy because I've said I'll never ever ever read my kid's diary or let Nova do it. He says he will and tell me anything I need to know, which misses the whole point. You can't expect someone to trust you when you violate all of their boundaries, particularly something like a journal which has so much emotional weight.


CamillaSage
(Ching Shih)
10/14/04 02:41 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Indeed. I took part in a discussion on another board that got very heated over this particular issue. Some parents said they would always read their children's journals to check up on them, others said only if they thought something was wrong and wanted to know what was going on, and others still said never ever.

Personally, I'm wavering between the last two. I think reading their journal would be an absolute last resort though, after I'd tried more "open" methods of finding out what was wrong. But only ever in an emergency. I think it's wrong to violate someone's privacy just out of curiosity.


Ananke
(Ching Shih)
10/15/04 03:51 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I think an emergency, like my kid goes missing/is in hospital, would be the only time I'd read it. And only then to try and work out what has happened. I've told Nova that's the case with me, that my journal will probably have more clues to my inner state than anything else.

eanja
(Ching Shih)
10/15/04 01:41 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I think I agree with CamillaSage (and mostly Ananke). My son isn't old enough to keep a diary, but I can't imagine reading one unless I was extremely worried and couldn't get anywhere talking to him.

I think a livejournal or something is a little different though- since it's public in a way that a paper journal isn't, I would think you could read that, as long as you asked your child's permission first, so that he could decide to lock posts he didn't want you to see, and could opt whether to friend you or not. Because if he/she would really be horrified to have a parent learn about something, it probably shouldn't be in a general post online anyway. (I'm also assuming that if you spend a fair amount of time online, your kid should have some notion that you might find a livejournal or blog to begin with. I'm not talking about breaking into your kid's computer when he's a school and snooping or anything) Ditto them reading your livejournal, of course.


Ananke
(Ching Shih)
10/15/04 08:36 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

For me there's a difference between my online journal and my notebooks. The online journal already has an audience so it's not as raw because I'm already tailoring it to being read by another, whereas my notebooks rarely make any sort of sense because they're not considered in any sense. I'd probably be more hurt by any reading of my hardcopy stuff because while it's not as vast or detailed as my online journal, they're more personal, more a part of me.

Plus it's online, people already read it and I can't expect it to stay secret from real life forever. Nova already knows all of my handles and I haven't gone to any length to disguise myself. He just knows any benefit or thrill would be far outweighed by my reaction. Not to mention he'd probably be overwhelmed by the pretension and minutae.


anchorsandkeys
(Ching Shih)
10/21/04 12:32 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

 Quote:
Originally posted by ALine:

I had a somewhat similar experience in which I stumbled across a blog by my (former) best friend and roommate. Though she used pseudonyms, anyone who knew her would know the cast of characters -- including the character formerly known as me. She divulged private details of my relationship with my boyfriend -- details which I wrongly assumed were confidential by virtue of her being my longtime closest friend. I was livid -- our relationship was complicated already, but I saw this as the ultimate betrayal. When I confronted her, she denied any real wrongdoing, making excuses left and right -- such as claiming that nobody read it but her sister and a handful of mutual friends, and that she was justified in writing what she wanted because she was under so much stress (partially due to the strain of our relationship.)

Recently I noticed a stats counter on her site, which she added after our 'breakup.' She's had over 16,000 hits.

She has completely ruined any kind of journalling for me, which sucks because I am a writer. And I enjoy blogs.

I wish so much that I could have one, but after I lambasted my friend about hers --- and knowing that I couldn't comfortably write about anyone else -- I can't bring myself to do it.

I miss it.
This brings up an interesting aspect of online journalling: how much should you be able to divulge? For example, I've written about things in my online journal that I wouldn't dare mention to some people in real life. One of my good friends cheated on her boyfriend, which I discussed online in an (albeit friends-only) entry. Was I wrong to do that, since it was the sort of information that I would never have talked about to any of my friends offline? Or was it within bounds, give that she had put me in an awkward position (knowing that I was also friends with her boyfriend) and it was something that I needed to discuss, process, and get advice about?

I think the ethics of online journalling can get very sketchy sometimes.


CamillaSage
(Ching Shih)
10/21/04 05:42 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I agree, anchorsandkeys. Writing about stuff involving other people in a personal journal that no one else will get to read is one thing, but it's another (IMO) to put it on the web where potentially anyone can get it. Wasn't there an intern in Washington who found out the hard way recently? I seem to remember reading something about it not so long ago...

I would tend to err on the side of caution myself. I don't tend to mention others by name in my online journal, except for those close to me who there would be no point "anonymizing" and who I don't say horrible/libellous things about anyway. Well...I hope not anyway!


lydarose
(Ching Shih)
11/03/04 04:20 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I never keep a paper journal anymore. More than one significant other has found and read my paper journals in the past, even one that was locked in a safe, even after promising never to do such a thing. I have no trust whatsoever that something I write on paper won't be read.

I keep a public journal online, which very few people read because it isn't terribly interesting. I don't write there about anything that could be construed as an invasion of someone else's privacy. The only time I recall changing anyone's name was when I was writing about a bad experience with a condescending doctor and a dreadful medical procedure--I didn't use the doctor's real name, not to protect his privacy so much as my own. My feeling on that is if I'd have to change someone's name to protect their privacy, I wouldn't feel comfortable talking about that person without their permission.

I also have a private, password-protected journal elsewhere online. I don't write it much, mostly only if I want to rant about people I know who are pissing me off. (Very few people I know read my public journal that I'm aware of, but since I use that domain for email as well, it wouldn't be hard for someone to find.)

If I don't want other people to see something I write, it goes in the password-protected journal (which could be hacked, of course, but it's hard to find and the password is a random string of characters). If it's something I don't have a problem with saying publicly, it goes in the public journal.


mst78
(Ching Shih)
11/03/04 08:55 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I never use full names of the people I write about, and I never include pictures of family or friends. Not because I'm afraid of someone reading it (I would truthfully never write anything on my online journal that I would not say to their faces), but to protect them incase someone outside our circle should read it.

My paper journals are a different story. I spill my guts. I include names, discriptions, places, times, etc.. The only person who would ever read it is my husband and he knows most the stuff I write because he is alway looking over my shoulder (he says that I exaggerating about everything)LOL


lsugaralmond
(Ching Shih)
11/12/04 07:53 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

It's funny but despite all evidence to the contrary, I remain somehow convinced that nobody else ever actually could read my journals. I keep them in plain sight in my bedroom, either of my flatmates, and anyone else for that matter, could wander in and take a look whenever they wanted to. And yet, because I see the journal as a sort of hard-copy of my own consciousness, which I believe is inaccessible to anyone but me, I can't actually comprehend the idea of anyone else reading it.
Silly isn't it? And totally naive I know. Although, as an extra defence, I'm fairly sure that if either of my flatmates DID ever take a look, they'd get bored and give up pretty quickly. I have a tendency to go on and on about mundane details, as an aid to memory to my future self when re-reading.


Sincerity
(Ching Shih)
11/12/04 10:14 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I haven't kept a paper journal in awhile, but am now inspired to again. My parents, as far as I know, never read any of my journals (my dad would always tell me that he'd never dream of doing such a thing), and now that I live on my own, I really have absolutely nothing to worry about at all. An uncensored private diary sounds like a good plan to me.

I do keep an online blog, but obviously I tailor it for an audience. I don't write every thought I have in it, because some things are personal, you know?


Kitkat
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
11/29/04 04:03 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Hi all, have just found this forum. I love journalling and have read the thread about privacy issues which is also a huge concern of mine. Thought I'd start up another thread on the subject as I also want to ask what type of journals you use?

My story is this. A couple of years ago I destroyed ten years worth of journals because I got paranoid about them being read, even though to my knowledge no one had read those journals in question. I felt relieved at first at getting rid of them but then the terrible feeling of regret started to set in and I still regret binning them to this day. For a year after destroying them I didn't keep a journal at all but then I soon started keeping one again.

I don't know why the privacy issues suddenly started to worry me. In the past I have known my diary to be looked at a couple of times but that was twenty or so years ago. One incident was when my work colleagues at the time took my diary out of my handbag while I was out of the office, photocopied it and passed around the copies behind my back. I was totally unaware of this until my boss told me what was going on. I left the place and couldn't face them again after that, I ripped up my diary and told myself I would never keep one again but after a while I started doing so. Another incident was when my Ex locked himself in the bathroom with my diary but I don't know if he read it or not. In those days I kept the small pay a day kind with the fragile locks.

It was ten years ago when I was having marital problems that I started keeping a journal rather than a page a day diary. This helped me enormously and I wrote in hard backed books, carried it everywhere with me, didn't care about the privacy issues or the weight of the books.

Now I realise I simply need to keep a journal and I need to keep a handwritten one which I find better than a computer one. I now find hard backed books too heavy to carry around as I carry a smaller bag than I did in the days when I carried the hard backed books around. A friend of mine has suggested for privacy issues to use loose leaf paper and keep a binder at home in a locked tin that I have and then every night when I get home take the days entry out of my bag and put it in the binder, that way he says I don't have the whole book on me in my bag and I can easily hide the looseleaf sheets in a zip compartment or something. However, I wonder if writing on loose leaf paper will feel like writing on scraps of paper rather than in a diary. Has anyone else tried this? Another idea I have is a thin exercise book or shorthand notebook that I can keep on me at all times and just locked the filled ones away in the tin. However, I worry about people going in my bag, even though I have no evidence that this is now happening.

The answer for me isn't to just not journal or to destroy the journals after writing them to avoid privacy issues as I have tried this before and it hasn't worked. Has anyone got any ideas and can you all say what type of journal you write in and if you carry yours around? I carry mine around as I like something to write in at all times as I often write during my lunch break etc.


lydarose
(Ching Shih)
11/30/04 07:49 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

 Quote:
One incident was when my work colleagues at the time took my diary out of my handbag while I was out of the office, photocopied it and passed around the copies behind my back.
That's so awful. I would have been beyond mortified. And how old are these people? Twelve? That sounds just like something sixth-graders would do, very Harriet the Spy.

If it were me (though I don't use paper journals any more due to a horror of ever having someone else read one again), I'd use those little 4 by 6 inch (or so) spiral bound notebooks, and maybe use a briefcase with a combination lock, or maybe a little locking box. I don't remember what it was called, but I recall seeing a lightweight, sturdy-looking plastic box with a combination lock that would fit into a purse at an office supply store not long ago.


Kitkat
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
12/01/04 05:10 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Hi Lydarose, thanks for your reply. Those colleagues of mine would be about eighteen at the time, the same age as I was then. It horrified me what they did, I thought my diary would be safe in my handbag, I had no idea what was going on until my boss told me but then when she told me I realised they'd been coming out with things about me that I hadn't told them. They'd been getting all the info from my diary!

The idea of a locked briefcase sounds good but I do like carrying a handbag or sometimes I carry a shopping type bag aswell or a carrier bag depending on if I need to carry other stuff around that won't fit in my handbag.

Do you think the spiral books are better than writing on loose leaf paper?


pinga
(Ching Shih)
12/02/04 07:10 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Coming to this a bit late, but I was reading the entries about people's mothers reading their journals... when I was a kid I learned Tengwar, the alphabet from Lord of the Rings, and wrote my journal in that. Then my mum found it, looked in it, and was outraged that I had so little trust in her and my dad that I would write my journal in a secret alphabet. There's really nothing you can say to that is there?

Now I have a lj and don't write a paper journal anymore: I used to write late at night but I'm married now and I have to either go to bed with the light-sleeping Mr pinga at 11 or sleep on the sofa. I post a mixture of public, friends and private posts to lj: if anyone hacked my lj I would be embarassed but not too much because the private ones are very personal but mostly better written than the rest \:\)


Antigone
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
12/02/04 12:10 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Isn't it illegal to read other people's journals / go through other people's belongings where you live? I'm Swedish, and here it's at least illegal to open someone else's mail. You could sue those people (even moms, I think).

Kitkat: if you carry a zippered purse perhaps you could get a small but sturdy lock and a short chain or wire and lock the zipper to the handle/ strap of the purse?


Kitkat
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
12/02/04 05:03 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Hi Antigone, I live in the UK, I'm not sure about it being illegal to read someone else's diary, it is an invasion of privacy though and at the time I was amazed these colleagues of mine didn't get the sack but all they got was a ticking off.

Thats a good idea about the lock on my handbag, thing is though I wouldn't want to have to unlock my bag every time I want to get something out of it. I could just put a notebook in one section and lock that I guess?


blueberry
(Ching Shih)
12/03/04 04:33 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I don't think the argument has been made here (RSA) yet, but I'm pretty sure one could successfully argue that reading someone's diary violated their constitutional right to privacy. I think it would be a hollow victory, though, in most situations, as our courts don't award punitive damages - you have to show actual financial loss.

In the workplace scenario, though, I think it would be easier to get someone to pay up. If it could be shown that your privacy was violated by other employees, that you informed your employer of this and they failed to put in place measures to protect your privacy, I'm quite sure you could resign and take your employer (though, alas, not the other employees) to the labour court. Depending on how you present your case, you could then claim for loss of income (if you were forced to resign) and for other related damages (emotional distress etc).


Brie
(Ching Shih)
12/11/04 05:20 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Della Femina,
I know exactly what you mean about censoring your journal, I always seem to find myself not wanting to let go of my most private thoughts and feelings. I always worry about if someone sees it what will they think of me? etc. But I am getting better and starting to have a little more faith in my privacy. Just add little bits at a time, so start with a few things that are not especially hurtful or embarrassing etc. then just build it up gradually until you can confide anything.


Kitkat
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
01/04/05 06:11 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Bringing up the privacy issue again, I have something private I do need to write about but it is mega private, how do I go about ensuring it stays private?

I have read through all this thread and realise some people have destroyed journals through fear of them being found (I have done this myself as I have said before but since started it up again). This time I am determined not to throw my journals away due to regret of throwing out the others but privacy still remains a concern.


StephA
(Ching Shih)
01/05/05 11:40 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Kitkat, is there a way to make sure you've got your journal with you at all times? (In your backpack, purse, etc.?) That might be the best way to feel safe about it.

Or if you have a secure location in your place where you can put your journal? Like in a box on a high closet shelf, or under a bunch of crap on the closet floor? (Do people still hide things between the mattress and the box spring?)

ETA: Or maybe learn another language? Heh.


Kitkat
(Gráinne ni Mhaille)
01/05/05 05:19 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Steph, if I use loose paper or a thin notebook I can carry my journal around with me all the time but then I worry about someone going in my bag. I know there's little chance of this happening but I am a born worrier.

I do have a locked tin that I keep my full journals in but the one I am using is the one I don't have locked away as sometimes I do need it on me, well I like to have it on me at all times ideally but at present I am using a hard backed book which is heavy to carry around all the time.


Auroranorth
(Ching Shih)
08/04/05 07:50 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

 Quote:
This brings up an interesting aspect of online journalling: how much should you be able to divulge? For example, I've written about things in my online journal that I wouldn't dare mention to some people in real life. One of my good friends cheated on her boyfriend, which I discussed online in an (albeit friends-only) entry. Was I wrong to do that, since it was the sort of information that I would never have talked about to any of my friends offline? Or was it within bounds, give that she had put me in an awkward position (knowing that I was also friends with her boyfriend) and it was something that I needed to discuss, process, and get advice about?

I think the ethics of online journalling can get very sketchy sometimes.
 Quote:
Writing about stuff involving other people in a personal journal that no one else will get to read is one thing, but it's another (IMO) to put it on the web where potentially anyone can get it. Wasn't there an intern in Washington who found out the hard way recently? I seem to remember reading something about it not so long ago...
Blog Interrupted

Did anyone else read the recent Salon piece about the nanny who was fired after her boss read her blog?

As far as privacy goes:
1. If it's online and not protected, it's fair game.
2. If it's someone else's email/lj/blog/whatever and they want you to read it, fine. My parents share an email address and prefer it that way. My mom gets dog stuff and dad gets drum stuff and neither reads the other person's messages because my dad doesn't want to know about hip displasia and my mom doesn't want to know about beat patterns.
3. If you want to discuss personal stuff, get people's permission and think what would horrify you if people found it on the web about you before you post something that might embarass other people.
4. People who read other people's private journals/mail are committing massive and permanent breaches of trust. Unless you are convinced that the person is suicidal/on drugs, DON'T. They will remember and hold it against you, as clearly above posters do.


Sanchia
(Ching Shih)
12/16/05 04:09 AM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

Reading through some of the above posts, I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but here goes:

Why share a journal online? And I mean an honest-to-goodness, self-indulgent, me-me-me journal, not a blog of reviews and opinions. Some of you seem to feel that a journal of that sort is private; others seem to put it up online and worry about people they know looking at it or finding it.

I had a blog on which I posted random essays and poems; I now have an entirely private livejournal and is completely password protected. It's really not for anyone to see. It's my rubbish, all my fears and anxieties and joys, but it's not for anyone else.

So I'm not sure. Reading people's journals is supposed to be voyeuristic (and I've had someone read mine when I was younger, so I understand the feeling of violation), but if you worry about your privacy, why post it online at all?


goo
(Ching Shih)
12/16/05 01:23 PM
Re: Journalling, privacy and trust

I find my writing improves if I'm writing for an (imagined) audience - the fact that it's going to be published helps me clarify my thoughts. I don't broadcast my personal journal, but if some random inhabitant of the internet were to stumble across it, then great. I hope I'm providing them with some enjoyment.

From another perspective, I enjoy reading stranger's personal journals, both online and on paper. It is voyeuristic, but it's also fascinating - the minutiae of life and hopes, motivation and drama. I worked in a charity shop for quite a while, and occasionally people would donate their diaries - by design or accident I never knew. I still have several. Online journals have the added element of being more likely to be fake than those on paper, so you have the extra fun of determining if the stories are legit or attention-whoring, and if the latter - why? Great fun.

I guess, to me, it's no different to reading a published diary, except they're usually more interesting for being real. I don't think I would ever read my child's diary, though, unless it was absolutely necessary for their safety. Reading the diary of someone with which you have a trusting relationship is a different thing altogether.