I've done some dreadful things in my life. I've removed "do not remove" tags from mattresses. I've rolled through stop signs while turning right. I've used profanity, mostly on the golf course. I have been envious when an unemployed sign painter wins a $300 million lottery. I have visited Hooters and consumed chicken wings in vast amounts.
Pride, envy, sloth, gluttony, greed, lust, anger, I've dabbled in them all.
Now, thanks to the Internet, there is a place for me to unburden myself.
Sites like notproud.com, dailyconfession.com, grouphug.com and ivescrewedup.com, offer an opportunity to those who believe that confession is good for the soul to reveal their deepest secrets.
The postings sometimes make you laugh. And sometimes cry.
"I ordered a pizza for my wife and I but she was running late and I ate the whole thing and she had to heat up yesterday's leftovers," reads one.
"I'm going to break up with him because he doesn't spoil me enough. I'm spoiled. And I think I deserve it," reads another.
"I was flirting with a guy I met on line," confesses a poster. "We have been talking to each other for a few weeks. I lied about the real me - how old I am, where I live, etc. and pretty much expected the same from him. We got to the point of swapping photos and I told him to send me his and I would send him mine. I received it today. It was my brother. My 13-year-old brother! (I am 17). I have not yet figured out just what to do - I haven't told him or anyone yet."
"Everyone talks about the beauty of childbirth," says one woman. "My son was born seven days ago. He was the ugliest, blood covered, prune wrinkled, limp pile of purple flesh I have ever seen. I was mortified. Once they got him all cleaned up and swaddled - he looked much more like the images I had seen of newborns, pink and cuddly. I confess that I am embarrassed with my initial reaction, but with God as my witness, he was one ugly little cuss."
"I've tried to convince myself that I am in love with someone who is addicted to crack cocaine, but the truth is - I'm afraid to leave him for fear that he will hurt me more than he already has..." says one writer.
Another says: "A friend of mine was shot and killed last weekend, by a black guy. I've always been a bit racist, despite the fact that I knew a few very nice, caring, Chrisitan black people. But now that this has happened, I feel like I've just lost all respect for them."
"I am sorry God for not keeping that baby," a confession on ivescrewedup.com reads. "I had an abortion and had kept that secret for over 18 years. I am so ashamed. Please forgive me."
"I loved him so much, but he wouldn't talk to me," says another post. "So I said I had cancer and that I was dying. I would cry to him about fears of the future and dying and what I wish I could have done with my life. Eventually I had to tell the truth, because his mom wanted to call mine about a weekend with them. I hurt him. He has to see a counsellor now because Ive caused him so much pain. I want to cut my wrists, take pills, jump off something-because I know that I deserve this hurt, but it's killing me that he has to deal with it...I played him, abused him, took advantage of what a good person he was. Hours of late night phone calls comforting me. Hours of driving to get me. And I hurt him. And now, I wish I really did have cancer, because, to lie when Im so blessed, while everyone around me suffers, is the worst thing I could do. And I dont believe I deserve anything better."
Funny or tragic, the trouble with all of this is that it's a one-way conversation. Confessing your sins to a computer screen may provide some short-term help but it's not the same as talking to a priest, a therapist, or even a friend.
There's nobody there to say "you're normal," or "it's not as bad as you think," or "you're one sick puppy."
Then there's validity of the posts. In the case of the woman confessing to an abortion, the site is run by a pro-life church in Florida.
And then there was this one:
"I worked with a man we'll call Bill. I had a huge crush on him, and would tease him by wearing thong panties and flash him throughout the day. He was married and even has a daughter and I didn't care. Anyway, one thing led to another, and we had intimate relations. I don't really think we had sex, it was only oral. I have to apologize to his wife and daughter. Hillary, Chelsea, I am sorry. Monica."