Private: Do Not Read!
Age 13, USA
I was thirteen. My sister was eighteen. I read her diary.
There were things about her life I wish I never knew. Like the guys she had been with and what she had done with them. I also read that she was hanging out in the city, drinking and doing dangerous things, like meeting strangers. I read how she longed to be loved by her boyfriend and how she felt so dumb in school. I read about her deep insecurities and her lack of self-worth.
I never, ever could have imagined my sister doing the things she wrote about. I never, ever could have imagined her feeling the way she felt about herself.
Her diary held her secrets, secrets I didn’t want to know, secrets she didn’t want me or anyone else to know, and I had no idea how to handle it. Her words confused me. The sister in the diary wasn’t the sister I knew and loved and fought with.
And one day, when I was angry with her, I let something slip about her insecurities. That’s when she knew I had violated her privacy. She was furious.
I apologized and eventually she forgave me. But it changed our relationship.
What did you learn?
The experience made me realize that it was a horrible invasion of privacy. I also recognized that if we had changed places, I would have felt violated, too. But worst of all, once you learn things painful, private things about another person, especially someone you love, they’re impossible to forget and pretending you don’t know is painful.